Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Locked Heart is a Useless Heart

Last week I spoke of various types of “muscle memory” however I left one out.  I feel it has earned a blog unto itself.  It is the muscle memory of the heart; the feeling & loving heart, not the physical heart that pumps life through the body.
Like other “muscles” of mine, this heart muscle took an extended holiday from all things strenuous in order to enable me to focus on other areas of my life that required my immediate attention. Over the past 2-3 years I have found it beneficial to NOT multi-task where the heart was concerned.  So, I purposely took myself off the market, making sure that my heart was locked safely away until the time I felt it was safe, that I was “ready” to let it come out and play in the sunshine.
By September of this year I was finally ready. I was given an exercise by one of my spiritual mentors to write out the “best case scenario” for an area of my life where I sought improvement.  I chose romantic partnership.
With explicit detail I wrote of the feeling tones I would experience with this person, the deep, long conversations we would have about everything, the wonderful qualities this person would possess, how he would be on a similar path, though a bit farther along so as to provide guided insight along my way, the Sacred Energy Xchange we would revel in with fire-y passion and desire.  Oh yeah! It was ALL in there!
Then I sat out under the moonlight and expressed my desire to the Universe, letting it know that I was now open and available to this relationship.
That night I had a dream- a magnificent dream of being introduced to an attractive man with distinctive features to which I was not typically attracted, being told that “you two would be great together.” The dream played out, and it was true: we were great together as the movie-dream played past 5 years of bliss together and the end credits rolled.  As this happened I wondered: What happened to the story arc? Shouldn’t there have been a crisis and resolution of some sort?
As I wrote this dream in my journal and came to that end, I realized, there should NOT have been drama, for you see, I had also included on that “Best Case Scenario” list two little words: ease and grace. This dream played out exactly as I intend it to in the world of my awareness.  I was completely in alignment and on board for this divine right partner to show up in my life: NOW!
Fast forward several weeks. I was invited to an event where the only person I would know was the hostess.  Feeling an indescribable pull to attend, I decided to completely step out of my comfort zone and go at the last minute.
Things fell into place easily and I started to go on my “treasure hunt” to see what the “pull” to this event might be.  I met a couple of dear souls immediately and ended my search, convinced they were the reasons I needed to be there.
Then I met a man.  I was drawn to him in a powerful way, even though he appeared to be with someone.  I didn’t pursue anything, I simply noticed for the first time in several years I found myself thinking , “WOW! THAT is an attractive man!!!”
As the event progressed he came to me and we had a short conversation, ending with the promise of continuing it at a later date. 
Returning home to my journal, I re-read the entry containing the dream from a few weeks prior. To my amazement the man I met had the SAME distinctive features as the man in my dream! He even lived in the same area as the man in my dream! Did I REALLY call this guy forth into manifestation in my life?!
The conversation did continue and it seemed we both might be open to the possibility of more. We arranged to meet later that week.  The days in between glowed with the newness of a teenager’s crush; full of anticipation of meeting him again under more appropriate circumstances and getting to know him.  I was remembering what it felt like to be interested in someone- and it felt great!  The difference between now and when I was 16 however, was that I was feeling these feelings for ME, not for the guy.  He wasn't the source of my happiness, though the prospect DID indeed make me happy. No, he was the catalyst. A part of me that had been locked up was suddenly breaking free! 
Over the course of several weeks it became clear that “we” would not be.  I had many opportunities to have that “old” conversation with myself (He doesn’t like me because X-Y-Z  / Why didn’t he call?) – but I didn’t!  For the first time in my life I recognized the Truth about myself in romantic partnership;  That I am perfect, whole & complete just as I am and there is a romantic vibrational match of a man out there, working his way into my life.  What I am seeking is seeking me.
The muscle memory of my heart has been a great gift through this experience.  I really AM ready now!  I loved the feelings that moved through me and those are sweet memories my heart can tap into from time to time. My heart broke open wide to be fully available to this kind of love in my life; knowing that I AM that love already and in expressing it out into the world I attract more of it into my life.  This is a sweet gift, but it’s not the only one.
The muscle memory of my spiritual practice kicked in too!  You see all of the practice and work I’ve done in other areas of my life, realizing my completeness as I am right now, supported me through this experience.  I moved past the old person that used to talk endlessly to myself, saying I wasn’t good enough for someone, or, when “this” happens I will be ready.  I didn’t make excuses for his behavior, or lack of it. Yes, there were moments of disappointment and feeling less-than but I was able to move through those moments faster than ever before.  I was able to release attachment to the outcome of the experience – and the guy himself - and instead be fully present with each and every emotion I had along the way, reveling in the excitement and being gentle with the disappointment.  
I recognize that indescribable “pull” to be at THAT event, to meet THAT man, was my heart wanting to express itself as more love; to unlock itself once and for all, completely.  He helped me do just that and I am very grateful for the role he played.
As for the “distinctive” physical features, locale and items on my list that matched up so perfectly? Well, God DOES have one DIVINE sense of humor!  This was a Godwink of Universal proportion!! 

"Be love now" - Ram Dass

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Muscle Memory

My body is an amazing thing! This incredible vessel that I have been blessed through this incarnation with has Muscle Memory!
My physical body’s muscle memory remembered how to hit a golf ball off the tee, consistently, straight as an arrow and out 250 yards after nursing double rotator cuff injuries over the course of 2 years.  250 yards was about as far as I’d ever gone prior to the injuries: Muscle Memory.
My body also remembered how to endure a long bike ride yesterday, after being “out of the saddle” for almost a year.  17 miles – EASY!  I could have gone the whole marathon distance of 26.2 miles, something I’ve done 3 times in the past with no formal training: Muscle Memory.
My mental body also has this fantastic ability to remember.
Several weeks ago I was invited to attend a meditation/spiritual gathering at a friend’s.  Within the group was an ex; one that left my life on very ugly terms who has now begun to have a spiritual awakening.
With 3 weeks to kill before the appointed evening, my mental body’s muscle memory had more than enough time to conjure up all the old memories of inadequacy, inferiority and “not-good-enough-ness” to sink the Titanic 10 times over!  It also had the added bonus of my current physical state: heavier than I ever was when with him.  Oh! This would just be GREAT!  He’ll have SO much material to talk about after the evening!
Thank GOD!  ALL of our bodies - physical, mental and spiritual -have Muscle Memory!
I’ve learned not to ignore pain, suffering and sadness.  However, I’ve also learned that when I read the 23rd Psalm, it says, “walk THROUGH the Valley of the Shadow of Death” – don’t build a condo there!
So, I let myself feel all those old feelings, those old memories…for about 4 hours.  I wallowed in my bubble bath and looked at all the reasons he’d have to laugh at me.  Not for the full 4 hours, but you get the point!
Next morning I went to the Gym of my Higher Consciousness and remembered who I am NOW.  I pumped the spiritual iron and wrote myself the most beautiful “love letter” I could, reminding myself of my beauty and elegance as a divine emanation of the One Beauty that is everywhere present, always.  It knows nothing of body type, hair color, or wrinkles.  It sees beyond the physical and into the light and lightness of our being.  My muscle memory of spiritual practice took over and in no time, I moved beyond the plateau of the previous day, truly knowing that right where I am now, in this moment, is the BEST time of my life!  Fully appreciating just how far I've come since that relationship! Remembering that, the care about what he or anyone else might say or think about me just fell away, like beads of sweat after a hard workout. 
Three weeks later, on the appointed day, I spent the day surrounding myself with everything that reminded me of love. I listened to beautiful music all day, meditated and prayed to be used for the highest good of all concerned at the gathering later that evening.  This muscle memory is stronger than the mental muscle memory and I have been a dedicated gym rat where it is concerned!
What happened after was truly amazing.  I had developed new, stronger muscles!  Muscles of inadequacy were replaced by muscles of confidence and unconditional love; muscles of realizing my place as a beneficial presence in this gathering of people seeking to wake up.
In one short evening everything I’ve learned at this Gym of Higher Consciousness known as my spiritual practice demonstrated fully.  I stepped into my greatness without fear.   It wasn’t about anyone but me.  I had done the work.  I reaped the benefits.  As a result, I was open to being used by Spirit, knowing my muscles would do the work effortlessly.  You see, this muscle memory never fails, never forgets.
I’d love to tell you more, but my personal trainer is calling! Gotta hit the gym! I have a whole new set of muscles to work today!

Til next time-

Monday, October 10, 2011

If I could see me now!

My how time flies! 2 years flashed by in the blink of an eye!

I recently celebrated my 2 year anniversary of the first time I attended services at the Agape International Spiritual Center. Coerced by my longtime friend and soul sister, Lily; it was her last Sunday of a month-long visit to California from Brazil and “Rev Michael” was speaking. Years ago (10 or more) she had begged and begged me to attend services at this mystical spiritual place. Back then, I had absolutely no interest in “church”. “It’s not like any church you’ve ever attended” she assured me. Still, Saturday was party night for me back then and I absolutely was NOT getting up early on a Sunday morning to drive across town to go to church or anything remotely similar! This time…I went.
I was raised in a traditional religion and never felt quite comfortable in that environment. I didn’t have the words to express why it didn’t resonate with me, but I knew the most of the time, I wasn’t left with a good feeling walking out of the sanctuary. I was always afraid that my “being saved” didn’t quite “take” and that at any moment I would be driven to hell in that proverbial handbasket. And, I didn’t understand why one religion’s beliefs were the “only” way and all others were wrong or misguided. Agape turned out to be exactly how Lily described it with the added bonus that, from the moment I walked into the sanctuary until walking out and beyond, I felt GOOD! No, not Good, GREAT! LOVED!
It was like a wave of love rose up to meet me when I crossed the threshold; a wave that buoyed me through the congregational hymns, the welcoming of first time visitors by the congregation, the musical inspiration, which was a Sufi minister with an angelic voice who chanted in a language that, while I did not understand the words, the feeling tone of the music seemed to lift me even higher into love. (Agape embraces all religions and beliefs. That, alone made me take notice that this place was different.)

When this “Reverend Michael” spoke, he did so with the authority of one who knew some Truth about me that I did not yet remember about myself; one who has sat with the ineffable, has touched the garment of the Christ, and who was so completely down to earth, accessible and funny – all while delivering a message of love for everyone and the planet. I was moved beyond any words this little chatter box could seem to find. So, I did what was easiest for me: I cried. And I cried. And when I was done, I cried a little more for good measure. Never had I felt this kind of all-consuming love. Something in my soul woke up. Those tears washed away years of feeling separated from God. I knew that I was HOME.
Most people who seek out Agape or happen upon it for one reason or another have a similar story: A feeling of finally being home. There is nothing like it. To feel the loving glances and blessings of the culturally and ethnically diverse congregation saying in unison “Welcome to Agape” and to see the sincerity in their eyes and feel the hugs at the end of the service, one may think this is just a touchy-feely new age-y kind of kind of band of religious rebels or misfits. I promise you, it is SO much more!
Rev Michael likes to say, “We don’t come to Agape to feel good. We come here to be free.” Well, freedom sometimes has some high costs.
I dove into this new world with bright eyes and open heart, attending services every Sunday and telling everyone I knew how wonderful a place it was. Several friends were intrigued and came along a couple of times but most, for various reasons, didn’t resonate with the energy there and stopped going. That didn’t matter to me. I was pulled –out of my comfort zone which did not permit me to go into any gathering where I knew no one – into a place and a teaching of such unconditional love that one could not help but be comfortable.
While I went deeper into remembering who I am and reconnecting with Spirit, this new-found freedom started to exact its cost in my life. Friends I’d had for decades started distancing themselves from me, finding we had less in common and less to talk about, and saying I was too “this” or too “that” for them. Financial challenges started showing up with increasing regularity. Ultimately, health challenges followed closely behind, all rocking me to my core and inviting me to stand in the Spiritual Principles I’d learned, the most profound being “all needs met.”
Three little words: All Needs Met. I took that literally as I sat like a Buddha every morning on my sofa, meditating, assuming God would provide for all my needs, while I sat in stillness. Later, of course, I realized that it’s not enough to remain “STILL”. We must move one foot in front of the other, as the ground rises up to meet our feet. Each step in the right direction shows us more and more of who we really are and what we came to be. Support shows up. Abundance shows up. LOVE shows up.
I was taught that what no longer served me would fall away – and it definitely did (and still does!) - but at what felt like the lowest point in my outer life, my spiritual life was blossoming. I was the little flower blooming through the cracks in the hard pavement. Somehow I knew it would all turn out ok.
And it has! Yes, friends and I have parted company along the way and while there is still more than enough space in my heart for them, I also know that our vibrations no longer match and that those old conversations just don’t interest me any longer. For each one that fell away, 3, 4 – 5 more have filled in that space. And, miraculously, some friends from my past have resurfaced with their own awakened journeys! Our conversations go higher and deeper than I’d ever imagined possible. The “aha” moments come faster and faster and I feel my awareness expand on such incredible levels; I am not sure WHAT I was doing with my life up til that first day 2 years ago!
In these past couple of years I have seen myself transform into someone I could never imagine in my wildest dreams!
One of my first realizations of this was while sitting in a sound bath in Eagle Rock on the Summer Solstice. At the end of the sound bath, we were invited to participate in a “Sea of Oms”; 7 deep breaths, exhaling “Om” with each one at our own pace. 50 or so of us together, creating this “sea” of sound – the sound of God ("OM" is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme in Hinduism.) With eyes closed, I felt compelled to open one eye and take a peek at who was swimming with me in this sea. In that moment, something forever shifted in me. If I could have only seen myself! I was now officially a tree-hugging, veg-head, om-ing being! Let them laugh! I am the Happy Buddha! I shall laugh right along with them!
I’ve heard it said (and I believe) that everyone will eventually wake up. For some, like me, it may happen gradually after a long period of seeming separation. For others, it may be a sudden awakening at the time of their transition out of this physical form. For others, perhaps it occurs somewhere in between. But EVERYONE will wake up.
In the early morning light of my spiritual awakening, as I look in the mirror of my transformation, I see someone familiar; someone that I love being in this very moment! I wipe the sleep from my eyes and I give thanks for the incredible journey ahead; and for all that brought me to this NOW moment.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Morning Symphony

The leaves dance –

Moved by the music of the morning breeze

Soon the cars on the highway join in the chorus: Whoosh!
Whoosh! With the occasional SPLASH!

Wind chimes waltz as raindrops, moved by the wind,

write a new melody; they too join in

A tiny bird chirps, hopping from branch to branch

Softly purring her own solo, a cat curls in my lap

In this magnificent stillness,

Drops of love surround me,

Falling down like rain

This is God’s Concert Hall

Forever free and available to one and all.