One of my favourite concepts is the power of focus. Indeed, focus is all meditation is – deliberately focusing on a chosen thought. Being able to hold your mind steady in the midst of chaos is really the training that happens when we sit in meditation.
“Look at the road, not the ditch”
There is incredible power in deliberately turning our gaze away from the problem so we can focus on the solution. Solutions do not live in the same space problems do. I am not saying that it is wise to ignore important issues, quite the opposite. It is useful to look squarely at what troubles us, but lingering – wallowing – in a problem does not serve anyone.
Whenever an issue comes up in my life, I wallow (ok, yes, still a human being here) for a time. Then I go on a hunt for meaning, context and solutions. I look for the lessons, growth and joy that have sprung from the difficult times. And they are always there. There are always lessons, growth and joy in the midst of every problem.
Ultimately, it is not our problems that define us but our response to them. In that, we have a powerful opportunity in every second to choose “Who do I want to be? What kind of choices does that person make? How can I make this better? How can I contribute to change, even if it is small?”
When I encounter disturbing world news, I avoid hopelessness and despair, by focusing on the possibility that the situation might change. I daydream about what might be needed to help. I visualize the solution. I focus my thoughts on the knowledge that in this huge world there is at least one skilled, talented and compassionate person who has dedicated their life to solving this problem. I visualize the money, resources and connections needed by that person, flowing to them easily and freely.
From that place, I might do a bit of searching to see if I can donate to a cause that might help. Or share a video that inspires create solutions and thought. I search out people and organizations that are genuinely helping and support them.
Shifting focus contains the seeds of hope and joy.
Spring. It has filled me with a tremendous patience. Watching the new buds turn into small leaves, I am reminded if the power of focusing on tiny changes. Those tiny green leaves are the result of months and years of preparation.
It can be deceiving, when we are in the midst of big changes, to lose track of how far we have come and how much we have changed. A Reiki student of mine noted, “I’m looking forward to meeting the five people who finish this class”. The powerful changes happened daily, minute by minute.
Sometimes I wonder if it is only our focus on the present moment, and making the present moment the best we can, that causes real change.
Take this moment now, as you read this, and make one tiny shift. Take a breath in and out. There. You just changed.
A funny thing happened on the way home from writing class…
I witnessed a motorcyclist crash, get up, and run away from the scene. I found myself writing a witness statement for the police who later informed me that the man I had tried to help was running from the law, with several outstanding warrants. I’m a type that always looks to my life experiences to decode the symbology and the deeper meaning. The search for meaning in random events always gives me greater insight and clarity into the deeper mystery of my life.
So here I am in my role as a witness, a symbol that is also discussed in meditation. The observer, the witness. To witness your thoughts, or anything, is to be apart from the action rather than being a part of the action. In meditation, there is power in the role of the witness, because the witness is the aspect of the Divine within.
Motorcycles are powerful, potent symbols, recalling freedom, masculinity, and excitement. There is always something just a little bit dangerous and forbidden about a motorcycle. That is probably why they are so alluring. The relationship of the rider with the bike is also mythic in proportions. This is not just an object, this is a subject. This is something that someone loves. The bike and rider are one. When they are parted, there is something shattering in the experience. The separation of ‘the one’ into ‘the two’, leaves an indelible image in the mind.
The wildness and disorientation of the event caused the man to run in the opposite direction, away from his bike and his escape route. He was already trapped by his cage of fear. It is only a matter of time until the police catch him, as the determined, yet kind, officer assured me that they would. The rider was already caught before he was even found.
So what does this mean for me, a non-motorcycle driving, law-abiding woman? Maybe that the chaos I feel around me is not mine, I just happen to be in a good place to see it for what it is. To know that the wild dash in the opposite direction is a symptom of a deeper problem. To know that there is strength in my role of observer as I am removed from the action even though it appears as though it is happening to me. To know that my instincts are right, to be cautious when getting out of the car and cautious with injured people. To know that some injuries are hidden, locked away by years of trauma. The wild, wide-eyed, look is a sure sign of stress and trauma even in those who appear fine externally.
And to acknowledge that I do not do what other people do. I do not follow the crowd. I got out. I offered help. I stayed. I helped again. I was the only one. I was the only witness, of at least 8 to 10 people to stay at the scene until the police could arrive.
So perhaps, more than anything, I am proud of myself. I am proud of my instinct to help, even though it was an inconvenience. I am proud of my ability to keep a cool head, protect myself, and give instructions to others to call 911. I am proud that I could help the police, in a small way, do their job. I am proud that I stayed. I am proud that I was a friendly face in a sea of chaos.
I am different. That is good.
As a small kid I always loved sneaking into the living room in the early morning to plug our Christmas tree lights in and watch them twinkle; just to sit in the stillness of early morning and watch the magic that permeates this ancient and sacred holiday.
A couple of days ago I sat to write about a book on Reiki that I think is an amazing read. It vanished. Instead of saving it got obliterated. Gone poof into the nameless digital void. I always pay attention when these seemingly random events occur. I ask myself: What is the deeper meaning here? What is my lesson? As it turns out, the last piece of writing to disappear was my Reiki manual for a Level 1 and 2 course I was planning on teaching. Often with writing a delay is beneficial to the overall work, giving the writer time to reflect and carefully edit. But a complete deletion, that is something else. It requires a complete rewrite and, for me, several months of rethinking. Funny how things happen.
So back to the books, so to speak. The book I was writing the review for was “The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui” by Dr. Mikao Usui and Frank Arjava Petter found here on Google Books. Dr. Usui is the founder of the Reiki system, so his original notes are a precious thing to read.
This book in particular is a must read for anyone who is interested in learning Reiki. There is a strong emphasis on the intention and dedication of the practitioner to helping the client to achieve vibrant health. Some of the visualization and meditation practices I have incorporated into my practice with phenomenal results. The techniques not only improve the treatment the client receives, but also improves the experience for the practitioner. Staying an open, egoless channel for the Reiki energy is a learned skill. Practice in both private meditation and surrendering to the wisdom of the energy is a key part of the message of the book.
As for the course manual, I am eager to begin again. Rebuilding from the ground up and following the advise from Master Usui to surrender to the wisdom in my hands. Stay tuned for more information on Reiki courses. If you are interested in taking a class with me email me at Geneva@lunaholistic.com to get on the waiting list.
Making a commitment to write consistently in my blog is a scary thing. Being able to write from the heart and block out the internal editor is a practice that reminds me of my early attempts at meditation. I get this restless, fidgety feeling that coincides with being overwhelmingly sleepy. Sound familiar? I know I am on the right path because my poor ego is kicking and screaming.
I love writing. It is a freeing act to pour an idea, thought or feeling out onto the page. To give voice to the swirling images and sounds that float through my mind. I love the feeling of crafting sentence and paragraph, honing my skills every time I sit to write. I grew up around artists and artisans of all types. Creativity is part of my upbringing. Writing gives me the same feeling that I get when carving a piece of wood, sculpting clay, or in the rhythmic dance of knitting needles. There is something cathartic and exhilarating in letting go, opening up, and letting the words flow. The dedication to turning an empty page into my David. Finding the heart of the message and removing what is not essential to my truth.
The process is lovely. And scary. I spent far too much time in too many classrooms to believe that judgement and criticism are not waiting on the other side of the ‘Publish’ button. In reality it is only my own criticism that hounds me. My internal editor is not always nice. After making a commitment to post something every other day, I can see the same resistance to writing that I had to meditation in the beginning. There is the feeling of being vulnerable, being exposed and the feeling that I am out on a new edge of my being and my definition of myself. In the same way that meditation challenges you to focus your thoughts and redefine your own boundaries, writing pushes me to turn within and reframe my life.
I spent years frozen in paralysis in front of the keyboard when I wrote my Master’s thesis. The looming thesis defence was enough to shut down my abilty to press even a single key without a full adrenaline wave of panic. In the end I got through that block by blocking. I blocked the eventual possibility of criticism out of my mind. I made a commitment to finish, a commitment to begin again, to return again and again. To sit. To write. Write just one more sentence. Then one more. One more.
I also turned inward. I asked the universe, God, Goddess, the Divine, my higher power, to ‘hit it’ every time I sat to write. There is something profound in stepping aside, getting your ego out of it and allowing the Intelligence within you pour itself out. I do that nearly everytime I write now, whether it is poetry or technical writing. And it makes a difference. The writing is better, cleaner, clearer. I get nice crisp, juicy sentences ariving in my consciousness. Ready to be picked, plucked and placed.
Sitting to write with regularity is much like meditating regularly. There is an initial battle with my scared/tired self who would rather shrink back into the shadows and take the easy way out. But I gently remind my little self that it is only a paragraph that qualifies as a post, that my Higher Self will do all the work and I only have to sit still for a few minutes and wiggle my fingers. It seems to work. I sit. I write. I create. I connect. Something deeper connects and when I am done, I am different.
I love my balcony. Every spring we find a mix of herbs and flowers that grow well in our little outdoor refuge. The power of having a little bit of nature in your day cannot be overstated. Nearly every ascended spiritual master found their way to enlightenment through a retreat into nature. Just sitting under a tree or taking a stroll through the park reconnects us to something greater within ourselves. Connecting with nature everyday is essential to our well-being. And it doesn’t even need to take much time to have a profound effect. Just think of the last time you stepped outside, took a deep breath and appreciated the sun, trees and birds around you. Only a few seconds make all the difference. Take time today to enjoy our fair weather and find the garden within.
I’ll admit it; I’m a dreamer. I always get a little misty eyed when I hear John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World”. So much of my life has been driven by a desire to make the world a better place. I remember, as a little kid, being overwhelmed with the state the world was in and feeling that I wanted to fix all of the big problems. Hunger, deforestation, racism, sexism, the list went on and on of issues that I felt called to help fix. As I child, I sized it all up, and got mad. Really mad. I saw all the problems in the world really had one common denominator, people. People. People were the problem. So I decided at the ripe age of nine to help the environment, leave those silly people to sort out their own problems, there are wolves and bears with shrinking habitat that need my help.
I was fascinated with the diversity and complexity of life on this planet and I never needed a career councillor to help me decide what courses to take in university. I dove headlong into biology and eventually into environmental risk assessment. But as I progressed in my career, the more I saw the same problem over and over again. I kept seeing the avoidable mistakes or the lack of care for the earth. Often dollars trumped compassion. I kept thinking, there had to be a better way to solve these problems.
In parallel to my scientific education, I began a spiritual quest to understand the basis of reality. I was fascinated by the world and I really couldn’t get enough of asking questions nobody could answer. I found out early on, at the age of four, that some spiritual institutions slam the door shut on any kind of questioning and expect blind faith. I almost chucked the whole concept of spirituality, but I kept having these nagging questions that couldn’t be answered by science. Science is very good at answering some questions of the world, but fails spectacularly at other, deeper questions. The most notable being “Why am I here?”.
I kept on questioning and exploring and eventually found my way to spiritualities and religions that encouraged questions. Buddhism, Taoism, Nature-based religions, Hinduism and eventually full circle back to Christianity was my spiral path to find the truth that lives in my heart. On that labyrinth of a journey I discovered two radical concepts: forgiveness and compassion. The more I explored the more I began to fall in love with humanity again. I began to have hope, and now I really believe that people are the solution to all the problems. I believe that the pure trusting, loving heart that exists in every tiny baby is still there in every adult. I believe that kindness and compassion are woven into our DNA and are our ultimate survival instincts. And I believe that we all have such tremendous power to change our lives and our world for the better.
I realized the solution to all of the environmental problems in the world, indeed nearly all problems, really boils down to love. Loving the self; because if you don’t love yourself how can you love anything else, like birds or trees or people. If you don’t care about yourself and take care of yourself, why would you ever care about the planet. I realized it is not thousands of problems in the world, it is one problem: we need more love.
This is why I am here. This is why I fly out of bed every morning when I have a client. My job is to teach people to love themselves, with no restrictions or caveats. To teach them that they are much more powerful together than apart, that they are wonderful, unique creations of the universe and they are in charge of their own lives. To help people remember their true essence is pure love and pure potential.
And so, what a wonderful journey it has been so far. I love the path I have taken to get to this moment with you. I believe in you. You will help me heal the world. I am no longer that scared child wanting to hide from the world and neither are you. I have help. You have help. Together we can create anything we can dream. Just imagine.
I’m a big believer of the Law of Attraction. This is a basic law of the universe, which is: “You get what you think about”. I would also say that this Law is also “You get what you feel about”. Some might call it karma or ‘reaping what you sow’ or just plain common sense. When you focus on positive things, positive things happen to you; when you complain all the time you just get more to complain about. Some people might wave this off as too new agey or just a product of psychology, but leading edge thought in physics (yes, its science!) shows that the power of the observer can completely change the outcome of an experiment based on what the experimenter expects the outcome to be.
For a long time, scientists assumed that this observer effect was restricted solely to the realm of weird experiments in the basement of the science wing of universities. This restriction of the fundamental laws of the universe to dusty philosophical discussions, conducted mostly in the language of mathematics, was likely because it was all too weird to grasp at the time and requires a fundamental shift in how we live in our world.
The Buddha says “ With our thoughts, we create the world”. This statement is not just a point of philosophy or psychology, it is truth. Scientific truth. You just can’t get truthier than that. 🙂
Now there are two parts to this Law of Attraction, the first is desire, or wanting, and the second is attracting. This is a simple version, but that is basically it. The desire, say for a new bike, could have come from almost anywhere, maybe it was an ad you saw in a magazine, or your old bike is slow, or your friend has a new bike and you admire it, or your old bike was stolen, or you read an article about how riding a bike 10 minutes a day keeps you young. Wherever the desire came from, it is there, in the universe, and out there, in the universe, an instantaneous response is formed. It is like a wave through time. It ripples out in all directions, without bounds or limits and your new bike begins its journey on its way to you.
So why is there no new bike? Why isn’t every day like Christmas? Because every, absolutely every, thought, feeling and impulse you have is also, instantaneously registered by the universe. So the more you can keep your thoughts and feelings focused in a positive direction, even if it is not about the bike, the faster your desires will be attracted. Since life is one grand experiment, you don’t need to take my word for it, test this out in your life.
I am actually in a very blessed place in my life. As I look around, I see evidence of all of my previous desires right here in physical form, part of my day to day experience. What I am realizing is that the desire, for things to change, be more, be less, be sunnier, be easier, has not lessened when I get my latest manifested desire. This is not to say that I am in the “I’ll be happy someday” mentality, or that I am particularly driven by having ‘stuff’. It is more that I keep dreaming. I dream of many wonderful things, like peace and love and locally grown vegetables. It is a little like mountain climbing, you get to the top, you get your desire, and from the top you set your sights on the next one.
And today it hit me, it is so clear, so simple. The point of all of it is never to get to the next thing, the next goal, the next mountain. It is always to love where you are, love your life. Taking steps, as they present themselves, toward your next dream, but always, always relishing the dream you are living right now. Right now. Now. Just as it is, just as you are, even if you are not where you want to be. This time is so precious, this life is so precious. This moment only comes once, be it good or bad, you won’t have to repeat this one. And if all it took to really change your life, was to shift focus, to the things you love, rather than the thing you fear. To choose again each moment, to renew the focus, to be grateful, to be hopeful, to choose happy. What great things we all could do if we just did this.
What a day! Today was the first time I experienced golf ball sized hail. The hail stones pummeled Northwest Calgary with breathtaking intensity. While the hail undoubtedly damaged cars, homes, and gardens, I absolutely love the power displayed by Nature.
To me there is nothing better than a hot day followed by a rip-roaring storm. The storm today surely did not disappoint. What I love about storms like these is the pure wildness of the energy created. I love the dual nature of big storms. That such intensity is created only out of air, water and sun. I love the chance to stand at a window and stare out in awe of what Nature can create with only a few simple ingredients and an even simpler recipe.
I love the questions that arise, like “How on earth can hail grow so big in a cloud?”. But most of all, I love the feeling of how truly powerful Nature actually is. We really pay attention when there is a big storm, but the true power and mystery of Nature is always there. We get a splendid chance to stop and remember that we are one small part of a very big planet. We get the chance to surrender to the whims of Nature and let our day be guided by the rhythms of the planet.
We are so used to not being impressed by Nature that a video of a man having a truly ecstatic reaction to a double rainbow seems funny to us. We can be so conditioned to control our joy, that ecstatic feeling that naturally wants to rise up and guide our choices.
I admit I had a mixed response when I watched the video. Part of me was wondering how often he smokes weed, but another, hidden, part of me was reminiscent of a time when a simple rainbow inspired deep joy. I think the pure emotion in his response calls to all of us to remember the youthful joy in everyday things.
Today’s storm reminded me to seek joy in every experience and to cherish what is. Maybe next time I’ll see a double rainbow too.