Sunday, November 12, 2017

Persistence of a Tree: Being with What Is


If I look back, across the entire span of my life, I see many things.  I have experienced a great share of loss, of pain, anguish, betrayal, unpleasant surprise, wounding, mistreatment and dire sadness.  If I look back at those emotions, I might see an entire life wasted in frustration and feeling too much pain.  If I shift my gaze but just a little, I can also see triumph, recovery phases, moments of epiphany when the lessons dawned on my sleeping mind and an endless well of strength from which I dealt with all of my experiences.  If I look back carefully at the entire span of my life, I can see there too, great and magical joy, bliss, discovery, wonder, amazement, curiosity and a drive to always seek deeper meaning and understanding.  It has been a good life, I can say, in my first 50 years on planet Earth.
Now, now I begin a new part, a new path, and in many ways the same direction only with a broader worldview, a less personal worldview and a more open perspective on a great many things.  I have experienced for a great while, a feeling of stasis, non-movement, and silence all with a great sense of anticipation, but for what, I just do not yet know.  So, I dial it all back to the basics with great reverence and curiosity and notice the little things that haven’t caught my attention like the young tree standing near 6 feet tall in my garden.  I sought to pull it out once many years ago and it merely persisted.  So, I let it live where it is most want to grow and I’m happy to let it.  I haven’t a clue about what kind of tree it is and it doesn’t really matter.  It is strong and healthy and it sought purchase in the tiniest strip of land.  I hope that it prospers and grows.  I am reminded that we sometimes cannot even remotely understand the seeds we have planted.  We cannot see until the evidence grows much stronger, and taller, right before our eyes.
Life is a struggle sometimes, it is hard sometimes and it is a bit too busy or quiet for our liking sometimes.  But life persists despite our mental meanderings and musings, despite our emotions or desires and even dreams.  Life persists on its terms in the way that might truly be the most beneficial for us.  So, what to do in these next steps as the path slowly emerges?  I don’t know other than taking deep and gentle breaths as I learn to walk more gently, treat this body and all beings here much more sensitively, and to love more every single stick and stone that I come across with an ever greater and endlessly unfolding sense of pure and pristine gratitude.  Everything here has great history and magic as they have become here in this place.  We seem to always be in a state of becoming here but there is always this tiny precious place within us that already just IS.  Can you imagine that?  A place within us that isn’t becoming anything, just a quiet, transparent persistence of being, the I AM, the All of Everything perhaps peering out through our being, shining light on the pathway, giving us the quiet impetus for motion? Life is a great wonder and I must say that I greatly look forward to every breath and step in this time-space for as long as I am here.
I believe that in my years of quiet contemplation and existence, I am learning to see without my physical eyes.  I see through this sense of energy and feeling, this great sense of massive expanse stemming from everything in my field of vision.  I begin to understand a more steady presence always humming in the background just below normal auditory sensation.  It just IS and I’m not sure I need to wonder about that.  I think I am taking great comfort in the ability to be a part of the beautiful energy that just IS.  I suppose I could look back in regret or over-sentimentality here and there but that just really isn’t the heart of who I am.  I’ve thought all of my life I should be this or that or engage in doing this or that not just the right way but in the most perfect way.  All of it illusory thinking.  Being a part of what IS truly is the greatest realization.  Not focused on any form of It-ness but an Is-ness is much more liberating.  It is hard to explain something that is more of a feeling and not an emotion at all but perhaps a different sense altogether.
It won’t matter much to you unless you have wondered about these things.  I’ve learned in all of this time and with all of this experience that thinking cannot get you anywhere near this feeling of being with what IS.  And, this feeling carries its own sort of magic, peace and beautiful gratitude.  It contains within it a sense of perfect flow like an unimpeded stream.  I hope that you one day experience this.  I may write some more on this topic if the thoughts ever decide to coalesce better.  Until then, grab hold of gratitude for every breath you are here to take and treat yourself with pure and beautiful gentleness along with a great reverence.  Your being is beautiful.  Blessings.

Copyright 2017, Jaie Hart (photo/words)
 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Journey to Acceptance, Self-Compassion and Love

Sometimes I think we are just too smart for our own good.  We look out at life and see the ripples and waves of complexity...we go frantically in search of this thing or that thing that we think will bring us that sense of peace, wholeness and contentment.  But, what if you knew that kind of quest would only ever be fruitless if searching outside yourselves?  What would you do then?

Do you think that in such times, the tiny little aches from within your own heart might seem like a bit more than just the echoes and tingles of past pain or your own seeming failures?  What are your regrets?  Did you know that these things....these things we try so very hard not to think about are THE very things begging you for greater understanding?  Holding these as uninvestigated nagging little somethings without our concerted attention, creates only fear, self-loathing and disease or discomfort?  We don't need pills, a bottle, busy work or hobbies to stave off the pain.  What we need is love...a big dose of healthy self-love, compassion, connectedness and understanding.

The world will give us nothing but more reminders of those tiny little nagging cracks in the core of our hearts.  As much as it might seem so, this is not cruel.  It is by design.  These are not horrible moods or emotions but messengers of hope, faith and love.  How on Earth could this possibly be?- You might think.  Truly, however, it is only a slight shift in understanding that could make this a little easier to grasp.  Within you is a limitless store of magic, untapped-energy, light, love and gratitude.  All that prevents your awareness or awakening to your own inner divine truth is the fear to investigate that which nags you to your core. 

To get to the bottom of these nagging little fears and pains you must realize that it is wholly unnecessary to root out all possible causes or other-worldly seeming origins.  Sometimes, all that is needed is your full awareness and presence of these little nagging urgings into fear or anger or some other uncomfortable emotion.  Sometimes, simply acknowledging their existence while breathing with intent into a moment and showing yourself great compassion, understanding and gentleness is all that is necessary.  Imagine talking to yourself with gentleness as you would a young child in need of wise counsel.

You have walked so many miles on your path.  You have covered great distances.  You have learned awesome, important and amazing things.  You have accomplished so much in your journeying.  Relax into this awareness and breathe deep within your core the gentleness of a single ray of glorious sunlight, a cool and gentle breeze, or the beautiful and powerful music of wind rustling in glorious leaves....it is much more simple than you can imagine.

Relax you, your resistance and move into peace.  Flow like a stream as your truest intuition guides you, follow the true calling of your hearts and feel the blessings therein.  They are many and of infinite value just awaiting your discovery.  Know that you can heal through living with the greatest integrity towards self.  You can achieve greater contentment not through things or striving to be better than anyone else but through connecting with your presence and through your presence, the Spirit of  nature and the All of Everything.  It is not so complex.  Intent is all that is needed.  Willingness to explore is all that is needed.  Faith is a must...a true faith in yourselves and your own energy to begin.  So, just begin.

May your God or Goddess bless and carry you ever more fully into your trues core life purpose with every breath and step.  Feel for the truth of you, breathe through the essence of you and through that essence, the connected consciousness of everything.


© 2017, Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Observation of the Breath - A Gift

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The Birds are beginning to stir as my little coffee pot finishes its fine brew.  It has been a rough week but beautiful too.  Strange happenings in the world this week have my mind and energy stretched out far and wide.  To all who suffer, I pray for comfort and peace.  To all who feel lost, I pray for the deepest feeling of home and love.  For all those worried and in mourning, I send great gentleness and even more love.  For all those out there trying to make this world a better place, ROCK ON!  You got this!  We’ve all got this, really.



I’ve thrown all the windows open to let in the breeze, as slight as it may be.  I’ve a full day of things to do and places to be.  My mind has been stirred so much these last few days, sleep hardly greeted me at all last night.  The coffee seems exceptionally good just now.  My last post was very sad so I really felt I wanted to post something a little bit lighter.  I just don’t know if I can deliver.  I try.  I always try.



Were it not for the kindness of complete strangers this week, I probably would have been a total wreck.  Dealing with loss is never easy, even when you know in your heart that those loved ones who leave us go to a better place.  The energetic void of their non-physical presence is very real to a grieving heart.  But so is the very real presence of hope, acceptance, perseverance and love.  I have all of these things and employ them to help me through a challenging time.



Grief is not so terrible a thing.  It just seems like it at first.  As I sit here quietly thinking this morning I realize the beauty of the feeling that underlies the grief.  It is overwhelming at times only due to the overwhelming love shared for a time.  That is not horrible.  It is so very beautiful.  Each wave of heaviness that makes its way towards me, I let crash directly into me.  I hold no fear for grief and mourning.  I hold steady knowing the truth of this delicate and gentle time. 



Grief, you must know, can take physical form in aches, pains and severely lacking sleep.  This is okay.  It is just part of the process.  We breathe with more purpose in the dark seeming times.  Each breath serves a greater purpose when you are dealing with loss.  With great mindful presence can you withstand the waves of heaviness and the winds of change you must now contend with.  What begins will end and it is only a matter of time.  Feeling the emotion is hard and scary but less so if you don’t let that fear begin to control the process.  It seems only natural to contend also with fear…how will I ever get through this?  We might begin to think at times.  But, you do get through it…one breath and one step at a time and often with many pauses along the way to lean towards your memories.  I smile today with memories of happier times, sweet and gentle times.  I am not discouraged by loss.  I am encouraged by the love I still and always feel.  Maybe that gets me through.  Maybe it is truly the strongest faith I have In myself and my Maker to help get me through this and I will get through this.



My thoughts localize and I take a sip of my coffee.  In the distance I hear the cars passing on the freeway and the birds slowly preparing for the day.  Its dark still this morning and I can hear someone’s alarm going off in the distance.  I just wish them well.  I hear the leaves moving ever so slowly in the trees outside of my window now and then when a gentle sea breeze lifts them up.  I hear the whir and whine of my neighbor’s air conditioner and my coffee pot clicking as it stays warm on the burner.



Today I collect the ashes of my beloved little friend.  I won’t lie and say that doesn’t hurt but my mind is now ready to embrace any emotion because I know I can breathe, I know I can move and I know I can master this part of the process no matter how hard it may be for me.  Today I have hope and faith and I know that I can smile and laugh.  I can give comfort to others and share whatever it is I can to lend a little gentleness to their day.  There is a shift inside when we are dealing with loss.  The little cracks and fissures that seem to grow within our hearts isn’t just the heart breaking.  It is also a beautiful opening.  I intend to let that continue every day.  Every day. 



In a miserable tearful moment this week, I asked for a sign that my little friend was okay and do you know what I got?  The sign.  It came and it is too personal and precious to share but my heart hurts a little less today and I’m really grateful.  I can do this today – this life, these tasks and things.  I will treat myself later to a massage to help ease all the places the grief has temporarily stored itself and I will breathe in every beautiful ray of sunlight with a heart-felt smile today if for no other reason than that is just what I do. 



Whenever it feels like the pain is pulling all hope away from you, stop, take a breath and maybe another and another.  Slowly center your thoughts on your breathing.  Slowly center your thoughts on each sound you hear.  Notice your emotions swirling but don’t give them an ounce more importance than your breath.  Stay focused in these moments for just a few minutes.  Realize you are not your grieving and are certainly not your pain.  These are just parts of an experience you are witnessing in your life.  Observe the experience, feel the experience and just breathe.  For any of you grieving I pray you are enfolded in gentleness and wrapped in love and sweetness.  Consider ways you can bring yourself more of this energy.  You will get through this best by getting through this.  If you are a friend of someone suffering loss, give to them gentleness, presence if they want it and comfort if they need it.  Keep following up. It is a gift to be that light for someone walking through a dark part of their life journey.   

May you be comforted, may you be blessed.




© 2017, Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Walking You Home


Written September 5, 2017:
 
My heart is so heavy it feels as if it cannot bear even the tiniest increment more of this pain.  Grief is a process and mine has only just begun.  I lost a very dear friend today.  I didn’t lose him in the usual way.  He got sick.  He was not going to get better and so I had to compassionately release him.  It happened so quick and he was gone.  For almost 14 years of my life he was there for me every single day.  He was sweet, so very sweet.  Every morning he would greet me as I went down stairs to make my coffee.  He used to wait at my door but as the years went by, he stopped hopping up the stairs like he used to.  He would hear me on the stairs and start meowing.  We would talk while I made coffee and got him his breakfast.  So much have we been through, he and I. 

He was the most beautiful and majestic kitty I have ever seen.  His sweetness was beyond anything I’ve ever known in a furry friend.  I remember the day we brought him home.  He was so tiny that he fit in the palm of my hand.  He was so beautiful, long black fur, and those huge yellow eyes.  My youngest daughter was only 1 and over the years, they became best friends.  I used to love to watch the love that they shared.  It made me smile from the center of my heart.  It was just simply beyond beautiful.  I'd honestly say it was truly extraordinary.

Today was beautiful too.  We brought him home from the ER having already gotten the news he would never recover.  I made a tough call because I loved him so much and just could not bear for him to experience any more pain, no more stress of vet visits and finally be at peace.  We all had the afternoon off to spend with our little family friend.  We played, as much as he could.  We loved as much as he would let us.  We gave him his favorite treats. We each sat with him and stroked his still so very beautiful, long black fur.  For brief moments, all seemed normal even though there was a heaviness in the air.  The clock ticked quickly and the hour came.  The hour came...

We drove to our wonderful vet.  They explained what would happen and we braced for it and it happened lightening fast.  So fast that if you blinked, you’d have missed it.  His spirit was gone soaring.  Our hearts broke and broke and broke. They break still.  We reached a point where there would be no more thinking about the tomorrows.  He was where he was, sick, deteriorating and sometimes the most  compassionate and loving thing you can do is let go.  So, we let go.  And now, now there is grief and wishing it hadn’t happened but knowing it did, it has and we can’t go back.  We have to cry, mourn and face the empty space in our lives he left us with.  He was so sweet.  His energy of just being there was so precious to me.  I’m so very grateful for my little friend.  It might seem silly to feel so much for a cat.  But he was not just a cat.  He was my friend, a true and good one.  He was the littlest member of our family and we just loved him so.

He brought so much to our lives in the simple things, with his constant presence and the joy and laughter he seemed to often inspire in all of us.   I am so very grateful that he was part of our lives for as long as he was.  Our little furry friends can be so very special in our lives.  We mourn because we loved and that can never be wrong.  I hurt and I hurt a lot but you know what?  I wouldn’t change it.  I wouldn’t change knowing him or any day that I had with him in my life.  The memories of him, we will always treasure and today?  Well, we got through it as a family.  As hard as it was on each of us, we walked our little friend home with love, with dignity and with great appreciation for all that he gave us.  Good bye Zacky Midnight, my little special friend.  I pray God has the most special place for you in Heaven.  You deserve that and so much more.  We love you and miss you.



Hold your fur babies close and love without any fear.  Sometimes life is great joy and sometimes too, great sadness.  The point is to love.  The point is to experience.  The point is to share.  Our little fur babies share so much with their sweet innocence and never ending love.  They are truly treasures.  If you are grieving the loss of a family pet, my heart goes out to you.  I know your pain and I know that pain means you loved and were loved by a precious little fur baby.  Even if it doesn't last forever, the love never dies.  It just never dies.  May your God or Goddess be with you and your fur babies no matter whether they are here or happily and patiently waiting for you somewhere near the Rainbow Bridge. 



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Breathe - Become Aware - That's It


I woke up to a cloudy sky this morning.  That might not seem like much but after 90 degree temps for a few days, you begin to truly appreciate clouds.  The clouds mean cooler temperatures, at least for the moment.  The sun is shining casting a hazy diffused light over everything in this moment and I’m finding myself incredibly grateful.

The energy of late has been so very powerful.  When you are sensitive to energy, there are just things that you notice.  With great curiosity do I let my mind reach for whatever it is that is tapping me on the shoulder with an, “I’m here” sort of vibe.  “Cool,” I think.  The energy is a comfort, much like these beautiful clouds keeping the temperature a bit more comfortable this morning.

I’m sipping coffee, fan on, windows wide open just listening to the birds sing.  They are creating a gentle symphony of natur-ific sound this morning and it sets off this feeling of joy from deep within my soul.  To be able to feel this and write about this just now is no less than a miracle for me.  A miracle I’m beyond grateful to experience.  There is just this beautiful sense of connection in this moment that I had to share it.  I hope as you read these words, you can feel it too.

I’m going to run off and just be for a few moments but as I sat here, I had to share this idea, this concept of just noticing my surrounds fully with all of my senses while simply breathing.  This act, this ability is a balm to any weary soul.  It’s hard to shake off the perceptional filters sometimes but, the breath is the key, awareness of the breath while experiencing this is the opening door and the calm, beautiful peace of it is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  These moments should not be missed.  These moments are so rare and precious and do you know what the truly beautiful part is?  You need only close your eyes, breathe, be curiously aware without attaching any expectation or emotion to the moment to experience it.  That means, this can go with you no matter where you are.  Busy traffic-filled street – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Hectic day sitting in your office chair -  Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Challenging discussion – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Quiet stroll – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Sipping coffee on a hot morning – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  You can take this with you.  Won’t you take this with you?  Wouldn’t you like to?  Great!  It’s settled!  Have a fabulous stretch of beautiful moments of breathing awareness.

 
© 2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moving Through Time


My youngest middle child graduated high school last week.  It was the most perfect day.  Work slowed down the weeks leading up to the event allowing me to take time off, the day was a bright beautiful and warm sunny day.  The stadium was huge and the vibe was a very, very light, excited and happy one.  We picked her out easily among the almost 900 children graduating.  I watched her sitting there, looking so grown up.  Sitting like a lady ready to receive her reward for many years of very hard work, she was.  I was so proud of her.  I was so proud of them all.

Now, tomorrow, the baby daughter is going to be promoted from middle to high school and sometimes I swear my eyes must be deceiving me.  She’s as tall as me now and is so excited to get to it.  Wow, there are just so many transitions going on in my life right now.  I’ve heard from my oldest middle child recently.  He’s got a good job and is helping his dad with the mortgage, I hear.  So, so, so proud am I.  My oldest is finishing up a certificate program in college and they’re all, every one of my children, looking forward to studying this, doing that, traveling and experiencing life.  Where did the time go?  Whatever will I do with the time that I have now?  We just keep moving through time.  I'll keep moving through time.

Child rearing now almost complete, I look ahead and see a whole new world and it is so different from when I was young.  It is always like that, isn’t it?  How many times have we heard our parents say, “The world is a lot different now than when I was young?”  I’m feeling a bit older, a bit wiser and yet so very curious.  There is that feeling of, “Okay, now what?”  I’m not sure I’m so eager to know.  Time, as we experience here on Earth is linear.  But I seem to be experiencing and re-experiencing so many times of my life all at once lately…yesterday…today…years ago.  I suppose it is normal to be in this space and time of my life feeling just exactly as I’m feeling.

I guess in a way, I’m being promoted too.  I’m graduating from one part of my life to the next.  No longer will I be the mommy person in my home with little one’s tugging at my pant legs for “uppies,” or picking those darned Capri Sun straw wrappers off of my shoes before I leave for work.  I look ahead and wonder what it might be like to experience a room I cleaned 15 minutes before, still clean just as I left it.  Ha ha ha who am I kidding, 2 are still living at home full time.  A mother can dream, right?

I’m so grateful today, for this moment, for the lives of each one of my children and for the time that I’ve spent from the first moment I saw them.  I’m grateful to be a mom and I’m grateful that as we move through time, I get to re-experience being just a woman again as far as the day-to-day goes.  My children’s lives will be so full, I’m sure of it.  I look forward to hearing of each new discovery as I give them more and more room to spread their wings and learn the beautiful act of flight.  I suppose my job will never truly ever be done but I’m glad for each stage and each new discovery that I make too.  We’ve come a long way over time and now I hope it, time… stretches out and reaches to ever more beautiful places for us all to see and experience as we live and breathe.  I send blessings to you all for each of your own promotion and graduation experiences.  Celebrate them with gratitude and great wonder for what has been and what may yet come.  Be fully present as you move through time. May your God or Goddess bless you fully each step of the way as well.  Never lose that wonder.  Keep the faith in you.  I do!

 
©2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Surviving Emotional Landmines

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How do we separate ourselves from a reaction that seems to blindly stem from the core of our soul and keep us from treading the dark waters of emotional doom?  I think about this often, especially as I see social media verbal attacks wreaking havoc in the lives of those I am acquainted.  I think before we can get to the point of being able to separate ourselves from a moment of uncomfortable reaction, we have to understand our typical psychological behavior.  

For starters, we frequently judge what we see and experience based on a very complex set of psychological filters.  None of us is precisely the same in this regard as our experiences from every second of every minute of our lives has varied.  Then, there is this little acknowledged concept that our hopes and fears help establish our beliefs and, well, we unconsciously give credence to our beliefs as truth through reacting to situations before we have a moment to clearly think.  We do this quite innocently but we do it none-the-less.  So, in our daily interactions we all have these seeds that are psychological landmines of sorts waiting unseen until someone comes close enough in word or action to set things off.  We can then react somewhat unconsciously to whatever situation arises.  Because we “feel” the need to react, we must be justified.  We can weave a tale and tell it many times and get others to agree with us after the fact.  But, if we get so caught up in the superficiality of the event, we will often miss the true opportunity these situations can bring us.



Back to the seeds for just a moment.  These blessed little seeds that become our daily triggers are not the awful things we consider them to be.  Each time one of these little seeds becomes irritated to the point were about to blow, we have a beautiful opportunity to explore the core, the source of whatever it is that is getting a rise out of us.  Why does this matter?  Well, if you didn’t know these little psychological seeds, traumas or fears were hidden within you, you may never get the opportunity to identify any of the hidden beliefs and fears you hold.  Once you identify the inner most fears and beliefs not based in reality that don’t really serve you any more, you can step back and view them in the clear and pristine light of day and decide whether or not you wish to let them control you and your behavior any longer.  If we can separate ourselves from the reaction of a moment and try as best as we can to understand the truth of the heart and soul of us, we may find all these little irritating and well-triggering situations no longer have to wreak havoc in our lives.  We can also learn to respond better to a situation instead of continuously helplessly reacting.  Another truly beautiful benefit is that we can understand others who go on the offense a little better and thoughtfully guard ourselves as we go further.



I have to admit that I’ve run across many of these little irritating seeds in my life.  My reactions used to drive me mad with adrenaline pumping fear and anger.  But, when I learned to identify what they were or that they even existed, I found that my reactions were changing and my interactions became much more stable.  I began to feel much more comfortable in my own skin.  I also learned that those I faced were in the same boat I was in!  I have to say, this is a wonderful part of growing older.  You understand so much more, you can allow yourself greater patience and you can forgive yourself and others a bit more readily.  You just need to develop the ability to separate yourself from a moment of triggered exchange.   When you can feel that urge and then immediately separate from it to view it more honestly and openly with the goal of understanding, things change and you will grow.  Even if in a moment, you just understand an uncomfortable change is truly about another's hidden landmines, you have grown.  Is this easy?  No way!  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!   

Some food for thought, the next time you feel triggered by fear or anger, take no other action than a slow and deep contemplative in breath.  Breathe out then, very slowly and feel what it feels like to be in your body.  Silence will not hurt you in these moments but breathing to help you stabilize yourself at your center, will help you better respond to a potentially uncomfortable emotional situation.  With a clear head, you can interact to resolve, choose to speak or not and even decide to stay and state your case or choose the matter isn’t really worth your time and walk away to recover.  Sometimes these choices come in the span of a heart beat.  Consider making great use of these lightning fast moments to realize that gut level reaction is actually a message to you and that all the chemicals that are triggered within you are truly meant to give you the energy to face whatever it is you’ve been triggered by.  In these very brief moments you can alter the direction of relationships, friendships and even the path of your own journey.  You can even begin to grow in ways you never thought possible.  I wish you a blessed grand awakening with every breath and step you take!  It matters.  You matter.

 
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© 2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)