Author Archives: Ananaia OLeary

About Ananaia OLeary

My life-long love affair with humanity has led me to a deep understanding of the workings of the human psyche, and perhaps more importantly, the authentic nature of the human spirit. Over 20 years of spiritual study and both personal and professional experience I have developed my capacity to perceive the subtle energies and spiritual presence, which operate just below the surface of ordinary perception. My journey has taught me that these subtle dynamics shape our lives on every level: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. We may not perceive them consciously, but they impact us concretely. When we come together, you bring your willingness and wisdom. I utilize my skills as a shaman, healer, visionary and teacher and the transformational power of love to help you heal, evolve, discover and share your medicine gifts. As you release impeding energy patterns and mobilize your authentic gifts, life becomes more vibrant, harmonious and empowered. Let's collaborate!

Welcoming Flow

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FLOWING is a state of dynamic ease. When we are flowing energetically, subtle energy circulates freely through our meridians, chakras and energy bodies, reducing physical and emotional pain and dysfunction. Energetic flow also supports healthy function in the physical body, including the cardio-vascular, endocrine and nervous systems.

Energetic flow promotes balance, vitality and optimal function in body, mind and spirit. When we are flowing spiritually, life unfolds sweetly and smoothly, with few obstacles and little stress. Spiritual flow enables us to open to inspiration and possibilities, connect to nourishment and support, think creatively and move optimistically in the world.

There are many energy medicine techniques that help our energy to flow, but you may wish to begin by energizing your intention to welcome flow into your life.

hummingbird flight

 

  1. Each morning take a few moments to face East (the direction of the dawning sun & new possibilities)
  2. Take a few deep cleansing breaths in through your nose, out through the mouth
  3. State aloud: Today I welcome grace and ease.  (or similar words of your choosing)
  4. If you wish, open your heart to the support of Spirit. Hummingbird is a particularly good ally to call upon for this. Hummingbird medicine helps us trust and align with the sweetness of Life.

Intention is powerful.  Life flows more smoothly when we welcome grace and ease. Welcome flow!

Activating the Chakras in Your Feet

The chakras in the bottom of our feet help to connect us to the Earth's energy field. Shoes, concrete and the stresses of modern life can cause these energy centers to become congested and closed.  When this happens, the energetic exchange between us and the Mother is curtailed, making it hard for us to release unwanted energies and receive nourishment from Gaia. This simple technique can help.

Two Footprints in sand

Benefits: opens minor chakras in the soles of the foot, stimulates energy flow through these chakras and enhances energetic connection with the Earth.

Do this exercise when you are feeling ungrounded, have excessive energy or nervousness, are scattered, flighty or unfocused.

Instructions:

  1. This works best with your shoes off
  2. Sitting or standing, rest your feet on the floor or ground
  3. Curl your toes inward, like you are making fists with your feet. Hold tightly for several seconds
  4. Relax your toes for a couple of seconds
  5. Repeat at least 5-6x
  6. Rest your feet on the ground again
  7. Sense the enhanced energetic connection between your feet and the Earth

article by Ananaia O'Leary

 

Feelings Flow

Feelings flow. They are energy moving through us, creating a vibrant connection with the living web. Where our energy fields are clear and thriving, feelings move in a pure nourishing current, uplifting and enlivening us. Where our energy fields are blocked and dysfunctional, pure feeling distorts into raw emotion.

Emotion is pure feeling under pressure. Charged emotions arise from disruptions in our psyches. Without exception, anger, grief, fear, bitterness and all such emotions are evidence of an opportunity for healing.

Healing at this level requires new understandings of energy, consciousness and Spirit and how to engage them for transformation. As with all new things, there is a learning curve involved, but it a journey well worth taking. As this territory opens up, we can discover that healing can unfold with ever-increasing grace and ease.

When these energies transform, that which was once blocked now becomes a clear pathway for energy to move through your being without distortion. As you unblock your energy field, you become a conduit for Joy, Peace, Love & deep Presence. Your feelings flow, uniting you in the loving dance of Creation.

article by Ananaia R O'Leary

Mind A-Whirl? Try These Tips

Artwork by Alex Grey
Artwork by Alex Grey

Is your mind a-whirl? Cluttered with plans & possibilities or fears & frustrations? When the mind is buzzing, it can be very difficult to hear the calm, still voice of intuition. We can scheme & strategize, but, in this mental mode, we have only intellect & past precedent to draw upon. This can severely limit possibilities & hamper problem solving.

Quieting the mind & connecting to our intuition helps us find a smooth path through challenges & optimize luminous forward momentum. Stilling mind & opening to inner wisdom is an evolving art, which takes time & dedication to develop. However, a few simple steps can get you started.

When your mind is racing or you are feeling confused, try one of these tips:

Shift Gears:  A wise person once said: When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is: Stop digging.   If your mental wheels are spinning, stop pushing.  Step back. Take your mind off whatever you are attempting to achieve. If possible, walk away.   Change environment. Change focus.  Redirect your attention & your energy towards something completely unrelated to the task at hand.  Trivial or productive -- just make sure it has no relevance to the issue or initiative that has your gears spinning.  Put your quandary on the back burner & focus on something else.  You might be amazed what emerges. 

Face Fear:   Sometimes when you're struggling for resolution, you are trying like hell to keep your worst fear at bay. We often believe that, if we can just avoid bringing that fear into focus, somehow we can prevent it from manifesting. Ironically, the opposite is often true.  What we resist, gains power.  Those unacknowledged fears have a way of haunting us.  Next time you find  yourself in a dicey situation -- staving off fear of an undefined, but dreaded outcome, you might try this:

  • Turn & face the worst fear you can imagine.  
  • Allow yourself to look it squarely in the face -- to name it.
  • View it as a possibility, not a certainty. Breathe.  
  • Allow yourself to be present with the imagined ramifications of that fear.

It's amazing how often they reveal themselves to be hyperbolic -- over-blown, exaggerated stalkers that seek to terrorize your psyche.    Facing them can help to shrink their scale & bring them back into perspective.  When that happens, their grip is loosened & we can widen out to other possibilities. 

Seek Counsel:  We don't have to have all the answers. When we aren't certain, we can consult other sources: trusted friends, spirit allies, divination, respected teachers & counselors & our own intuition. Of course, it's important to be discerning. If you ask someone more rash or ignorant than yourself, this can either create chaos or bring crystal clarity (through contrast.) Sometimes hearing a bad idea can really bring our wisdom into focus. 

If you have not yet surrounded yourself with at least a handful of sage friends & allies, I suggest divination. Chose a divination tool such as tarot, oracle cards or runes and develop your relationship with them. When stymied or confused, you can pull a card for insight. Personally, I like to work with Brian Froud & Jessica MacBeth's Faeries' Oracle or the Norse runes.  The key to right use of counsel is checking out all suggestions with your inner sense of knowing.  If doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Practice Patience: If you aren't clear, wait. Better to defer a decision (whenever possible) than to make a rash choice & have to unravel the consequences.  Time often opens a window for your intuition to sneak in.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Catalyzing Clarity

ice-sculptures

Clarity is such a blessing.  When we are clear, we can move forward with confidence.  When we are muddled, momentum slows and tension rises.  Often we try to push forward, despite confusion.  The results are seldom satisfactory.

Angeles Arrien, writer, cultural anthropologist and medicine woman, once wrote: When we are not clear, we wait. There is wisdom in these words. Baffled action is never advisable. Yet, if we are unclear, do we simply wait passively? At times, yes, quietly resting in ambiguity can be the best possible choice. In this liminal pause, wisdom can surface and insight emerges.

At other times, there is a bonafide need for action.  We feel it in our bones, like a pressure pushing us forward, but without clarity how do we proceed? By stepping back from the issue at hand and focusing on the impediment: lack of clarity.  If you are unclear, take action on that.

When caught in a spiral of persistent confusion, recognize what’s happening, stop pushing, pause, take a breath, redirect your energies. Don’t try to punch your way through. Catalyze clarity through ceremony.

If you’re conversant with creating your own ceremony, go for it!  Get creative.  If ceremony is new territory for you, keeping it sincere and simple is a good rule of thumb. Remember, the point of ceremony is to engage body, mind and heart in a communication with Spirit. Sometimes the best communication is eloquent in its simplicity.

Here are a few elementary suggestions for catalyzing clarity by … 

1)  Air:  Breath

  • Take a few quiet moments in a comfortable posture and align your intention for clarity
  • Breathe in and hold your breath gently in your lungs
  • Tune to the confusion within, allowing that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out confusion
  • Pause with your lungs empty to align with your intent to welcome clarity
  • Inhale, breathing in clarity
  • Repeat slowly until you feel complete
  • Do this daily or several times a day to energize your intent to release and clear

2)  Fire:  Burning Bowl

  • Supplies: paper, markers, crayons or pencils & a safe place to burn paper
  • Be present with your confusion, without immersing in it
  • Make an abstract energy drawing of your confusion. Try to draw from your feelings rather than your thoughts.
  • When your drawing feels complete, be present with it briefly (just a few minutes)
  • Say “Yes!” to releasing this confusion
  • Set the paper on fire and drop it into a fire-safe bowl or fireplace
  • As you watch, invite the cleansing power of fire to burn through your confusion like the sun burning away fog.

3)  Water:  try this Salt Water Purification ceremony

4)  Earth:  Stone Ally

  • Choose a stone willing to help you release confusion and attain clarity
  • Tune to the confusion within, allow that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out into the stone — the stone will hold this confusion for you
  • Carry the stone in your pocket
  • Throughout the day, as confusion arises, blow it into the stone
  • At the end of the day, place the stone lovingly on Mother Earth and ask her to help the dense energy of confusion breakdown and return to her to be recycled
  • Leave the stone on the Earth overnight to clear
  • In the morning, lift your stone from the Earth and feel its clarity
  • Hold the stone and let the energy of clarity flow through you
  • Continue to work with the stone until confusion dissipates and clarity emerges

Personally, I would not do all 4 of these processes for the same issue.  I’d choose the most resonant one for this situation and focus on it.

When working with ceremony, expect change, but don’t demand it.  Do these simple workings in a spirit of trust and empowerment, not desperation.   Spirit moves on its own timetable, so surrender attachment to outcome (as best you can) and pay attention to what is emerging.  Clarity may come in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.  Expect it!

Remember, Man, That Thou Art Dust

Ash Wednesday

ash-wednesday

I was never impressed with the whole idea of Lent, a 6-week season of deprivation in the name of spiritual growth.  But growing up Catholic, there was always something just a lil bit badass about having ashes smudged onto my forehead with the forbidding admonishment: Remember, Man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.  

I remember other kids would rub their foreheads clean in the bus on the way home, embarrassed. Me? Well, even then, I guess, I had an appreciation for symbolism and ritual.  I took it in stride.  It didn't seem to bother me that I'd been marked for inevitable death.  I felt that something special had happened to me that day and I wanted it to linger.

I never associated that smudge with sin. I associated it with mortality.  The ash was death-stuff, not a mark on my soul. I couldn't have articulated it then, but looking back I recognize that I felt the truth of that inexorable cycle as the organic thing it is.  For the living, death is a required course. It didn't weigh heavily upon me.  For the first time writing this, it occurs to me that they were trying to frighten me into good behavior. At the end of life comes judgment and sinners face the flames.  Except I've never believed in the whole lake-of-fire thing.  Ha! the tactic was wasted on me.

From the first time I read it in 4th grade, I knew that "God is Love" is the most powerful statement in the bible.  By middle school, I had realized that hell is a separation from God or Love (same thing) - a state we can experience right here on Earth.  I've never feared hell. I've never feared God. Love is not something to be feared. There was a time when I did fear death.  As I passed from my 20's to my 30's, I felt the acceleration of time that comes with age.  I became acutely aware that my life was not on track with my destiny.  I was not really afraid of dying, but rather the unlived life.

Now, very much aligned with my Spirit's calling, I am down with Death.  It doesn't frighten me.  I happen to love the idea of mortality. Don't get me wrong: I'm no middle-aged Goth-Girl, brooding on the morbid and the morose. I'm certainly not welcoming my demise, but I'm not resisting it either.  I trust that it will come in its perfect time.  Until then, I want to live.

The crisp awareness that this too shall pass brings life into focus.  The finite gives life its contour.  Limitations of time, energy, resources and awareness shape our choices.  Choices shape our life journey.  In the end, these outlines form the boundaries of our lives. Within those boundaries, lie our accomplishments, our contributions, our creations, our joys, our love received and expressed and the markers for continued evolution in our next incarnation.  These boundaries beget the magic and the measure of our lives.  Mine will be a life well-lived.

When I shuffle off this sweet mortality, my body will indeed return to dust.  I hope that some beloved someone will take that burnt ash and spread it on the winds over Canyon de Chelly.  Let my dust return to to dust, replenishing the Mother.  My spirit will fly!

 

 

Trusting Your Creations Begins with a Liminal Pause

I can trust myself as a perfect and luminous Creator. What an amazing discovery this has been!  The light of this awareness has been slowly dawning over the past few years, as I've come into the recognition that every experience is a perfect gift from my Higher Self, my Spirit.  And this is true for you too!

Every incident, occurrence, event, "accident", etc. carries with it an opportunity for healing, enhanced awareness, spiritual growth for yourself and others involved.  More Light, more Love, more Joy. When we are able to recognize the perfection of our own creations, we can identify and claim the gift(s) in any situation.  When we perceive from this level, we shift our narrative from stories of suffering to tales of transformation.  The trick is to find the gift within the experience.

In order to do this, we need to be able to detach from our suffering perspective and witness the dynamics involved from a higher level.  This requires mindfulness, the ability to connect with our intuition ... and, of course, practice. The first step is learning to insert a liminal pause.

What does this mean?

The liminal is a threshold state -- an undefined space betwixt and between, neither here nor there. It is the space between catalyst & responsecause & effect, an experience & our evaluation of it.

When we perceive a challenging situation, we tend to immediately label it as "negative", which triggers resistance and throws us into a fight/flight/freeze mode.  Our brain goes into a beta brainwave state. While this is an optimal state for running away from an imminent threat, it is not conducive to mindfulness or intuitive connection.

Intuition requires an alpha or theta brainwave state.  While we're in beta we cannot be in alpha or theta, which means if we want to perceive and receive the gift of our own creations, we need to learn to shift our consciousness.

In every challenging situation, I'm learning to insert a liminal pause. I stop, breathe and remind myself that I can trust my creations.  I'm cultivating the ability to suspend the temptation to tell myself stories of stress and impending catastrophe.  Of course, I can still be triggered into a fight or flight response, so I've also been learning energy medicine techniques to help me calm, center and reset my system when this happens.  As I relax, my brain shifts into a deeper brainwave state, making intuitive connection more accessible. 

As I work with these techniques, it's becoming a habit for me to incorporate them in the moment or as soon as I realize that I have been triggered.

One technique I find beneficial is Sedating the Triple Warmer.  Triple Warmer is one of the meridians or energy highways in the body.  This meridian tends to get over-stimulated by stress.  Sedating this meridian helps to soothe and calm stress in your body, mind and emotions.

SEDATING TRIPLE WARMER
adapted from Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine Kit

Benefits:  The triple warmer meridian is closely linked with the fight-or-flight response.  Sedating the triple warmer calms the meridian, helping to reduce fear and anxiety, release tension and overcome insomnia.  You sedate the triple warmer meridian by running your hand along the meridian in the reverse direction of it's natural flow. 

artwork from Energy Medicine by Donna Eden
artwork from Energy Medicine by Donna Eden

Do these exercises when you are feeling stressed, frightened or anxious, having trouble grounding and centering or are over-energized or excessively jazzed.

Simple Option: Smoothing Behind the Ears
You sedate the triple warmer meridian by running your hand along the meridian in the reverse direction of its natural flow: 

  1. Place the tips of your fingers on your temples. Take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale through your mouth.
  2. On another deep in-breath, slowly slide your fingers up and over your ears, maintaining some pressure.
  3. On the out-breath, take them around and behind your ears, down your neck and hang your fingers on your shoulders.
  4. When you are ready, push your fingers into your shoulders, drag them across the front of your shoulders, and let them go.

Complete Option: Tracing Triple Warmer Backwards

  1. Place your right hand flat on your left temple.
  2. As you inhale, sweep your hand firmly and steadily along the triple warmer meridian (pictured above) to the tip of the ring finger on your left hand, exhaling as you release the energy through your fingers.
  3. Repeat 2 or 3 times on your left side as needed.
  4. Repeat on the right side.

I use this and other energy medicine techniques and spirit practices to help me restore balance. For more techniques, I recommend Donna Eden's Energy Medicine book &/or kit.

When I am calm and centered, I ask myself:

How is this perfect? What gift am I offering myself in this situation?

I don't try to find the answer through reason or analysis; I align with ease and ambiguity, stretching out the liminal pause to allow my Higher Self to slip through the space between my egoic responses and illuminate the situation with the Truth of the Spirit. Sometimes clarity arrives quickly. More often, I need to take my mind off the situation, release attachment to outcome and allow insight to incubate. Movement, sleep, meditation and prayer can all help me to connect to my intuition.

When clarity comes and I glimpse the gift at the heart of the challenge, I often laugh aloud. Gifts come in many forms: an opportunity to heal a long standing wound, to forgive and restore a broken relationship, to recognize the beauty of my own being or that of another, to shed a limiting belief which has shaped my experience of the world, to hold another human being in love, compassion and trust in our mutual luminous creativity.

I open my heart and mind and say "Yes!" to my own perfect creation.  Once the gift is received, I ask Spirit for guidance to help me move forward, taking the necessary steps for resolution, releasing what is painful and aligning with joy.  I insert a liminal pause and await the inevitable inspiration.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

 

Quiet for the Quickening

Bringing Spring by Kinuko CraftToday is Imbolc, a holiday with ancient roots and modern relevance. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time of the quickening. The time when life stirs in the Earth and the next cycle of growth awakens. It is a perfect time to slow our activity, quiet our minds and dissolve our inner chatter to a sacred stillpoint.

In this keen quiet, our Spirit is moving, stirring the deep waters of life, engendering your next cycle of growth. If we are still, we can sense this subtle awakening. At this moment, you don’t need the details. Seek the life-pulse rising, like Spring sap in sycamores. Your Spirit is calling you to expand, evolve,excel. Sense the Truth-Yes! in your being. Tonight, when darkness falls, energize a candle with your Yes! and set it in a window. Let your light shine in the world. Spring is coming!

If you are having trouble stilling your mind, a purification ceremony can help.  Think of it as a Spring cleaning of the Spirit.  I’ve adapted this practice from a ceremony I learned from Starhawk’s Spiral Dance many years ago.  The first time I did this almost 25 years ago, I experienced a profound sense of sacred empowerment and healing – just what I needed at that time. May this ceremony bring you the blessings you need in this moment.

Salt-Water Purification Ceremony

  • Create a time and space for quiet without interruptions.
  • Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself.
  • Invite luminous Spirit support to be present with you.
  • Fill a cup with water.  Add three mounds of salt, and stir.
  • Sit with the cup in your lap.
  • Let any disruptive thoughts or feelings surface in your mind; be present with any dense energies in your body or energy field.
  • Sense these as a muddy stream, which flows out of you as you breathe and is dissolved by the salt water in the cup.
  • Allow yourself time to feel deeply cleansed.
  • Now hold up the cup.  Breathe deeply, and invite the green light of Nature to rise up through you from the Earth.
  • Let this luminous energy flow into the salt water, until you can visualize the water glowing with light.
  • Sip the water.  As you feel it on your tongue, know that you have taken in the power of cleansing, of healing.  You have been cleansed by the power of change.
  • If you are planning to light a candle (as discussed above), now would be a good time to energize and light it.
  • Thank Spirit for their presence and support.
  • Place your candle in the window
  • Empty the leftover water onto the Earth (being careful to choose a spot where the salt water will not damage growth.)
  • Enjoy the sacred stillness of Imbolc.

 

Just Because You Don’t Believe Something Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

grieving greeks

This post was inspired by this article :  Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason

This article recently came across my facebook feed, posted by a sincere friend, who resonated with it as Truth because it agreed with her preconceptions. Just because something aligns with our existing beliefs, doesn't make it true. It's not my intent to denigrate the poster or the author of this article, but it provides such a perfect example of the pervasive confusion around these points that it would seem a shame to miss this opportunity for explication.

First, let me begin by saying: clearly the people featured in this article are dealing with acute loss. I respect that and honor that each person has the right to navigate that territory in their own way, to the best of their abilities, with the resources they have available in each moment.  I wish all involved in this (and similar) circumstances, peace and blessings.  I am certainly not seeking to score points off the aggrieved.

So let us separate the people from the perspectives and philosophies being expressed in this article and focus on the latter.

Because You Don't Believe Something Doesn't Mean It's Not True

Of course the inverse is also true.  Just because I believe something, doesn't mean that it is true.  To assess the Truth of any belief, one must first understand it clearly.  My concern about arguments like the ones in this article is that they purport to refute the validity of the statement - everything happens for a reason - without actually understanding what it means or exploring its basis in the Physics of Consciousness.

Although it is beyond the scope of a single post to build a comprehensive case for the validity of this belief, I will say that my support of it arises from deep engagement with the human energy field and the dynamics of human consciousness.  Many people are not conversant with these territories and therefore have a hard time accurately wrapping their minds around this statement. They look for surface evidence to refute it, but the truth of this statement lies in the deeper levels of energy and consciousness.  To understand it, we have to go deeper.

Teasing Out Truth From the Tangle

As often happens in discussions on this topic, in this article Truth is tangled up with emotionalism and conflation of key concepts which create distortions .  Let's tease out a couple of threads and explore them. Of course, it isn't possible to exhaustively cover all that could be explored about this in a single blog post, but I'll have a go at it nonetheless.

Truth Requires Content, Context & Timing

Believe me, I understand that the statement - everything happens for a reason - can often be disruptive rather than helpful, particularly when the person saying it is not in right alignment.

The author writes:

I’m listening to a man tell a story. A woman he knows was in a devastating car accident; her life shattered in an instant. She now lives in a state of near-permanent pain; a paraplegic; many of her hopes stolen. He tells of how she had been a mess before the accident, but that the tragedy had engendered positive changes in her life. That she was, as a result of this devastation, living a wonderful life. And then he utters the words. The words that are responsible for nothing less than emotional, spiritual and psychological violence: Everything happens for a reason. That this was something that had to happen in order for her to grow. That's the kind of bullshit that destroys lives. And it is categorically untrue.

Let us begin with the seemingly obvious fact that Truth is not simply a matter of content.  If we are to wield Truth impeccably, we cannot simply blurt it out. Even the keenest Truth needs to be delivered with respect for the timing and circumstances involved.  Actually the keener the Truth, the more incisive it can be.  Keen Truth must be handled with the delicacy and precision of a surgeon and be delivered only when there is an authentic opening for healing or transformation. Truth touches our raw places and invites them to rise to a higher understanding. Even the purest Truth, when spoken without respect for timing and circumstances, will find no fertile ground on which to thrive.  Sometimes a person doesn't have the resources or capacity to recognize or respond to Truth. In these circumstances, offering untimely Truth simply pokes painful places without affording an avenue for healing or transformation. In such a circumstance, the best is silence.

When Truth Becomes a Platitude

Something can be true, yet, if it is not spoken from Truth, it has no power to uplift or transform.  It becomes merely a platitude. I cannot vouch for the man cited in this article, but all too often I have witnessed people spouting spiritual aphorisms with meager comprehension of what they actually mean or how they actually operate. Often they only half believe what they are saying; they wish it to be so more than actually knowing it to be true. At such times, the speaker might be seeking to convince themselves as much as the other person. They have a half-assed understanding of what the statement even means, usually a highly over-simplified and overly literal interpretation of a complex metaphysical dynamic, which they have accepted on the say-so of one of Oprah Winfrey's special guests.

When we speak Truth from Truth, our words carry resonant wisdom from our spirit-core.  If the content, context and timing are aligned, our words ring with Truth and have the power to sound Truth within the listener. This is the Truth that can set us free.

Acknowledging a "Reason" Doesn't Require Blind Trust

Unfortunately, when people make a statement such as everything happens for a reason, too often a kind of chaotic haze swirls around them as they speak. Instead of elucidating Truth, they are verbally gesturing towards a belief that all of this is beyond our ken as humans and can never be truly comprehended.  They may be advocating abdication to a "higher order" which cannot be known, but must be blindly trusted.  This is often coupled with ideations that God has a mysterious plan and is "doing this to us" for some unknown, inexplicable purpose. If this is one's understanding, it would be pretty difficult not to cast God in the role of the villain in some kind of cosmic torture porn. If I thought that this is how Creator Mind operated, I too would be hostile to this statement ... or to God directly.

Fortunately, this is not how it works. Every experience is finely crafted to offer us (and everyone involved) an evolutionary opportunity - a chance to become more authentically ourselves. This is not just random, arbitrary, scattershot growth, but growth which is exquisitely appropriate for our soul's journey - the best available context for necessary progression. With the proper skills and mindful presence, when the timing and context is right, it is possible to understand the content:  in this case - the "reason" that something is happening.  The data we seek is coded in our energy field.  I say this from direct, extensive experience of working with the human energy field. It is not being done to you by some outside agency, it is being shaped by the dynamics in your own energy field and your consciousness. There is so much more that can be said about this, but there is only so much that can be encapsulated in a single post. Have no fear, much of this blog will be devoted to exploring these dynamics.

A Lost Opportunity is Still an Opportunity

The author writes:

 I hate to break it to you, but although devastation can lead to growth, it often doesn't. The reality is that it often destroys lives.

With every occurrence in our lives, we are offering ourselves and each other an evolutionary opportunity.  Failure to actualize this opportunity doesn't negate its presence. No one guarantees that we will be able to make the most of these situations.  However, refusal to recognize them as opportunities greatly increases the likelihood that we will not reap the gift embedded in every situation.  Convincing ourselves that our experiences are random and without meaning, is not only fallacious, but disempowering.  When we throw up our hands and bemoan life's caprices, we miscast ourselves as hapless victims, rather than the trustworthy creators that we truly are.   When we greet each experience with a willingness to find and actualize the opportunity it affords, we can meet each moment with ever-increasing hope, grace, trust and love.  The alternative is to condemn ourselves, unnecessarily, to chronic confusion and perpetual pain -- not to mention a significant slowing of our evolutionary progress.

The author writes:

I now live an extraordinary life. I've been deeply blessed by the opportunities I've had and the radically unconventional life I've built for myself. Yet even with that said, I'm hardly being facetious when I say that loss has not in and of itself made me a better person. In fact, in many ways it's hardened me. While so much loss has made me acutely aware and empathetic of the pains of others, it has made me more insular and predisposed to hide. I have a more cynical view of human nature, and a greater impatience with those who are unfamiliar with what loss does to people. Above all, I've been left with a pervasive survivor’s guilt that has haunted me all my life. This guilt is really the genesis of my hiding, self-sabotage and brokenness.

I feel for the writer's predicament, but this argument does not disprove the presence of opportunity.  It is simply proof of a work still in progress. If we are unable to actualize opportunities, we often retreat and entrench, intensifying conditions rather than healing them.  Fortunately, even this does not need to be a permanent state.  With awareness, we can learn to revisit these hardened dynamics and illuminate them with healing.  Stay with it ... this too shall pass. If not in this life, surely in the ones to come.

Our Assumptions About Grief are Not Absolutes

One of the biggest impediments to mindful presence is pain.  Although our experiences are, in fact, happening for a reason, does that mean we that we are instantly inclined to fling our arms wide to welcome pain and grief?  Of course, not.  We reflexively recoil from pain.  Circumstances like these touch upon and exacerbate already existing pain within, forcing it to the surface in the hope that we can at last confront and transform it.  We are called to healing - and this can be a painful process.

The author writes:

So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times; words so powerful and honest they tear at the hubris of every jackass who participates in the debasing of the grieving: Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. 

When I read this statement, it appears to me to conflate 2 related, but distinct, concepts:

  1. The Need to Honor Our Feelings & Our Process
    I agree that when we are in pain, we need to allow ourselves to be present with what is arising.  We should not suppress or prematurely rush to remedy it.  We need to engage it in a way that is sustainable and authentic to us.  However, when we are aware of the energetic dynamics of grief and empowered with healing wisdom, it is possible to traverse this territory with greater grace and ease.
  2. Belief in the Inevitable & Eternal Presence of Grief
    The author writes:  Grief is woven into the fabric of the human experience.  Contrary to widely held belief, grief and pain are not inevitable responses to death or adversity.  It may be a long-standing human habit, but, as we evolve as a species, we begin to discover that it is not an absolute requirement of the human condition. It should not be enshrined as an inevitable or eternal sacred cow.  If it is present, it should not be avoided -- it should be acknowledged and supported. Although grief can seem to engulf us, it actually arises from finite dynamics in our energy field. If we didn't have these dynamics, we could greet life's transitions with peace and presence. Most of us have not yet attained this state of being, so grief and pain are common responses.

    Fortunately, these are energetic dynamics and as such are ultimately mutable. If we know how to support transformation of those parts of us that are triggered into grief, we can can eventually move through grief to a state of peace.  There is no prescribed timetable for this.  Our tempos are our own. The key here is to understand that true healing is not only available, but is a profound way to honor what has happened by reaping the fullest harvest from this painful event. While it may not be possible to "fix" the initial circumstances, the impact of the event can be changed, healed.  It is possible to emerge stronger and more resilient from even our darkest passages.

    To convince ourselves that emotional pain and grief is eternal and immutable is one of the greatest injustices that human beings can perpetrate upon themselves or others.  Some even go farther, insisting that perpetually nursing one's grief is virtuous proof of love for those who have departed.  Pain is never proof of love.  If you don't understand that statement, you have more to learn about the true nature of love.  Don't worry, we all have a lot to learn on that frontier.

Anger & Distortion - Is There a Connection?

I introduce this point, not to pick at the author, but simply as a cautionary note.  Anger arises from disrupted dynamics in our consciousness.  Where we have disruptions, there is a strong likelihood of distortion. If something triggers us into an angry rant, it is almost guaranteed that we have yet to come to true clarity regarding the situation. A raw area of our being has been triggered and is inviting us to heal.  If our conclusions arise from pain and anger, we probably have not yet arrived at Truth.

In the End I Concur

The insights I shared above are for your own awareness, not meant to be thrust upon others at the moment of their extremis.

The author writes.

When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.  Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words: I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you ... There is no greater act than acknowledgment. And acknowledgment requires no training, no special skills, no expertise. It only requires the willingness to be present with a wounded soul, and to stay present, as long as is necessary. Be there. Only be there. Do not leave when you feel uncomfortable or when you feel like you're not doing anything. In fact, it is when you feel uncomfortable and like you're not doing anything that you must stay. Because it is in those places—in the shadows of horror we rarely allow ourselves to enter—where the beginnings of healing are found. This healing is found when we have others who are willing to enter that space alongside us. Every grieving person on earth needs these people.

This is sound counsel. Although the capacity to be present actually is a skill and requires practice to develop, it is a beautiful baseline to cultivate.  This same power of presence will, in time, empower you to be present with your own painful experiences -- to step back, breathe and discover the gift you are offering yourself from the depths of your consciousness. As we come to truly know the beauty -- and yes, genius! - of our own creations, we can be present more peacefully with the painful creations  of others.  We don't need to preach to them, but our awareness will prevent us from co-suffering which tends to reinforce, not ease, another's pain. When the content, context and timing align, there will be occasions when it will be appropriate to share Truth from Truth.  When it is right aligned and welcome, we can offer Truth which engenders hope, uplifts and helps others to heal and transform.  Until that time, I concur with this author - presence is a truly powerful and loving choice.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Honing In

Consciousness, Reflections

When I sit down to blog, I step into a kaleidoscope.  My mind widens out and theme-streams begin to flow in, each one carrying currents of nuanced, complex content. There’s a juicy over-abundance of data. So much so, that in a matter of seconds, I’ve gone from inspired to swirling in a storm surge of possibilities.

Kaleidescope by Aaron Flick

Don’t misconstrue.  I’m not complaining about the connectivity. It’s simply that, awash in this vast sea, it becomes hard to choose a direction. I need a way to hone in. When I’m responding to someone or something that is arising in real-time, honing in is seldom a problem. Inspiration and intuition seem to easily calibrate to what is needed in that context.

Blog writing is more abstract.  Sometimes inspiration is sparked by something immediate: something I’ve seen or read or a recent conversation or experience. If I can strike while the iron is hot, my focus stays keenly contextualized and cogent clarity flows out. But often inspiration arises in a class, a session, a roadtrip, during my morning ablutions or in the midst of chores. Everything coalesces, words and awareness dovetail, and I can easily articulate what is emerging out loud or in my mind. Of course, it’s not always possible – or optimal – to drop everything and head to my keyboard. When I do seek to recollect these notions in tranquility, I find myself a-whirl in the kaleidoscope.  What is happening here?

This is not merely an inability to recall or concentrate.  I’ve made mental tags, jotted down crib notes and taped sessions and classes for later playback.  When I sit down to write, I reference these sources then tune back in to re-acquire the inspirational stream. The kaleidoscope-vista opens and I seek the tip of the tagged thread surfacing in the dynamic landscape on my inner screen.  It’s almost always there, hazy at first, then coming clearer as I edge in for a closer look.  As I touch the tip of the thread, its content activates.

I am on the live-wire of this strand of Truth, vibrating and dancing in the Gnosis of the Beloved.  I am poised, present, ready to be informed.  I open to receive; the edges of the thread suffuses and expands. Exquisitely complex, related content pours into this thread from every direction until it is no longer the neatly sequenced filament that had coalesced earlier in class, session or personal brainstorm. It is a vast moving field: multi-dimensional, incoming and eager to be comprehended.  My mind floods. As my current capacity to process maxes, my mind fades to featureless white. I breathe and must mentally regroup. My blog entry and my inner screen – both blank. Impasse.

From the time of original inspiration to the time I sit down to write, something has clearly changed. Just now as I was writing this, I flashed on an insight, which is at least one piece of this puzzle: Curiosity is key!

Curiosity, yes, but not just idle curiosity – purposeful curiosity.  Clarity coalesces for me when I engage my curiosity in the pursuit of that which will uplift and transform.  It is this intention which summons each decipherable thread of insight from the wider field. Like a living strand of DNA, each thread contains the necessary data, in the necessary sequence, to activate evolutionary growth in those it touches.  This specific data was singled out and sequenced by the needs of the receiver(s) – myself included.

When I am effective in Truth-tracking, I am doing so in a specific context, in which unknown, but particular, insights are needed to help those involved to advance. We are not dealing with infinite generalities, but a finite set of variables.  These variables cannot all be cataloged by the intellect, but can be encompassed intuitively. My intuition, with the support of Spirit and the collaborative consciousness of all present, calibrates precisely what is essential in that moment and calls it forward to be explicated from the deep field of Truth.

I am often able to comprehend and convey a good portion of this essential data through words, energy and action in such a way that it creates an opening for healing or growth. I am hopeful the insights emerging here will help me develop these capacities further.

When I draw a blank while sitting at my keyboard, I am operating in reference to a much broader data set than usual. I am thinking globally, rather than locally — this is the worldwide web, after all. Without fully realizing it, I’ve been attempting to track and then write something which has the potential to uplift and transform all who read it.  No wonder, what was once a finely calibrated river of wisdom, suddenly floods out into a vast and amorphous sea. Now the data being summoned forth is not the specific set of data needed in this precise moment by one person or a small group of people. Instead, I am unwittingly attempting to coalesce precise, detailed insight on a particular topic for a nearly universal group of people who could be accessing this post at anytime in the future.  The variables exponentially expand!  I currently don’t have the capacity or methodology to process information on this scale, but I’m up for the challenge of expanding my capacity in whatever way is in harmony.

Lots to contemplate here … and even more to explore.  My purposeful curiosity has definitively been piqued!