Sunday, October 30, 2016

When Do You Get Out Of Yourself?

When do you get out of yourself and start helping others?

Me with Nana, 1953
I texted this question to my spiritual director - the woman who introduced me to so many forms of healing on Kauai last year.

We had lunch earlier this week.  I'd been asked by the Hawaiian Kahuna ( 'Kahuna' as wise woman of Hawaiian spiritual authority, not as in 'Big Kahuna') to give a testimony, to the woman I now sat across from, about the Spiritual Retreat 'Deep Within' she ran one year ago. 

I did not go easy.

"It cracked me open. (We'd had a woman's tribal ceremony, Hawaiian style.)  It was a shattering experience. I flashed back to my mother touching me and all the body abuse flooded in.  I freaked, flooded with shame so real it made my skin crawl.  I went into a tailspin for two months, barely making it through the holidays, my shame was so vivid. It forced me to go into therapy for PTSD.  I am not going back for your next retreat."

She apologized she didn't recognize my reaction at the time.

"It's not surprising.  When I'm stressed I lock down and look calm, cool and collected on the outside. No one has a clue."

"Well," we agreed, "the retreat served its purpose - it went Deep Within".

I suppose I could look at it as my rite of initiation - my demons showed up and I faced them.  I'll still pass on her upcoming retreat:

The Big Island Fire Goddess Pele Retreat

Can you recall crises revealing new wonders in your life?  I'd love to learn if your crises have had their upside.   Because of last year's crisis I have come to finally love little baby me.  I see her and go "Awwww.  She's a little wonder."

Glorious Wonder today. 

Getting back to my question:
When do you get out of yourself and start helping others?

I texted my answer along with that question.  "When you go deep within and link to the lifeline we're all connected to, which opens our eyes to our own value.  And when we link, we agree to our own value and speak from it.  This LOVE lifeline draws us into situations and toward people struggling along the same lines we have.  I believe you would say we're all struggling along the same lines?"

"Yes...this is perfect"  she replied.  "We are all learning who we are.  How we are all connected and what our gifts are so that we can help others as well.  We call those to us with the same or similar vibration."

Well.  hmmm.  This vibration thing.  Maybe I should consider dating again...

Friday, October 21, 2016

'Snorty and Messy' Here. Hi!

"Unwrap yourself, dear. Be yourself.  Let people get to know you" my better angels are telling me.

I went bike riding this week.  Twice.  75 degrees possessed me to pull my bike out of hibernation and don my gear.  The spandex bike panties had a bit more to hold in than two and half months ago.  I picked my brightest, roomiest shirt to divert attention, you know?  I'm sucking in my tummy best I can up there.

Oh my, was it worth it.  Indian summer.  I kind of surprised myself that I had the gas in me to do 40 miles.  Haven't been on that thing in 2 1/2 months.   15 miles by myself on Monday just to be sure I could join the cycling group ride 25 miles on Wednesday. 

This is how it went.

I show up for the ride. "J", the married man who 'innocently' invited me to dinner early this summer, turns his back on me.  "Hello, J...!" I call out.  The guy is deaf.  But "B" is there, and other nice folks.  So "B" and I have a lovely chat about his knees, after I ask him about his bike trip to Italy and France.  Apparently his knees started protesting his riding 300 miles a week, so he nixed the cycling trip through the Alps.  I thought no 70 year old should be cycling through the Alps in the first place, but I didn't tell him that.

"B" is a nice guy, in a cycling fanatic kind of way.  I went out with him once this summer, and before dessert arrived, he had decided I could be his new, um, partner.  There being less compatibility than a deer and a car between us, I told him in no uncertain terms that dating was NOT going to happen.  Group rides only.

I broke that little rule a tiny bit on Wednesday, when he suggested he and I make a detour through this private yacht club on this private peninsula on Long Island Sound.  I'm going to say No on such a wonderful day? 

He really is quite nice.  But group cycling only, I repeated, when he asked me out again.

Back to"J".  Midway through the ride, at our food stop, I went over to him. "J!  How are you?" 

"Shh" he put his finger to his mouth.  "I'm not talking to you."

"You didn't get back to me when I texted you!" I replied, paying not one iota of attention to the "Shh".

"Shhh! I'm not talking to you" and he turns his back.

Just in case you can connect these dots...Here they are. 

Dot #1.  He's very friendly.  He suggests we go riding, just to two of us.
Dot #2. He's married. 
Dot #3.  I ask your advice.  I back out of going on a day trip with him. 
Dot #4.  He remains friendly. 
Dot # 5 He asks my advice about his niece. 
Dot #6  He goes to Israel and when he returns he tells me he has something he brought back for me.  What is my cell number. He's going to call me so he can give it to me.
Dot #7   I don't hear and I head off to Maine. 
Dot # 8  I realize my phone isn't working and I've missed his call, among several, so I text him an apology with the reason.
Dot #9 I don't see him for 2 1/2 months, because I'm not cycling.
Dot #10  Wednesday... "Shhh!"
Dot #11  I text him when I get home, saying "Hope the Shhh doesn't last forever.  It took three technicians and 2 hours at the Microsoft store last weekend to discover my phone was missing notification software.  NOW I'm getting my messages."
Dot #11  Nada.

I think I'm  very happy with the "Shhh!"

Well, that's that for cycling, I think.  Now that chilly weather is on its way, I'll hang my bike shoes up and find another way to whittle my bulge off.

My doctor is quite pleased with me.  "Your numbers never looked this good!" he said last week.  I like good numbers.

I happen to be taking an online course to learn how to date 'smart'.  I did tell you that.  Can't quite claim dating's for me, but it has great discussions in its secret FB group.  People are really opening up, writing about their hopes and dreams.  I love the intimacy and warmth!  The dating concepts are straightforward: be real.  Speak from your heart. 

Sounds like a primer for making friends, except for the sex part, which is pretty important to a lot of folks.  This course is where exercise called the Gift Circle came from.  You contributed?!  That, itself, is worth the price of admission.

Did you know, though, that one of the women in this course used her Gift Circle responses to craft her online dating profile?

I'm waiting to hear what kind of responses she gets.

Have a super weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Gifts of the Circle of Friends

Hi guys.  Feeling Velveteen Rabbitey here.   The Gift Circle I described last post - where friends reveal what they treasure about each other - is really rubbing the fur off my belly. Oooh!

Here's what my closest friend wrote.  Her answer deserves a whole post. 

"When we first met, you struck me as quiet, easily overlooked, needing [your husband] to support you and perhaps be your compass. You were an artist and maybe a bit “arty” – almost a definition rather than a person.  Over the years I got to know more about you and to like you more and more.  But again, I would describe you by what you did, not who you were.  You were strong and adventuresome – cycling in Europe, taking mosaic classes in Mexico (Mexico?!), spending time in France, camping alone in ME., travelling to the Easter Islands, scattering ashes in Hawaii. And trying to find a soul mate, only to be disappointed time and again.  You were a seeker, but I didn’t know what it was that you sought.

Now I know – you were seeking Flo and you are finding her.  I have been blessed to accompany you on part of this journey and I have seen a scared little rabbit ( 12 years ago) turn into a  beautiful, compassionate, caring friend. The rabbit is coming out of her hole, trusting people more, opening her eyes and looking deeply into mine, daring to be present to others, instead of needing to protect herself at all costs.  You’ve become a person, not a definition – unfinished, as we all are – but someone who is able to feel real feelings and not hide from them, who is coming to love and accept the real Flo and slowly to trust her own truth, even if its scary or different.  You are grounded, Flo, rooted like the plants in your garden. 

 ...I see your core qualities as strength, courage (alone in Maine with the bears!), trustworthiness (I know you’d never betray a secret); faithfulness (nor betray me), a true sense of spirituality and transcendence, which informs your life. And an enormous amount of love, which you’re just discovering and starting to trust.  I think the best way to describe you now is to say that you’re real.  When we talk, we truly “share” and that happens rarely in our world.  That’s why I’m so grateful for your friendship. (Is that a core quality?  If not it should be.  True friendship is a real gift because it implies acceptance.)  Another core gift of yours – you are non-judgmental. There is so much love in you and I’ve seen you begin to open yourself to that, to allow yourself to  feel compassion, trusting you won’t be hurt. When you smile, I feel the love as I never did before and it’s life giving.  Thank you for being my friend. "

Isn't this amazing?  I am easier to read than I thought! 

And being braver and realer....Just this week, I fessed up to a man who wants to be my friend, that with me, comes the elephant in my room - she's snorty, messy, and impolitic.  She comes out with me.  He laughed.  How real you are!  Of course I want to be your friend.

I'd like to bring out Ms. Snorty, Messy, Impolitic.  Do you want to meet her?  You wanna love the fur off of her, too?

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.   The fall colors are striking here in New England.  Tomorrow I'm heading to western Massachusetts to visit my father and my brother, who just had major surgery.  Can't wait to give them hugs!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No Better Use for Love

You voted with your clicks.  I'm humbled by over two hundred visits and several comments this past week.  Thank you!  (And yah, it could have been the sexy title, too.)

I was beginning to feel underwhelming, you see.

No prepared theme today.  I'll see what comes out.

I'm taking this course about 'Deeper Dating'.  Actually it's called the 'Lifelong Love' course, with 'Deeper Dating's author, Ken Page.  How I got into this course with a title like this?  I followed some people I admired in. 

I'm kind like the blindfolded birthday gal playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey these days.  Round and round I spin.  Feeling my way in!

About this 'Lifelong Love' course -  One way to look at it, is to say 'nailed it'!  And this lovely period has reached its conclusion.  BooHoo.  (For those still grieving, I do NOT belittle grieving At ALL.)

Another way to look at it is to be the discoverer.  Simply tweak "Deeper Dating" into "Deeper Relating".  I've got this tail.  Now where is this rump?

Deeper Relating.  You guys know it.  It's that delicious social ease that comes with being absolutely known and absolutely loved through and through. 

Do you know, as a kid I had this idea that only extraordinary people could pin the tail on the donkey's rump?  I mean, considering we all were blindfolded, only people with this mysterious, extraordinary, extrasensory 'gift' that could nail that tail.  Then, for awhile I pouted.  I thought the winners cheated.

But then I met a whole different type of people.   You know what these people do?  You guessed it.  Once they have taken their turn and taken off their blindfold, they help the next player find that donkey's rump.

'Extra' ordinary 'gifts' and cheating have nothing to do with nailing that donkey's tail.   Unless you count teamwork as extraordinary.

So, back to this Lifelong Love Course.  We've gotten to the part called the Gift Circle.  It's where we students pick folks who know us well, and ask them to tell us what qualities they treasure in us.  The idea of Deeper Dating is that love develops through sharing our core gifts, the qualities we feel most vulnerable about.  So many of us don't recognize where our core gifts lie.  (Like being blindfolded with the tail in your hand?)  I've asked my best friend.  I'll share her reply with you, if she gives me permission.  (Ah!  It just popped into my mailbox!)  I'd like to set up a Skype session with a couple other women. 

So asking is the first half of the Gift Circle.

The other half of this Gift Circle involves telling what qualities we treasure in them. 

I've been thinking about what qualities I treasure in you. 

You have this delicious quality of attention.  Towards yourself, towards others, toward what you love doing.  It's this kind of attention that feels into others, into one's own interests and one's self. It observes with care.  All is treasured.  It laughs.  We all have foibles, so here we are.  This quality of attention is the spark that glows, not to light up the room all by itself, not to extinguish itself when it lights the next candle, but to glow along with everyone else, until the whole room is bright.

This is a good use for love -

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

- Howard Thurman