Monday, December 27, 2021

Blessings for Another New Year


This Holiday Season has been precious and wonderful, despite all of the restrictions. I missed some members of my family but thanks to electronic communications, I’ve been able to keep in touch with all.  I’d be lying if I said my thoughts don’t meander into the darkness wondering when on Earth this pandemic will end and wondering when we might be able to traverse the out of doors when a smile in passing can actually be shared and seen.  I can’t linger much in the darkness with my thoughts because it takes me away from the present.  If I have learned anything in all of my years is that the present moment is all we have.


There is much to be stressed and concerned about these days, but I don’t choose to wander among the wishful thinking or petty frustrations for too long.  I’d rather hold out hope for strength for those folks fighting to remain healthy, comfort for those in mourning, and love for those feeling left out and lonely.  I want ever so much to remain compassionate for all of those battles fought in the minds and hearts of my fellow human beings all over the world.  I cannot help but whisper a nightly prayer for those both within my circle and especially those far beyond it.  I pray for less inclement weather, calm seas, skies and psyches.  I pray for wisdom to find the ignorant as much as those folks seeking it.


We go into a new year in just a few short days.  I find that I’m grateful to be here to witness the calendar’s change into another new year.  I’m grateful the light begins to return day by day even if that means welcoming the super-hot temps of my little corner of the world.  I think about prosperity for people, ease in their suffering, and that each may find some measure of happiness no matter how fleeting that might seem in this new year. 2022…oh my, I cannot believe that I’m here to see it. 


One of the things that has kept me going these past challenging couple of years is an immense gratitude for everything.  When I’m feeling the stress and strain of this or that, I step outside to feel the breeze, listen to the birds sing, feel the grass beneath my feet, watch the clouds sailing by or reverently witness the fiery pink glory of sunrise and the awe-striking display of orange at sunset.  I listen to the sounds outside – people with hearts and thoughts driving here or there, my neighbors talking, the four-legged canines barking at this sound or that…it’s all of these things that reminds me that life goes on and it will always go on.  I find I’m less emotional these days and more confident in the world’s workings.  I’m more comfortable in my own skin, with my own heart, memories and experiences.  I found happiness amidst chaos by welcoming all memories that arise and breathing gently in the present.


I have seen so much and despite the horrors conveyed on the news or in social media, I know one thing is true, there are more than descent, reasonable, helpful, honest, hardworking people out there that care about this world and all life in it.  That fact comforts me.  I pray for them the most so that they may be continually inspired to create what this world most needs – healing, comfort, caring and compassion.  Wherever you are or find yourself this New Year’s Eve, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you find comfort, may you be safe, and may you be at peace.  Blessings for a safe, abundant, successful and joyous new year! 


© December 2021, photo and words J.L. Harter

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Fallish Contemplations - Waxing Philosophical - Spiritual


I think when the Universe was seemingly taking a baseball bat to every structure in life that I built, I tended to write a lot more.  As I wrote about this or that, I tended to start to sort things out so I could try to figure things out.  This went on for years and years and then something happened.  Well, maybe it was a string of things but one day, I opened my eyes and there was nothing there but peace after a night of dreams where everything seemed to be in my favor.  I thought, is it over?  Is the chaos of quadruple PhD level life lessons coming all at once finally over?  Well, maybe not but the intensity of emotion and the victim feelings and also the feeling of emotional upheaval and panic was definitely was over.


What came in the place of all that chaotic emotion?  To put it simply, Understanding…not just of the universe and all of its many and infinitely varied machinations, not just of psychology and how in each of us healthy psychology is dotted with moments of a childhood (and past lives even) frozen within us in time creating actions, unconscious reactions and the like. That understanding left me with greater compassion and a very clear knowing that the world is not black and white – it is gray, violet, red, green, blue, turquoise, white, fuchsia, orange and hot pink!  It left me with greater understanding of what I remained open to, what I was closed to and what I remained ever so curious about.  I’ll be honest, years and years of upheaval triggered a kundalini awakening nearly 10 years ago and then everything sort of fell apart belief-wise within me.  It all started to dissolve – what I wanted for a career, illusions about family, friendships and what makes us good or bad or wrong or right.  They should really have more clinical help for those who go through a kundalini awakening.  It is a physical-mental-spiritual crisis-like experience that can take years to sort out (if you ever sort it all out).


In a way, it helps to purge those things within us that really no longer serve if (and that is a very big IF) and only if you are willing to let things go, remain curious enough to see more sides than just your limited experience and perceptions of things (which are incredibly shaped by your psychology – yep).  The further I got from my peak experience, the harder it became for me to write about anything.  I sort of lost my interest in trying to figure everything out and instead, as much as I could, I tried to just focus more on beingmore present, breathing, letting things and people be as they are and learn to fully trust myself to show up and deal with whatever showed up on my path.  And I have and I know that I will continue to do so (even if I have to do that scared sometimes).


Heavy duty and prolonged emotional stress takes a toll on a body and mind.  If you do not change the way you look at things or the limited beliefs that perhaps unwittingly skewed your perspective up to the point you encounter intense and prolonged stress, you may fold up within it.  That's not necessarily a bad thing - to fold up within it and take some extra time and self-care to manage it. Our fear of that happening is actually worse than it is.  I had a near nervous breakdown within months of my kundalini experience.  In my best recollection it seems like so many unconscious things were attempting to resolve themselves lightning fast (more quickly than I could contemplate what was going on, prepare to manage and respond to).  I worked through that period carefully, with tons of help and support and I finally came out the other side not unscathed but stronger.  Not just stronger but more grounded, settled, self-reliant, more willing to show up for and stand up for myself, more willing to follow my inner urgings of what I want and need most, and more able to take things as they come. 


I don’t have all the answers I thought a kundalini experience would bring but I got to feel something that is beyond words. In memory, it now seems like it was an experience of conscious me touching the purest part of the soul of my higher self – no judgement, no fear, no worry, just utter love and complete acceptance within a beautiful moment in time.  I guess when you touch something like that, it is bound to change you and I do, in fact, feel very changed.  Now, back to what reminded me of all of this...  It was the shockingly vibrant and gorgeous colors of the setting sun the other night.  So many colors I can’t even name but neon red, pink, orange and yellow, pastel blue, pink and purple, smokey gray, light gray and punctuated beautiful by stars.  Yeah, stars – the first ones in the fading light that followed.  In that moment, the beauty was so pure and simple, it reminded me of my kundalini experience – the explosion of colors that you don’t just see but feel and hear, touch and taste in this inexplicable way no one has every prepared you to experience.  It was a good memory.  It was truly a beautiful sunset. 


As the color slowly drained from the sky, the fiery display having peaked and now waning, I looked back at how far I have come in my life, the decisions made, actions taken, hard work completed and even some still ongoing.  I sat there in the nearing dark for many quiet moments smiling from ear to ear and feeling the Earth turning deep within the soul of me.  This is a good life.  I love this life.  I love all who are experiencing it at this time.  I love all who have come before, those who will come again and those who have yet to come.  Wishing you blessings for sense making of your life lessons, healing for all the things that pain you, patience for all the things that vex you and compassion for every moment you need it. 


© 2021 J.L. Harter (photo and words)

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Life, Projects and The World

I have lived in California and Florida in my life, both are very lush and green states.  Green trees, green grass and flowers seem to grow in abundance.  While I always appreciated the view everywhere I looked, I still feel I took it for granted.  I live now in Arizona by choice.  I love the energy here, the wide open spaces, the lack of sky scrapers, the red rocks and cacti.  It’s so foreign to me but so beautiful too.  A different kind of beauty.  I’ve got a couple of trees that are fairly green when it isn’t scorching in temperature outside.  I’ve got a grass back yard I should probably get rid of because we’re in drought but you know what, a part of me needs that patch of green…even if it’s mostly yellowish green for a better part of the year.  My back yard is cooler than my front yard.


I have yet to find some flowers that are happy here.  I see them all around but my goodness is the ground in my backyard so hard.  I can’t plant the things myself.  I’ll have to hunt down some local colorful or flowering plants and have my gardener help me out.  He’s got the tools and muscle for it and I don’t really.  I’m going to draw up a plan for it.  My plan is to add a color explosion of drought tolerant local flowering plants.  I want the bees happy, the humming birds humming and all manner of critter content to call my backyard home.  That thought makes me happy for some reason.


I’m also going to focus next Spring on some new flooring for my bathroom.  I’ve got the floors picked out and when I’m ready, I’ll order and get that handyman or person out to help me with it.  I tend to suffer arthritis to the point, I just can’t DIY any more.  But am getting ready to make some improvements here and there.  Going to paint my house soon and maybe a little personalization on the inside too.  I’m really liking turquoise, grays and cool browns.  It’s fun planning.  I’m so incredibly grateful I have these little projects to look forward to.  They keep my mind off of pandemic numbers and all the harshness I’m seeing in the world just now.  I can cry at every little thing I see that breaks my heart or I can pull my focus in on fixing myself, my surrounds, figure out how to engage better in support of my new community where I find myself.  I don’t know how to get there entirely from here but the beautiful thing about life on Earth is that when you open your mind to something, that something soon follows right smack dab into the middle of your life.


I’m trying to keep my life very simple just now.  The world is rough and the news is horrendous.  The scientific articles I once found fascinating are becoming ever more terrifying and I just don’t have the heart for them anymore.  I support science but I don’t have to get sucked into worrying about every little thing or new terrible finding of this study or that theory that nearly equates to the end of the world.  All I can do is all I can do…support organizations that help, be strong for myself and my family, be kind to people for no other reason than that is at least something I can offer this crazy world – KINDNESS!  It all seems a bit weird and crazy but I do know this, if you take good care of yourself, take good care of those you love, and take good care of your community and all the things you care about, you are less fixated on those troubling things that you cannot control.


Life is always changing, something new or different to contend with and it isn’t always pleasant is it?  Sometimes it’s not glowing roses but violence, global warming, facts and figures climbing or falling in ways that hurt others.  It’s hard to take it all in.  Sometimes you have to stop, tune out and focus within, close to home a little minute.  Take a breath, give yourself a time out and some space to re-balance in whatever way that works for you.  It’s okay not to be okay sometimes.  It’s okay to be okay too.  This is your life; however it is you want to live it.  I’m troubled by what I see but I’m still optimistic.  I’m completely grateful for my job, my home, my family, my pets, and that our basic needs are solved for.  I pray every day for those less fortunate than I am.  I pray we all find our way to a better tomorrow.  In the meantime, take care of you.  I apologize for the wild pendulum swing in this catch-up post.  It is where I’m at.  Struggling some days with what I see in the world and striving to give myself a break and try to balance myself out with simple tasks and projects.  All the while though, this quiet time has been a blessing too.  Time to focus inward, get in touch with what’s there, breathe and breathe again knowing all will be as it is meant to be and all I can do is do what I can to change what I can or find a way to work with or accept those things I cannot.  It is a strange place. Wherever you are on the spectrum of emotions in this world on any given day, it’s okay.  Take care of you.  It matters.  You matter.  Blessings of comfort, abundance, health and satisfaction.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Random Thoughts - Sunset Moon Moments


The puppy woke me up at 4:23 am this morning. He’s become an erratic alarm clock. My middle daughter was playing VR as I could hear her feet or something hitting the floor pretty hard repeatedly.  She may have woken the dog who was doing his little puppy best to guard the house and its occupants from the noises that weren’t normal.  Good job pup.


I’m now sipping coffee from a 32 oz mug that I received as a joke many years ago.  The coffee tastes good this morning.  I needed this little ritual today after a very tough week of puppy training, cleaning from said puppy training, crazy busy work week with too many meetings keeping me from my daily required tasks and life changes.  Oh, those life changes.  Sometimes the heart of the soul calls you to do things in your life that maybe you don’t want to do.  In my near 55 years of life now, I have learned that when it calls in the way that it does, it’s best to just listen…take heed…and then take action accordingly. Even when you don’t understand the reasons why, you have to trust the Universe, your heart and your soul.


Life has been this incredible swirl for the past many years – a peaceful swirl like a merry-go-round gently turning but playing your favorite song during a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  This pandemic, losing family, feeling like I’m losing my grip a little and wow.  Just to stop and breathe in the first rays of light this morning while the birds sing the sun up – it’s priceless, I really have to say. I realize in this life how much pain a soul can carry – it’s a lot.  I realize also how much gratitude a soul can hold – it’s a lot.


The day is shaping itself - readying itself to reveal itself in its own time, in its own way and within its own form and reason. I’m open, curious and sipping coffee from a giant mug and feeling the peaceful energy of the morning before the city stirs in earnest. It’s going to be okay, come what may.  One thing I have learned in this life is to trust myself to manage whatever may come. My thoughts are intertwined with domestic Goddess duties for the day and the philosophic meaning of all we encounter in life. If only I had answers to the million queries that flow through my consciousness.  Not that I’d know what to do with those answers, mind you.  Then again, sometimes it is a very good thing to keep the thoughts reigned in, hold them close to the Earth - grounded - with concentrated breath in and out set on repeat for a few moments. Being present loosens the chains of fear, of pain, of anxiety and even nostalgia. To be present with the breath is a gift – no yesterday – no tomorrow – just now – coffee – birds – sun and peace.


I watched the last rays of sunlight behind the mountains last night. The sky glowed with fiery red and pink light like burning embers in some cosmic fire.  I turned to go back into the house and saw a big bright full moon shining her light down upon the Earth.  I sent prayers up and out for all those I hold dear, for humanity, for the Earth and just then, a gentle breeze blew around me and filled my lungs with cool fresh air as if it were the Universe answering - don't worry - we've got you. I stood transfixed for a moment - mentally marking the moment.  Such a tiny moment but I tell you it was filled with the entire universe of experience, thoughts, love, hopes and dreams. I was reminded that sometimes you really have to take a long but gentle look at the scenery. The energy of it is waiting to fill you up when you most need it but you must make the effort to notice it - to fully acknowledge it. I don’t know why, but I needed to share that.


Blessings for your journey and may the road you’re on lead you to moments of great bliss and infinite understanding.


© 2021 photo/words (except the pup – picture courtesy of Brittany Harter)