What IS ‘me?’

Every time I come back here to write, I tell myself the words will all sound the same. And yet, there seems to be an unending cycle at work in my life: seeing that which is no longer ‘me’ and letting it go. It begs the question: What IS me??

I had an interesting experience today–wholly with myself. I’m taking part in an upcoming project of  ‘adopting’ LGBTQ children who are feeling unaccepted and unloved this holiday season. Our daughter is part of this community, and fortunately well loved and received within our family and her community. Many are not so blessed. Upon hearing about the project, I knew instantly I wanted to take part and so have been working on my written and spoken words. Writing has not been a challenge for me–it comes easily. There is a rhythmic flow to the words, they carry their own vibrations of love and grace. But when it came time to read out loud the words I’d written–it didn’t feel so comfortable. For one, the rhythmic flow of my writing seems painfully absent when I’m speaking. All the self-conscious triggers flow in. I was relieved to feel much more at ease reading out loud today than I did the first time I had to speak over a microphone via the web. 

What I found troubling, though, is that my beautifully written heartfelt words felt empty as I voiced them. The magic was gone. I wasn’t flustered or upset, but the Observer within took notice. What resulted was a repeated edit and re-read of my letter, taking out what felt empty–surprisingly some of the sentences that talked about love most prominently. I’ve always been able to write about the deepest feelings of love in my heart, they’re REAL. But when I try to speak them, they fall out misshapen and without emotion behind them. FEAR perhaps? ‘Fluffy’ expression? I’m not certain yet. Thus far, I’m only the Observer in this game of seeing ME.

So I wonder, if you all feel this way at times too. Sometimes I’m frustrated that I don’t just GET there–living fully authentic, feeling at ease in my skin, able to be ME. Ugh. I can feel the angst within myself. And I also know that holding on to that angst and all the feelings that go with it only gives it power to grow. So I’m looking at it. We’re standing here together, my discomfort and me. What I realize now, at this point in writing this post–is that BOTH are part of me. Seeing my discomfort, recognizing and acknowledging the angst rather than railing against it–these bring it into the light. Otherwise it remains tucked away in my shadowy places. 

This is my desire: to allow my voice to speak my truth. Not in a playground bully sort of way. I want to speak my truth with confidence, from a place of authentic expression, infused with benevolent grace and honoring myself and the Life Force present in us all. THAT’s what I want. 

 

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‘Good Karma,’ Angels & Grace

Something happens when we allow ourselves to be in a space of healing, surrender and honesty with the truth that lives beneath the surface. There can be a great darkness…and yet, the light is always present. As we practice the art of allowing without becoming attached to feelings and perceptions, streams of radiance begin to shine through. At first, there are only glimpses, as the emotions that arise can be overwhelming. But as we continue to be honest, to be true to the space we’re in, it’s almost as though there is a sudden moment when the light pervades over even the darkest and most subtle shadows. 

It was a contemplative process determining just how to write this post and what to focus on: good karma, angelic presence or the showering of Grace? All three have played a role in the shift I’m feeling, and so all three will have a place in this sharing.

Angelic presence….when my 19 year old daughter was hit head on Monday evening and walked away unharmed aside from bumps and bruises. It feels to me that people toss around connection to the ‘angels’ all too easily, not really in tune with what that can mean. So I’ve held back my own effort to bring angels into my life on a regular basis. Yes, of course I believe in them…but to say things like ‘the angels protected me’ or ‘angels are all around us’ – hasn’t felt real enough to own as my truth. 

These last few months, however, it seems they WANT me to sense them, to call on them, to feel them. So when Lauren was indeed protected from what could have been a devastating accident–well, the skeptic has to take a back seat. Not only was she not seriously hurt, she was also flanked by people who took care of her during the 45 minutes it took us to get to where she was. I prayed the whole ride. And guess what? I asked the angels to surround her. They not only heard me, they responded without delay.

 ‘You have some really Good Karma.’ 

This bit requires a short back story: we purchased two vehicles just three weeks ago – one for Lauren and one for our other daughter. The search to find a car for each wasn’t easy, as teenage budgets can only support so much. Just as it was getting frustrating and discouraging–we came across not one but TWO perfect cars–both through our mechanic. Trusted, reliable, affordable. Perfect. Bought them both after a test drive and we were good to go. During this process, I got to know Mary the receptionist at the mechanic’s shop a little bit. She knew what we’d been through to find a car, and understood what a blessing it was when these two appeared seemingly ‘out of nowhere.’ She shared our devastation when I called to let them know Lauren’s car had been totaled in the crash. 

What happened next just continues the miracle. The accident was Monday night. Tuesday morning Lauren made a post on her Facebook page about being in search of a new car. Only ONE person replied. Someone who knows Lauren very well and  just thinks the world of her. A Volvo isn’t the ‘ideal’ college student vehicle, and yet once again – a trusted, reliable and affordable car was available with perfect timing. We went yesterday to drive it – and ended up buying the car.

In a conversation with Mary I shared our story. She was in awe and said something about my aura (we’ve never talked on a spiritual level) and then ‘you have some really good karma.’ The weight and truth of her statement hit me. I do! I’m a firm believer that every situation is filled with purpose and every challenge offers something positive to us. We can always ‘recover’ and often we are gifted in some way with more than what we had initially. Lauren’s car accident was a horrible experience in the moment, but aside from some panic, pain and rushing around, the outcome has been incredibly positive. Hearing Mary say these words seemed to shake me out of the melancholy I’ve been feeling. It was like a bit of light shining through….a sweet reminder from the Universe that All is Well. One that I could actually FEEL!!

Grace…all of this is the sweet flow of grace. I know it and I feel it to be so. Last week I ordered two books connected with St. Teresa of Avila. It’s her teachings that led me to Caroline Myss and a class on Mysticism. In that space I learned of the power, presence, compassion and sacredness of Grace. She has been with us all this time. I know she held me as I struggled to find my grounding. Even when I can’t feel her, I know the vision of her essence wrapped around me is real. 

I’m grateful for all we’ve been through this week. For the bond between parents and their children. For the ability to take care of Lauren as she gets back on her feet. For the abundance in our life that allows us to provide. For the Grace that awakens us from the deepest slumber of our spirits. For the gift it is to be me. 

Amen. xo 

 

And Then What Happened?

It feels as though this is the lingering question inside myself. ‘Now what?’ 

We all feel it, don’t we–that thrill and warmth of deep, intimate connection with the Divine. And then what? What happens when we desperately long for it–but seem unable to ‘find’ it? 

It’s true that the Divine is ALWAYS there. I do *know this. And yet I’m wondering ‘why can’t I feel you?’ The question begs contemplation. If the wind is blowing and I can’t feel it–why not? What stands in the way?

These are the thoughts running through myself of late. Then there are moments I have a crisp clarity, realizing focusing too much on the ‘why not’ removes the possibility of it. 

Just now–those words, ‘crisp clarity’ brought insight. What is my vision? It’s like being a seer who can gaze into a crystal ball and always ‘see’ something. Only….suddenly you can’t….and you’re not sure why. 

What’s the vision? ‘Now what?’ 

These are the places I find myself these days. And perhaps focusing on the void keeps us IN it. 

Writing, opening, sharing–feels wonderful–ALIVE! Yet every time I’ve thought of writing, there’s nothing there…and so I don’t. Thank you Janece for your post touching upon the art of writing–and allowing ourselves to do so: The Write Stuff. Allowing. Surrendering. Here they are, my companions of truth once again. 

So, my friends….what happened next is that she picked herself up, stopped focusing on the emptiness and instead welcomed her vision. The magic begins once again…as I look up to see the Red Headed Woodpecker out back again. He’s been around a lot lately and serves as a reminder to ‘march to the beat of our own drum.’ His red head signifies passion, life force. Time to look inward once again…allow the vision to breathe and begin her rhythmic dance. 

Red Headed Woodpecker in the backyard

And as it all unfolds, the 2012 journey to which I DID commit–‘No Comfort Zone‘–continues to shine her light and move us all forward. xo

The Great Unveiling

I realized this morning a bit of why I haven’t been inspired to write of late. This year has been immensely transitional for me in many ways ‘unseen.’ It came to me in these three words: The Great Unveiling.

That’s how I would define the first four months of 2012. Filled with such pure intensity of soul truth, there is no escape. The layers of protection are forced to break apart, fears no longer carry enough power to hold it all together. The need for ‘order’ and ‘togetherness’ out of balance with a force of authentic presence filled with human imperfections, enfolded in Divine energy. It’s the deepest longing of who we are–to release the stuff that weighs us down and honor the sacredness of our soul.

And to write amongst the movement of this space requires an honesty so pure it has felt uncomfortable to share these depths of intimacy in such public space. There is less and less ability to bring the words together in the mind’s wisdom and the eye’s beauty. Instead, there is a raw, searing dialogue of what is real in the heart–a place not always ‘presentable’ to the world. 

It seems to have begun when a blogging friend talked about ‘perfection.’ Once the sting had gone out of her words, I began to see the truth of it–how much of my life is geared toward striving for perfection, just ‘right,’ the best choice, being the bigger person. All these cliches that remove us more and more from our true feelings in favor of presenting ourselves in a positive light to the world–but really to ourselves. Admitting to such ego-centered efforts about myself, seeing clearly how I have bought into something my heart can’t support–has been at times painful and humiliating. Most of all between myself and All That Is. Because very few people are even aware of what is happening within my own inner landscape. And yet–I find support, love and grace around every corner.

Honoring our truth, living with authentic purpose–these are not simple things to do. They come enshrouded in our own undoing. We must be broken in order to become wholly committed to our Divine purpose. The Great Unveiling. Meant for me. Between me and the Divine. No one need tell me, guide me, help me to see it. It occurs all on its own. And the only way to maneuver through it is to feel it….and then choose to allow it. Surrender. Grace. These are the companions meant for this journey.

And if you are blessed enough to recognize it, you’ll find you are joined too by soul companions who will stand with you as witness to your truth, reflecting by their very nature a spirit of loving gentleness. Thank you to those who have done so for me. 

‘Vida Loca’

I’m delighted to be sharing a ‘first’ here on A Heart’s Whispers: Fay Hart has written a guest blog–by request. It’s an honor to have her share in this personal and intimate space, especially as ‘processing’ with Fay has brought about an instrumental shift in my life over the last several months. I love how she so openly shares her own truth, and we become student & teacher to and for one another. There is no pretense of knowing or being more than the client–only that of being a guide to our inner beauty and truth. I’ve learned to respect, listen to and honor my body as a companion and spiritual director of what is true for me…and to release more and more of the subconscious desire to control out of fear.

I invite each of you to take a moment and visit Fay’s uniquely designed website, and to consider sharing an Archangel Reading with her. The changes feel as though they are subtle as you open to the energy of the Divine in working with Fay, and yet the shifts that occur are profound and immediate.  

There is so much I could say to introduce you to this angel who appeared in my life. She is a gifted Poet and Self Awareness Coach, and I’m honored to share with you a glimpse into her own journey. Without further adieu, I give you Fay Hart and a bit of ‘crazy.’ 

VIDA LOCA

“Are you crazy?” was a question I got asked more than once on a recent trip home to Florida, when I told people I live in Mexico. I peered into that thought. ‘Am I crazy?’ I wondered. I looked all the way back through my adventurous life. ‘You must be crazy!’ yelled my brother when he found out I’d hitchhiked to Tuscaloosa to see the Rolling Stones. ‘Are you nuts?’ asked my neighbor when I headed off to London with three hundred bucks and a vague possibility of a boyfriend. ‘You must be mad!’ said my sad college professor when I announced I was declining a teaching position at the uber cool Goldsmith’s College in favour of becoming a postwoman. ‘Maybe I am crazy,’ I concluded. But I remember R.D. Laing, writing about schizophrenic women, suggesting perhaps they weren’t insane but ‘struggling to make sense of a senseless situation’. And a lot of what was so-called normal or sane for women I looked up to sure looked senseless to me. So I followed my heart instead of my head, often winding up in precarious situations, living off my wits, scraping by, fearful and worried but alive and vital and somehow free.

My last great fit of madness, packing up my London life of thirty years to allow something new to happen, brought the same reaction. My gorgeous lover shook his head in disbelief. ‘But it’s insane,’ he said. ‘There’s nowhere to live but London. You can’t live in America, it’s not a country – it’s a whole bloody continent!’ I’ll admit there were nights I cried myself to sleep wishing I could just take it all back – the whole damn thing and just have worked at the phone company for thirty years and be looking forward to a grandmotherly retirement of brownie baking and bingo. But there was no turning back from my vida loca. Throwing myself into the abyss, whole new worlds opened up and I wound up buying a house in Mexico – at a yard sale no less! And now I am on the wildest ride of my life. Living quietly among the gentle Mexican people. Moving ever more deeply into the truth of who I am, who I have always been. And I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy. All the heartache, self-doubt, second thoughts and cold feet that I’ve elbowed my way through as I’ve mustered the courage to act crazy, have revealed themselves to be beautiful gifts, guiding me to my life’s purpose. Along with a traditional university degree, I have a PhD in anxiety, which serves me as I help people face their fears and release limiting belief patterns that prevent them from being peaceful. And I echo the words of Hafiz…

You don’t have to act crazy anymore –

We all know you were good at that

Now retire, my dear,

From all that hard work you do

Of bringing pain to your sweet eyes and heart.

Look in a clear mountain mirror –

See the Beautiful Ancient Warrior

And the Divine elements

You always carry inside…

I would love to hear your thoughts. And please do take a moment to connect with Fay:

Twitter ~ @fayhart101

Facebook ~ FAY

Website ~ followfay.com

‘Awakening to Beauty’

Spending time in Nature, attempting to ‘capture’ her beauty through my lens, I can’t help but feel that we are as the flowers, the leaves and all that is awakening just now with the advent of Spring. Each year these bits of Life begin to form, from seed to bud to full blossom. The flowers will open to the brilliance of sunlight glowingly radiating down upon them, leaves will unfurl with the gentleness of a warm breeze. Each will serve its time….until once again they fall away with the advent of autumn’s coolness. 

Is that not our journey, my friends? Fully opening ourselves to the uplifting warmth of sunshine, allowing every pore to be energized with the heat of Divine presence….eventually coming back around to the release and harvest of our efforts, preparing for hibernation and healing yet again. 

I love Irish poet John O’Donohue’s work, especially the cd series he recorded called Beauty, The Invisible Embrace. I was delighted to come across the following excerpt he wrote for the Kosmos Journal back in 2004, which seems to describe perfectly the beauty of Spring’s blossoms as well as the journey of our souls: Awakening & Surrender. That’s it, my friends…..the focus of our work on this planet and the purpose of our presence. Awaken & surrender. Enjoy. xo

Awakening to Beauty 

We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: They frame each day and each life; between them is the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty.

The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere — in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful, for it meets the needs of our soul. For a while the strain of struggle and endurance are relieved and our frailty becomes illuminated by a different light in which we come to glimpse behind the shutter of appearances the sure form of things. In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act. We find that we slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us.   ~ Beloved John O’Donohue, 1956-2008 

(Excerpt found on UTNE Reader)

A New Day

First, let me thank each of you for your sharing your love and wisdom as comments to my last post ‘Mirror, Mirror.’ What happened after writing that and saying some things ‘out loud’ was quite miraculous to not only experience, but witness unfolding. I began on my own to recognize that it was indeed ME who was making me feel so crazy inside. Through some of your shared thoughts and also other sources, the messages began flooding in: stay present in THIS moment, people see through the eyes of their own experience, we attract situations into our lives to assist us in growing and stretching more into who we are. And perhaps the most powerful of all: the mind is a brilliant thing! When I read ‘A Cracked Pot,’ I felt something release inside myself, and remembered Rumi’s message about light shining through the wounds – the cracks. 

You, see my friends, my MIND stepped into fear, anxiety, panic. And thank you to Miro for reminding us all of the training we undergo as spiritual warriors: have the courage to live in what is true for you now. Old beliefs, tribal and societal conditioning creep in and distract us – and I’m very clear on how I stepped into that darkness of unknowing, shadows, uncertainty and old ‘stuff.’ The beauty of it, is that from our shadows comes the radiance of light.

I was blessed to be spending time with two beautiful women, healers and teachers on Thursday and Friday. Processing emotions and witnessing the inner dialogue of my thoughts and fear-based beliefs brought much needed relief, peace and release. I’m learning more and more how much we are driven by our fears. Again – it’s a language I’ve *known, but am now beginning to experience on a deeper level than ever before.

Perfect. Not perfect. Perfectly imperfect. The words don’t matter – it’s the implications we claim as our own that impact how we see and feel about ourselves. My own inner doubt brought such a depth of uncertainty, disconnection, chaos – it was impossible to see the light and beauty of being ME in that space. The GRACE of it is coming out on the other side, reaching the awareness of simply: I am Jackie. And that’s enough. It’s the message that comes over and over again, wearing different attire, speaking in various dialects, posing as new characters along the way. But always, at the core of my being is this truth: Love heals. And thankfully, I am back to a place of being able to see the beauty of being me, loving me and letting that be my truth.

Uncomfortable? Yes. Very. Healing? Absolutely. It’s part of the journey. We don’t need to make ourselves any bigger – or any smaller – to be okay. And we’ll never be able to convince other people of who we are. There aren’t enough words. So why not just be? And ‘let it be.’ When we feel the need to ‘convince’ – then we somehow aren’t sure of what we know is true. Otherwise, just the reality of it being OUR truth would be enough. Enough. A simple word – so filled with richness and challenge. 

My choice today: ‘Let it be.’ I’m choosing inner peace. Thank you for your love, your warmth, your open hearts. I appreciate you….and I’m sending love out to each of you. xoxo