Prayer

With prayer, is there any order? Any preferable way? What if I pray for someone and my “help her/him to find comfort and ease” isn’t what s/he wants or needs at the time? When does concern turn into control? 

I try to keep prayer intentions generic, but need to add “for [object of prayer’s] best and highest good” to avoid messing with a person’s trajectory. Here’s where I can get stuck. What trajectory? The path of the person’s next footfalls. When would I have permission to intercede? When should I express anything kind and potentially helpful? Never.

Sigh. This equanimity practice will be tougher than anticipated, but it’s what I need to focus on now: I am not the keeper of all knowledge. Functioning day to day, fueled by years of practice, I can refrain from choosing sides, except for social justice causes. (There is a greater good. Choose that good or don’t choose it, but keep in mind there are consequences for giving up on love.)

Even when we want to help someone we care about, we have to realize that person has to move through stages to wholeness in their own way. With this in mind, I’m stepping away from the belief that I know what’s best for people and am instead simply sending love, with no words, for support. Energy prayer. Because really, who knows the unknowable? I can make educated guesses, but I’m still only pretending to know the Truth. Experience can yield some understanding but not omniscience. 

I need to step away, and observe the world around me – observing for the sake of seeing more, seeing better.

I asked Isa about praying once, and she advised thinking about it as leaving a bottle of milk at someone’s door, without attachment to outcome. Will s/he bring it inside the home? Not my business from this point on. Following instincts, I prepared and delivered pure milk as a gesture of my love for the universe, keeping in mind that I am here to serve, not to judge.

Full Moon in Virgo with Raindrops

How easy to forget what magic surrounds us. Light shines, sometimes hiding behind darkness, sometimes sparkling beneath blurred vision, sometimes dazzling outright.

The twins, darkness and light, have work to do. Let them do it. Sit with uncertainty and legacies of pain; cherish warmth and brightness, inside and out. 

Remember who you are. You are that. Summon patience. Sink into earth, soaking up rain.

Time for Loving Kindness

I’ve heard that as we choose love over fear, the possibility of peace increases exponentially. I believe that as we work together our universe provides enough for everyone, and I sense that shifting humans into easeful co-operators begins with individuals. We are not so far gone that we cannot crack the code, but this cracking takes time, diligence, and patience. 

My personal progress creeps along. Just this morning I noticed: when a woman has a quality I dream about possessing, knee-jerk competitive mode creeps in through my ego.

I feel myself toss a sliver of spite toward a good communicator, an artist, a bold sharer, the one who regularly accomplishes goals and receives compliments…And I can see why that in the presence of a strong woman, I sometimes imagine I will either have to show off quick to stay in the game, or I must abstain from all efforts, recognizing that I could never achieve her skill level. My petty jealousy ruptures into instability, or panic maybe. 

Wow. Fight or flight!

One time at a meeting I growled to a colleague that a certain man was “mine.” The truth of that situation? No way was I prepared to flirt with his rough masculinity (yeow!), but I hissed her off, knowing she could easily have pounced on him, with her wild, enviable heat. 

What was that about?

Here’s what I know now. We are no longer cave people, scrabbling to dominate and survive. We’re here together, learning and growing at various paces. Each of us co-creates reality, along with the trees, the moisture in air, worms in the earth, newborn babies, glaciers, music…I remind myself again and again, there is enough for all of us. 

So when I stumble, universal truth props me up and walks me home. 

My prayer: May I practice appreciation. May I delight in the successes of others. May I love unconditionally, beginning with myself and radiating beyond. 

So Long, Pandemic Funk

If I cook a dish and it doesn’t wow me, down I go into the “I’m incompetent” suck hole, squishing myself low and believing I’ll never do better even though I certainly have concocted crazy good grub. There’s evidence. So why doubt?

When I cook with my mind in the future tense (imagining perfection) instead of in the present, the food will ultimately turn out unsatisfying. How do I keep forgetting this? Good question.

I’ve never been terribly disciplined, but in early 2021 getting grounded through a practice of some kind is paramount to sanity. These days test us. The masks are hard. Not touching is hard. Now, eyes have become uniquely important. This is how we can be close. We’re learning to change our perceptions. So while living in a pandemic is challenging, it’s also teaching us to pay a new kind of attention to ourselves and to each other, which isn’t so bad. 

Here’s where intention comes in, because each time I fall off my practice I forget who I am and what I already know. Presumably each of us has ways to come back to authenticity, to presence, but it’s the mat and cushion for me. Pretty simple, really.

Then I’m going to eat whatever I made and be grateful to have food on my table, glad I got up off of my nest to prepare it.

Swami Stop Swimming

Feeling the need to hug my peeps. That Covid!!!

Took dog Beanie to Rhode Island Historical Cemetery, Cranston, 61. A crow called overhead. Tiny, uniform headstones had only numbers carved into them, so naturally I explored. 

A Potters’ Field? Prisoners? I wondered. Then some flat markers appeared in the faded grass, indicating remains of ones who’d died a hundred or more years ago in the state infirmary, asylum, or almshouse, alone and unloved until recently (or so the newness of the stones indicated). 

A river flows alongside the plots. 

We walked on a path flanking the water, some parts sunshiny and others murky, as if unsavory acts haunt the woods. We turned around.

Driving home I felt alive, free. 

Whatever dark places my mind goes, I am not, at the moment anyway, dying unloved in a state institution. I care about my tribe, in my own messy way, and they connect with me like I matter to them. I try to be compassionate with everyone else. Somehow I find myself living with relative ease, and am grateful for the absurd minutia of this time around. It’s been rough and tumble for all of us, but many of us are learning patience and flexibility, adaptation.

When currents rush against my flailing self, I want to change my perspective. How? Let go into the bliss of life, and be led to safety. 

peace and justice…spreading love, listening inside…

What will you bring with you? 

Listening for answers from the wise and the foolish alike,

wanting to live somewhere in the middle – a doer and a feeler.

Loving love, all kinds of witchery slides through. 

It’s for everyone and anyone who lights up, this love.

For a little dog sitting on my lap too.

Art reveals truthful moments in time.

Mantle of green on a mermaid bird, surrounded by rocks and shells.

Air Kiss nail polish collection “for one another”

flanked by guilt and half a prayer.

Strange magic.

Assessment

I like writing. It helps me clarify my thoughts. 

Even if they’re a jumble in delivery, something 

concretizes in my brain. 

Ohhh – it’s that

What’s strange is this compulsion to share my experience. 

Maybe it’s the only way I feel safe opening up. 

I like to edit before releasing. 

I need to see where I’m heading. 

I’m trying to watch myself be me, with a realistic eye. 

Trying to discern between the valuable and the unnecessary. 

I classifying, looking for patterns.

As with jigsaw puzzles, which feel like creating wholeness out of chaos. 

Same idea.

As with photography, which strives to capture the magic of ordinary life. 

A new idea – 

flying sparks from consciousness into the literal. 

Emotional Hygiene

another altar

I swear this is the last time – or I hope it’ll be the last time – I fixate on housework. But
I’m investigating self-discipline, looking for a more sharpened focus in the hopes of clearing my mess(es) for good(ish).

Looking around my living room, I spy an explosion of god-only-knows-what littering most surfaces: coffee table, day bed and day stand. I’m in the middle of this and that and this and that because so many worlds exist simultaneously, and most of them seem worthy of a few moments, at least, of my attention. A couple of flash drives. Mailer for a newish Asian food spot (in Garden City). Crochet patterns. A well-used cloth napkin. Lip gloss. Empty, used mailing tubes (but they’re so pretty!). A commemorative jigsaw puzzle from Shri Yoga. 

Then I hear “Well we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun…Everyone…Better recognize your brother’s everyone you meet.” – Instant Karma

Behold, a stuck place in the clutter struggle: I have so much love to give, that emanating from me is a blurry aura of placidity. I say yes but mean no, or is it the other way around? No matter. All that energy glowing from said crap scattered through my public rooms has a negative effect on productivity. A mailing envelope. A sparkle headband. A 1-subject spiral notebook.

What is worth keeping, and where can I make space? Releasing fear would be a start.

Listening next to Abandonitis by The Panhandle Mystery Band: “The doctor can’t cut it away.  You can’t operate on your own fate.” Or can you?

I like dabbling, but it promotes a chaotic home, slipping downward, aimed straight into neglect. When I forget to squint at my lack of cleanliness, it looks like a bumbling alcoholic dwells in my home. Sweet, but sad. At times Miss Havisham sad, but profoundly funnier. 

Therefore, I need a plan. Some parameters. What to keep? What to release?

Discern. 

Choose health. 

Love self.

Fear less. 

Enjoy the ride.

…While clearing the coffee table I discover two drawers in a side piece, that I never seriously cleaned out after inheriting from Grandma Anna. In the drawers I find loose, faded, photos of my grandparents’ trip to the Holy Land in the ‘60s and two little photo albums: one from my 35th birthday party (maybe) and the other from Marilyn’s wedding (I was the maiden of honor in blue),  a yarmulke, matches, a wooden elephant ornament, coasters, a spent pen, unused price tags, ivory inlay opera glasses…

After quickly tossing, recycling, and filing items as appropriate, I create a little shrine to honor my grandmother and our weird relationship. 

Coffee table, day bed, plus the two bonus drawers cleared, and I’m ready for bed. May I dig onto the dining room with a similar degree of gusto over the upcoming weekend. I dreamt about organizing in there. It’s a whirlwind created epitome of chaos, but in my dream there was hope of breaking through, so I’m going in…slowly…tomorrow.

Split Pea Soup and Hard-Boiled Eggs

Today, I go to pick up the vacuum cleaner, and some wise part of me says, “Change the filter.” Oy. Long past time to replace that bag. 

I go find a clean one, and there are four in the utility closet, white, bundled up like Pampers. 

After clearing webby remnants of a Dickensian London from the bag-holding place, cough cough, I figure out how to put the new bag in. Although I’d taken a snapshot of the old one as it came out, I still struggle a bit with the mechanics of it. Clean bag in place, I first vacuum leftovers from the overfilled bag, seated on the floor, wallowing in all that dust like a child playing in the dirt. 

Am getting comfortable with my young self, and joyfully cleaning, from time to time, for health reasons, naturally. Then I stand up and vacuum the whole apartment, including corners and underneath objects large and small. It’s time.

Dirt outside, no problem, Dust inside, congestion. 

“Let more light in,” says another teacher. “Take a walk outside.” 

Solitary Work

Overwhelmed, facing all the stuff I’ve accumulated and cast aside. How does it all fit? Where does it all fit?

I keep thinking back to what Shamini Jain said about only starting to work with the goddess Lakshmi after clearing space – after recognizing all my clutching, all my steering of the “what if I need it one day” wheel. Right into a wall! As I said to a friend earlier today, never mind the future. It blurs your vision and you misstep in the here and now. That’s how accidents happen. Last night a friend told about plowing into a snowbank during her first driving lesson. As with that friend’s teenage self, trying to jump ahead to a future filled with feats of perfection just hasn’t been working. My apartment’s bulging at the seams.

Why am I so hyped up about knowing this goddess? My intention: resonate in her frequency, with fearless love, faith, devotion, integrity, and generosity. And so…

Clearing.

Space. 

How much of my shit do I need to tidy up before I feel worthy of connecting with Lakshmi? You are already rich, she tells me. Value that. And then…

Keep intentions clear, and allow. 

Practice. 

So much of life is out of our control, but not this.