Monday, July 4, 2011

Sole Operator or Beneficiary of Basic Goodwill?

At 15 I was introduced to meditation.  It seemed like a really important thing.  I was told one should practice twice a day for at least 40 minutes at a time to get any value out of it.  I sure wanted to do this, yet my skill set for taking on something that involved that much discipline was largely made up of mentally beating myself up, and that skill set was well developed.

A few times I had wonderful experiences sitting with groups.  I started a personal practice over and over again, but sustaining it didn’t happen.  For years I thought it was because I didn’t want to do it enough, or I was lazy, lacked discipline and in short was a failure.  Meditating was very, very important to me, and yet I wasn’t doing it.

Approaching my 41st year I recognized that I believed the Universe (substitute the appropriate word for you where I have used ‘Universe’) wanted me to mediate.  It just made sense that the Spiritual aspect of Being wanted me to meditate, wanted me to have the benefits of that experience and wanted those benefits to be extended to others. 

When I’m gifted with a greater level of understanding, a bigger perspective I want to do something to acknowledge that.  It doesn’t make sense to me to notice the experience then go on as if nothing happened.  I decided that each day I was going to light a candle to acknowledge that I believe it to be true that the Universe wants to support me in moving forward in my life.  I also decided that my deep desire to meditate, that had been sustained for over 20 years without having success, allowed me the right to claim that at heart I am a meditator – despite evidence to the contrary.  I thought about a time when I was most likely to stop and reflect on these things for a half a minute or more.  That became the time of day for this practice.

Of all places, I chose the television as the spot for my candle.  The idea was to make this as simple as possible and let go of trappings about how I should do it.  Each morning for a week I lit the candle.  Early the 2nd week I sat down on a cushion on the floor for 5 minutes observing my breath.  I didn’t decide I should do this.  It was just natural to extend the time of acknowledging awareness a little bit longer.  The next week when I lit the candle I sat for 10 minutes.  At the end of a month I was sitting for 20 minutes each morning. 

That was 16 years ago.  I have had a meditation practice ever since, and never have I asked myself to meditate for 40 minutes twice a day.  The benefits that I’ve gotten from my single 20 minute sit are innumerable.

Somewhere along the way I identified with this idea that doing things in my life is up to me alone.  Yet, I got so much farther on my desire to meditate when I took the time to acknowledge a loving support that I cannot define or accurately name.  ‘Yes,’ I say to experiences that poke holes in that mistaken notion that I am an independent operator!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Giving Worry the Wings of Prayer

Tuesday, June 7 @ 7pm Heart to Hearth is holding a New Moon Blessing.  See website and calendar  for pertinent information, location, fee, etc.  I'm including a bit of information that doesn't show on the site.

"It seems that at this time, things that help us use difficulties to grow and evolve are good things to have around.  We have the ability to give our worries and concerns ‘prayer wings’.  And doing so is really essential.  We can become overwhelmed by the suffering we see or hear about and then shut down, or the pain around us can become toxic to us.  If we will do things – with the intention of relieving a particular suffering – we empower ourselves in the face of pain, and we actually help in the process.  As a culture, when we think of doing something, we think of taking direct physical action.  Very often we can't.  But we can give our desire to be helpful expression anyway and it will be helpful to us and to all.  We may not see the effects of our efforts, but that our good intentions help, I have no doubt."

At this event, I'll be guiding us in a process to extend healing energy to ourselves (those present) and others (those not present).  It's a very creative process.  My hope is to expand our vocabulary of 'helping' so that we can each find ways to respond to suffering we witness around us that enrich our lives.

I send this with wishes of good things for you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

If you want to know if a pear is sweet, taste it!

Special Introductory Offer!!!
May 14 thru June 11, 2011
30% Off 1st Appointments

The details:
-          A 6-pack Card for Healing Sessions (25-40 minutes) – $175 (usually $250)
-          A 6-pack Card for Healing Sessions and Private Spring Forest Qigong Coaching (1 to 1hr 15 min) - $245 (usually $350)
-          A single Healing appointment is $35 (usually $50)
-          A single Healing and Coaching appointment for $49 (usually $70)
-          Always offered – refer a friend – receive a free session

Offered by:  Elizabeth Wescott, Spring Forest Qigong, Certified Level One Instructor 916-969-7993 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monkey Wrenches and Things that Invite Us to the Edges

Health has very different levels of significance in people’s lives!!!  You may know, or be one of those people who take their health for granted.  They can eat just about anything.  If they’re my age (approaching the far shores of middle age), they may have some annoying, potentially serious condition that just hasn’t gotten that bad yet – perhaps a little arthritis in their hands.  It doesn’t occur to them to do anything more about it than take a pain reliever when they’ve been in the garden too long.
There are those, me amongst them, for whom health has been a daily topic for so long, they can’t begin to take it for granted.  Waking each morning, one of the unknown’s faced is how will this body be today?  It’s right there, first thing.
Amongst this group, some of them are proactive; they pay attention to what they put in their bodies and how it effects areas of concern.  They’re not satisfied with taking something that will remove the symptoms; they want to get to what’s driving the bus. 
There are people who say, “You’re health is the most important thing you have.”  I don’t know that I’m right, but I assume they haven’t had the experience of misplacing their health for a protracted period of time – say decades.  My experience with health that’s been much less than reliable for a long time is that health is not the most important thing in life.  People are, how I effect people, how I respond to what comes my way.  These are the most important things in life.  Health is a highly desirable thing I hope to find (even at this late stage), but I know it’s not essential to living my life fully.
The bottom line is – the vast majority of us have some sort of major monkey wrench in our lives that takes us to the edge of our limits, where many of us learn to stretch.  This is where we learn that our response to what arises is far more important than what arises, if we’re paying attention.  My major monkey wrench is my health, I actually have others – yes for those of you who are walking around with more than one monkey wrench in the works, you are not alone.
Being in the group I’m in, having misplaced my health, being as proactive to find it as I can, and added to that, being in the healing arts there’s a hazard I run into.  I’m kind of in the solution business – personally and professionally.  That’s great, but sometimes, I want to help people who aren’t aware they need help, or don’t want it.
I’ve come to know that things can be improved and I don’t like to see people suffering with something that seems unnecessary to me.  I believe that 12-Step slogan – ‘There is no situation so bad that it cannot be improved.’  I also trust the wisdom of – ‘Stay on your own side of the street!’  Truth be told, someone else’s health is none of my business, unless they invite me in.  Yet, healing is my business and I need to promote it.  Does anyone out there get this conundrum?  It’s another place the question of how I respond to what’s up is more important than what’s up.
There was a time when healers didn’t need to promote themselves.  They were recognized as having talents that were needed in the tribe.  They were sought out when help was wanted and they were provided for.  The medicine woman didn’t have a fee scale, an advertising budget or to seek ways to make people aware that her help was available.
I think there might be something out of whack in our society, and that I’ve touched on only one thing that’s a wee bit catawampus.  What do you think?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Worrying? Give it Wings and Angel Dust

Unlike me, you probably don't find yourself worrying!!!  OK, at least I wish this for you.  Overtime I've come to understand worry as an expression of Love or Caring that is not being well-expressed.  This is so easy to change it is astounding.  And there are a multitude of ways to go about it.  I'm sure there's at least one that's just right for you.  Here are a few suggestions:

~ Put a vase of flowers in a place you will see it often.  Each time you see it, recall the thing that you have been worried about and know that it is an expression of your love.  Send your love to everyone involved, to yourself, to the planet...whatever fits the situation.

~ At the beginning of a Qigong Practice period, or meditation, or other spiritual time ask that this area of concern receive all the loving energy it needs to move forward.

~ Sit quietly, imagine the problem that is troubling you.  See it in a bubble.  Begin adding colors and symbols that are uplifting to you and use this period of imagining to imbue this area of concern with your love.

~ You know how good the morning sun feels as Spring is coming on?  Imagine the thing you're worried about basking in the glow of that morning sun, being inundated by good feelings, the uplifting feeling of morning light.

~ Look for the positives that are coming out of this difficulty - it may not be easy to see them, but will you be happy you made the effort.  Ask for help doing this.

~ Say, 'Thank you for the resolution of this issue that is unfolding, even though I don't see it right now.  I know that it is unfolding and there will be a time when I see this.  Thank you.'

~ All of this could be said in the following way:  Pray!  Pray in the most playful, joyful way you can find to do so, entering into trust that all is well, despite evidence to the contrary.

Our worries are just Caring and Love asking and inviting us to use our human consciousness to assist energies in moving into alignment with the Greater Harmony in which we live.  When we don't find the playful, joyful expression of that Caring and Love, it becomes worry and it hurts.  But we have the ability to give Wings to worries and sprinkle them with Angel Dust - because we have the gift of Human Consciousness!!  Play, play, play your way into joy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fire Breathing Dragons & Ascension Dysfunction

Last year I hit a series of rough days.  There was some drama in my home. It wasn't fun, and I didn't stay calm every time, even though I knew I had a lot more ability to do so than the other party. The hard part was my own thinking. There wasn't really a problem, stuff happens, people are unreasonable sometimes, but my thinking got caught up in the stories it created about it all. (It's a very unusual trait in humans, LOL!) In short, I'd been walking around in a cloud of Fire Breathing Dragons, but I'd maintained awareness that they were just stories. They were just - poof - nothing, just thoughts encouraging me to be bummed out! I didn't want to be bummed out. I wanted to break through the cloud of Fire Breathing Dragons, because at that moment it was a thing about my living situation, but the week before it was.....and the next week, or tomorrow it will be....It seemed time to look these things square on and see that they are just stories.

Grace responded to my wish to get out of the cloud. Driving on a busy road, in a good deal of traffic I turned on my car radio. As the antenna was supposed to be going up I heard this strange sound. It didn't sound like an antenna going up, but the radio went on. When I stopped at my next destination I looked where the antenna should be and saw a cord hanging over the side of the car - oh, and there was the antenna, dangling from the cord. The visual image of that thing going up, being loosed from it's housing and fallling caused me to break into laughter. I imagined the view of those other drivers and - poof - the cloud of Fire Breathing Dragons was gone. 

Really, this isn't funny. How can it be funny?  My car is 17 years old, because I don't have the money for something newer - it helps that I really like my car - and the number of things that were going wrong with it at that time were not laughable. This is serious business! But, I was amused by the visual image of that antenna's ascending dysfunction! 

See how much influence my thoughts have on my experience?

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Gifts We Might Miss if Not Seeking to Find

Disappointment is the flavor of the day.  In short, that means some things aren’t going as I want them to, and with the thoughts I’m thinking about this, I’m making myself miserable.

Yet, I’m not letting the thoughts and feelings rule my evening.  The sense of disenchantment, entitlement unfulfilled, rooted in expectation that things go as I want them to and the incumbent thoughts are like a scent.  I smell the scent, admittedly, it’s not a pleasant one, but there are other scents present and even the absence of scent.  I’m not having a really easy time noticing those other scents, or paying attention to them – but I know they are there.  This is huge!  This is awareness in action, awareness brought to the workings of my mind and interrupting patterns of thinking that have been habitual.

As one disappointment arose today, I even recognized it as a response to something out of balance, a corrective response.  This recognition was grounded in trust of Life.  Wow!  This is cause for celebration!
September 30, 2010

I wrote this 6 days after my kitty-boy died, quite unexpectedly.  No wonder I was feeling a plethora of stuff that was less than uplifted.

When Tora died, the grief hit me so hard that I knew – based on experience – that I would be physically ill in very short order and it would, likely take months to regain stability.  With this awareness I thought, ‘This pattern must change.  There has to be a way to honor my feelings that is not so hard on my body, and is not denial.’  

Tora was an amazing cat.  He truly felt like a Shaman to me his presence in my life seemed to have spiritual purpose.  If his companionship had a purpose than his departure did too, I claimed.  I determined that through his death I was going to find a new way to relate to the intensity of my emotions.  My emotions were going to be seen, acknowledged, accepted, but they were not going to derail me.  This big loss was not going to result in months of illness.  This change, I was going to make for Tora.  His death was going to have meaning and power in my life of a very positive nature.

It’s been about two months since my little guy died.  I often tear up when I think of him.  Just as often I smile, because he was such a joy and such a character.  I did not get sick.  At moments the feelings would seem like a vortex that was going to suck me in and I would remember my determination that his death was going to have a positive impact on my life, it was going to be my bridge to a new relationship with the intensity of my emotions.  I don’t recall much of how I worked with my emotions, I recall that at times they seemed to have such a powerful pull.  I was very mindful of handling his things around my home, being really present to what I wanted to do with his toys and other things.  I visited his grave out back some mornings.  Somehow, it must have been grace, I managed to honor my feelings and not be so impacted by them that I got ill.  A new relationship with my feelings was forged.  Yeah, I still get overwhelmed by them and forget how what I have access to that will help me through until a friend reminds me.  But, the difference in how I am working with intense emotions is profound.  Truly, it was a gift my precious Tora gave to me.

For more of my writing and a piece about Tora – coming in the near future – see  There are writers to be found there who will delight, inform, inspire and guide.