December’s Eve

This poem was written by a dear friend who decided our ideas were worthy of poetry. This is our organic, spontaneous, joyful collaboration. It spilled out of our connection, and she caught all the gems, arranging them with her time, effort, and energy, creating what you see below.

We had been talking & texting about life – the big existential kind of talking about life – and then a few weeks later she gave me a book, one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve received: Call Us What We Carry, a collection of poems by Amanda Gorman. When I opened the front cover I saw them – all of our words, and some new ones. She had collected our thoughts and organized them in verse. The beautiful fine-point black felt-tip ink of our words, written in her own hand, is stamped in my memory. My eyes filled up with tears when I realized what I was reading.

Who’s lucky enough to receive a gift such as this – this book, this poem – this friend?

December’s Eve

Instinct,
motivation,
necessity,
purpose,
meaning,
fulfillment,
nature,
humanity,
what was,
what is,
what’s to come,
what we wish for,
what we hope for,
what we wished for,
what we hoped for,
what we forgive,
what we allow,
what we choose,
what chooses us…

All
these
moments,
one after the other…

What do we love,
What do we love,
What do we love?

Photo by Anata Nsg on Pexels.com

Curiosity & Honesty: Entering Into Divine Flow (Part IV)

This is the last in a four part series on Entering Into Divine Flow, the Loving, Creative Spirit-Energy of Existence. If you missed the previous posts, click here for Part I on Adaptability, here for Part II about The Divine Feminine, and here for Part III on Attuning.

Part IV: Being in Divine Flow

Everything is practice. I’m learning this. Over and over again.

What have you been learning the last few weeks during your exploration of Divine Flow?

  • What are your names for Divinity?
  • When you attune your senses to your surroundings and to yourself (both outer & inner), what do you notice?
  • When you attune your heart to Divinity, what sensations arise in your body?
  • What do you feel like when you feel connected to Divinity?
  • Why do you keep practicing?
    • (The answer to this is your intention, your sankalpa, your dharma, your heart’s desire, your vocation, your calling, your purpose – your reason for getting up each morning and moving through the moments of your life.

Dear Sweet Heart,

You are Divine. Divinity does not exist only outside of you. Divinity exists within you. And within me. And within that person neither of us likes very much. And even within that person you and I can’t stand to be around because what they say and do boggles our mind and makes our stomach hurt. Divinity flows through generations of our families, both yours and mine from the beginning of Time, and even through all those families who make us angry because we haven’t yet begun to understand their behavior.

When we experience Divinity within us, we are living Divinity. Our bodies are verbs within which we live our lives; we are embodied, and we are continually being our bodies. Our hearts & minds are verbs, too. We are continually flowing through thoughts and emotions as they arise, remain, and fade away. We notice them as sensations in our body. This is our felt sense of our lives, and it’s happening throughout every moment, throughout all of time.

We get to choose, most times, how we experience our living. Slowing down, noticing, attuning, and connecting helps us make the choices which will bring us into a vibrating aliveness that sometimes feels sparkly & magical, heavenly & blissful, and – yes – divine.

I have experienced heaven on earth. Have you?

Heaven on earth for me is when all things align for the good. For others it is the kingdom of God at your hand. For others it is stepping out of modern society and into nature for moments, days, weeks, or a life at a time. I experience heaven when in my awareness pain is less and beauty is more. When I can walk and laugh with the people I love the most while they’re also able to walk and laugh.

I have experienced hell on earth. Have you?

Hell on earth for me is when all things align for the death of ease, trust, and security for an extended and completely uncertain length of time – and most especially during which time I can not see any end. For others it is separation from Goodness. For others it is pain beyond the ability to laugh, walk, stand. sit, connect. I experience hell when in my awareness every single thing hurts beyond my capacity to sense goodness. And I hurt this way when I sense the same dissonance in the people I love the most, too.

Photo by ALS

Connection

Slowing down, noticing, & attuning allows me to listen deeply to myself and others. It is in this practice that I connect to my truest self – the self that exists without labels, roles, and duties. For me, some of those are: student, mother, change-maker, wife, friend, sister, teacher, writer, encourager, daughter, poet, seeker, lover, beloved.

Underneath the labels, roles, and duties, I am myself. I (just) Am.

Some of you know “I Am” as the name God offers for God’s Self.

This is your name, too. And it is the name of all those people and families neither of us understands.

I have experienced disconnection. Have you?

Disconnection for me feels like blocked energy, pressed down, compacted, congested/ There was flow, or could be flow, but it’s not happening. The possibility of flow makes the blockage worse. There are also sensations of pushing and pulling, which tell me I’m craving, longing and grasping. For others disconnection feels wavy with anger and confusion. For others it feels like stabbing, sharp jaggers of injustice. I’m going to guess that for all of us, disconnection feels like isolation. Isolation is hellish.

I have experienced connection. Have you?

Connection for me feels warm; it is firm-comfort from beneath & swaddled-ness from all around. For others connection feels like giggles, like floating, lightness, weightlessness. I’m going to guess that for all of us, connection feels like being seen and being heard. This is heavenly.

Photo by ALS

Connecting to myself has given me insight into what other people experience. This has allowed me to connect to others in ways I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t spend time practicing. What I’m practicing is feeling my body’s sensational responses to my inner & outer surroundings, as well as to my own thoughts and emotions – and I’m getting to know what I really feel beneath all my labels, duties, and roles – what I feel at my core – at my I-Am-Ness. What I feel rather than what I think, Then I investigate what my feelings, sensations, and emotions are trying to tell me about what I value. And chances are, what I value as an embodied human being is the exact same thing you value: trust, safety, security, ease, peace, joy, and probably that thing we all call love, that beautiful mix of kindness, respect, generosity, gratitude, empathy, & compassion.

This way of being connects me to myself, my own divinity, and to you, and your own divinity.

It also connects me to all those people that annoy, irritate and frustrate me. And it connects me to all the people I want to move away from – literally, pack up my home and family and

move

away

from.

Being in Divine Flow is a way of being. It is less about the nature of Divine Flow and more about how I relate to the Loving, Creative, Spirit-Energy of the Universe,

Photo by ALS

Relationality

Many things happen in relationship: love, bliss, hurt, pain, trauma, resilience, nourishment. How people relate to one another is what creates community. We also experience all these things in relation to ourselves. For instance, there is my mind, my heart, my spirit, my body, and my own awareness that observes these aspects of my being. Relationship is happening all the time. Our own experience of relationship or relationality depends on our desire, willingness, skillfulness, and ability to connect to ourselves and others. This is why people say “be the change you want to see in the world,” and “creating peace within yourself is necessary before creating peace with others.”

Blocks

Some of us were never taught how to relate to ourselves or others. Some of us were not nurtured and did not learn through experience what healthy, loving relationship feels like and how it comes to be. Some connections weren’t formed in our early life, and we have to intentionally form them now.

For all of us, I think one of the biggest blocks to connection and relationality is pain and fear of pain. I know I put up blocks when I’m afraid of getting hurt, being betrayed, and not receiving the same kind of trust and care that I offer. The behaviors are mostly subconscious, but I know this now, after a lot of inner work and honest reflection.

Other blocks I have spent time with are perfectionism and control, which are fear of pain in other forms – the pain of “not enough-ness” and the possible pain that comes with uncertainty and the unknown, which could cause us harm. Of course, uncertainty and the unknown could also cause us great joy, but our biology and physiology are built to err on the side of less-risk-more-survival. This is possibly why some of us find ourselves working ridiculously hard at trying to control everything (and everyone?), subconsciously or otherwise.

Photo by ALS

Finding the Way Forward

I’ve had some amazing teachers over the years, One friend whom I consider my teacher shared with me her self-check when interactions between people are hard: “Am I kind? Can I be kind in this situation and still speak my truth?” Another teacher offered this self-check: “Will your words or actions drive connection or disconnection?” And still another teacher asked, “Do others have to be in full understanding and in agreement with you for you to act or speak rightly?”

When I’m confronted with especially challenging interpersonal situations, I will pause and ask myself some variation of these questions:

1) Am I intending to drive disconnection, or am I intending to move toward connection?

2) What do I need to do to be both honest & kind?

3) Can I speak and act rightly, even when others are not in complete understanding of my position, or in complete agreement with me?

If I don’t know the answers, I don’t speak.

Many things happen in relationship, and one of my greatest hopes is that I move toward connection and supportive community building. Being in Divine Flow helps me do this.

For Practice & Experience

To practice & experience being in Divine Flow, first take some quiet time to journal or draw your answers to any or all of these prompts that appear at the beginning of this post:

  • What have you been learning the last few weeks during your exploration of Divine Flow?
  • What are your names for Divinity?
  • When you attune your senses to your surroundings and to yourself (both outer & inner), what do you notice?
  • When you attune your heart to Divinity, what sensations arise in your body?
  • What do you feel like when you feel connected to Divinity?
  • Why do you keep practicing? (The answer to this is your intention, your sankalpa, your dharma, your heart’s desire, your vocation, your calling, your purpose – your reason for getting up each morning and moving through the moments of your life.

Then, over the next few days or week, pay close attention to how you relate to yourself and others. Are you able to pause and slow things down?

Second, if you like, journal or draw your responses to any or all of the prompts below, and notice what is revealed to you about yourself. Try to respond from your truest self, without all of your labels, roles, and duties.

  • What feels like heaven to you?
  • What feels like hell?
  • In what ways do you experience connection, and what does connection feel like for you?
  • In what ways do you experience disconnection, and what does disconnection feel like for you?
  • How does curiosity show up in your life? How do you feel when curiosity is your dominant quality?
  • In what ways are you honest about what you need and want? How does it feel to be honest with yourself and others?

Then, over the next few days or week, pay attention to the ways in which you step into and out of Divine Flow.

Notice the times you are aware of Divinity and the times when you realize you had not been.

Experiment with allowing life to unfold, rather than trying to wrangle each event into a super-specific, picture-perfect moment of amazingness. Try savoring the good in each experience, rather than wishing it was something else. It might be really difficult! It might be kinda okay! It could be easy…?

Start with just one 20 minute block of time. Allow 20 minutes to unfold and go with the flow. Then try an hour. Then 1/2 a day. Then a full day. Experience ease, allowing, and unfolding in small moments and in small ways. Feel what it’s like to be carried for a little while.

Bonus Practice:

Notice the ways in which Divinity is already present waiting for you. Notice any amount of longing to connect and be in community, to belong. What does it feel like to connect with yourself, with others, and with Divine Flow? .

(Photos from Pexels.com unless otherwise noted.)

Curiosity & Honesty: Entering Into Divine Flow (Part III)

This is the third part in a four part series on Entering Into Divine Flow, the Loving, Creative Spirit-Energy of Existence. If you missed the previous posts, click here for Part I on Adaptability and here for Part II about The Divine Feminine.

Part III: Attuning to Divine Flow

How did it go last week?
What was it like to unburden yourself, even just a little bit?

Was it awkward? Strange? Lovely? Weird? Revealing? Blissful?
Whatever it was, were you able to be kinda okay with it? Cultivating “okayness” is part of the flow; and so is attunement.

Attuning the Senses

After wrapping our minds around being allowed to adapt our practices, and then experimenting with different names for Divinity and laying down some burdens, we’re ready to practice Attuning to Divine Flow.

Attuning to Divine Flow means becoming aware of Divine Movement, or, how Divinity flows through you and around you, and then being receptive to that movement.

For me, attuning to Divine Flow requires presence and the ability to pay attention, to stretch my awareness, and to be tender and playful. Remembering that Divine Flow is relational, I put forth effort to engage and notice, and then release effort and allow. In other words, I acknowledge Divine Presence by being present to whatever is happening in and around me, by saying hello in whatever way feels right, and then offering my gratitude or my burdens or both. When something is heavy on my heart and mind, and I’m trying to plan for the future or make big decisions about my career or family, I often ask to be swept up, surrounded, or swaddled: Ah, I am thankful for all the things. And I need swept up in your divine flow. Sweep me up and swaddle me. Then I wait.

In these instances, sometimes I wait so long, continuing to go about my everyday life, that I forget I’ve asked to be in the flow until a curious occurrence or opportunity jog my memory. And then I think, Huh, that’s interesting. It’s as if letting go creates the space necessary for connection, coming together, and alignment. Some people might use the phrase “let go and let God,” and refer to this as “allowing God’s will to be done in your life.”

Other types of difficulties are more immediate. When I’m approaching a specific, challenging situation, or a particular situation I don’t have answers for but need to try anyway, I’ll offer words like these: May your divine flow be with me. Or, Lord, let your divine flow be present in and around me. And then I move forward with confidence that I’ll get some kind of direction. I keep myself awake and alert to new thoughts, ideas, and actions. I practice being receptive to these things, which involves slowing down, pausing, and waiting – even and especially when I’m in conversation with another person.

Being present and attuned means I notice and am aware of all the information coming in from my outer environment through my five senses, as well as information coming to me internally as I scan my inner environment: the quality of my mind & thoughts, my heart and breath rate, my emotions, and the wide variety of body sensations that tell me how my biological systems are doing (interoception), where my body is in space (proprioception), and how safe I feel (neuroception).

Then I wait and allow. “Allowing” in this instance means that instead of filling in gaps with extra words, I just wait. Instead of trying to control, change, or fix, I just “be with.” This isn’t always easy, but it isn’t always difficult either. In this waiting I keep on noticing myself, but I’m also aware of the other person or people. I’m paying attention to their words, facial expressions, body language, and energy.

There’s a tenderness in slowing down

There’s a tenderness in slowing down and in waiting. It’s in direct opposition to the pervading sense of time urgency in our daily lives and the driving sense that we need to do everything as quickly as possible. Slowing down and waiting is an offering of space and time, not only to myself, but also to the other person.

The playfulness comes in when I get a silly idea, or an idea that seems out of character for me and decide to go for it. Sometimes when working with young students as a resilience coach, I get stuck, really at a loss for what to do or say next. In these moments I’ve practiced being aware enough to ask, Come on divine flow…. Then wait, allow, and receive ideas like, play a game, don’t talk, create something together, be silent, sing, do a little science experiment, try puppets. It’s a letting go of seriousness. Then movement happens, words flow, ideas come, suggestions are offered, and I’m out of stuck-ness. I’m in flow.

Attuning the Heart

Other times, attuning to Divine Flow is a shift of my energetic heart – my unwounded heart. There is sometimes a warmth in the center of my chest when I concentrate on creating connection, on loving and being loved, and stepping into Divine Flow. When people and life and circumstances are impossibly complicated, allowing my mind to be quiet, moving the soft light of my attention to my heart brings me into a place where words are unnecessary.

Then there’s just the felt sense of warmth. I don’t offer or ask anything with words, but my heart-energy sings loudly. From my heart’s core connection to the unstruck sound, the Loving, Uncreated, Creative-Spirit-Energy of Existence responds with its own movement inside me. It’s like a pull and a longing to be in connection with Divine Flow and others, and to move through the world as kindness.

When both the senses and the heart are attuned in this way, I feel an ease and an acceptance. So that even if the outcomes are not what I had wished or hoped for, I can be okay with sensations of disappointment swaddled, wrapped up, and comforted in Divine Flowing Presence.

To Practice & Experience

  • Choose a day to practice attuning your senses.
    Set an intention to slow down and to notice how it feels to be alive, how it feels to be you. Take time to look deeply, listen fully, smell thoroughly, taste completely. Experience what it feels like to be connected and present to what is.
  • Choose a day to practice attuning your heart.
    Say hello to Divinity. Set an intention to be present to Presence. Shift your heart-energy toward loving-kindness & connection and be open to new thoughts, perspective, and ideas.
  • Choose a day to practice attuning to Divine Flow.
    Set an intention to notice Divine Movement & how Divinity flows through you, in you, and around you. Notice sensation. How does it feel to be alive, to be you, and to be connected to the Loving, Creative, Spirit-Energy of the Universe?