Blessing #52: At the End of the Day - A Mirror of Questions

"What dreams did I create last night?
Where did my eyes linger today?
Where was I blind?
Where was I hurt
without anyone noticing?
What did I learn today?
What did I read?
What new thoughts visited me?
What differences did I notice
in those closest to me?
Whom did I neglect?
Where did I neglect myself?
What did I begin today
that might endure?
How were my conversations?

What did I do today
for the poor
and the excluded?
Did I remember the dead today?
Where could I have exposed myself to the risk
of something different?
Where did I allow myself to receive love?
With whom did I feel most myself?
What reached me today?
How did it imprint?
Who saw me today?
What visitations had I 
from the past and from the future?
What did I avoid today?
From the evidence - 
why was I given this day?"

Blessing #51: A Blessing Upon Waking

"I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a dew dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.

The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring."

Blessing #50: Meditation on Transformation

"Real presence is the ideal of all true individuation.  When we yield to helplessness, we strengthen the hand of those who would destroy.  When we choose indifference, we betray our world.  Yet the world is not decided by action alone.  It is decided more by consciousness and spirit; they are the secret sources of all action and behavior.  The spirit of a time is an incredibly subtle, yet hugely powerful force.  And it comprises the mentality and spirit of all individuals together.  Therefore, the way you look at things is not simply a private matter. 

Your outlook actually and concretely affects what goes on.  When you give in to helplessness, you collude with despair and add to it.  When you take back your power and choose to see the possibilities for healing and transformation, your creativity awakens and flows to become na active force of renewal and encouragement in the world.  In this way, even in your own hidden life, you can become a powerful agent of transformation in a broken, darkened world.  There is a huge force field that opens when intention focuses and directs itself towards transformation."

Blessing #49: Vespers: A Nighttime Blessing

"As light departs to let the earth
be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind,
and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight
brims over with colors
Gathered from within
the secret meados of the day
And offered like blessings
to the gathering Tenebrae.

After the day's frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought of all the day brought,
Surprises that daw could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse
The golden echoes of teh worlds behind voices.

Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart's alter,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.

And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angle of the Moon call the river of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurt and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow."

Blessing #48: A Blessing for Broken Trust

"Sometimes there is
an invisible raven
That will fly low
to pierce the shell of trust
When it has been brought
near to ground.

When he strikes,
he breaks the faith of years
That had built quietly
through the seasons
In the rhythm of
tried and tested experience.

With one strike, the shelter is down
And the black yoke of truth turned false
Would poison the garden of memory.

Now the heart's dream turns to requiem,
Offering itself a poultice of tears
To cleanse from loss what cannot be lost.

Through all the raw and awkward days,
Dignitiy will hold the heart to grace
Lest it squander its dream on a ghost.

Often torn ground is ideal for seed
That can root disappointment deep enough
To yield a harvest that cannot wither:

A deeper light to anoint the eyes,
Passion that opens wings in the heart,
A subtle radiance of countenance:
The soul is ready for its true other."

Blessing #47: A Blessing After A Destructive Encounter

"Now that you have entered
with an open heart
Into a complex and fragile situation,
Hoping with patience and respect
To tread softly over sore ground in order
That somewhere
beneath the raw estrangement
Some fresh spring of healing
might be coaxed
To release the grace for a new journey
Beyond repetition and judgment,
And have acheived nothing of that,
But emerged helpless,
and with added hurt...

Withdraw for a while into your own tranquility,
Loosen from you heart the new fester.
Free yourself of teh wounded gaze
That is not yet able to see you.
Recognize your responsibility for the past.
Don't allow your sense of yourself to wilt.
Draw deep from your own dignity.
Temper your expectation to the other's limits,
And take your time carefully,
Learning that there is a time for everything
And for healing too,
But that now is not that time ...yet."

Blessing #46: A Blessing for Someone Who Did You Wrong

"Though its way is to strike
In a dumb rhythm,
Stroke upon stroke,
As though the heart
Were an anvil, the hurt you sent
Had a mind of its own. 

Something in you knew
Exactly how to shape it, to hit the target,
Slipping into the heart
Through some wound-window
Left open since childhood.

While it struck outside,
It burrowed inside,
Made tunnels through
Every ground of confidence.
For days, it would lie still
Until a thought would start it. 

Meanwhile, you forgot,
Went on with things
And never even knew 
How that perfect
Shape of hurt
Still continued to work.

Now a new kindness
Seems to have entered time
And I can see how that hurt
Has schooled my heart
In a compassion I would
Otherwise have never learned.

Somehow now
I have begun to glimpse
The unexpected fruit
Your dark gift had planted
And I thank you
For your unknown work." 

Blessing #45: A Blessing for Lost Friends

 "As twilight makes a rainbow rob
From the concealed colors of day
In order for time to stay alive
Within the dark weight of the night,
May we lose no one we love
From the shelter of our hearts.

When we love another heart
And allow it to love us,
We journey deep below time
Into that eternal weave
Where nothing unravels. 

May we have the grace to see
Despite the hurt of rupture,
The searing of anger,
And the empty disappointment,
That whoever we have loved,
Such love can never quench.

Though a door may have
Closed between us, 
May we be able to view
Our lost friends with eyes
Wise with calming grace;
Forgive them the damage
We were left to inerit,

Free ourselves from the chains
Of forlorn resentment;
Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to 
Celebrate the gifts they brought, 
Learn and grow from the pain,
And prosper into difference,
Wishing them peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space."

Blessing #44: A Blessing on the Death of a the Beloved

 "Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives, 
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of color. 

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything. 

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the alter of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief, 
Your spirt was alive, awake, complete. 

We look toward each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath, 
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement. 

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we sould grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones. 

May you continue to inspire us: 

To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again." 

Breaking Silence

 

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At the peak of Mount Batur (pictured above), an active volcano in the heart of Bali, I watched the sun rise over the distant mountains of Lombok.  After a grueling hike in the darkest of nights, with only the stars and tiny little flashlights to guide our way, the burst of golden red on the horizon was like a gift from the angels.  The volcano, in all of her glory, ignited in me a fire that doesn't seem to be going out any time soon. <3

So for the past month, I have been living (and I mean L I V I N G) in the mountainous jungles of Bali, near a tiny village called Lawak.  Alongside 13 of my Shakti sisters, I delved deep... deep into the jungle, deep into the ocean, deep into my heart, and deep into the divine.  Sitting here now, trying to put my experience into words, feels like a futile endeavor.  So I'll press pause on the wordiness and simply say HOLY SHIT WHAT A MONTH!  :)  

~

The past few days, I've been debating whether I wanted to start up the blog again...  I went back and forth quite a bit, but in the end, the decision was surprisingly easy to make.  Sunday morning rolled around, I woke up and immediately felt ready to open the blessings back up again and finish what I started.   

So here I am, sitting in a magical cafe in Ubud called Soma, writing my first post in a month.  

Its hot.  SO HOT.  The air is heavy and close.  I have sweat pouring down my legs just sitting still.  I just finished a magnificent lunch of a banana, raw cacao and spirulina smoothie and a plateful of greens, steamed pumpkin with sesame, tempe and peanut sauce.  My insides are perfectly primed to fuel my return to the bloggy train!

 

The Goddess Durga ~ The Source of the Starlight

The Goddess Durga ~ The Source of the Starlight

An exploration of mudras

An exploration of mudras

I re-read the blessing just a moment ago, and yet again I am in awe of the synchronicity of it all... A Meditation on Endings... I am certainly at an ending.   

"Often what alarms us as an ending, can in fact be the opening of a new journey"

I am certainly at the opening of a new journey. 

But it also feels like the same journey... I'm walking the same path I've always walked: my path.  So I wonder, can an ending be an ending and a beginning and nothing all at the same time?  In my present moment, the answer is yes. 

 ~

One of the many and major blessings from this past month was the gift of alternative education.  I was given free reign to learn, grow, integrate and express myself with true authenticity.  I didn't have to scour textbooks if I didn't want to, or cram for tests, or stress about a presentation.  Instead I got to celebrate ME and the unique way that I learn.  

Vishudha

Vishudha

So basically, that just means that I got to draw, and sing and dance. I got to talk, and cry and be perfectly still.  I got to be sleepy, and grumpy and ferociously sexy.  I read and didn't read.  I wrote and didn't write.  I philosophized and made dirty jokes.  I snuggled and sought out complete solitude.  But above all I learned, and I grew, I integrated and I expressed.  

The photos smattered across this post are some of the (photographable) pieces of art that came out of me during the training. 

 ~

Ajna

Ajna

Golly, I'm really struggling with what to write here.  I've written probably three completely different paragraphs and then promptly deleted all of them, haha.  I'm totally out of practice!  Part of me wants to write about every incredible little detail of the training: what we studied, how we experienced it, the projects we did, the gifts we shared... but that task is far too daunting.  Plus, my words would definitely not do any of it justice.  

Then there's part of me that wants to write all about the adventures we went on: the water palace, the ceremonies, the blessings, the scuba diving, the volcano, the dolphins, the burning... but again, that task is way too huge to take on.  And let me tell you, this heat makes my brain lazy :)

Sahashrara

Sahashrara

So here's the deal... if you want to know about the month I've had, send me an email, join me for a meal or a drink, come have a cup of tea in my apartment... we'll talk :) It'll be way more fun that way. I'll not only have my words, but I'll also be able to gesticulate, move my face around, play with the volume of my voice and the length of my vowels... way more options than what I have beneath my fingertips here! 

The Symphony of my Chakras

The Symphony of my Chakras

~

I kept up with my daily doodles all the way up until we had a 3-day silent meditation retreat - no talking, writing, reading, singing... We gave up all of our habitual forms of self-expression and processing to see what emerged out of the stillness. 

In keeping with the synchronicity of everything, I completed my doodle journal the night before our silent retreat began.  It felt so right to put the finished journal aside for three days, come to my meditation stripped down and simple - just me.  No doodles, no words, no art to get tangled up in the purity of my Self.  And then to start a fresh, new, clean journal after we broke silence was just perfect. 

"...a new beginning that we could never have anticipated and one that engages forgotten parts of the heart." 

So here's the finished product... 51 days worth of words and doodles... a strange, swoopy memoir of the first half of my 2014 adventure in Southeast Asia...  

 

 

Front Cover

Front Cover

Inside Front Cover

Inside Front Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Inside Back Cover

Inside Back Cover

So there you have it!  The doodle journal in its entirety.  Wow.  <3  

I'm planning to continue posting normally from here on out.  I will be in Indonesia for a bit longer though, so it all depends on wifi and such!  But I'll do my best to stay consistent :) Thanks for coming back and reading after a long hiatus <3  

Stay tuned for a new blessing tomorrow! 

Blessing #43: Meditation on Ending

"Experience has its own secret structuring.  Endings are natural.  Often what alarms us as an ending, can in fact be the opening of a new journey - a new beginning that we could never have anticipated and one that engates forgotten parts of the heart.  Due to the current overlay of therapy terminology in our language, everyone now seems to wish for "closure."  This word is unfortunate; it is not faithful to the open-ended rhythm of experience.  Creatures made of clay with porous skin and porous minds are quite incapable of the hermetic sealing that the strategy of "closure" seems to imply.  The word completion is a truer word.

Each experience has within it a dynamic of unfolding and a narrative of emergence.  Oscar Wilde once said, "The supreme vice is shallowness.  Whatever is realized is right."  When a person manages to trust experience and be open to it, the experience finds its own way to realization.  Though such an ending may be awkward and painful, there is a sense of wholesomeness and authenticity about it.  Then the heart will gradually find that this stage has run its course and the ending is substantial and true.  Eventually the person emerges with a deeper sense of freedom, certainty, and integration." 

COLORS WORDS AND WORLDS

So I have got to be honest here... I read the blessing for this week... posted it... and did not internalize one single word of it.  In fact, as I read the post, the words went in my right ear, did a very frantic dance in my brain, and then happily retreated out through my left ear.  

A few days later, thinking my brain would be unfuzzled enough to handle it, I re-read the blessing.  And again it was all just a jumble of words to me.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  I just had zero interest in it.   

And I haven't gone back to it since.  

And ya know what?  I don't feel bad about it, haha.

 ~

The colors of nature

My week in Singapore has been absolutely amazing.  Meg and Mike are the most incredible hosts pretty much ever.  We've been spending lots of time eating, drinking, biking, chatting, bumboat riding (yup, there's a thing called a bumboat), scheming, hookah-ing, meandering, watching movies, laughing, and we even got some work done in between all that!   

Meg and Mike are the owners of an incredible documentary film company that they founded together, called Persistent Productions.  Their work takes them on fascinating shoots all over the world, from Vancouver to Bhutan - and everywhere in between and beyond and above and below.  It has been a real joy to watch them work this week.  They have been on fire... preparing for upcoming projects, planning, hashing out website design, negotiating different time zones, jet-setting clients, and meeting after meeting after meeting.  And somehow, through all of the insanity, they still love each other!!  From their perspective, they probably think I'm a bit crazy for enjoying being a fly on the wall of their world this week... but for me, it has been nothing short of amazing!  

These two are pretty remarkable human beings - I'm so glad to have been able to reconnect with them! <3

But back to the blessing... the one teensy element of the blessing that stuck with me this week was the word "intention."   

Intention is a word I like to throw around quite a bit.  The word feels good in my mouth.  It sounds good when said articulately.  Its just an all-around, pretty great word, and I enjoy  having in my vocabulary.   

The colors of nature and man

Over the past month and a half of traveling, I have created a whole slew of intentions... intentions for the rest of my trip, intentions for when I get back to the states, intentions for 2014, intentions for LIFE!  Haha, well maybe not that epic.  But you get the idea.  For me, these intentions are more like mindsets... sure many of them are rooted in some kind of concrete thing or action... but I guess I think of them more as layers of goodness that I would like to include in my life... layers of goodness that would make me even more ME.   

I suppose they're a little bit like resolutions.  But for some reason, they feel more important, more real than a New Years resolution.  Whatever they are, I like them.  They invigorate me and get me excited about life - whether its my intention to get up on a surf board in Bali (preferably with a devastatingly sexy surf instructor close by), or my intention to use coconut oil in my cooking more often once I'm back home - these intentions really pump me up.  

The Smith family?

I started writing this blog last spring with the intention of reawakening my awareness of blessings... I wanted to open my eyes and remind myself that life really is amazing, even when the skies are murky and grey.  In addition, I wanted to see what crazy art projects my body, heart and spirit could come up with when my eyes were so wide open.  

Okay, so I just went back to the blessing mid blog-writing session.  I didn't re-read it per se... but I did skim it... and out popped the following words...   

"...the intention of blessing corresponds with the deepest desire of reality for creativity, healing, and wholesomeness."

I don't know if my real intention with this blog was to heal... I certainly hoped that it would help the process along... Does hope count as an intention?  I'm not sure.  But I can remember feeling a deep desire (to use O'Donahue's words) for creative expression... it was a desire that didn't even feel like my own.  It felt like it was born somewhere else and then set fire in my chest.  I mean, clearly it was *my* desire... but maybe just because it was so foreign to me, thats what why it didn't feel like it belonged to me.  But whatever it was, wherever it came from, there was no denying its strength.  So this blog definitely is rooted in an intention for creativity.

On that note, the daily doodles are still going strong...  

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This week, I also did a fun project in preparation for my yoga teacher training program that starts this Thursday.  The assignment was to make four Valentines: one to my childhood self, one to the formative moments of my life, one to my future self, and finally one to the entire world.  I had such a blast putting the Valentines together - it felt so good to dive into an art project again!  For one whole day, I plopped myself in a spare room in Meg and Mike's office and just went for it... full on crazy creative Mally-mode!! Glue all over my hands, and of course all over my hair (somehow I always end up with something in my hair!), little pieces of paper all over the place, destroyed magazines strewn around my little work space.  It was really fun :)

I think I'll keep the first three Valentines for my eyes only - but here is my Valentine for world...

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On Thursday I'm off to Bali for one month of yoga with my Shakti sisters!  I am beyond excited.  And beyond ready.  

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the blog during this next month... I am sort of feeling the need to completely unplug for the month.  But I also may end up feeling super creative and ready to share.  I'm just not sure yet.   

So my plan is not to plan :) but to just let it happen as it happens!  So you may hear from me next Sunday, or you may have to wait until mid-March!  <3