The River of Feelings

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“There is a river of feelings within us, and every drop of water in that river is a feeling. To observe our feelings, we sit on the bank of the river and identify each feeling as it flows by. It may be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. One feeling lasts for a while, and then another comes. Meditation is to be aware of each feeling. Recognize it, smile to it, look deeply into it, and embrace it with all our heart. If we continue to look deeply, we discover the true nature of that feeling, and we are no longer afraid, even of a painful feeling. We know we are more than our feelings, and we are able to embrace each feeling and take good care of it.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo: © Yvonne D. Williams

For some reason this Thich Nhat Hanh quote stuck in my head when I read it because I know what he is referring to—I’ve felt it myself—the stepping out of intense feeling, no matter how painful it may be, and simply watching it flow over us as we remain sitting on the bank in silence before the enormity of the water passing through on its journey elsewhere.

If you aren’t sitting a part from it on the bank, that “River of Feelings” is a flow we continually ride—sometimes in a kayak gliding above the water and sometimes in an inner-tube with half our body immersed into it.kayakriverswirl67.jpg

So for us to say that we do not “feel” something emotionally is to say that we are riding the kayak as we skim the waves while still feeling the froth of turbulence. We may bob around a bit with emotion, but we’ve elevated our heads above the water and as long as we remain upright, we know that we won’t drown.

Inversely, when we are immersed in the feeling, we become the feeling and may struggle for our lives; clinging tightly to our inner-tube to keep our heads above water—for fear it drowns us with wave after wave of intense, gut-clenching emotion.

tube on river67Grief is an inner-tube type feeling. So is rage. It’s easy to be swamped when you immerse yourself in those feelings.

Some would say depression is such a feeling, but I believe that depression isn’t really a feeling as much as it is the result of losing the inner-tube completely and accumulating body fatigue from continually treading water without relief in sight.

So what is the difference between riding the kayak and sitting on the bank?

The kayak provides an experiential option for riding the feelings we naturally have during the course of our lives. It gives us buoyancy and distance from the worst of the emotional waves sloshing about us.

The bank is an entirely different perspective on emotional impaction. From the bank you do not participate in the feeling, you only observe it as it comes and goes, and try not to judge its rightness or wrongness; its power or onriverbank45.jpgaffectation on you.  You acknowledge it as it impacts you and note what is being felt, but you let it go—you let it move on and away without clinging to it—without wallowing in it or calling it back to re-experience, over and over.

It’s not easy sitting on the bank and observing your own river of feelings; and sometimes it’s hard to even find a kayak from which to navigate the powerful river of emotions that we feel.  At times when life takes a tumultuous turn for us, we feel fortunate enough to simply have that inner-tube to help keep our heads above the overwhelming waves.

What I think Thick Nhat Hanh was saying in this quote is that observing from the bank (meditation) is the far safer option for dealing with intense feelings, because it allows the greatest perspective on the river of emotion itself that we must experience over the course of our lives.

As humans, we will have good days and bad ones—people will come to us and then leave us through disagreements, grievances or death.

During the course of our lives, we make efforts to achieve or acquire what we do not have, and those efforts are sometimes successful and sometimes not.

We love and we lose love.

We agree and disagree with others, and feel both great joy and great fear at many aspects of life, including our own mortality.

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But during the course of our lives, that river of feelings flows on and on, over familiar ground or new ground—but it keeps moving onward until we individually feel no more and merge again with the Great Ocean of Consciousness that logs “all feelings” as simply a part of the living experience.

So keep your inner-tube always handy, and find a kayak when you can do so to keep your head higher above the waves; but if possible, try instead the view from the bank for its safer, broader perspective, and simply allow that emotional river to flow on by without judgment or clinging.

I know—easier said than done—but it IS possible to do it. Trust me on this one.

 

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If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

“If you can’t say anything nice about someone, say nothing at all.”

That’s a tough mother-ism to live by in today’s world.

monkeynospeak6I do think that silence is a blessing seldom appreciated. In fact, I could say nothing about many things and many people, and I would be the better for it.

But…. also in today’s world, saying nothing allows the more vocal hordes to flood the airwaves with venom and lies.

Democracies aren’t maintained by the silence of its members. It takes willing voices and willing voters to make serious changes in our world.

The next couple months will be a nasty time for impassioned outcries and claims, true or non.  I have my own opinions on much of what is occurring politically and in our government, as well as having my own thoughts on how best to change the current problems.

However, none of my opinions matter other than on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 when we the people have the opportunity to express our beliefs on voting ballots across the nation. THAT is the day for expressing opinion. THAT is the day when what you think really matters.

So you can be as vocal as you wish—or as allowed by laws until that time—but the only time what you think really matters is on November 6th, 2018.

Vote!  It can be the single most important thing you can do for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the world in which we live.

VOTE  Tuesday, November 6th, 2018!votemontage

And if you are really impassioned with your candidates, then get involved in those campaigns and help others understand why those folks most appeal to you.

Those are things that you can do.

When it comes to the President of our country, I honestly can’t think of anything nice to say about him—NOTHING—NADA.   So I will actively promote positive changes for the people that I can easily speak well of.

Recognize that this is your chance to make a difference around you—get involved in positive change and work toward a better future for ALL of us—not just for the richest 1 percent, of which I will also say nothing good about, so they shall remain unmentioned.

Stand up—speak out—and organize your friends to make positive changes in our world. These are things that you CAN do.

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So just DO IT!

Eckhart Tolle on “The Dark Night of the Soul” Experience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mpybTfz6rU

tollemictalk.jpgIn this short video, the questioner asks about his personal experience with ‘the dark night of the soul’ (which I thought was the most powerful part of this video and the main reason that I listed it here) and his sudden spiritual awakening because of that complete reality break.

The questioner then asks Eckhart about that ‘merging into Allness’ experience that he was suddenly immersed in where he lost his sense of identity and watched himself and his thoughts as they arose, as though they were separate from him.  Eckhart briefly mentions his own DNOS experience and then comments on the aspect of mind expansion into Allness and total awareness.

Eckhart then comments with a well-used quote on the nature of awareness itself: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.”

Awareness is indescribable, incomprehensible.  We experience only minute portions of the pool of total awareness.  Our personal comprehension of awareness pertains mainly to sensing our own life experience—how we perceive the world around us and ourselves in relationship to that world and to all the aspects of it, living and non.mysssarknightquote653

The thoughts we have about our personal experience are only our ego trying to make sense of its existence within the matrix portion of awareness that our human sense-making organ (our individual mind) can comprehend.  When we surpass our personal boundaries and tap into the Greater Awareness, we no longer THINK—we simply observe and ride the flow wherever it goes.  We don’t compare experiences for goodness or badness. We simply observe them as they arise.

We input without judgment or expectation or anticipation or attempts to define anything.

It can be an amazing experience of peacefulness and lovingness.  And it can also make you feel like you are losing it completely.spiritawaken67

So I like to temper my descriptions of the spiritual awakening or the Kundalini awakening experience with bits of how disruptive it can also be to your normal daily affairs and relationships.  If you listen to Eckhart, it took him years to come back to our mutual-consensus reality, and even then it was never fully back to the life that he once knew.  He was forever changed—for the better maybe, but let me tell you from my own experience, getting to that BETTER may not be an easy slog.

So be careful with your own spiritual awakening practices. Make sure you have a support team around to help you back from your space launch so you don’t burn up in the atmosphere on reentry.  Yes, some ‘dark nights of the soul’ (if they don’t kill you) can lead to kundalini awakening and reunion with the Oneness and Allness from which we emerged. But they can also be grueling, gauntlet-running, sanity-testing, limits-of-your-endurance experiences that are handled best if not faced alone.  ramdassdark night.jpg

I think in today’s world the hazards of sudden spiritual awakening are more broadly understood than a few decades ago, but there are few who have not personally experienced it for themselves who will ever relate to how bad it can get before it gets better. So if you are going through your own ‘dark night of the soul,’ look for others who can best help you through it.

That’s why I’m writing about it now.

 

You Are Not Alone

Quote from: Psychic Medium Savonn Champelle

“It is during the darkest moments in our lives that the light shines the brightest and it lets us know that it always was, always is and always will be there. All we needed to do is connect to it, tap into it and led it guide us. Many times during those ‘dark’ moments we can feel abandoned by Spirit or let down because we feel savonnangel.jpgsomething is happening to us, when in reality something is actually being ‘Birthed’ through us and a powerful healing and transformation is taking place ❤ When going through hard times, or ‘dark’ times in your life call out to the Light within you, Call out to your Angels and simply ask what is the healing and transformation that is wanting to happen through me? What is this situation here showing me? Ask them to surround you and lift you up, for you are never alone. Angels are the silent whisper that are often heard moments after asking them your question ❤ You are not alone ”

Seeing Savonn’s sentiments on Facebook this morning, it was an important reminder that this time in which we all are traversing is a tough one for many. Many are facing their own version of “dark night of the soul,” and that is not a pleasant place to visit or linger in for long.

Many have lost loved ones over the past year or two and are still stinging from the pain and emptiness in parts of their lives.

Many are feeling disconnected from life in general and feeling isolated from people that they were once close to and relied upon for support and friendship.

Others are feeling a gnawing in their gut that some part of their lives is dissolving away to nothing and the void left behind will be too overwhelming to accept.

All I can say to you who are feeling these very things is to repeat what Savonn said at the end of his comment. “You are not alone.”  Yes, the Angels are there for all of us, but more than that—we are there for each other as well.

You might feel like you are very alone, but you aren’t—we’re all here.  We’ve all been where you presently stand or sit or lie or wallow or crawl, or curl up into a ball in the corner of the room. We’ve been there also.

I know that I have been, and I know from the story Savonn has told in the past that he also has been there. I don’t know what worked for him, but for myself, I told myself all sorts of things to keep pushing through the darkness back toward the light—like trudging down the dark train tunnel  where you can lighttunnel35.jpgonly see a faint hint of daylight at the end and hope like hell it isn’t the train itself.

Well, it isn’t the train.  It truly is the light. And if you just keep holding on and hanging in there—no matter how trite that sounds—that is exactly what you have to do to get through the tough times in life.

The greatest gift I ever received was the knowledge that no matter what happened to me, I could handle it.  I could get though it—someway—somehow.  I could endure it—I WOULD endure it!   And I did.

I think that is often the purpose of many ‘dark nights of the soul’—to show us what we are really made of—to show us our resilience and our determination to rise after falling—to lift ourselves off the floor when others aren’t there to assist us.  We must learn to do it for ourselves.

And in the process of picking ourselves back up, we realize that we rise stronger than we were before and wiser in many respects because we’ve dropped our delusions about our self-importance and jettisoned our assumptions/expectations for others in our life.timesaretoughyoucan do it

We learn quickly that the only person you can ever truly rely on is yourself—and that is how it must be because no matter how much any other person wants to help you—they simply can’t.  It is something only you can do for yourself.

So know now that no matter how difficult your present situation is, you are gaining great personal knowledge from it. You are testing your own metal in unimaginable ways that will make you stronger, wiser, more compassionate toward others, and far more humble than you ever believed that you could become.

The worth of a life is not measured by the quantity of the days it holds, or the material items it accumulates.  True soul-worth is gauged by the self-knowledge and wisdom gained during the process of living. That’s what you are doing at present—you are gaining hard-won knowledge and higher wisdom on your life journey.

Live with courage, my friends—live with the integrity to be who you truly are as loving individuals—and live with the determination to be the very best YOU that it is possible to be, because that is the ONLY way you can live.  notalone78.jpg

 

The Quest for What We Lack: Part Two—Family Reunions

reunion-cartoon.jpgTis the season for family reunions and family gatherings in general, involving picnics and potlucks and people you seldom see all gathered together playing nice (sort of) for a few hours.

It’s a time to clamp your jaw shut and hold your clever comebacks at the rude, intrusive, in-your-face questions—a time to curb your overwhelming desire to tell off the perpetually-mouthy aunt or the ever-drunken uncle (or role-play vice-versa)—a time to not snap at the obnoxious kids in your face all vying for attention and exuding their excessive “look at me-ness”—a time for staring with slack-jawed disbelief at all those people gathered together in this park to whom you are supposedly related and your saying aloud to yourself, “Uh-uh….NOPE…..that’s not in my genes—NO way—NO how!”minioncircus.jpg

But you know that they really are.

And these are the better thoughts you’re having at that yearly, quality “family-gathering time.”

The worse thoughts throbbing at your temples during the group get-togethers are the “family secret” thoughts that make you watch Uncle Sonny or Uncle Dicky as closely as possible, especially when little ones are near him—watch for the tell-tale enticement tricks he may have once used on you or your siblings—the “Come over here, little Suzy. Come and sit on Uncle Sonny’s lap.”  Or the little tickle games, he used to play. Or the little grabs he made when others weren’t watching and you were too unclebadtouch.jpgshocked or scared to say “Don’t do that!”—the little secrets he told you to keep just between you and him—and “Oh, here’s a shiny, silver dollar just for you if you don’t say anything to your mommy about us.”

Oh yes.  I know about Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, both personally and in the late-night tales from female-adolescent slumber parties—I’ve heard the warnings not to be alone with such-and-such—to ignore such-and-such’s enticements or “games”—to watch at the next gathering for how Uncle Dicky avoids certain older adolescent family members that he once used to excessively dote on.  Yes, Uncle Dicky is a family secret—except he’s not really a secret. Nor should his behavior ever be one.

Yes, these folks, no matter how questionable some might be, are all a part of our genetic pool. Perhaps some families have a few more perversion-inclined members than others, but all families have at least one or two of them, just as all families have members who are openly addicted to drugs, alcohol, and porn.  These aren’t things that you should ignore and pretend aren’t affecting others, because they definitely do affect them—especially the vulnerable, young ones.

I’ll honestly admit that I’ve always hated family mazine not coming.jpggatherings—both with my own family and my long-time friend’s family.  The ones I’ve personally participated in, especially from childhood, were cringe-worthy for me and felt downright alien. Not only did I NOT feel like a part of that group—I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to be considered a part of them.  So I have a hard time relating to the positive experience of family reunions that others crow about.

After seeing a few sets of my friends’ family-reunion photos on Facebook, I was thinking intensely about this family-gathering hostility that I still harbor; and the question arose in my mind wondering what about this family-reunion experience appeals to the folks who DO like to attend them?

I know old folks like to gather all the little chicks around and say “See what I did with my oldfolkreunionlife?!!!  Here they are—right here! You all came from ME! Aren’t I proud? Look what I did. I made ALL of YOU!”

I get that part. I’ve heard older folks say that very thing as justification for why we were all torturing ourselves playing nice for parents and grandparents during that required togetherness time.

And many folks feel that family reunions carry on traditions and ancestral heritage—long sheets of genealogical trees are spread out on picnic tables while gnarled fingers trace lineage from some distant relation in some far away land—an ancient relative who once traveled the greatest adventure of his and her life by coming to America to create this new life here for all of us—even for Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, bless their pathetic, perverted hearts.

Once in awhile, the old folks exclaim with glee queentree.jpgpointing at the far-right tree branch, this part of the family tree produced some genuinely PERFECT fruits—real peaches who made the perfect peach marmalade or jam and produced the PERFECT offspring themselves who did likewise, etc..   “Look what this branch over here produced—all these great people—they are all relatives of ours! Look how successful or prominent they were/are.”

Implied, of course, is that that branch’s success meant that the entire tree trunk must have value. And likewise, so do we—even if we can’t see it materially at this time, but we know that one of our future direct ancestors might prove us worthy of having existed at this less-than-ideal time of us personally. It gives us hope for our future redemption.

I guess our weakness as human beings is that we long for connection to others—long for belonging to the greater tribe—long for some verification of our existential validity. Genealogical tracings seem to give some folks great comfort.  I can acknowledge this fact, but I’m also not maxinespeakstruthone of those folks.

“We carry their bloodline,” we say if they are positive role models for us; and if they aren’t we say, “Must have been some overnight fling with a fly-by-nighter that slipped into our lineage. They aren’t really OUR kin.  We sure don’t claim them.”  (Ever think that on someone else’s lineage tree, they don’t claim you either?)

So while I do understand that some folks really get into family reunions, to me it is another one of those quests to determine what it is that we lack in ourselves that we try to find in others and in their familial relationships to us.  What hollowness within us do we keep trying to fill in our search for definable connection to our heritage and bloodline?

disfunctionfamily56.pngAnd when we occasionally run across our own version of an Uncle Sonny or an Uncle Dicky, do we likewise just shake our heads and say “Nope!  Not in MY family tree!”

Or do we risk alienation from the family to do something about it, and make the family secrets stop?

I shouldn’t even have to ask that question.

The Pretender

Sure, I could SO go there!

The obvious reference to this title would be the brooding hulk occupying the oval-office desk chair; when he’s not on the golf course, that is.anatomymiraclebookcov.jpg

But I was actually referring to a Jonathan Miles book I had just completed called Anatomy of a Miracle: A Novel*—The True* Story of a Paralyzed Veteran, a Mississippi Convenience Store, a Vatican Investigation, and the Spectacular Perils of Grace (with TRUE being the questionable descriptor in this story because it is, after all, a novel—meaning a work of fiction).

So my biggest question at the end of the story was is the book actually based on verified facts or is it simply fabrication pretending to be based on actual accounts?  I still can’t determine that, but I’m guessing it is fiction that reads like fact because we want it to do so.

jonmilesauthor.jpgAs the NY Times review suggested:  “…the genre that Miles is aping applies fiction’s methods to real-life stories, “Anatomy of a Miracle” offers the Victor-Victoria frisson of watching a novel impersonate a work of journalism impersonating a novel. It’s a difficult balancing act that Miles for the most part pulls off, and his book is best appreciated as a highly entertaining literary performance.”

Personally, I thought it was an astounding character study exploring the ulterior motives of everyone involved in the telling of a paralyzed vet’s miracle of suddenly rising from parkinglotstorefronthis wheelchair after four years of confinement to it–and doing so in the parking lot of the Biz-E-Bee convenience store in Biloxi, Mississippi while he waited for his helicoptering sister, Tanya, to purchase their daily smokes, beer, and Cap’n Crunch.

I’m always in awe of a skilled writer, and Miles is so gifted: intellectually, philosophically, and linguistically. He makes me want to study his techniques for topic exposition and subject exploration—how he carefully weaves the plotline into the unraveling research directions of the phenomenon; not to mention what an amazing perceiver/recorder of human nature that he is.

Then I went to the Amazon reviews of his book and was astounded by the depth or more appropriately, lack thereof, in the reviewer’s comments on it, and thought can people really be that shallow that they missed the point entirely?

biloximisscar.jpgA novel is far more than plotline. This was social comment all the way. Anatomy of a Miracle was an astute observation on what makes an unexplainable, sudden change in the human condition considered a miracle—with the word “miracle” implying an intervention by a force greater than ourselves.  Even the Vatican gets involved in considering the incident as such primarily because of reasons far too shadow-dependent to call it a holy vindication of God’s possible hand in the healing process.

But what does this sudden life change mean to the protagonist who has supposedly received this amazing proof of God’s Divine grace now bestowed upon him? And how vetchairflag.jpgdoes it likewise affect all those closest to him? As the camera pans out from the now-standing vet with the twitching legs, to how everyone around him interprets what has happened to him, and most importantly—how each proximal character determines in their own way what this supposed miracle means to each of them—how others try to use this strange phenomenon for their own personal motivations—use it as their own vehicles to a personal lifestyle change for themselves also—use it to substantiate their own faith or belief in the possibility of miracles existing; and how this phenomenal  situation benefits/affects individuals, institutions, and cultural trends in general as it becomes simply the commercializing of miraculousness.

money god miracles.jpgOne of those key questions seems to be:  “What’s the quantity of dollars you can make from a miracle, directly or peripherally?

The other key question seems to be “How can I personally cash in on that guy’s ‘miracle’?”

I called this post “The Pretender” not because the protagonist faked the miraculous regrowth of his spinal cord that allowed him to stand up out of that wheelchair in the Biz-E-Bee parking lot, but because during the process of all those people so closely scrutinizing his life, he finally stood up for the person that he was pretending NOT to be all those years prior.

He simply stopped pretending to be something other than who and what he was. That was a miracle in itself.

 

Multiple Realities within Reality

Been listening to the one astrologer that I do listen to, Kaypacha, kaypachelescher4.jpgthis morning.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_cXUPpJr24&feature=share )  I rarely miss his weekly energy report to help me understand ‘what the heck’ is going on around me—especially when everything seems to be so chaotic, like it is now.

When things get crazy in the world I can often feel the energy instability vibrating within me—like I am a tuning fork that starts sympathetically vibrating to the tone of another one near.  It’s very hard to hold your own vibration when such powerful disruptions are toning all around you.  So I like to hear if he is picking up the same thing with an astrological reason for it, or if it is just my own sensors that are being triggered by my immediate environment.

This morning he confirmed that it’s a pretty disruptive energy time for all of us; and then maxresdefault.jpghe talked about a subject that I’ve mentioned prior about how each of us perceives, reacts to, and lives our own version of reality that is slightly skewed from the collective reality the group agrees to adopt.

To be specific, late in the video he talks about how individually we create our own subjective reality which is then at times in conflict with our group shared reality. Then he asked ‘Which reality is more real, and which is less real?’  Good questions.

If YOU are feeling a particular version of REALITY, how can that NOT be real for you, eh?  Exactly.

Well those simple but complex questions were fairly pertinent to what I personally had been experiencing lately, both in my own life and with my friends’ concept of reality veering slightly from my personal version.  percep-vs-reality

When you have friends who also are energy sensitive and are into various forms of energy work themselves, then gathering together with them and discussing THAT group’s shared reality can be quite a trip. It can be hard to even agree on the parameters of that group’s reality experience because each of us has slightly different sensing abilities (clairaudient, clairvoyant, clairsentient, natural medium, …etc.)

Our group discussions make for an interesting afternoon, for sure.

But the one question I had at our last gathering is still bothering me, because when “reality” becomes so fluid and malleable for someone that they begin to drastically differ from the group version—especially THAT group’s version, is it cause to be concerned for that person?

To this question I would say unequivocally, YES.  I had, and still have, a concern for one of our group members at our last gathering.psychotic-break-poster-300-dpi.jpg

It is possible to get so “out there” in one’s concept of reality that one can break completely from the collective reality.  And it can be extremely traumatic for the person experiencing that break—which is often called a “psychotic break.”  And that traumatic break is cause for concern, and often requires a medical professional’s help.

Here’s the definition of psychotic break from the online medical dictionary: “Psychosis is a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality.”

That “objective reality” is the group agreed-upon version.

To continue: “Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. It usually includes: Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is. Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.”

Well, when you are psychically gifted like many of my friends are, you often see things and hear things that many folks don’t.  So there is such a fine line between recognizing your innate psychic gifts and not veering too far out into the ‘realm of all possibilities,’ because that realm does exist.

Right now, in these energies and this astrological time, it is hard for all of us to maintain balloons_4a971c333935a_hires.jpgour bearings. It’s hard to stay tethered to solid land when your personal reality balloon starts lifting away into the ethers.

So if you, dear reader, are feeling untethered to land right now, or if you are feeling extremely depressed, or possibly even feeling suicidal, then recognize that it may be necessary to reach out to others who can help you get through this difficult time in your life.  You aren’t alone in what you are feeling—not at all.  It’s a tough time right now to stay tethered to this group reality when it’s so unpleasant to be here. But we all have to find a way to tough it out until the energies change for the better. And they will change.

To reach out for help from others doesn’t mean you are weak or unstable, it just means that sometimes we need a bit of help to make sure that we can reel ourselves back in and dock safely back on earth for the remainder of our stay here.

Hang in there. It will get better.

And if your reality is making you question your sanity or question whether or not you You-are-not-alone.jpgwish to stay in this mutually-agreed-upon reality, then don’t be shy, ask for help to make sense of what you may be experiencing.  You likely aren’t alone in the questions that you might be having.  Especially now.