Being Present, Comparison, and Facebook

All of you following along get that I’ve been influenced by my recent meeting with Buddhist teacher and priest Cindy Beach. True to her calling in life, she rang out the familiar cry to be present in my life. I chuckle, because I’ve given her a fake voice in my head with a lot of attitude. I hear myself saying, “Cindy, this is where I want to go!!!!” She says, “Giiiiiiiirl, you ain’t even here yet, talkin’ ’bout where you wanna go. Mmmm.” That is not at all like what she sounds like, but it makes me smile.

I’ve also been watching Brene Brown’s talks on the OWN network. She is the author of Daring Greatly and The Gift of Imperfection, and what I’m taking from her is the importance of vulnerability. Here I am, folks. It’s tough.

IMG_4267I have been paying attention to my mind the past few days, and it reminds me of a failed art assignment. The colors are muddy, and the details aren’t being communicated well. My first assignment was to get my thoughts focused on what I am doing at any given time. My cold has made me focus a lot on blowing my nose and on what I consume.

Last night I took a shower to literally try and clear my head. I figured being present would be easier surrounded by white tile and steam. There I was staring at the corner of the stall when all of the sudden I was aware of my vision coming into sharp focus, like I’d adjusted a camera’s lens. Oh my gosh, I thought. I was away and thinking of something. What was it? A song, maybe. I looked at the corner in sharp focus and took deep breaths. I adjusted my posture to the “Bird Girl” Cindy Beach referenced during our visit. Was energy moving better through my body? Could I just ask to have my spirit guides do energy work on me, and would that help clear my sinuses? Crap! I was off and thinking again.

I have to believe that being present will get easier with practice, but it is much harder to do than I imagined. I’m finding little spells of it, a few breaths of it at a time. That’s it! Through this process, however, I am learning what doesn’t work. This brings me to vulnerability.

If I am honest with you and myself right now, I’ll tell you that Facebook has become my crutch for validation throughout the day. I enjoy sharing my photos. That’s fine. I enjoy hearing about your lives. Fine. But there is something else I don’t like to admit: it re-enforces what I’m trying to avoid. I’ve lived a life of comparison, and I’ve come to agree with the Buddhist perspective that comparison equals suffering. I’m having trouble blessing where you are, because I’m not feeling accomplished enough right now. I’m having trouble with not finding a full-time job. I’m having trouble with the idea of me being undisciplined, and I’m having trouble seeing clear paths versus road blocks. Facebook charges me with that feeling over and over throughout the day, and “likes” make me feel like I’m in a room full of like-minded people for a while. “Likes” make me think that you’re all people I can count on for a phone conversation, for a heart-to-heart, and that you all would just as soon seek me out for the same. That’s not true though. Relationships are cultivated in person. They are cultivated through shared experiences, and they are not cultivated with icons, photographs of food, or even a buffet of hilarious comments.

Do I hate Facebook? Nope. I’d rather see what you’re all up to than tend to the dishes in the sink. I’d rather focus on making you feel better than me. A little balance is all I’m speaking about. Nobody should wait around to be “liked.”

 

Alone On the Path

IMG_0058Surround yourself with the energy of your favorite nature trail, and see that the life around you is not longing for love. See that it is not saturated with emotion. The din of the forest is one of color and tone. Sit in quiet and imagine yourself spreading out in a big circle. You’re mingling with peace. You’re mingling with every branch and leaf. The endeavors of roots and uncurling ferns proceed without a text, an email, or the call of next entry on the to-do list. Now, pull yourself back to your heart. Your endocrine system is vitalized. There is a gladness to your glands, even the pineal which functions as your connection with the unseen.

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Coming Out With Your Spiritual Gifts

IMG_4320There are lots of people who want psychic abilities, but ask yourself who you will tell when you sharpen them? You’re astounded by the miracles and mind-blowing phenomena in your head, around your body, and in your world, so who are you going to tell? I picked one or two people at first. Experiences were the exception rather than the rule, and a few glasses of wine did well enough to get them off my chest. Well, let’s say wine and a few thousand emails. It’s haunting at worst and ecstatic at best. No matter which way the pendulum swings the weight of what is happening to you can not be ignored. It’s like being alone in a movie theater, and it gets lonely when no one’s around to see the good parts too. So, I’ll ask you again: Who are you going to tell?

I began to mentally arrange the people in my life based on how well they dealt with my spiritual anecdotes. To me, these events had nothing to do with religion (an impolite conversation topic, I hear). Spirituality is of our own bodies and souls. Religion doesn’t need to be involved. Still, the very mention of spiritual matters left some of my friends reaching for big SCRABBLE winners like: cool, awesome, and freaky. This was a let down, because Value Meals are cool. I am getting information from other dimensions of consciousness. It’s worth more than two syllables. But it seems that two syllables are the mark for things we don’t understand. Take for example: oh shit, and no way. I wanted more though, because stuff was happening to or through me more and more.

I found it freeing to tell my mom over the holidays. She’s not religious or spiritual, and to my relief she was intrigued. She asked some questions. She understood that it was a significant happening in my life. It shook my perspective on things as much as motherhood. I talk to my sister and aunt, and a few close friends, but there was another issue. At some point you always need a label. You can’t bore the drawers off people with every other-worldly event. For one, it invites people to pick them apart. If you simply want people to understand the general situation you start hunting for your own words. Uh, psychic? Spiritualist? Intuitive? My favorite is a friend who claims I have the shine. I don’t mind psychic, but my husband suggests I don’t use it. There are too many fake psychics out there. Intuitive sounds more inclusive. I like that, because I believe we all can work to improve these latent talents.

The other day, I met two former customers of mine in a garden center. We caught up for a while and then I dished my big skeleton. Only, I built it up a bit. Before I came to my big reveal, my friend said, “As long as you’re not going to tell me you’re talking to God or anything.” Well, no. Close! “I’m psychic,” I said and relayed the story of my first experience as a medium. Her response was, “Have you seen a neurologist?” I wasn’t hurt, but she went on a shelf with some other people I know. It’s not that I have anything against those people. I just know they don’t want to discuss it. Okay, I mean discuss it, but not debate it. There’s a difference. I know, because I love debates. What I require is discussing the experience not whether it actually happened.

Whatever you choose to do, it is important to find balance. Not everybody wants to talk on that level. You don’t want to hear everything about everyone either. What you can do is learn to self-validate. Don’t undress the sacred in your life to make others comfortable. Don’t be obnoxious about your spirituality either. Find where it works to celebrate it and do so. Don’t punish yourself by wearing that feather boa where it’s not appropriate.

Worth Work

IMG_4297 The bumblebee to the left does not feel unworthy of the pollen it needs to survive, and this carefree attitude spreads throughout the animal kingdom. Robins don’t struggle over whether they deserve the juicy worm. A lioness doesn’t stalk a choice wildebeest and then give up the chase, because she feels unworthy of dinner that night. It is only at the top of the food chain where we consider our worth before acquiring what we need. In fact, we compound the problem by evaluating ourselves and then evaluating the need itself.

Raising consciousness on the planet means that we are facing ourselves like never before, and this worth issue is being magnified like never before. It’s visible in the old and very young. Not dealing with it leads to depression, addiction, violence, and even poverty. To use a gardening term, it is a dampening off of our species. It has kept generations from reaching the fullness of their heart’s potential, but the point is not to defend or disbelieve. It is to recognize the pathogen that stunts our growth.
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Worth work begins when we identify what emotions we aren’t allowing to land. We become air traffic controllers for the sunlight, the rain, the fertilizer. Forgive me for getting out of hand with the garden metaphors. You might know the former as love, respect, validation, safety, and contentment. In our private worlds we become so efficient at gatekeeping that we do it on auto-pilot. We swat away what we need with no effort at all and without the awareness that we’re doing it.

The honest look that leads to progress gets scary. Conscious living means stepping through the muck of our own constructs. You would think when the things we need get close to us, we would relax. It would feel easy and good. Not so fast. It’s like the hands of God tearing away your root ball so you are no longer pot-bound. Do you see here how your foundation was growing in a big circle again, and again, and again?

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We don’t have to force an angst-filled upheaval to make positive changes. With a spoonful of initiative, and maybe some confiding in a good friend, we can flip a switch. We can flip the whole of our suffering right on its ass. This is possible because the construct of our worthlessness wasn’t made by other people. We made it. We planted it and watered it. Opening up to tearing it out can work wonders. You see, our constructs are not sturdy pillars. They are Twizzlers that we treat like 3,000-year-old trees. It can take a trusted pal to point out a new perspective.

My favorite part of Oh, Holy Night is the mention of the soul feeling its worth. A weary world rejoiced, because it is exhausting and binding to feel worthless. It’s easy to say, “I don’t feel worthless,” but look at your life. See where things are moving as well as you’d prefer.

I’m trying this with myself, and it’s a simple exercise that changes the feeling in your entire body. I want to be a published author, but that goal is lofty. I tell myself I don’t write fast enough. I don’t have the advances so many writers had to live from in days of yore. I tell myself if I self publish, how will I ever find the time to market it? With every proclamation I seem less worthy of being on the Best-Seller’s list. My new trick is to tell myself: You already have a best-seller. I’ve written it, and thousands and thousands of people have it on their nightstands. A strange comfort fills my heart and moves out toward my extremities.  I did it once, and I can do it again. There is no fear, and I feel worthy. I can write from this place, this consciousness, far easier than the former.

What can you tell yourself to make that shift and remove the weight of worthlessness?

  • Everybody loves me. (Even if this isn’t the case, it’s worth it to take that worry from your mind.)
  • I’ve tackled my finances.
  • I make an impact when I do what I love.
  • What I have to give the world fills a need.
  • I’m partly responsible for the respect, love, validation, gratitude, etc. I don’t feel, and that is due to what I believe and tell myself.

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Why Evolving During Sleep Makes Sense

These aren't representing your Vitamin C needs.

These aren’t representing your need for Vitamin C, unless that’s C for Christine.

Having an epiphany during the sleep state is widely accepted across the boundaries of nationality, religion, and economic circumstance. While wars are fought on behalf of religion, as humans, we don’t get our feathers ruffled  by the concept that a benevolent force might be trying to tell us something. If we’re okay with that, then we accept that a benevolent force or entity can affect us in a positive way. Angels? Helpers? Guides? I believe they are available to us, and why shouldn’t the sleep state allow them to get more good work done?

I think you know what it takes to change, but this photo should make it crystal-clear. Change is a goat in a petting zoo once you’ve run out of food pellets. Change makes me want to gnaw baseboards like a parrot that’s just found the floor. The hardest changes to make fix problems we haven’t fully identified yet. We haven’t explained them to ourselves in a way that makes us go, “Oh, shit, you’re right.” When you feel stupid, your clementines shrink. When your clementines shrink, you feel weak. When you feel weak, who gives a flying Rinpoche about change? He could be sailing over the Super Bowl, and you’re like: Dude, you see the state of my citrus. I ain’t got it in me.

When we achieve a certain state, a certain sleep state, we are anesthetized. We are no longer attached to our issues energetically. If we are suffering loss, and keep mindful of that loss, we’re holding onto it energetically. We may have been  justified, but our heartbreak starts to be a loop. It starts to feed itself. It starts out light, but it begins to get used to itself. It’s a dog running a race track into your back lawn while you pray it wins the Iditarod.

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If change is to happen on our mental landscape, we are the ones to permit it. When we struggle, when our intention is there, when we feel the goat getting anxious for us to move forward, and we are still lacking fruit for discovery, surprises happen. Shifts occur. We fall up the tree. We stumble into the flow; bump into who we need: each other.

Eighth Dimension and The Girl in the Park Follow-Up

The day after I had the vision of being in the 8th dimension, in a class taught by the Dalai Lama no less, I had to acknowledge the crackle in the day’s energy. According to the Foundation for Global Humanity, those in the 8th dimension came up with the “blueprint” for Karma. In other words, that is a level of spirit where the teaching element of cause and effect is not necessary.

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What an idea? There is a level of existence where we’re all enlightened enough to treat each other well. There is place that challenges and where one is free to shed Karma like skin after a sunburn. I found it funny that upon receiving that vision my son decided to join with me and Boy George. You haven’t lived until you see a New Age mom, taking her Presbyterian baptized  son to his Methodist school as he sings Karma Chameleon. Incidentally, somebody made a penis and scrotum in the cement walk on the way into the school, and it’s a trinity that brings joy to my life every single school day.

That afternoon the angst-filled girl I wrote about the other day arrived at the park. She was hoping he would show up again: the forbidden boyfriend. She was one of those sparking fireworks that skids left and right only to make me nervous by going under a car. This young woman, instead, slid onto a bench at the picnic table where I was sitting. Okay, I thought, how do I make the best use of our proximity. How can I help, if at all? Then I saw it, boom! The girl that sat down at my picnic table, the day after I had the vision of the Dalai Lama, was wearing a Yin Yang necklace.

Tip #1: Anytime you want to start a conversion with a lady, complimenting her necklace is rock-solid.

“I like your necklace,” I said.

The girl told me that she and her boyfriend had the same necklace. She had heard that married people, or something like that, typically wear it. My empathy for this girl was fountaining out of the top of my head. Shit, okay, here we go, I thought.

I began by suggesting that it meant balance, and that balance wasn’t from an outside relationship but from within. If I was exploding with empathy, she was oozing grief.

“Even though he says he isn’t, I feel like he’s going to cheat on me,” she confided.

That’s when I truly saw myself at 15, the longing, the discomfort coming from feeling different, the yearning and fear that I’d never get enough to make it go away. I also knew in that moment that she was an empath in the psychic sense. This was the budding of a rose who didn’t understand why the sprinklers came on at random.

“Do you feel overwhelmed by the emotions of people around you,” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I feel that way all the time.”

“You feel everything,” I said, “don’t you?”

She told me she did, took a deep breath, and wiped a rogue tear away.

The conversation went on, and I spoke to her in terms of we instead of you, because she needed to understand that this was a garden of insight that needed tending rather than a weight on her chest. She needed to see that she is part of an us. The world’s empathetic souls are some of the most creative, compassionate, and inspiring. She was just cleaning out the boxes in her basement.

“I have nightmares,” she said. “I dream that a family member close to me is going to die. I catch him as he falls.”

I told her a story that a wise man told me. It essentially says that when we let our demons catch us, we find out they are helpful and trying to warn us.

“Your dreams are just telling you there is fear in your life to try and work through,” I said. “Next time, let him fall.”

She laughed. “Just let him fall?”

I explained that pretty soon, the emotion behind it would be defused. She’d even be yelling at this dude to get the heck up. The world changed. Her world changed as our talk continued, and so did mine. We all want to feel useful, used by a purpose greater than our grocery list. On that day in the park, I felt that.

Multi-Dimensional Travel

On Monday morning, just before I woke up, I had a vision that I was sitting near the front of a classroom. A young Asian man, maybe in his late twenties, stood looking toward the back of the room the way a teaching assistant would do in college. The room had brown paneling on the walls. I was aware that the class was full, but all I saw was this young man. Murmurs came from where he was looking. People were exchanging greetings in a language I didn’t understand.

“We’re going to see what you know about politics,” an older man’s voice said. I look, and it’s the teacher, and the teacher is the Dalai Lama. “We don’t need charts and graphs,” he continued, “we’re just trying to see what you know.”

I ask somebody, anybody within earshot,”What class is this?”

“Post-Modernism in an Aeronautical Age,” a voice near my right ear says.

“Well, if you’re expecting me to know anything about politics,” I think, “you’re going to be very disappointed.”

The voice by my ear seems to relay my thoughts. That’s when his Holiness speaks to me.

“Christine Lucas, you’re a surprise guest with us here today,” he says.

You know that feeling where you’ve crapped your pants in front of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama? Well, I didn’t have it, because I couldn’t imagine any consequence to being myself.

“I am,” I heard my voice ask. My tone was: Come on. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter.

“You’re an astral projectionist,” His Holiness says.

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Public Domain WiKimedia Commons

This is news to me, because, in my twenties, I read Robert Monroe books, listened to Art Bell, and meditated for hours trying to pull that off. I didn’t even make it to QuikTrip for an astral cappuccino. I want to ask questions. I don’t want to interrupt again though.

“Where are his robes,” I ask that voice to my right. “For that matter, where is his body?”

All I saw was a head, the Dalai Lama’s head, and a couple of sheets of loose-leaf paper on my desk.

His Holiness says, “A distinguished classmate is helping you.”

The class continues and my ear buddy tells me that I don’t have to react to anything there anymore. I still hear the class, but it’s like I’m in the back of the room. There’s something else. My eyes are open. I’m awake, and I’m watching my husband get ready for work. I hear the television playing the Disney Channel, and my son calls out for juice.

“In what dimension is this classroom,” I ask.

“Eighth,” my helper says.

I get up, and the sounds of the classroom fade like lowering the volume on a radio.

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The last thing I hear is, “You’ll meet many sentient beings if you open your heart chakra.”cloverheart