189 Flow: What to Leave Behind, Flowing with the River

I am stepping into the river without my humanity, all of that stuff left behind. I can feel the emergence, the grace, the flow.

Already merging into the water on day nine, Amber‘s retreat took us to the theme of flow.  Amber quoted the Prayer of Saint Francis. When we are in the flow, we are acting as the Divine. The picture of the river bank, of the sparkling water, of stepping into the perfection of the Eternal, also has us leaving the heavy rocks that we picked up, setting them along at the bank.  The stone would most certainly hamper following the currents, dragging us under.

boulder cascade creek environment
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com “Leaving the heavy rocks that we picked up, setting them along at the bank.” 

I have a lot of rocks. I am not saying that in judgment.  I think every human is carrying a pickup truck full, not truly by intention.  Some of them are inherent to our situation.  I have some medical rocks, some pain rocks, a wound rock, a million appointment rocks, some supplement and medication stones…  

I have boulders of ego, of who I think I am and need to be in the world.  The responsibility, the organization (as much as I love that one), the things to be done, paperwork, sorting, finishing the death plan to make room for a life plan.  

Because I stack those at the river’s edge does not mean that they are not present and strangely necessary.  It means that I leave the MUSTS and the NEED TOs, and the PRIORITIZATIONS of these as a Divine afterthought.  First, flow in the river of God, relaxed and transparent. 

I have some pebbles too, a lot of them though, so they should probably be emptied from my pockets and bags before I am fully immersed in the baptism of flow.  The pebbles are the things that are more mutual, more attachment to earth beauty, the plants and animals and people.  Even though a person could be in the flow with the human forms of mutuality weighing on her, it would make the course more tiresome.  The buoyancy and speed of my travel could be altered.  It’s best to leave them behind, for the connection, for the meditation, for the time of grace and emergence.

Kwami’s words were a day ahead. Amber echoed it.  “Rather than make things happen, flow.”  

I am stepping into the river without my humanity, all of that stuff left behind.  I can feel the emergence, the grace, the flow.  It surrounds me in warmth and love.  And then the journey begins.  Clear.  Floating.  One.  Merged with the world.  With the universe.  Being carried and supported in the Divine river.  Flow.

Prayer of St Francis Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace sang by Susan Boyle – Lyrics- Sub ITA

188 Day, Another Topic: Receptivity

I told God that I was willing to receive a list of the hard stuff. Hope, healing, guidance, knowing, touch, quiet, joy. Listening.

Amber is inside my head.  Three days in a row, the themes have knocked me on my…  Anyway, when I face Receptivity, I face one of my greatest challenges.

The long lived family story portrays me as a new toddler.  “I can do it myself.”  It was worse than that, I could do it myself, and there was no stopping me from directing everyone else in the right way to play out their lives as well.  The story goes, “It was easier to go along with it, forever.”

When I completed the Flag Page (Mark Gungor), and read the online results of the personal analysis, I shifted.  The precocious, bossy, overpowering toddler that lives with my everyday actions does not want control.  I score very low in that area of the Flag Page.  The toddler wants perfection, and has the gift of seeing it clearly and knowing how to get there.

It is Divine.  None of you who live with the negatives of that expression will think it is very Divine, but it is a full expression of the Eternal, working its way toward Perfection.  Ease, peace, simplicity, flow, world compassion and kindness, and so much more.  They all hide behind the Perfectionism, when done “right”.

Somewhere in all of that, there has to be Receptivity. So much to receive, so little time.

Care, oh how I have been forced to receive care. I have a medical team that could cover a soccer field.  Surgery.  Wound visits.  Chemotherapy.  Palliative visits.  Acupuncture.  Naturopathic Oncology.  Always people caring for me, working to help.  Mentally, it would be better to receive graciously, rather than feel forced.  I have come a long way.

Support.  I have been so blessed with receiving support from my world.  It comes from the most human of places.  Dad’s house.  The financial cooperation with costs from the kids and Kwami.  Community.  All of the people who reach out and engage, who treat me as alive.  Family love, and everything they do.  All of the driving and behind the scenes emotional and physical support Kwami is. Amisha and Reiki.  This is a list that includes all of you, and a vast ocean of receiving.  All of your love and checking in and listening.

There were challenging words on my “receive list”.  I told God that I was willing to receive a list of the hard stuff.  Hope, healing, guidance, knowing, touch, quiet, joy. Listening.  Help.  Emergence and grace, of course.

This is hard.  This shouldn’t be hard.  One deep breath at a time.  I am receptive to seeing, feeling and knowing that I can receive and am receptive.

187 Another Wall? Activation

I was supposed to read the part of the scroll that talked about this time line, the one I am currently activating. Still blank, damn Panda.

Are you doing this retreat with me, looking at your own goals and emergence?  The theme of day seven was Activation. Another wall to climb.

The meditation took us deep into a sacred space.  Inside a crystal cave, we faced a spiritual mentor, angel, or guide.  She handed me a scroll.  (I am not proud to say that I immediately had a Kung Fu Panda flashback, laughed, and saw the Divinity of the scroll with no words.)  I was supposed to read the part of the scroll that talked about this time line, the one I am currently activating.  Still blank, damn Panda.

“I immediately had a Kung Fu Panda flashback, laughed, and saw the Divinity of the scroll with no words.”

Honestly, my scroll is usually blank.  It’s a good thing.  It rings of Alignment, Surrender, Listening, Grace and Emergence.  The space, the blank page, echoes God.

Back to humanity, the words I found were to show an overarching imprint of who I am.  I found three.  They were obvious and egoic.  But they were three that most people would choose to define me and my purpose. 

And then I spent some time reflecting, and readjusted the words.  I saw the characteristics of the Eternal, what those three words are in eyes of the Creator.  I redefined the way I perceive the “overarching imprint of who I am”.  Same me, with a lot more Skadoosh!  

(I’m happy to share the words… but it’s a conversation.  Email me your words, and I will talk to you personally about mine.)

186 Alignment? Aligning with Emergence and Grace

Alignment is just being me in the best way I know how. Sometimes that does not look very spiritual.

This retreat theme puzzles me, even after several days of working with it.  The art work on the journal page has a cascade of ivy, with a stem of the word “alignment” repeated down the center.

It might be that my definition of “alignment with spirit” is an area of weakness.  It’s probably more of an area of weakness in my ego and mind than in the unfolding of God’s truth, but isn’t that the game?  We become human and forget the depth of our connection to the Eternal, something that is so hard to comprehend with the mind. The truth is that we are the very cells of that God, playing out its game on a daily basis. This is exceptionally easy for me to say and type, and exceptionally difficult to hold in the mind.

Amber led us through the meditation and added her assignment.  When I look at the goal of alignment, I ponder what my sacred role is in the lives of the people around me.  No real action is required to be in alignment.  Alignment is just being me in the best way I know how.  Sometimes that does not look very spiritual.  Post pondering of those moments might be giving me higher awareness of the difference of being “in alignment” or needing to head to Les Schwab to get my tires straightened out.

I spend a lot of time working on alignment.  Lots of classes and retreats and spiritual meetings.  Amisha is still taking my tires off and twisting the suspension every week, in Reiki.  It’s like I just went to Les Schwab yesterday, but then chose to speed down the dirt road full of pot holes, so I need to go again.

Enlightenment, like Jesus/Buddha level enlightenment, is living aligned…or, living knowing you are aligned, even when the mind tries to say that you are not. 

I did my retreat homework.  I cleaned the shelves of my sacred space, the massive layer of dust.  I reorganized it.  I removed the water bottle and the nature’s food book.  I moved things around.  Peace.

I also reached out to the world a bit, did some of my deep, aligning work.  A good assignment brings us back into alignment.  They were good assignments.

180 Clearing, Cleaning, Making Room

Every day, Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici leads the retreat in a meditation.  It unravels the theme, and gives participants an inner assignment for the next 24 hours.  Each day, we look again at the focus.  

I am focusing on Emergence and Grace.  Or, maybe, I am walking around those words, pondering, wondering what they actually mean.  What they mean today.  What they mean in my life adventure.  How they affect my inner being.

A time comes when we have to face what stands in the way.  It is time to clear, clean, and make room.  This could be a year long situation, but we are looking to address it in one day, a start, a baby step.

You can’t just straighten out the bedroom.  This is depth.  The easy part is looking at what is not clean, organized, and flowing. I did sort some things, clean some things.  The physical overwhelm stands in the way for many people, quietly drowning them.  Relief comes from making life manageable.

I think of Jan’s friend with two storage units and a house full to the brim with antiques, so much quantity that she cannot have friends visit (no problem, Covid times).  Heavy, burdensome. Sometimes people need help, and small daily goals that lead to the eventual solution.  Don’t drown.  One stroke at a time.  It is important to look at what is taking up space in the environment.

Making room goes beyond the obvious.  It leaps into money struggles, politics, holidays, comparison living, worry, perfectionism and other themes in the thought process.  The thoughts are what hold me underwater.  I have to clear, clean, and prioritize the thoughts.  

Amber also listed people, what people do we need to clear or limit?   I am blessed in this area.  The people I talk to, email, live with, and visit with are definitely the ones I choose.  I only need to watch for the interactions I am not choosing in those categories and decide to walk away.  That is not easy.  

Lastly, time.  My time usage can use a spit polish.  Time can get away from anyone.  Is there time in my day for what is truly important?  I love to get outdoors, to do arty things, to be of assistance to others, to write.  I can assess that, ensure that I make space for what is important.

Of all of the retreat themes, this may be the most complex and require the most inner efficiency.  I have an inkling that there could be blind spots.  I may have some clearing and cleaning that is hiding from my awareness.  

I am making space, in obvious ways, and in hidden ways.  I am making space for grace and emergence.

178 On Retreat

I think I have heard from at least three people this week on the topic of retreats.  People are feeling called.  But they want to “go”.  There is something pushing from the outside, asking us all to GO within.  Longing for a location is holding people back.

The water is my chosen retreat location.  When I have the umph to travel, I go to rivers, lakes or oceans.  A shower will do the trick in a pinch.  Sometimes, with the apparatus involved in my daily life, there are days without a shower.  If you are working with a gratitude list, remember to value that you can take a bath or shower.  Some of us cannot.  It is a luxury.  Sponge baths do nothing for my soul (or my hair).

Everyone has somewhere or something that assists in the connection to Spirit. But improvising is much better than neglecting the call.

I can improvise with yard work, because being in nature works for me too.  I can also travel to local water features.  We have a lot of beaches, and even McCollum Park has the beautiful sounds and sights of the creek, just minutes from home.

Beyond finding a location is intention… and follow through.  This may be more difficult than getting beyond the wish to retreat.  It must become a priority.

Although it makes me feel busy, and chemotherapy is already a full time occupation, I signed up for a couple of “events” online that create the container for “retreat”.  One came through Starfeather’s Meetup groups (searchable with her first name on the Meetup site).  It is a weekly group with closed participants, and holds me in a space of eight weeks of intention.

Another is an eleven day event through Amber Kuileimailani, in her Woman Unleashed programming.  It holds me to daily introspection, intention, and soul searching.  This one is called Soul Success Initiations.  I think I paid $22 for it.  Money, or lack there of, does not need to define your retreat either.

Retreat leader Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici
Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici founder Woman Unleashed

The two messages are working well together!  Fused. Merged.  All elements of retreat.

The hardest part of the inner journey is quieting the outer world.  When we cannot escape our roommates, we have to figure out how to create the elements of escape WITH them, or at least while embracing their presence.

A daily walk, or an hour behind a closed door, or just an early morning time of focus can work.  Amber’s program is at 6am Pacific time; no one is up (and it is recorded for people who need alternate timing).  With Starfeather’s group, we also meet on zoom, but I take my computer behind closed doors.

Retreat.  The universe is asking for it.  Your soul is calling.  Find a way.

177 Sleep Poetry

milky way galaxy during nighttime
Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

When the night is there, but you will not sleep,
And there is no point of counting sheep, 
The brain spins tales, with no woolen ends,
And the thoughts are strange with twists and bends.

The heart delights in a journey told,
Of memories and stories of old,
Of the clarity of a challenged mind,
The Duality intertwined.

Fight not, the nights of little rest,
Use them for the Eternal’s best
Interest and your own as well,
Because each of us has tales to tell.

Pick up the project, journal, or art,
Let the progress come from your heart,
You are chosen to do take this flight,
No better time than the dark of night.

176 A New Type of Journaling

It turns out that the wound in my body does look like the bottom half of that, tiny opening through the middle, connecting the outside world to my inside world.

One of my new growing projects asks for picture journaling.  Starfeather is running a seven week series with a group of women.  We are asked to sketch a circle and use words in the further progress through a sketch.  My favorite thus far is from a meditation.  

I checked in with my mind.  What I saw was motion.  It pulled from the two sides of the back of my brain, up toward the forehead, the third eye.

I checked in with my heart, also in motion.  The picture was of a swirling of light, inside spiraling outward.

A Picture journal. Michele Plumb Stowell's painting of a circle with green, blue and orange colors and the words Third Eye, Heart and Body written in it.
Image drawn from meditation for picture journaling

I checked in with my body.  I saw a shape that was similar to an open ended hour glass.  This was far more mysterious to me than the other two, so I asked for clarification in a deeper meditation.  It turns out that the wound in my body does look like the bottom half of that, tiny opening through the middle, connecting the outside world to my inside world.  The connection is palpable.  The wounding of my body, the pain and wounding of our current world situation.  Astounding.  Associated.

Everything in motion.  We are in motion.  Shifting.  Growing. Evolving. As a whole, we are moving, somewhere, for some reason, in Divine grace.

169. Aligning Truth, Beauty

Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives. The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.

As a nation, we have spent the last six months considering ourselves in comparison to truth.  What is the truth?  Is it based on science, on world view, on religious value, on surface level beliefs, on mesmerism, or historical wisdom?  Is it relative or is it universally concrete?

Whether people believe it or not, each individual has a different definition of the truth.  I find that paradoxical.  The truth is debatable. How can something that is the truth be something that is under scrutiny?  The key is comprehending that the truth is individually variable.

I was pondering my grandmothers, and beauty.  

The American standard of beauty is based on the ideal body of a fifteen year old girl.  

One day, we were washing the boat in Lake Stevens, actually in the lake.  A pair of 70 something people pulled their ski boat to the launch, zipped the sports car and trailer around in the parking lot, and pulled the sparking vessel out of the water.  I watched them, and I watched myself.  They were thin, sharp, tan, wearing clothing and sunglasses that matched the overall aesthetic.  I was repulsed.

The kids were young.  I was young.  And these were not the grandparents of my truth.  I shuddered.  These were the grandparents of the American standard.  It was not wrong. In fact, most people would admire the standard of existence of these retirees, their image, their apparent well being.  Most people would encourage the plastic surgery, the make up, the hair plugs and beauty appointments that pulled that together as a package.  “If it makes you feel good, do it.”

But I saw my own truth in that one moment.  It was so striking that the image has never left me.  Grandparents, family elders, wear the gray hair as a gift, each one earned by the emotional ride of their lives.  The sagging skin, the wrinkles, scars and creases, show the time on the planet, the exposure to the elements, pain, and the intensity of a million smiles.  The soft bellies, soft bodies, welcome the grandchildren into their laps, make cushions for the tears, speak to moments spent in endeavors of listening, support, stillness.  Their quiet motion in practical cars matches the nature of their internal peace, to the satisfaction with the moment.  

There was nothing wrong with Barbie and Ken, Grandparent Edition.  Through them, I saw my truth.  My bias.  My love.  I observed my acceptance of a process, and how my values differ.  I was thankful for my grandparents, and their presentation of a meaningful truth. 

167. Election Day

Anyone who is going to live on the Earth more than a couple of years should care, a lot. And the lack of rights for all people, basic respect and care, housing, food, medical coverage, breaks my heart. How did we get here?

How did we get here?  As a nation, as an individual, I wonder how this is my world.  I ponder which direction the country will turn.  I actually attempt to ignore the fact that I feel unsafe.  I feel like my family is not safe.

Directly, my security is wrapped up in things like Universal Health Care, U.S. Disability, and Death with Dignity.  The people around me rely on the planet continuing to exist, so we physically require some sort of move toward preservation.  Anyone who is going to live on the Earth more than a couple of years should care, a lot.  And the lack of rights for all people, basic respect and care, housing, food, medical coverage, breaks my heart.  How did we get here?

Political battles.  Ethical battles.  Moral battles.  Did you see Rosanna’s baby? Indrayani’s baby?  How can you look into their faces and fight one another?  Isn’t there enough incentive in your kids, in your grandkids, in your great grandchildren to quiet the egoic mind and work toward a unified goal?  I feel a loss of dreams and goals, tears streaming down my face, a loss of hope.

No winners, all losers.  Regardless of outcome, there is so much work to be done.  Decades and decades of effort and love.  One moment at a time, one action at a time, one tiny step after another, working to build what should have been from the start.  How did we get here?