"Are you more concerned about appearing consistent or following your heart?" This is a question that Ram Dass asked in his 2005 audiobook called A Spiritual Journey (I recommended it) We listened to it recently on a road trip. I replayed the question several times because he made it all seem so simple, and I knew that was a very potent and potentially transformative question.
In fact, this question sums up the reason that so many of us are afraid to take a leap of faith or to change our lives in some big way. Most of us have a deep fear of looking uncertain, confused or "flaky" to our families, coworkers and friends. It's been engrained into our culture from a young age that we must decide who we are and what we believe and then stick to that. There is not much encouragement to explore oneself or ask deeper questions about our own experiential existence as the years of changes wash over each of us and inevitably reshape our realities.
The two of us ripped that bandaid off a while ago and let me tell you how incredibly liberating it is to simply not mind what anyone thinks about our choices (someone still manages to strike a chord...occasionally, but even then it's a learning opportunity for us). We have been questioned so many times that I couldn't even begin to count. We have also been referred to as careless, ignorant, dreamers, not living in reality, drifters, gypsies, hippies, whatever. We laugh because it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. That is their perspective and we laugh because we know that we are happy with the choices we have made. At the end of our lives, what else matters? Live a life of passion, love and truth and you cannot go astray.
Tanner working on the foreword for his mama's new book called Vibrant Living
We recently joined some friends at a beachside vacation home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We have been fortunate to find ourselves near the ocean many times over the last 4 years. Mother Ocean is a powerful reminder that we are so small and that nature has the last word. It also reminded me that each day brings something so new and so unpredictable that we must simply learn to surrender to the changing tides of life. Change and float, or get swept away in the neverending waves.
One evening at sunset, Tanner was instructing me through a yoga sequence, and at the end, I laid back on the beach in savasana. He led me through a systematic relaxation process and I soaked in the crashing rhythm of the waves along with the laughter of the sea birds. He concluded the exercise by saying "breathe as though every cell in your body is breathing". The ocean went silent for several moments that felt eternal. Like all time and earth's animation stood still. Then the sounds became powerful and deeply rich as a huge wave came crashing onto the sand behind us. If you need a spiritual recharge, nature can be like a solar panel for the soul. It is so incredible what taking a few minutes in the sunshine can do for my optimism levels. Actually, I'm soaking in some morning rays as I write this. I'm also enjoying the colorful flowers that we planted a few months ago on the front porch of my childhood home. We chose red and white to remind us of our home base in Canada. We are visiting with my dad here for about another month and then we will head south for the Mexican frontier. (Hmm. That garden is also Mexican colors...)
While we were down at the coast, we stopped through Virginia Beach and were directed to the ARE (association for research and enlightenment) center, founded by Edgar Cayce. Cayce was a mystic and was known for his intuitive medical readings of thousands of patients. The center was three floors and was so full of incredible books and catalogues of his work that I just felt overwhelmed by an invisible thick energy. I haven't felt that too many times and it was tough to explain, but I said to Tanner that I couldn't stay in there for long. We left with a book based on his channeling on Reincarnation and Family Karma. Of the hundreds for sale in the gift shop, that one jumped out at us. I look forward to diving in when some time opens up for that.
The day that we left North Carolina, there were thousands of Floridians fleeing hurricane Harvey. The roads were super full of cars with Florida license plates.
On this road trip, we listened to another audiobook called "The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down" by Haemin Sunim. If you listen to only one audiobook this fall, I suggest THIS ONE. It is packed full of beautiful reminders and little bits of inspiration.
Yesterday, I was out for a sunny stroll in the heat of an extended New England summer. I had one earbud in and I was relistening to this audiobook. I wanted to write down a few of the gems that I had heard the first time around. Here are a few that I thought were worth sharing:
"No matter how powerful the medicine, when one is forced to take it, it can become poison." A great reminder for all of us when we think that we have the answer to someone else's challenges. We all need the freedom to choose what feels right for us and to go through our own stuff.
"Do not try to control those around you. If you cannot even control your own mind, what makes you think you can control others?" Yup. Good one! We have witnessed many couples unconsciously attempting to control each other and that is never a good thing.
This part I paraphrased because I listened to it about 5 times and still don't think I got it down verbatim: If you are truly committed to spiritual awakening then the whole world becomes your teacher. Your spirituality does not deepen because of those who praise you. It is the people who challenge or insult you that are your true teachers in disguise.
This is so true for me. Those moments where I question my core values and intentions based on someone else's version of who they perceive me as are the moments where I have to journey deep into my being and check in with my core intentions. Sometimes it's a dark and murky journey, but I have never failed to come out the other side stronger and shinier. Gotta explore those shadows!
"Transmutation is the key word here. The shedding of old skin and emotions and transforming them into something bigger and better. If Snake winds itself into your life know that change is in the wind and that you are at the center of it all as the catalyst. Make sure that your intentions are clear and that you have a clear sense of the direction that you need to strike out in. Snake is letting you know that these changes are safe and that there is no need to fear them.
You are also being reminded to stay connected to the self through of both the tiny vibrations in the earth, and the warmth and smells of the air and sky. When we learn to connect with our surroundings, we can continue on the path of growth, and discard the trappings of the past."
Yup. Great reminder in the form of a giant serpent in my path. Roger that.
I will end this blog post with tidbit that I paraphrased from Ram Dass's book:
The newly awakening are like a tiny tree. They need shelter and nurturing to keep growing. They then grow and become shelter for others who begin to awaken." And the process goes on and on...
We are each a tree in the forest of galactic changes. Be that shelter for someone else and remember to seek it when you need it most.
Los Milagritos Guest House is the quaint Mexican retreat space that we will be managing for three months at the start of 2018. We intend for it to be a safe and sturdy tree for those who wish to find a supportive and transformative space to further their own growth and self-unfoldment this winter. We will provide plant-based meals and yoga everyday, as well as weekly ceremonies and community circles. Come join us for a reality reset. Go back to basics, and then grow from there. Find our retreat info on our Facebook pages: One World Wellness (link at the top of this website) or on the Los Milagritos guest house Facebook page!