The Difference Kindness Makes

In the midst of colossal change and loss on a collective level, it’s understandable to have occasional feelings of helplessness. We are being pushed hard to quickly adapt, thoroughly let go, and create new solutions to historic problems. The pressure is on.

Most of us have learned the foundation block of self-care through the increasing energies, implementing stronger boundaries, accepting more gracefully what (and whom) is departing, and allowing for the time needed to gain clarity and make deeper connections with our souls and source. We’ve learned to increase compassion for ourselves and others.

As we go forward in our personal commitments and service, one of the greatest contributions we can make are generous and frequent acts of kindness. We may not know how another is doing, but we can be sure everyone is challenged in some way. We can recognize collective tension, fear, and strain and its impact on humanity.

An act of kindness is a catalyst for transcendence. The simplest act of recognition of another can be the demonstration that gives them enough hope to keep going, heals the wound of neglect or confirms a needed response that increases faith. It offers a reflection of our inherent nature and conscious awareness of our interconnectedness, which is a powerful reconnect to the greater truth of our capability.

A genuine act of kindness can include material offerings, but does not require them. It can take only a moment, or last the length of time it takes to listen actively. When you feel compelled to want to do more but cannot see how, look to others for how many acts of kindness you can offer in the day. There will be plenty of opportunities, and every act of kindness weaves a stronger connectivity that strengthens the whole. What benefits another, will also feed your soul, ease your mind, and fill your heart.

And don’t forget to include yourself in acts of kindness. Judgment, shame, and punishment are the old paradigm and we will grow exponentially with the fertilizer of kindness into the new paradigms created by greater compassion, kindness, and love.

grayscale photography of kids walking on road
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Becoming No-Body

At a time when we are inundated with distressing news and events, along with personal challenges that are pushing us to grow beyond old limitations and mental constructs, there is an important practice that allows us to release from attachment and embody the awareness of our inherent state of oneness and infinite potential.

It is the practice of taking your mind to the state of being no-body, no-thing, no-where, in no-time. When I was first introduced to this concept, I was a young woman in love and overly attached to someone who was constantly eluding me yet drawing me in. Always one to pull cards from spiritual guidance decks as a touchstone for higher direction, while in a particularly painful phase of separation and angst, I asked for guidance from the Osho Transformation Tarot deck.

At the time, I was not enlightened enough to accept the wisdom of the card I pulled. Quite the opposite, I became infuriated, because I was looking for validation of my worth and righteousness in the context of the judgment I held for my partner’s behaviors. It was the card of Recognition:

The longing of the mind is to be extraordinary. The ego thirsts and hungers for the recognition that you are somebody….and this is the miracle – when you accept your nobodiness, when you are just as ordinary as anybody else, when you don’t ask for any recognition, when you can exist as if you are not existing. To be absent is the miracle.

A nobody is not an ordinary phenomenon; it is one of the greatest experiences in life – that you are, and still you are not. That you are just pure existence with no name, with no address, with no boundaries…neither a sinner or a saint, neither inferior nor superior, just a silence.

Your somebodiness is so small. The more you are somebody, the smaller you are; the more you are nobody, the bigger. Be absolutely nobody, and you are one with the existence itself.

Decades later, what was inconceivable for me to accept, became my most welcome meditation. In order to practice better, I used to watch movies that showed an astronaut becoming untethered and dissolve into deep space, becoming smaller and smaller, Gravity was one. Rather than frighten me, I learned to feel the depth of peace into the surrender of infinity. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditation, The Generous Present Moment, beautifully guides one into this state, as well.

The benefit of becoming No-Body, is that it is a profoundly powerful re-set. It diminishes the attachment (positive or negative) to the outer, and returns one to a state of inherent peace, acceptance, and connection, bringing forth perspective, ease, and supreme capability.

In sessions with clients, I often guide them to imagine their soul’s energy before they entered their mother’s womb. I remind them they didn’t know they had to grow a body and a brain and there was no concern. Within them and as part of Creation itself, all existed to support the creation of their human form. This is who they still are and will always be.

It’s easy to get lost in the trauma and drama of life and let our weary minds grasp hungrily at fears and impossibilities. If we let them, those thoughts become stories, and those stories become our personalities and pathologies. Pausing to interrupt those patterns and engage our nobodiness, reconnecting to our true state of oneness, can illuminate paths we would not otherwise see. It can rekindle hope and inspiration, sparking the limitless energy we have within to continue co-creating from infinite possibility. The more we do this, and the more that do this, the greater connection we will make with one another and the greater momentum we will have for transformation.

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Shifting with the Winds

(I began this blog before the recent school mass shooting in Texas, and have added something at the end, in reference.)

Change is the constant, the nature of life, and we’re all feeling its demands and repercussions more than ever. Moving from reactiveness to responsiveness is helpful in the midst of change, as is staying open-hearted and curious. But in the presence of global instability, minds that have been radicalized, and heightened collective fear, it’s a challenge that requires a strong practice, often on a daily basis.

We always have answers within and access to guidance beyond our field of perception. In the stillness that can be reached by creating space for resonance of mind, body and spirit, we can hear this guidance. In editing that which triggers our fears, learning to take in what we can handle and giving ourselves down time or even positive distraction to attain some balance, we can manage better. Even in constantly shifting winds, compassion, kindness, love, and positive action can be the cornerstones of a newly created foundation from which we build our lives now.

Lately, I’ve been allowing sleeplessness to bring up the deeper emotions and thoughts that course through me. Rather than fight it, I get out my journal and write. Even when tearful or despairing, it becomes a purification and self acknowledgment that wouldn’t present itself otherwise. I also have books on hand, or Lion’s Roar Buddhist magazine to then guide my mind toward nurturing, insightful truths, as well as countless meditations encouraging depth of connection and regenerative sleep. Most importantly, I let go of the old conditioning that insists I need eight hours of sleep and accept I will have the energy I need for the day ahead.

During a long recovery from recent surgeries, I discovered an unusually long series of novels taking place in the time of the Civil War, the Bregdan Chronicles by Ginny Dye. (So far there are eighteen novels and she plans to keep writing them.) It has been an astounding re-visiting of our nation’s history and profoundly insightful regarding the continuing problems we are facing. What I love the most, is the demonstration of how we can live to rise above those challenges.

Each book evolves from what she calls the Bregdan Principle, and I bring it up in lieu of our common grief, despair and helplessness over the lives lost in Texas last week, along with all the other tragedies of war and suffering we are in the midst of. I hope it inspires you:

“Every life that has been lived until today is a part of the woven braid of life. It takes every person’s story to create history. Your life will help determine the course of history. You may think you don’t have much of an impact. You do. Every action you take will reflect in someone else’s life. Someone else’s decisions. Someone else’s future. Both good and bad.”

She explains that she named this series The Bregdan Chronicles because Bregdan is a Gaelic term for weaving, braiding. It is a good reminder for us. We are each a thread in the tapestry of life, all of us artists contributing in a fluid design, with the power every single day to re-weave a more beautiful creation through our expression, choices and loving actions.

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Chronic Pain….and other considerations

The title of this post is the reason I’ve not written since December 2020, and I wanted to update my readers (if anyone is still there, lol), share my experience, and support those who suffer similar conditions. It’s a milestone to be returning to the writing world, and I plan to create a new website that will include this blog in the near future.

Since 2014, I have been enduring progressive spinal degeneration that caused disabling pain and heralded a journey into continuous and countless treatments and procedures, frightening states of depression and isolation, and suffering that led to a recent spinal surgery I am currently recovering from.

My story is of someone who enjoys her career as a spiritual counselor, is still working in her sixties, and lives alone as a single woman. As my back pain worsened through the years and sitting became intolerable, I watched my social life narrow to eventual non-existence as my core reality became the effort to survive pain and maintain hope, while continuing my practice.

Long-term chronic pain weakens you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It alienates, exasperates, confuses, and drains you. It can change your personality. At its worst, it eats away the very promise of life, and leaves you as an empty shell without hope for the future.

When you have chronic pain of any type, it becomes a journey of self awareness and education, and inevitably forces a change of structure and relationships. Given the current state of the world, it can be difficult to find people with the time, patience, and listening skills to be there for you, and reaching out can become debilitating exposure to disappointment. Personally, I learned to endure everything I possibly could on my own, becoming quite creative in the process, but there is no way around the times in life when we become so vulnerable we need help.

Here is some of what I’ve learned to hopefully support and inspire those suffering chronic pain and for their loved ones who care about them. First, for those experiencing the condition.

Expect more of yourself than others. Trust yourself and your Source to find your way on the journey. Accept breakdowns, failures, and bad days and nights. Expand and express your gratitude. Educate yourself on the condition, as you cultivate your intuition and listen to what your body needs. Talk to someone and don’t give up when people are not available. Be willing to forgive.

Depending on your resources, create a team of practitioners and healers that can be there for you. I finally hired a housekeeper, got massage, discovered a local acupuncturist who offered hypnosis during the session, and found a chiropractor with a decompression table.

Express yourself creatively, journal your feelings and experience, watch movies and read books that inspire and nurture, and listen to or play music. Cultivate your inner and spiritual connections, including the practice of meditation. Grieve what you no longer have or are able to do and be willing to let go. Invest in and feed your belief in your ability to heal beyond any diagnosis. Stay open and curious to what this experience can offer you and look at what it’s forcing you to change.

The greatest offering others can give, is the time to listen and show up. Pay attention to the needs of your loved one and anticipate how you can assist them, before they have to ask. In my case, having a neighbor take out my trash occasionally because lifting was a strain, was enough to brighten my day and outlook. When I couldn’t work, those who donated financially relieved a tremendous amount of stress that enabled me to focus on healing. Having people who don’t give up on you, despite the toll it can take on them to bear witness to your suffering, is priceless.

What I’ve learned through this particular struggle, and all disease, is that whole healing takes a whole lot. It involves not only physical healing, but emotional growth, spiritual awareness, and the ability to change the pain patterns of the brain and create new neuron patterns of wellness and possibility, which I learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work in this field.

Eleven weeks out from spinal surgery, I am happy to be well enough to return to work at the Ojai Valley Inn two days a week and resume phone consultations, and I can feel the potential of greater relief from pain in my body, though I’m realistic of what still lies ahead.

It can be hard to remember we are not our bodies or the conditions in our lives, and to trust our inherent state of limitless possibility. Though it’s not easy to create beyond embedded patterns and damaging conditioning, we can. The conditions of our lives are the teachers for our growth, and every one of us can be a fantastic student who graduates to higher levels.

Never underestimate what you can do to change yourself or someone’s life every single day. Every one of us can choose to love so big and create so fearlessly we evolve into a new reality. I am with you as you strive to go forward, offering the deepest compassion and acknowledgment of who you are, and cheering every step you take!

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What is Happening?

Waking up on Christmas morning to the news of the bombing in Nashville, I wanted to add an update to my last blog, reflecting on 2020. As an empath and spiritual counselor, I sometimes slide into the overwhelm and weight of the times we are in and, just like you, have to find my way upward.

So I wanted to share this morning what I believe is truly happening, and send a reminder of what is needed to not just survive, but rise.

What is really happening is a global shift, a paradigm shift, to an elevated consciousness and a changed way of life. It is a supreme movement of transformation happening to us, and through us, displaying the simultaneous affect on the individual and the collective.

It is an enforcement of the long-denied truth of our oneness, and our inter-connectedness: that which affects one affects the whole and what I do to you, is done to me. It is a truth that can be displayed through us in glorious transcendence of limitation or all manner of devastation, such as what we are experiencing in the pandemic, dictator-like leadership, climate change, and violence toward one another.

At this stage of saturation, exhaustion, and uncertainty, it is a time to grip tightly and hold relentlessly to the truth of the power of our unity through love, compassion and forgiveness, and our infinite capacity to create through idea and inspiration.

Neurogenesis is occurring as well as phenomenal adaptation at cellular and DNA levels, and we are feeling it all. Our capacity is expanding, not only to endure, but to grow and thrive. So that’s the challenge as we evolve through this chaos, to direct and re-direct our focus to our inner capacity for change.

To knock down the doors of our resistance and jump into the flow of transformation. To trust the greater consciousness we are a part of and be willing to let go of our blocks. To boldly shatter the dictates of greed and separation and demonstrate a higher consciousness of unity.

Accepting the organic nature of change and relinquishing our addictive expectations of immediacy is another critical aspect of the cycle we are in. That includes reducing or eliminating the behaviors that stimulate our addictions and that which perpetuates the illusion of separation.

There is not one aspect of ourselves or our lives that isn’t subject to the need for change and it is a daily investment in the changes we want and need, that will cultivate our resiliency and shine the light through the darkness to keep going forward.

We can no longer rely on moments of love and kindness, we are facing a greater commitment now; a long-term commitment that builds new communities, heals the planet and her eco-systems, restores honorable and respectful relationship to one another, and reignites the passion of the value of life.

Most who know me, understand that I have long-ago dropped the traditions of the holidays, opting instead to aspire to live every day in the spirit of appreciation and generosity, but I do wish you this Christmas Day, a special prayer of the heart: that you receive all you need to feel your wholeness, power, abundance, and riches of being loved. We are together in becoming this great change on the planet, and I’m deeply honored by your presence and support.

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2020, A Reflection

There are days when watching the power struggles amongst the leaders of our country, is utter heartbreak.

There are days when taking in the suffering of the dying, ill, poor, and helpless is too much to bear.

There are days when personal focus and self-care are mandatory for preservation.

There are days when enjoyment of the sun shining and trees swaying, is enough to survive.

There are days when I question everything, including myself.

And there are days of clarity, revelation, and illumination.

It’s a seeking time; the gift of the unknown a vast terrain for exploration and redesigning.

It’s a powerful time of change without structure.

I’ve no advice, other than to listen deeply, so deeply you hear the whispers of truth and the guidance in going forward each day.

Rather, I reach out to say I love you. I am grateful for you. I care for you. And you are not alone… never alone.

Your beating heart holds your way, your breath gives you life, and your mind will create infinite possibilities when nurtured to go beyond the conditioning of the past.

Be You. Be gloriously, unabashedly, lovingly, and courageously You.

It is enough.

After shedding our skins and relinquishing our history of degradation, we will reach unity. We will be given new vision and the abilities to exist higher than where we have been.

May Creation bless you in this very moment, and through every day ahead, that you reach the victory of change in consciousness and liberation in your soaring new expression of beauty and magnificence.

Love,

Nancy

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HOPE

Watching the first two nights of the Democratic convention, my heart swelled and opened as uncontainable tears streamed down my face. The deep emotion and stirrings of hope rose past impacted layers of survival walls, simply from the relief of viewing reflections of unity and messages of decency and truth.

How starved we are for our connection with one another, not just from the extremes of dealing with a pandemic, but from the persistent and aggressive tear-down of the essence of our true nature, over the past four years of divisive and destructive leadership.

To feel the engagement of our true potential to come together once again, the pride of overcoming gender, race and religious bias, and a reconnect to our power to change for the better, in respect of all life, is like finding an oasis in a desert after a life-threatening journey of desperation.

How thirsty we are. And what might the revival of our minds and souls look like from this small sip of water that refreshes and ignites such aspiration? What might transpire from drinking a full glass, becoming hydrated in our wholeness once again?

Is this the glimpse of the other side of our human journey? Is this the time to believe more in our future than our past? Are we to start envisioning ourselves beyond our struggles, our country and the world, as well, to then step fully into the demonstrations and choices that emerge from those visions?

This is beyond politics though, clearly, our political leadership matters in the charting of our course and, at this juncture, it’s critical.

Though it’s difficult to comprehend the full scope of the times we are in while we are living and surviving through it, what remains true through every historic crisis and all human challenge, is the common need for respect, the experience of love and compassion, and the demonstration of our inherent belonging and connection to one another.

Today, I dare to hope.

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The Devaluing of Life

On this heart-opening day, watching the memorial for John Lewis, I can think of only one word for the effects our country (the Ununited States of America), is experiencing from its historically progressive devaluing of life: horror.

Guns are used more quickly than words in altercations, dominance over another because of arrogance and prejudice continues to prevail, the value of money over human life is evident systemically, and patriarchal control is fighting for its life and taking other lives in the process.

Relationships have become transactional, Mother Earth has been defiled to the degree of unsustainability, and video games, cell phones and computers rule over the power of our minds to create the world our potential enables us to create. And at this point in the pandemic, watching our government in action is a horror show.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I had the privilege of experiencing Native American spirituality, ceremonies, and rituals. I listened to the elders, heard the stories and learned the ways, and the essence that predominated through it all, was the teaching of respect for all life.

The Lakota word for it is Mitakuye Oyasin, and in the Native American culture it isn’t just a concept, it is a way of life. It is a demonstration of respect for the two-leggeds (humans), the four-leggeds, the standing people (trees), the winged ones, the finned ones, the stone people and those that crawl upon the Earth.

It is an understanding that all forms of life come from the same source and we are all inter-connected. In our Oneness, what we do to another is done to ourselves and how we affect the world, affects us all.

I received a most precious gift through those years, and it changed my life. I learned to respect myself; to know my own value, and to practice extending that value and respect to all.

How tragic that the original peoples of this country were slaughtered in genocide, and those who remained were forced to relinquish their sacred practices and conform to religious and moral domination of misguided superiority. The motivation of greed for land ruled over the value of human life and, though some tried, the wave of greed and progress was too great for an integration to occur; for us to live together and learn from one another.

And then, slavery. We rob human beings from another continent and brutally enslave them as animals, demanding the sacrifice of their lives for ours, and it takes us decades upon decades to come to the level of decency to free them.

And in 2020 we have still not freed them. Our hatred still flares. Our systems still take their lives. Our prejudice still flies in the confederate flag our current president remains steadfastly devoted to.

It is horrific to witness ourselves in this state, and I say to those who reside in the consciousness of respect for all life: stand for it, demonstrate it, teach it, preach it, live it, sing it, write it, and spread the love as deeply and vastly as you can. It takes more than a village now. It takes a country.

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My Spirit Knows

My body may not be strong enough to join a protest on behalf of George Floyd, but my Spirit marches with everyone, in every city.

My heart may be heavy with the historic injustice of non-white peoples, but my Spirit soars in conviction of the truth that we are all One, and all people deserve equal rights.

My emotions may be raw, but my Spirit is calm, certain that we are in a global awakening that precedes our enlightenment.

My mind may be in the habit of fearfully questioning the unknown, but my Spirit moves me in the direction of its knowing, and trusts the orchestration of events to ultimately enable a higher consciousness to prevail.

I am Spirit. And my Spirit knows.

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So, What’s New?

In our new pandemic lifestyle, we are recreating our lives and redetermining our values. And in the midst of the suffering and challenge, we have an incredible opportunity to reflect and review life from the inside out. In time, I’m sure we will recognize the profound crossroads humanity faced and the dramatic turn we took, but while we are living through it, our power lies in recognizing what we can change or modify in our own lives and minds, and finding creative ways to express our unified strength and capability.

So, what’s new in your life? What skins are you shedding and what new habits are you forming? What have you learned about yourself and what is the future you want to create?

For me, consistently getting more sleep is part of a new physical reality. Without having to base my work routine on a travel schedule, I’m giving myself permission to honor my body’s needs and releasing all judgment of how long I sleep. My dreams are vivid and remembered more frequently, and I’m hearing similar reports from others.

Also new, is the confusion about what day it is, and the weekend no longer holding the meaning it once had. Feeling disoriented some days is something I accept, along with occasional days of despair and even grief. In the context of the pandemic, this is completely understandable. I’ve chosen to be more kind and compassionate with myself as I learn to navigate differently.

Having been on the Keto diet for several months, I’ve enjoyed exploring new recipes, cooking roasts, and even baking. The leisure time for these activities has reignited the joy of making meals and appreciating foods.

Facing the loneliness of living alone while sheltering-in-place, I was nudged to finally initiate the search for an animal companion. A divine synchronicity brought an eight year old cat named Bella to my home, and we have bonded to each other beautifully.

Donning masks and gloves to go out is obviously new for all of us, as is social distancing. With it, comes a heightened consciousness of ourselves, our environment, and one another. We realize how connected we are through the air we breathe and the space we share. We are becoming more mindful.

And speaking of mind, therein lies the greatest challenge of all: how to manage anxious, fearful thoughts, even thoughts of attack (judgment) as we agree or disagree with others and face uncertainty in every aspect of our lives.

I’d heard of Dr. Joe Dispenza for years, so now with the luxury of time to read, I’m currently enthralled in his books Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, You Are the Placebo, and Becoming Supernatural. There is no better time for his wisdom in bridging science and spirituality and learning how to reprogram our brains, than now.

New tools, new rituals, new activities, new thoughts, and new forms of relationship are the guideposts for going forward. Determining what no longer works, globally and personally, and being willing to let it go as we forge ahead differently is the shapeshifting we are being asked to do.

But motivating ourselves to engage the new, or even go forward on some days can be a struggle. I have a beautiful new Keith Urban guitar and teaching program I’ve long intended to follow through with, and the farthest I’ve gone is to get it out of its case one day. I resist washing my hair, putting on makeup and even wearing a bra, so getting ready to go out is a greater chore. The inward pull of isolation can make phoning a friend, reaching out or getting out, an uncommon hurdle.

These are all our common experiences now. Given these boundless changes, I believe one thing that lies ahead is a rupture that will unleash creativity so vast, it will energize, catalyze, and inspire the ideas and creations that will engage our ability to overcome the ancient archetypes that now restrict us, and create new paradigms for unified life on Mother Earth.

How fascinating and exciting a time it is. I know there is loss, and that is a part of life, but let us hold to the higher vision and purpose of what is taking place and can be. Let us be the instruments of change that lead to the greater good for humanity, with the faith and courage to endure the struggle and realize the dream.

Bella
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