Friday, October 13, 2017

Jack-Hammering Practice

Had a late start this morning and was moving slowly. Five minutes into my meditation practice the jackhammering on my building started, right above my head. (Honestly, it felt they were jackhammering in my head!) My ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones make little difference as the vibration moves through the concrete and into my bones.
Construction work is a lot like life: largely unpredictable and beyond my control.
So, I decided to see what it would be like to meditate while they were jackhammering. I won't lie- it's not ideal. But as I relaxed my body where I was unconsciously (and impossibly) trying to pull away from or resist the noise, I realized I could still be aware of my breath, could quiet my inner protests, could be with what is in this moment.
As I finished my meditation I thought about people in California and Puerto Rico dealing with fires and floods, and focused on sending prayers that they may feel held in love. And those prayers slid into prayers of gratitude for my home, and prayers for the construction workers using the jackhammers (can you imagine what that kind of work does to the human body?)
And the jackhammering continues.
I will go out today to seek a quiet place to do some writing. But I am grateful for this morning. Life will have its way with us. Sometimes we can and need to create changes. And sometimes we have to continue with what sustains us, even when conditions are not ideal. ~Oriah
This is the photo Karen Davis posted today at Open Door Dreaming. Good to remember that even when there is disruption in one place, there is quiet beauty in another.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Loving What We Do

Woke up this morning with the sound of a woman's voice following me up out of dreams. She said- "Do something you love today. . . . or love something you do. This feeds the soul of the world."

I have been sitting with these words as I see photos of some homes burnt to the ground in California and others flooded with water and leveled by wind in Puerto Rico. I will pray for those impacted, and send resources to help.

And I will do something I love today- I will love something I do- which is to say, I will bring my full attention to the moment and savor the sweetness of reading or writing or walking in the park.

Individually we are small, and brief, and highly biodegradable. Humanity's strength has always been found in community. There are people scrambling to evacuate, or find clean drinking water, or fight a blazing fire today. I can send prayers and monetary help, and I can participate in communal action to prepare for and prevent these tragedies where possible.

The voice in the dream suggests something more- suggests that moments of loving what we are doing, tasting the sweetness of this day, offers something to the collective consciousness, feeds the soul of the world that somewhere, every day, faces challenges. It seems like a small thing to ask. And there really is no down side to loving what we do- although I admit, it might make us question some of what we do on any given day.

I suppose you could call consciously loving the moment a prayer, a way to add a drop of that which sustains us all to the collective consciousness we share. ~Oriah

Came across this photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming. Her eye for beauty, ability to photograph it and willingness to share it with us is just one way to add to loving the world.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Little Solitude

A quiet, steady rain this morning - seems to mute all movement and sounds of the city. The air is cool and the light is soft beneath the dove-grey sky. It all seems to be an invitation to stillness, slow movement, and quiet contemplation.

I live alone, and sometimes my health dictates that I do not see others for many days. I have come to love the solitude- the way it encourages me to be honest with myself about my own humanness, to stop outrunning the things about myself or the world that make me uncomfortable.

I think I was attracted to a shamanic tradition because it involved periods of time alone in the wilderness fasting and praying.

As a child solitude was hard to find. My eagle-eyed mother kept close scrutiny on what I was "up to." But at night and in the early morning hours I would revel in the darkness and have what I thought of as conversations with God.

Whatever you call that which is larger than yourself, solitude and empty time are needed if we are to hear that which reminds us of what we are, why we are here, and how deeply we belong. The world will go on even if we unplug for an hour or a day or longer. And if the flood waters are rising (literally or metaphorically) our neighbours will knock on our door and let us know if there is something that truly must be done right now.

I am not advocating abandoning the world. Such a thing is not possible- we are the world and the world is us and so much more. But a little stillness, a turning inward, a quieting of the inner and outer voices before or after all the tasks that hold life and limb together, might just make it easier for us to meet whatever comes with an open heart.

May we each find the moments of solitude and stillness that we need. ~Oriah

I cannot always get down to the lake here in Toronto, but the photos from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming always make me pause and slow down to take in the beauty.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Quiet Courage

This floated up in my writing this morning in response to a Facebook post by Isabel Faith Abbott about the losses and grief that comes with having a chronic illness. 
I wrote (34 years after diagnosis): I was mulling this morning how, despite the lack of stable progress and the almost constant presence of pain, I have always thought that "one day" I would get better and be, if not 100% restored at least 80% or so. Is this hope or denial? Is it a way to cope and continue or just postponement of real acceptance? 
There are books I want to write, workshops I thought I'd share, places I thought I'd go. And you are right Isabel- facing that these may (or, at this point for me, most likely) not happen is facing real loss and grief. Life is still good in many ways- and yet most often coloured with pain and prostration, I am waaaay too familiar with the tiles of my bathroom floor. :-) I wonder if my "hopefulness" might sometimes rob me of fully relaxing into and enjoying what there is to enjoy in this present moment? (Yes, even on the cool, supportive bathroom floor where there is nowhere to fall.) . . .
We live in a culture that loves (reveres) the heroic, (and I do not want to take anything away from the heroes who rise when circumstances truly call for heroics) but so much of life is about a more quiet kind of courage. ~Oriah
Gratitude to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for this photo that seemed to mirror my feeling - a sun rising beneath cloud cover, the beauty even where there is no blazing light

Friday, August 18, 2017

Healing Our Shared World

Here's what I've learned from my own inner work that applies to our collective life: we have to deal with the past because we carry it with us, in our cells, in our institutions, in our unconscious assumptions and daily behaviour. What is buried, repressed or denied is not gone. Here, in Canada, we are just beginning to look at what was done (and continues to be done) to the indigenous peoples that called this place home long before our European ancestors arrived. We have to be willing to look squarely at what has been done, to listen to those most effected, and find ways to redress the wrongs, to compensate for grave injustice, to stand up and say, "No," to those who would have us pretend that it was or is all okay or justified, to say, "No," those who would insist that "might is right."
Many of us who had violent and abusive childhoods have learned the hard truth that although great healing that allows for a fullness of life is- with clear intentions and deep work- possible, we do not erase the past. There will always be a catch in my throat when I hear of how another's mother loved them. There has been much healing, but still, on some terrain I walk with a bit of a limp. But it does not keep me from dancing.
The hardest part of my own healing journey has been facing the truth of what happened. I did not want it to be so, and for a long time I did not even know I was rewriting history, pretending it had all been okay. To survive we often "normalize" that which is a long way from acceptable.
What many of us have done individually we must also do collectively. We must look at what has been and is still being done that is deeply harmful and unjust. We must listen- really listen- to the life experiences of those who have been most effected and let these stories break our hearts open. And together we must find ways to redress the wrongs, to heal the wounds, to ensure that no more harm is done. There are infinite ways to do this: to speak out; to participate; to lobby, legislate and demonstrate; to support and listen, listen, listen, to let the reality of what is and has been touch us, change us, motivate us.
So, I will end this post as I have so many others, with the words of Arthur Ashe, the first African American professional tennis player, born in Richmond Virginia in 1943. His words have become a mantra for me when I am overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and unsure of how to contribute:
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
Thank you Mr. Ashe. I can only imagine what challenges brought you to this wisdom. ~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Conversations That Create Change

A thoughtful, timely piece on how to contribute to conversations and take actions that remake our communities and the world. Brene Brown is clear, articulate and, as she puts it, not afraid to speak truth to bullshit in a way that does not shame but holds us all accountable. Support for right action in difficult times. Blessings, Oriah

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Just for Today

These words are just for today.
Just for this moment, this slow inhale. . . this soft exhale
They are bits of green sunlight filtered through leaves
Small shadows moving across the grass
They are not for posterity
They do not promise prosperity
They do not pretend to be other than what they are:
The way I get through
The way I taste joy, bear sorrow, and feed hope
The way I remember that each moment is holy
These words are just for today

~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House (c) 2017

Deep gratitude to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for the beauty of this photo. We all weave our days in different ways, creating beauty by being present.