Bringing Calm to Chaos: Now Is the Time

As I sit in my home quietly living out the days of quarantine, following my return from Northern Italy I ask myself this question. What was my soul’s intent for this incarnation? What did I want to learn, to understand, to create, to share? As I sit in my home thankful for the powers that be, who brought me home at the eleventh hour, just before the doors of Italy were shut, I ask myself, how is this experience connected to the Intent to which I was born.

Let’s take a few steps back. To even ask myself this question, it is clear that I believe we have consciousness that exists beyond our physical life. That I am, you are, a sacred, indivisible spark of Light that originated as part of the Source of all Life. That spark of light does not wear out or flicker and go out in a puff of cosmic smoke. That spark of light holds all the memories, lessons, triumphs and tribulations that make up who we are from the very first moment we enfolded and surrounded it with a physical body. There is a difference between the Essence of who we are and our Soul but that is not the purpose of this writing. The purpose is to explore with you, what is my, your, Intent for this life.

In The 12 levels of Being I explore the significant difference between Intention and Intent. They are not the same. Intention is more like a hope. We have an intention to wake up early every day and go for a walk or we make an intention to write in our journal, or stop buying chips for a month, or read a new book a month. We make these statements but they come from a desire, a wish a hope that this is what we will do.

Our Intent is something different. Intent is a higher frequency. It requires clarity and action. It requires a deep understanding of how to action this Intent and to put that action into practice. Intention can become Intent with clear and concise action but without it Intent can slip right back into intention or  sit is a metaphorical place where our Intents, those sparks of Divine energy gather and wait to be remembered.

Our ethnicity is intrinsically connected to our Intent. We learn because of who and where we come from or in spite of who and where we come from. From my perspective there are no mistakes and so, however we arrived in this life, it was part of that Intent for this life.

Why am I exploring all this with you at this time? Because as part of my own spiritual growth I have been invited to look at what was my Intent for this life time and as I am confined to my home for two weeks, I am struck with the realization that I am not waiting to get back into my life. This is it. This moment, though not one I had even thought of when I left for Venice 6 weeks ago, is my life.

 How do we live our life without waiting for the next part of it? How do we embrace the unexpected, the challenging, the painful without waiting till it’s over?  When my husband, Oren died, just over a year ago, people often tried to console me by telling me how I will feel, in time,  how and when I will heal, eventually. It’s the same with chronic illness, years of sleepless nights with tiny children, incarceration, or detention. Waiting to get better, waiting to sleep the whole night or get out of jail, though completely normal is not accepting that this situation is actually my life. Here and now. And to use it to become stronger, wiser, more resilient, turns it into a powerful opportunity to reconnect to your original Intent.

There are many examples of people who have done this and have changed the world through aspiring to live their lives every day and not waiting till it gets better. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Ram Dass, Steven Hawkins, Franklin Roosevelt and Victor Frankle, just to name a few. If I look at these lives, I love to imagine what was the Intent made by their souls for their most recent life. They all inspire me. I certainly aspire to live every day putting into action the Intent that informed my birth in this life.

We have watched and perhaps even participated in the panic and chaos that Covid19, or  Corona Virua,  is bringing to the world. We worry about what ‘might’ happen if…….

We do, we say and we behave in ways that are not aligned to our perception of ourselves and we try to defend or rationalise our behaviours because of the situation we all find ourselves in.

I have given myself a small challenge and I want to share it with you.

How can I bring Calm to Chaos  in my actions today? Whether it is at work, shopping, caring for our children, elderly, sick or infirm, how can I bring calm to chaos right now? What can I say that shifts the energy? What can I do that brings a smile to that person in front of me?

Who do I choose to be in the life I am living, right now, at this time, in this situation?

There are no mistakes. Only choices and the opportunity to action our sacred Intent.Bringing Calm to Chaos

 

Posted in Being Here and Now | 2 Comments

And We Go Round and Round and Round in the Circle Game

We’re Captive on a Carousel of Time

I’m in Venice walking for hours every day. I’m never sure where I’m going unless it’s to the dentist or the hairdresser. Getting lost down a calle ( side street) and turning corners day after day, and finding myself going round and round in circles has become the new normal for me.

I’m okay with that. The heart is open and I am here to Be and to see and to touch and taste and feel it all.

I only learned that Carnivale was cancelled from my children because the news here is in Italian and I listen but don’t understand what I’m hearing. I hope that by some magical form of osmosis I will suddenly click and understand everything, but so far I only understand a spattering of words. One of them is Corona virus. Once I hear that, I tend to change the channel or put on Netflix mainly because I know there is a lot of media hype and fear creating going on. The media influence mass consciousness a bit like the spread of well….an infection.

Level 6 in The 12 Levels of Being is Mass Consciousness. That is the emotional climate of a community, country or indeed the world. It could be grief, blame, fear or revenge and it permeates people’s consciousness until it becomes difficult to differentiate between the feeling as being yours or being something that is so strong in the mass consciousness it only appears to be yours.

Turning off the television only partly works. My friends call me… did I know……..?

Did I know that the planes to Israel have been canceled if have they come from Hong Kong, Singapore or Korea? No! And did you know that all the theatres and places for events has been closed in Italy? No. And did you know that… well you get the message. It was stuff they hear and read through the media.

So, to be clear I am not worried. Let me get that out first. And I am taking some precautions.  I wash my hands all the time. But every bottle of sanitizer and every mask in the whole of Italy was panic-bought last weekend. I kid you not. Nothing on the shelves.

All this made me start to think what could the significance be? The appearance is easy. A new virus it causing people to become sick and some to die. The result is panic.

But what is the significance?

We all know that individual countries are  concerned about themselves. Their financial situation, the education of the population, their medical services  and their people’s well-being. Every individual country has their own ideas about what is right for their country..

Then one day a new tiny little microscopic virus arrives. Even though influenza takes a few lives every year and the SARS virus cause a bit of Asian panic this virus seems to be scaring the whole world. I remember when HIV and AIDS terrified the world but in our ignorance it became an us again them situation. In other words Separation. This corona virus has the whole world working together for one of the first times I can remember. The common enemy. A teensy little virus that can cause serious illness and occasionally death. The whole world is trying to work together to eliminate this new strain of virus.  Universities and laboratories around the world working together, hospitals and towns across borders protecting their cities and towns and communities  And every time this tiny virus shows up in a new place or in a new person the whole world hears about it.

But. And it’s a big BUT

Panic is the main cause of this global connection. Fear is bringing people and countries together and unfortunately still turning some people against others. So my question is why do we need Chaos for us all to come together?

What would every nation leader say and do if they could all come together for the highest good of the entire planet.

How could we as one living entity called Earth unite and make Global decisions for the highest good of all.

What would every nation commit to and create for the whole world to thrive?

This is virus is an opportunity. Another one. They come and they go, but without recognizing an opportunity it’s like a wave that breaks on the beach and just disappears. We have an opportunity here to disconnect from mass fear perpetrated by the media in search of some new drama to sell news. I’m here in Venice. It’s quiet today, but the re are some restaurants and cafes are open. Hardly anyone is wearing a mask. People are smiling and children, home from school for this week, are enjoying time with their parents. Life is not a swirling mass of terror as much as the media would wish you to think.

As I walked in circles trying to find the vaporetto that brought me here, I notice an art gallery. I get distracted by a moment in time.

Everything the artist, Enzo Fiorie makes comes from trees and roots, and dirt and dead insects. This work is beautiful in its honoring of life. From dust to dust. The richness of life emerges. She, our Mother Earth will survive no matter what,  no matter what we fear. Indeed no matter what we do. But we also have choices.

As I walk around and around I realise I am embracing uncertainty.  I am here, we are here, for such a brief time and the opportunities to make a difference, to  open our eyes and hearts and take it  in, moment by moment, come and go. Sometimes the opportunity to do something beautiful, something meaningful, something  purposeful only comes once.

It’s a new day here in Venice and I’m back on the carousel.

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How does Spirit Tap you?

How does Spirit tap you?   Does it come on the wings of a bird or through a fallen feather? Does it come through the words of a song or in the whisper of a dream? Does it come whilst you’re walking, or when you are sitting watching the ocean. One thing is for sure, if we try too hard, or worry too much, or focus on getting things right, Spirits tap can be easily missed. If we get stuck in our fears or concerns or drown in our own expectations, we will probably miss the gentle guidance sent to us.

If you choose to stay busy trying to get things right … Spirit will still softly tap or even nudge you on the shoulder, but you probably won’t feel a thing.

This was one of the reasons I have come to Venice. To hear the whisper, to feel the nudge. To  listen to the guidance and allow myself to be shown what is next. The where, the how and the what, are so often things we struggle to get right. But what if trying to get it right is a sure way to get it wrong?

If you know, as I do, that we are spiritual beings here to experience physicality and also to fulfill our part in the Divine Plan, then surly we will be given all the guidance we need, if only we can stop long enough to listen, feel , see and understand the sign posts.

Part of this journey includes our free will. The signs are there but we can choose how and when to follow them. That’s the tricky part. For me at least.

So here I am in a new country, alone, with only a brand new spattering of Italian and a huge  physical need to talk to people. But I have discovered a part of myself that I had forgotten. A part of myself that 40 years of marriage and five children hid very well.

I don’t approach new people very easily. I get on the vaporetto (boat bus) and stand in the same corner and quietly just watch everyone. I go into a café or a restaurant and sit quietly and no matter who’s around, I don’t start up a conversation.  If I hear English I might say something, but I don’t naturally start up a conversation. I am equally as introverted and as I am extroverted and the situation could have gone on and on like that except, a few days ago I got a very sore tooth.

I sent a message to a new Australian friend living here in Venice asking whether she knows a dentist. I wrote to my Italian teacher and I wrote to an Italian friend, who speaks perfect English and who was introduced to Oren and I years ago. No one answered. So what do I do? I’m in pain and am starting to feel a bit hot and damnit I’m alone. It’s early morning. The chemists are still closed. I feel tired. Hard to get out of bed. I know I have an infection and I have to do something.

 I get up and go to a café not far from my home. The owner doesn’t not speak one word of English. I approach her and try to tell her I need a dentist. Niente. Nothing. She doesn’t understand.  She looks at me and waits. I feel myself get anxious. I miss Oren so much at that moment I can feel the tears. And then I’m angry and then I’m sorry for myself. All this in less than a second.

I search my brain for the words in Italian. Ho…. un problema. Mi… ( oh God what’s need)  serve… ( Yes, serve)  un dentista.

Bingo. And the owner told me where there was a dentist and how to get to him. And suddenly just like that, we became friends.

I found the name of a dentist on the outside wall of a locked residential building across the Guidecca canal. How do I get into the building? Suddenly, a cleaner arrives and opens the door to the entrance. I calmly follow into the building, pretending I am supposed to be here at 8 am. I take a lift to the 3rd floor and knock on the door that has a sign Dentisa. A round lady, dressed in a green apron opens the door, and looks very surprised. She says what do I want in Italian. I understand but get tongue-tied trying to tell her.  I squeeze out the same sentence again. “Ho un problema. Mi serve un dentista.”

A few hours later I meet an elderly dentist, with a huge mop of grey curly hair and two seriously blood shot eyes. He  tells me I have a big problem. He doesn’t speak a word of English but he says ‘problema’ and shows me BIG with his arms. I will need root canal treatment, antibiotics and rest. He draws a picture. Slowly. Kindly. And a few words are the same in English. Necrosis. Pulp. Dead.

I’m so happy. I have a problem and I have a dentist. Couldn’t be better, but it is.

As I sit on the Vaporetto still completely numb from the injections I realise I have spoken to 3 new people in one day and I have a new friend, (even though we can’t really talk yet)  There are times I absolutely hate being so alone. I haven’t been hugged for 3 weeks. To be fair I have had some human contact though, thanks to a rough but very friendly hairdresser.

But this tooth problem has been a God sent. Literally.

It has helped me break through an old pattern of shyness.

We don’t often thank Spirit for ill health but you know the saying, “Spirit works in mysterious ways.” I know that inflammation is anger. I talked about it in my last post. Last night realised I needed to punch a couple of pillows and shed a few hot tears. Anger may not bring him back but it sure helped me clear away some old energy.

And  I got to speak to three strangers and make a new friend.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t a spiritual tap. Maybe it was more like a  shove, but whatever it was, I heard it,  put something into action and here I am, in Venice, loving the experience. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I’m  even looking forward to my next dental appointment.

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Do you Clean Up After Yourself?

Seems like a simple and logical question, doesn’t it?

When make a mess, say preparing a meal in the kitchen, or find half our wardrobe on the bedroom floor, or when the children leave toys and soap  in the bathroom, we all would agree that at some point we need to clean up.

Why do we do that? Why do we clean up?

Yes, its because most of us like to have a clean and relatively ordered environment but there is another good reason.

Our mess impacts others. Our physical mess and our emotional mess.

Last month I talked about the Elements, Water, Air, Earth and Fire and how our emotional, mental and physical disorder add to the disharmony in the world. I talked about the fact that Anger is Fire. Being overly emotional or over sensitive is Water. Thinking too much or being overly analytical or unfocused is Air and being overly judgmental is Earth.

Too little energy however can affect us also. Not enough earth can leave us disconnected to our physical bodies.  Not enough connection to Air leaves us  unfocused and vague.  Not enough connection Fire leves us lethargic and sleepy.  Not enough connection to Water can affect our creativity.

Each element has its own guardians.  When I worked and studied with Ian White founder of the Australian Bush Flower Essences he would share his stories of coming in contact with the elementals and consequently many people, finding themselves trusted by these beings in the bush, were gifted with a sighting or even a meeting with one or more of them.

The Gnomes of the world are the guardians of the Earth.

The Sylphs are guardians for the Air

The Salamanders are guardians of Fire

The Undines are the guardians of Water.

Our connection with the Elementals brings  ourselves back into balance and consequently the world in which we live back into harmony and balance.

 How do we clear and clean the energy we leave after feelings of disappointment, anger and upset?

How do we clear away the energy left by our thoughtless actions and cruel words?

How do we call back our judgments and blame and guilt?

There are people who feed on the negative energy of others. They love the drama, the upset and the disruption.  Eckhart Tolle talks about the Pain Body. This, as he describes is the accumulation of painful life experiences that have not been fully faced or accepted. This leaves behind an energy of emotional pain. And I wrote last month this energy is not isolated into one person but becomes part of the whole energetic field in which we exist.

So what do you do?

Ask  that the energy sent by you in a moment of disappointment, anger or judgment be returned to the Source to be healed and made whole. 

It’s as simple as that. It requires Awareness, Intent, Words and Action.

Become aware of what happened and what you created. Make a clear intention to call back the energy. Connect to Spirit or whatever you believe. Say the words from your heart. And then get on with your day.

We ask so often what can we do to make a difference. This is one way to bring ourselves and the energy we put out into the world back into harmony and balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Being Here and Now, The 12 Levels of Being | 3 Comments

Separation- Our Illusion

  Recently my children  and I were sharing information about climate change aka global warming especially in relation to the hugely damaging fires still burning around Australia right now.  Extreme weather has caused floods, cyclones and typhoons in the last few months

We are faced with leaders reticent to admit Global Warming over the past 70 years  is primarily man made and many people who listen to and agree with the global scientific analysis are frustrated and angry.

There is no doubt that the weather is shifting and changing, and that mankind has mis-treated our planet. The connection between these two facts has led scientists to say the way we have treated the earth, those huge carbon emissions , the over use of chemicals and plastics along with the destruction of rainforests have all contributed to the issues we see today.

However, I want to invite you to consider there may be other contributing factors.

One thing follows another

    I have always recognized and accepted that one thing follows another. A simple truth. Something happens, for example a car gets a flat tire on a highway, the car behind that car puts on its breaks, the car behind  skids on the road in order to avoid a collision and before you know it, 5 more cars go crash bang boom and we have a huge pile up. Of course it doesn’t stop there. All the cars behind the pile up have to stop and cars that at the time of the pile up, that are just pulling out of their garages to get on the highway find themselves in a bumper to bumper traffic jam that lasts four or five  hours. By the time these cars pass the place where the accident occurred there is nothing to see, but the effect has been significant.

This scenario can be described as The Butterfly Effect. The butterfly effect is the idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system.

  The Butterfly Effect: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. A more rigorous way to express this is that small changes in the initial conditions lead to drastic changes in the results.

Without going into the physics of matter, the truth is we humans are a collection of vibrating atoms  science has now proven that our thoughts and feelings have an impact of reality. The world we live in is not separate from us. Quantum physical explains that we are all in integral part of a grand and unified field. Everything is connected.

The elemental world that consists of Air, Water, Earth and Fire and all parts of the grand unified field of on this planet. Many cultures have since time began, understood  the importance of living in balance with the elements.

The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived on this land for tens of thousands of years in balance with the elements of the land and have a profound understanding of what it means to be one with the Earth.

Here in Australia we have been experiencing the worst bush fires in living memory. People have told me, God is angry. Of course, the God I believe in is never angry, and certainly doesn’t send us floods, fires, cyclones, tornadoes or earth quakes. Punishment and reward are offered to humans by other humans. Spirit is not interested in this. Spirit offers us guidance to Be the best human being possible. Guidance to hear and feel and see and know the truth to living in perfect balance.

Humans have been given the most wonderful and challenging gift.

The gift of Free Will. We can choose how we react, respond, and relate to each other and the world in which we live. And the world in which we live will respond and react to how we live and what we choose.

Our emotions impact the Global elements. Why? Because everything is connected.

When we rage against each other, when we are frustrated, jealous, bitter, angry or revengeful we ignite a great deal of fire within.

When we hold too much emotion, depression, sadness, chaos and  fear, the water element in us is out of balance.

When we are stubborn, heavy, impatient, thoughtless, and unstable, or when we are bored the Earth element is out of Balance.

And when we have our head in the clouds or we are full of ‘hot air’, when our mind is too busy and we hold our breath or breathe erratically, we have too much air.

By bringing ourselves back into balance we help to bring harmony and balance back to our world.

   By using our joy and passion to ignite love and harmony. By becoming more organised and disciplined to fulfil our intentions we will manifest and ground our purpose.  By being more empathic, we wash lovingkindness  over our planet. And by  communicating authentically with clarity and care we help our world to breathe deeply into its sacred lungs.

We, human Beings have a responsibility, to ask ourselves every day, how can I bring myself into balance today. If we remember we don’t live on our planet but rather we are One with our planet then we can breathe with Her. We can listen to Her whisperings.  We can sing and dance with Her. And when we do, we can rejoice with Her that we have co- created a sacred planet where everything is in perfect Balance.

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A Thousand Years

In only two weeks it will be one year.

One year.

A thousand years.

It feels the same to me.

Some people have said to me, “Wow, one year already . It’s gone so quickly!.”

And for those whose rich and busy lives have continued relatively unscathed, one year can fly by.

I remember when one year flew by.

When our brand new grandchild turned one. Where did the year go?

Living in a new home and suddenly it’s one year since moving in.

That first wedding anniversary.

One year since a son left home.

Staying with a friend overseas one year ago.

And yet one year can also be a thousand years.

They told me it gets easier. But they didn’t tell me it also get harder.

It’s true I don’t cry as much.

I talk to him unselfconsciously now and love imagining his responses.

I feel his presence more than ever and laugh at the synchronicities that ‘prove’ he is right here with us, his beloved family.

But it’s taken almost 365 days to get there and that’s 365 days without a hug from him. Without a cuddle, a joke, a disagreement, a cheeky raised eyebrow, a kiss.

I have probably felt every emotion imaginable.

I have probably cried two or three buckets of salty tears.

I have been overwhelmed with the compassion, caring and love from family and friends.

I have been incredulous at the silence from those that I had considered friends.

I have been touched by the thoughtful, sweet and simple ways people who I did not really know until now, have continued to connect with me almost on a daily basis.

I have been shocked by the comments from people that I thought would have known better. An example.

A person I had not seen for a few years walked up a few months ago and with a huge smile, called out, “How’s the single life treating you?” I kid you not. One of the few time in my life I was speechless.

Nearly three weeks ago I went to India. It was my 5th or 6th time but this time went with a friend.

I wanted to say ‘Kaddish” on the  Ganges for Oren and I wanted to create a ceremony that was meaningful to me.

I started last March collecting stones from all the places Oren had lived. From his birth place in Haifa and from the gardens of all the homes we shared together.

I crept into the garden in Lindfield and walked around the apartments in Randwick looking for the right stone. I wandered down to Tamarrama and to Woollahra and of course where our home is now and wrapped them in a napkin bought on our first trip to India so many, many years ago.

And as I read the Kaddish, the sacred prayer for the dead,  from a boat on The Mother Ganges, I dropped the stones into the water, planting forever the physical life of the love of my life, and slowly, very, very slowly I felt a year of sorrow start fall away, one ripple at a time, into the holy waters.

And a sense of joy, warm golden honey, the like of which I had not felt for a thousand years filled my heart.

In only two weeks it will be one year. Our children have carried the grief into every day, every hour, every minute. Our granddaughters have cried, and tried to understand the impossible to understand and yet stories of stars, and kookaburras, and water dragons and King Parrots that carry the energy of their darling Aba and Saba will continue to be told for another year and another and another and another.

Posted in Being Here and Now | 25 Comments

If Only, What If and Why

There are countless times we kick ourselves when we are down especially after someone or something has gone wrong in our lives.

Have you ever reprimanded a child only to find out that child actually was not the culprit? Perhaps you forgot an appointment after changing it twice to suit your schedule, or agreed to a radical hair cut only to denigrate yourself for being so  (choose your word) stupid, impulsive, hopeless, ridiculous, for doing such a thing.

 The same thing happens when someone we love dies. Someone very close like a mother, father, husband or wife. If only I had said I love her one more time. What if I had not missed that bus I might have got there in time. Why did she have to leave me before I told her the truth.

These scenarios are examples of kicking ourselves when we are down. Judging ourselves when we are already in pain.  What happens when we do this is rather than recognizing our human frailty through kindness and  compassion, we resort to punishing ourselves. It reminds me of a saying my mother repeated ad infinitum. Two wrongs don’t make a right.  We tumble into  a cesspool of self- judgment, self-criticism and even self-hatred. We ignite emotions such as anger, fear, resentment frustration and even shame and guilt. These negative emotions create stress in our bodies and our minds and when the level of that stress reaches a specific point our health can be affected.

Why is recrimination of self or other our natural go-to after something painful, tragic or shocking happens to us?

What to do? Strangely, trying to avoid these feeling does not work. However, to return to Connectedness and Harmony ( Level 2 of The 12 Levels of Being) we now have an opportunity to ask ourselves some important questions.

  1. Why am I so hard on myself? Who else was hard on me in my life? How did it feel? Do I want to become that person? If I don’t how can I begin to bring kindness back into my life.
  2. Do I know anyone who has never made a mistake? If someone did that to me would I tear into that person or would I try to understand what might be going on for him/her.
  3. What is the significance of all this? Is there a space in all this chaos to sit and breathe and allow what I had no choice in, to simply be.

We are not the sole orchestrators of our destiny.

We all have the power to ask ourselves those important questions and to listen to the answers through love and compassion for our self.

  Life chooses what Life chooses

We all have the ability to recognise, acknowledge, allow and accept what we are feeling without judgement and when we do, we inevitably bring ourselves albeit slowly and gently back to  balance, harmony and ultimately inner peace.

Posted in Being Here and Now | 5 Comments

Waiting

Writing has always given me joy, solace and peace of mind. I started writing poetry at the age of 10 and still have those poems pressed into a blue album that has sat on my shelf for over half a century. And yet, the one time I need those things more than any other time I find I am slow to write them down. Words drip into my partly numbed brain and hover briefly around me, only to dissolve like those little clouds we drive through on a winding mountain road on a cold autumn morning. They burn up at first light. Some of them however, sear my skin, stab a poker in my heart and leave me shredded and raw. Those words of death and loss and finality scream at me inches from my face and make me shut my eyes and clench my toes and hold my breath and hold back, for just one more second please let me hold off the inevitable avalanche of grief that wants to consume me for hours and hours and hours. I hold on begging my body to be calm, to breathe slowly, explaining I just can’t go through another 6 hours of heaving and wailing and sobbing.

But I do.

There are words shoving their way into and over and on top of other words. Pushing them out of the way. Take me, take me. I’m the word you want. Write me. They come at me, not to me, jumbled and stuck together with dried old tears.  Glued to my heart, shards of memories that shatter into a violent, painful, aching moan.

Four months and I’m still waiting for him to come home. I want to write to him “Enough already. Come home. Just come home.”

Everything in our home is waiting. The freezer is filled with food he loves, waiting to be thawed and lovingly cooked. His chair, still slightly dented from the last time he sat looking down at his iPad writing words to friends, shopping lists, emails to our children. Words flowed from him through his fingers with such effortless ease.  Our bed is waiting. Pillows neatly placed every morning after a night of wrestling, throttling squeezing and piling them around me.  They pretend to be him and to be fair they do their best but they a hopeless.  I never tell them because I may need them to pretend again tomorrow but they know and I  know they are not him. I guess they are waiting too.

Those nights. Those dark salty demented nights are softened by the words I cannot write. I whisper, ‘Can you hear me? I’m here. Can you give me a little sign?”  The pitch blackness quivers and I feel a tingling in my head. “Are you here? Is that you?”  And I begin to share how it is and what I think and I imagine he is right here arm draped heavily around me as I talk and talk and remind him about the time we went skinny dipping at Hof Dado in Haifa and I laugh. “You only did it that once in all the years we were married. I laugh out loud and startle myself with the sound. And remember the time you were lifted high on a chair at our daughter’s wedding and you held on for dear life. Dear life. You are so fragile. So precious. So, fleeting. Somehow, I fall asleep and wake to a new day. Another day.  I take 4 deep breaths and will my feet to step into this day not knowing how am going to make it through.

But I do.

I miss him. But I also miss me. That passionate, positive, powerful woman who relished and cherished every day. That mother of five who was rarely tired and who could write and study and cook and drop off and pick up and dress up without blinking twice. Grief takes away twice and it is a journey only those of us who have bid a final farewell to a loved one, really understand. I listen with such intensity when those who have undergone what I have just begun, speak to me. I relish their stories of healing and the gentle dawning of their new lives. I thirstily drink in their every word of possibility, potential and promise.  I am overjoyed when one or two share their latest adventure and assure me they had a most wonderful time.

In the meantime, when I am asked how am I, I still take a few seconds to reconnect with my heart and scan my sense of self. I look within and then check the weather outside. Part of me is very thankful to be alive and to have the best family and dearest friends imaginable. The other part remembers how easily I once answered that question and I am struck by the realization that I am still waiting for her to come home too.

 

 

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Beyond building bridges is Becoming the bridge

 

   When we look at any job or profession there is always the potential to build a  bridge.

The gardener. I love gardening. When my garden is in full bloom, as it is now, people pass by and if they notice the profusion of colour and soft fragrance they have crossed the bridge between getting somewhere and being in the here and now.

    The waiter. I have always felt that serving people in a cafe or restaurant is a sacred  profession. The waiter can transform an ordinary cup of coffee into the sweetest moment. Through a smile, remembering your name, a gentle comment on the weather or simply the warmth in which the order is taken that person has created a bridge from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

    The Grandpa. Yesterday my husband taught our 5 year old granddaughter how to sew on a button. A bridge was built. From not knowing how to do something to actually doing something new, created a strong new bridge between them and a bridge for our granddaughter to explore sewing again should she wish.

And yet all these bridges could not be possible unless the people who built them were themselves a bridge. How do we become a bridge?  A bridge between concrete and nature. Between sorrow and joy. Between hesitation and certainty. Between ignorance and knowledge.

   Being a Bridge is a heart to heart encounter.

I remember years ago I read a book called Mister God This is Anna. Anyone who knew me back then knew that book changed my life. I went out and bought 20 copies to share with everyone. Anna was a tiny five year old child who was found on roaming the streets of London by a man called Fynn.  Fynn took her home to his mother, and that choice changed his life forever. Anna loved God in a way that most children loved puppies. He was her friend and she chatted with Him all the time. She didn’t try to love God. It was simply the way she was. He was her friend and through that friendship she transformed every people she met. Her love of God was the most natural thing for her and it came from her heart. And as loving God was her authentic way of Being everyone one she met was touched.

When we are true to ourselves, fearlessly authentic, with a healthy resilience to failure, we engage our heart and when all that we say and do is connected to the heart of who we are,  we become the bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Floating Utopia

We have been cruising on and off for the passed 5 years and every time we do I get so excited. Sure it’s fun to be going on a holiday and especially to be taken across the vast oceans to new and fascinating lands, but the excitement also comes from something far more profound and leaves me truly inspired.

Every cruise begins with the safety exercise. We are all given a station or a place to gather. It could be the main entertainment theatre or a bar or a restaurant. We meet and find somewhere to sit. We become one very large group of people all of whom have never been together before, who do not know each other, who look and sound different, and who originate from many different cultures, holding wide ranging and sometimes hugely opposing beliefs and values. And here we all are. Together. Some smiling, some not, most are filled with anticipation and some with relief that they actually made it, given all that they had to do to make this trip a reality.

And so we all learn what the ship’s horn sounds like and what 5 horn blasts mean. We all learn what to do and no matter who you are or where you came from or where you are situated on the ship, we hear the Captain talking to us and we become one community, for at least the length of the voyage.

One community living on a floating hotel that becomes our own little world.

I say world because our crew came from China, Philippines, Africa, India, Japan, Nigeria, Germany, USA, Canada, France, Australia and New Zealand and I’m sure I’ve missed a few. The passengers exceeded that and we met people from almost every country in Europe, Russia, Great Britain, Middle East, South America, North America and the USA. Not to mention a fair few from down under. We represent every continent in the world and many many countries. And here we all are. Living together.

 Holidays are a great opportunity to learn about different peoples lives but, we are still who we are, and if we look at our world, there are many hotspots represented on the ship. In all our interactions, conversations, debates and differing opinions of a couple of thousand people it seemed to me at least, that acceptance, appreciation, curiosity comes fairly naturally for nearly everyone. I can’t remember hearing a racial slur, a loud argument, or a rude word said to a passenger in all the years we have sailed. And yes, occasionally there maybe an upset or two but it never goes very far. I find that very curious. If a few thousand people we can live homogeneously in relatively close quarters, it certainly gives me hope for the future of our world.

The Crew hold the bar high. They lead the way and model politeness, cheerfulness and kindness. Yes, I know it’s also their job but the effect ripples though this tiny floating utopia. Their morning smile evokes our morning smile. They live and work on board and their intention is to serve, respect and certainly do no harm to anyone. Their role is to  make every person they meet feel respected, seen and heard.  Their aim is to leave each person feeling they matter. And that kind of behaviour is contagious. How easy it can be to emulate that way of being in our everyday lives.

We had many conversations with people who hold varying views on religion, politics and spirituality and yet, I marvelled at each person’s trust in sharing their thoughts and opinions without fear of conflict or dissension. The mass consciousness of the ship is one of adventure, exploration and fun. You feel it. Every day presents opportunities to meet, share, laugh and grow together through our passion for seeing and appreciating our world.

I know, if you are reading this some of you will say, well everyone is in a good mood when they are on holiday and in a way you are right ,however we take ourselves on every journey in life, we take our problems, our neuroses, our fears and our judgments and yet for a short time we seem to be able to put that to the side. We have Choice. We either seek out further connection those with whom we have conversed or we wish them well and choose to agree to disagree and allow each one to be who they are. There is an energy on ships that regardless of how many people on that ship, you seem to bump into the same people over and over again. And it so doing friendships are made. Some of them long lasting.

What a wonderful way to live. Allowing friendships to form organically and challenges to come and go like the rise and fall of the tide.

The waiters in one of the large restaurants knew our names from day two. Every morning we were welcomed by name. Every morning we watched as a few hundred people besides ourselves were welcomed by name. How do they do that? They do it because they are present. Fully and completely present. Week after week passengers disembark and new passengers arrive and week after week the crew welcomes you by name.

 Practicing being present means listening, dismissing distractions, focusing on what is  in front of you right now. Every trip I take gives me hope for humanity. Every trip leaves me inspired to embody the values of the crew so that I too can leave this floating blue planet a little better than when I first embarked on my journey.

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Listening to the Heart in Spirit Island

Travelling across Canada with Oren is one of the great trips of our lives. I have taken hundreds of photos from trains, coaches, on foot, walking through canyons and across bridges.

But today my heart whispered not here. We travelled past medicine mountain out of Jasper and past Medicine lake until we reached a place called Maligne Lake which is in Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada.

There we boarded a boat and travelled 40  minutes to a sacred site for  the First Nation people called Spirit Island. It is actually a peninsular. The island is a spiritual place for the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, who believe mountains are physical representations of their ancestors. The fact that Spirit Island is surrounded on three sides by the same mountain range is very rare and makes it particularly significant to the Stoney.

There, many years ago the First nation people would have spiritual ceremonies until the white people stopped them. The Stoney Nakoda First Nation people now live on a huge reserve, and thankfully have begun to return to Spirit Island to reconnect to their original cultural traditions. No one else is allowed to actually walk through the island. Only on the tiny board walk made for visitors.

Stepping onto the Island I had a sense of great peace and yet a heaviness in my heart. I sat down in a quiet spot to connect to my heart.

According to some accounts of First Nations mythology, Spirit Island gets its name from two young lovers from feuding tribes who used to meet secretly on the island. However, when the young woman eventually confessed her forbidden affair to her father, one of the tribes’ chiefs, he banned her from ever returning to the island. Heartbroken, her lover continued to return to Spirit Island throughout his life, hoping to see his beautiful lover again. But she never came and he eventually died on the island, where his spirit still resides.

Did I feel the spirit of this heartbroken lover? Did I feel the longing of the First nations to return to dance and pray and make ceremony on this, their land again? I don’t know, but what I did feel was the sacredness of this space and the whisper from the mountains asking me not to take a photo. To simply Be in the energy of Spirit island.

When we got back on the boat I asked Oren whether he took a photo, because it is on Jasper’s list of most photographed spots and he turned to me and said no. He didn’t feel it the right thing to do.

 

 

 

 

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How Can Death Enhance Our Life?

Last month I wrote a piece about Grief.  This month I want to ask you this question. How can death enhance our life above and beyond anything else?

Five weeks ago my husband had a stroke. Although there is still internal healing taking place, the external ramifications of the stroke are negligible. He looks, walks, talks and acts exactly as he always has. But nothing is the same. And it never will be. Because death knocked on our door and whispered softly, “I’m here. It’s not time to touch you yet, but you just keep me in mind. Remember, life is enriched and enhanced and made all the more precious and wonderful when you remember, I am not too far away.”

Many years ago the sister of a good friend of mine was killed in a car accident. Angie came from a large and very close family and was on the verge of opening her own business. She was a beautiful, joyful and passionate 21 year old with an infectious laugh and a smile that lit up any room she entered.

At her funeral her mother stood up to speak and we, who sat in the church braced ourselves for the inevitable sobs from a mother newly bereft of her child.  She stood there looking out at all of us in absolute silence and we waited. She took two or three deep breaths and then began to smile. And then she spoke.

“We have been so blessed. Angie lived her 21 years doing exactly what she wanted. She was fearless. She took risks and lived life to the fullest. She brought us so much joy, so much laughter, so much happiness. There is no room in this church or anywhere else for mourning Angie’s death.  Her life was a constant celebration and that is how we will honour her.

Everyone of us will grieve in our own unique way. The loss of a job, a friend, a child, an opportunity. “Grief is the midwife of your capacity to be immensely grateful for being born,” writes Stephen Jenkinson,in his book Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul. He says also, ““Grief is not a feeling, it is a capacity. It is not something that disables you, we are not on the receiving end of grief we are on the practising end of grief.”

So what does that mean, ‘the practicing end of grief?

   If we pretend it wont touch us or our loved ones then in truth we cannot say we are truly living. We need to consciously create or at the very least become aware of a resonance of death that softly hums below our every thought and deed and action; a drone that harmonises with the melody of  human joy. The two are intrinsically linked.

 

Carlo Castaneda wrote “Death is our eternal companion. It is always to our left, an arm’s length behind us. Death is the only wise adviser that a warrior has. Whenever he feels that everything is going wrong and he’s about to be annihilated, he can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him that he is wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. His death will tell him, I haven’t touched you yet.’

It is through this awareness that we can be free. Free to speak openly. Free to make our own mistakes. Free to lift our eyes and our spirits up and up and up and be who we are.

“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound. Kahlil Gibran

Rising above worry, anxiety, grief and pain requires us to choose. When we claim the power to choose, we connect to the heart of who we are and in that moment we are free. Nothing else matters beyond being engaged to our heart. Through the heart we connect to our soul and through the soul we connect to Unconditional Love.

One of the things I have learned and now carry with me since my husband had a stroke is a strong knowing that the future is not guaranteed. In other words not putting off what might be enjoyed or completed today is far wiser than saying. “Ill do it later.”

We all know this of course, but living it day to day is the gift of death tapping my shoulder  and reminding me it is just an arms length away.  Yesterday I was sitting on my old rocking chair looking out of the lace curtains of our little cottage in the mountains sipping a cup of herbal tea. I was watching the sky slowly turn pink as  night began to fall and was relishing the quiet when my husband decided it was a good time to change the kick-boards in our kitchen. The banging and the scraping and the hammering began and as I sat there I had a flash of what it might be like to sit here in silence had Death actually tapped him on the shoulder those five weeks ago. And at that moment everything changed.

Instead of relishing the silence I sank joyfully, thankfully into the clatter in the kitchen. I closed my eyes and imagined him on his knees pulling and pushing, and banging and scraping  those recalcitrant kick-boards  and I felt happy, free and completely and utterly at peace

* (a warrior is a person who lives impeccably)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grief

I watched my friend stand beside her son yesterday. Tears dragging the inexpressible grief down her drawn face as she bent her head, too heavy with loss to hold up without the chest of her beloved of over half a century. I watched her shake with sobs so deep her very soul wailed in wrenching silence. I watched her let friends say what they felt and nod in appreciation for their love, and yet, surrounded by the love and warmth of family and friends, I watched my friend stand alone beside the body of the one she had carried under her heart and birthed and nurtured and taught and consoled and comforted.

I saw my friend stand beside his son yesterday. Tall yet small, straight yet stooped. Unshaven, red eyed gracious to a fault. I saw him pray and say the ancient words,

Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba…

May His Great Name grow exalted and sanctified….

“I must be philosophical,” he told me the night before he read the words that draped the crowded room of stories of a man who loved life and living and growing and giving. A man who was passionate about learning and teaching and sharing his heart and his mind. A man who could still laugh when illness stole all his remaining strength.  A man who carried his father’s name and who gave this name to his beautiful daughter. A man who took flight before his parents and yet remains so present, so real, so here and so now.

I saw myself standing beside my friends yesterday. Not able to find the words that offered enough comfort.  For comfort only comes when the time is right. I stood beside my friends yesterday. Their beloved son passed from this physical world, from life to life. And even though death is only the end of the shell from where we shine our light for a few short moments and even though I know he could still see all that was happening and hear all that was being said and feel all the love that was overflowing from hearts and minds and all the spaces in between those who have ever known him, the grief, the painful, aching, dreadful grief, drenched in tears and memories and emptiness, envelopes and surrounds and hugs us close.

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When We Become Complacent …..

Traditions intersect tomorrow as Jews and Christians the world over, celebrate their traditions. Many Christians will commemorate the Last Supper and the crucifixion of the Master Teacher Jesus. And many Jewish people will also come together to begin the 8-day festival of Passover.

Over the last 2000 years much has been written about this time in history. The Gospels describe in varying ways the series of events that happened so long ago and countless people from religious, theological and historical backgrounds have explored and written about those final 24 hours of Jesus Christ.

What really happened, for the purpose of this piece of writing at least, is less important than the significance of what happened.

During the Seder, the first night of the Passover, Jews read from a book called the Haggada. We sing a song which has these words:

 Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

Once we were slaves in Egypt. Now, we are free.

Every year we tell the story of the Exodus, as if we were once slaves and now we are free. We are reminded that freedom is something we cannot take for granted, and that it is something that too-often comes with a price. We remember the sacrifices that have been made to keep us free, and the work that is still needed to bring freedom to those who still fight for it. Every Passover holds the energy of an ending and a beginning. It is the story of liberation from Pharaoh’s oppression. We eat food that is symbolic of oppression and other food symbolic of freedom.

The Master Teacher Jesus, surrounded by his beloved disciples during that Last Supper,  must have realized that although he would no longer be able to physically teach, his Teachings were now in the hands of those he most loved and trusted. The stories of Love and compassion would become available to millions of people throughout the world.  These Teachings when embraced and lived fully would become a pathway to inner liberation. They remind us that once we were slaves and now we are free. Those who understand and practice the power of lovingkindness, compassion, benevolence and truth become free, regardless of their physical situation.

Although I was born a Jew and continue to follow the ancient traditions of Judaism I choose to explore the beauty and interconnections of all beliefs. For example, I love crystals and have used them in healing, manifestation, meditation and clearing of energy for many years.

Recently, however, I was reminded that I had become complacent, neglecting to do what I knew was important with these crystals. For years I had put water and crystals  under the full moon to energise and clear the energy. I even put jewellery that I’ve acquired over time outside under the full moon. Lately I simply didn’t bother to do it.

When we know what to do and we don’t do it, we are dismissing our inner truth, and ignoring our own guidance and wisdom. It may take time to honour our knowing and put that knowing  into action, but by becoming complacent we drain the energy from our inner wisdom and limit our freedom.

This is the time, regardless of your religious or philosophical persuasion, to recommit to being the best you can every day.

Practice is the key word.

The full moon is on March 31. Whatever is your tradition I wish you joy and happiness as you contemplate on the meaning of freedom on every level of your Being.

May we all know Global freedom in our lifetime.

 

 

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Some Stories are Worth Repeating

In  November 2005 I went to Assisi alone. It was a long awaited pilgrimage. I wanted to connect to the energy of the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi but I also knew, as with all pilgrimages, the very thing you think you are going for is not always the thing you discover where you are there. Here is a repeat of that story. Some stories are worth repeating.

Driving towards Assisi in northern Italy, I noticed something red growing out of a bed of weeds. I grabbed my camera and clicked away. Some time later I scrolled through my camera and realised it was a rose. A double header. One that had already bloomed anda bud with the potential to boom.

 

 

The rose is one of those plants that no matter how many weeds are about the place it will always bloom. Did you know the colour Rose is the colour of Unconditional Love? The Channel and well known Teacher Helen Barton, created even a page on her website where people can send pink bubbles to anyone that who might be unwell or needing love. As I looked at the image I took I was reminded of someone very important to me..

Her name was Rosa, Rosa Parks. Recently she died and thousands gathered to farewell this 92 year old civil rights matriarch. A quiet unassuming, modest woman with great courage who lived in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and who, one December evening, left work and boarded a bus for home. The bus became crowded, and Rosa, a black woman, was ordered to give up her seat to a white passenger. She chose to remain seated and that silent, simple decision eventually led to the disintegration of institutionalised segregation in the South, ushering in a new era of the civil rights movement. Just one individual can change the world, even without uttering one word. It is not the grand and showy actions that necessarily change us and our world. Indeed our very purpose for living could be brought down to one small act like the refusal to stand up at the right time and the courage to know when that right time may be.

And that leads me to this.

Deservability

I know the word ‘deservability’ is not in the Dictionary. I made it up. It is however, a word that fascinates me.

“ She deserves it…”

“I didn’t deserve that.”

“He got what he deserves.”

“I need to prove I really deserve this.”

Sound familiar? Deservabilty comes from our belief that we earn good points and bad points according to how, good, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, wise, appreciative, appropriate, funny, or clever we are. The list goes on of course.

Deservabilty also comes from the belief that if we behave or act in a certain way we can in some way control the events in our lives. Although this is right to a degree it is never really in our control. Jean and Graham work for two different companies. Jean’s friends got together and gave Jean a holiday for her 50th birthday. Jean had been a loyal and devoted worker for 20 years. She has three children but rarely ever took a day off in all that time. Graham was a single dad and had also put in 20 years of loyal service. He did not receive a gift from his work colleagues on his 20th anniversary.  Does one deserve a holiday more than the other? Of course not and yet, we tend to judge ourselves and others when something happens that we feel is  deserved’ or not deserved.

Nothing is deserved or un-deserved in life. To believe this is to be seduced into the illusion that what we see is the whole story. Rather than believing what we think we see how much more powerful  to look for the significance.

To believe in deservability denies the magic and spontaneity that is intrinsic in all of life. Out of chaos comes calm, out of conflict comes connection, out of illness comes healing, out of pain comes wisdom and out of fear comes Love. What happens, happens. The issue in life is not whether we deserve  so called ‘good’ or ‘bad; things. We will always have ups and downs. The real issue is how we address them. What choices can we make that can turn a tragedy into a triumph and therefore create a shift in global consciousness for the highest good of all?

What choice can we make now that inspires us to  stand in our truth, the Truth of our Being, especially when we appear to be surrounded by a field of weeds.

 

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