abundance · meditation · receiving

“I choo choo choose you!”

10.12.18Today’s Deepak/Oprah meditation is entitled, Abundant Me, and our centering thought for the day is, “I choose abundance.”

The following is copied from my transcription of today’s guided work into my journal (I always write it down as I listen, since I “get” it best that way).  Frankly, I can’t put it better than they do and I’d rather re-write (and re-read) what it is they’ve said.  And until they flag me for copyright infringement, I’d love to share it with you!

What lights me up more fervently than anything else in my life?  Listen to whatever immediately comes to me — these are signs leading me to me true passion, my most heart-felt desire and, ultimately, to my destiny.

When I heed the call of my deepest desires, I fulfill my TRUE DESTINY!!  Live from a place of wonder, play, and delight. 

We’re often taught that we must abandon our natural passions as we cross the divide between childhood and adulthood.  And YET, passion is what drives me to be the very best individual I can be. !!

Today in meditation, I reconnect to my internal spark & begin to gently release my long-held stories about who I should be & become more intimately re-acquainted with who I really am.  Today, I’ll practice shining brightly as the person I was born to be, as I freely share my gifts with everyone I meet. 

Truth: what I focus on expands. 

When I do what I love, energy & prosperity flow in every way.  I may believe that living my passion & desires is out of my reach, that I’m not worthy or talented enough or brave enough to realize my dreams.  But, Oprah is here to tell me that it is my birthright (my inheritance) to receive INFINITE GIFTS from the Universe.  My desires forge the path that leads me DIRECTLY toward the fulfillment of that purpose.  Joy and abundance come effortlessly when I am paying attention to my life. 

When I pursue the moment that is lighting me up, I build one moment at a time a life filled with passion, intention, and fulfillment.  When I do what I love and give freely of myself, what I offer comes back to me in ways just FAR beyond my imagination. 

There are no limits to what I can share, or receive.  So let us open the door together to clear the way for an endless bounty of blessings.

Passion is the free-flow of energy that leads me toward the fulfillment of my dreams, desires, and purpose in life.  When I do anything with passion, I express every aspect of who I am. (wow)  Time seems to stand still as I engage in whatever activity fills me with inspiration, love, and joy. 

Without passion, life can feel flat or stale.  (mm hmm)  In the moments when I do what I love, I open the door to abundance and prosperity in all areas of my life.  It is that simple. 

As I grew up, I began to learn that what I wanted was unacceptable.  Or that it was wrong.  Or impractical.  Or selfish to go after my dreams.😦

I may feel powerless and think why bother having desires when they will never be fulfilled anyway.

As I listen to these words, what feelings come up? (sadness, low)  Do I feel connected to my passion? (No!)

When I wake up in the morning, am I usually excited about my projects and plans for the day, or do I feel lost, bored, or stuck?  If I’m not doing what I love, what thoughts or beliefs are holding me back?

Most have to do with money and worth.  Many people tell themselves I can’t make a living doing what I love😦 or That dream is simply out of reach, it is not really meant to be. 

When I hold some part of myself in reserve, I severely limit what life can bring to me, and what I can bring to life. (!)  Abundance flows when I am centered in the awareness that my true self is pure spirit, unbounded in time and place.  

Spirit does NOT PLACE LIMITS on my joy, prosperity, OR fulfillment.  It is the ego that creates limiting stories about why we cannot make enough money doing what we love.  Or that we are not worthy of prosperity.  

As I recognize that these stories are SIMPLY THOUGHTS, not the truth, I can gently let them go, and return to my natural state of

CREATIVITY

JOY and

ABUNDANCE.:)!

No matter how deeply I’ve buried my desires, they are a force of evolution and growth that can never be completely denied (addiction tries to).  I am here to fulfill a purpose in the world and my desires are clues that lead me directly to the expression of my destiny. 

As I live my Love and Purpose, I will be held in the arms of abundance (aw)

I was born to deeply receive the bounties that Spirit provides. (Oy)  All that is required of me is to say, Yes.  

Take a deep breath and receive.  Receive.  Receive. 

Approach today with certainty as I contemplate the centering thought:  I choose abundance. (mmm…)

I choose abundance. 

I choose abundance. 

 

 

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abundance · receiving · TEACHING

Reception.

10.4.18Today, I’ve been asked to be among the teachers presenting a poem during our weekly prayer service at school.  It’s to be about Rain, to invite in the rain now that it’s past Sukkot, the harvest holiday, and officially into the Fall and Winter months.

The idea of being receptive to abundance is what’s rattling around in my head.  The idea that we have built hardscapes that prevent any rain — or abundance — that’s already being offered us from actually reaching the depths where it will do the most good.

The idea of our shunning or turning away from this bounty feels relevant; of our not accepting the blessings being offered or seeing the good that exists, because they don’t look like we want or we don’t look like we want.

When do we get to say, “Yes, I allow myself to receive”?  “Yes, I am enough”?  When do we get to say that, yes, we have earned the right to the gorgeousness of life, simply for the fact of our being born into it?

There is no scorecard for abundance.  There is no number of duties or tasks that I’m to perform in order to be worthy.  I do not need to please a god to be worthy.

Nor a parent, nor friend, nor, frankly, even myself.

The only requirement for receiving abundance is to see it.  To look up, and to notice.  To see the real and metaphorical dew drops on pine needles, to see the real and metaphorical water cycle pumping its heart of new growth and saturating our entire earthen planet.

This noticing is my ticket to receiving.  The abundance is already there, like water puddled atop a slab of concrete — all I need do is break through it.

 

community · progress · receiving

Healthy Help.

6.29.18_2I had a strange occurrence this week: I received help.

Novel, I know.  But as you may have read here, I have a complicated (read: vitriolic) relationship with giving and receiving help, which is informed by my reticence to give and receive goodness to and from my own self.

Therefore, as I sat on two phone calls this week, shared my situation and my questions, was offered guidance, suggestions, encouragement, and a path forward, I felt different.  And that difference is a keystone toward my future.

Because I met with two friends/lay-people last week to discuss my financial situation, one of them offered me the name of a certified financial planner.  It is beginning to look like I truly need professional help when looking at my finances, instead of continuing to wing it or to attempt to wrest all the pennies out of my paycheck and into my savings—an express ticket to Deprivation Land.

Listening to Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins earlier this year, he too suggested that we talk with someone to get a more realistic and educated sense of how to proceed.  But it’s not like I had any clue who or how to find someone, therefore this “to do” item fell down the pages of my calendar for months.

And lo: here I was across a cafe table last week and the gentleman says, “You have to talk to this guy; he’s a success machine.”  Uhh, yes, please!

So I talk to said guy and his associate on Monday.  We have an hour-long free call where I describe my current situation and mushy outlines of my future goals.  Firstly, he is so kind!  They are generous with their questions, their listening, their suggestions.  They listen with a warmth that belies the fact that they would never take my business!

Because their fees are precipitous, they’re not the right group for me and they later suggest a woman who may be.  Nonetheless, despite knowing my financial situation within the first 5 minutes of our call, they talk to me anyway.  Even now, I feel a pressure ease in my chest when I recall it.  (I’d later describe them as “warm, juicy” feelings!)

There is something about help freely given that feels entirely new to me.

Surely, I’ve previously been offered what I’m presently calling “Healthy Help,” but perhaps I was not in a place to become aware of it, or in a place to receive it.

We had our lovely, gentle, informative, equanimous call and they invited me to check in down the line.  I followed their referral immediately, and the next afternoon spoke with a woman whose fees and experience seem just what I’m looking for.

Again, she listened.  She heard, she parsed, she reflected.  And it just felt SO DAMN CALM!  I don’t know what it is about the “calmness” of these phone calls that strikes me as so phenomenal, but it does.  (By contrast, I can point to two weeks earlier when I spoke with a real estate agent and a mortgage broker, and I can assure you that however kind in their being they may be, their help sure didn’t feel “calm.”  It felt pushy, greedy, and patronizing.)

Clearly, I am attracting a different manner of help — or I am finally in a place to receive Healthy Help.  It feels marvelous, expansive, laden with possibility and hope.  And it speaks to an opening in my realm for more.

 

 

acting · authenticity · letting go · life · receiving · safety

I Came In Here For An Argument

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I’ve been recalling the above-referenced Monty Python
sketch. In the first moments, a customer walks into a room and the man behind
the desk there begins to berate him. The customer stops him, and exclaims, I came
in here for an argument! – At which point, the man behind the desk apologizes
and says, Oh, this is Abuse. Argument is down the hall. (It’s a very funny
sketch, and I do it no justice here – please make liberal use of Youtube.)
I’ve been thinking about what kind of lesson I think I’ve
been signed up for. What ideas I have about what I’m supposed to be learning in
this life, at this time, in this moment. And how maybe the room I’ve thought
I’ve walked into isn’t that room at all. That although I have some ideas and
hopes/generalities about the parts of myself I’m supposed to be working on
right now – the fact is, that I’m not actually the one choosing my courses.
I’ve had enough experience to learn that I have to let go of
what I think this lifetime’s lessons are for other people (that they should learn self-esteem,
compassion, ease, or forgiveness), and I’ve had mild success at that –
understanding that what I would have this person learn this time around may not
be what the Fates or Universe or Gods would have them learn. That although I
very much and fully think that this person ought to learn how to be softer or
to be more resolved, they’re apparently not here on my course schedule, and so
I have to let go, or else be in the pain of trying to manipulate my will into theirs.
However, it hasn’t yet ever occurred to me that I need to
let go of what my ideas are for my
lifetime. But it is now.
Because some of these lessons I’m learning aren’t ones I
would’ve consciously signed up for.
Last night, at my callback for this play, I was asked to
read a scene as the mother to a teenage girl who stood on stage with me. We
read the scene, and the director said it was good, but to slow it down, and
really find the emotional connection in it. We ran it again, and I was pretty sure
I didn’t do that.
I see this morning that I didn’t really trust that I could
convey that kind of emotion, and so I barreled through it again. I didn’t trust
that I could be good enough, or believable enough, or hold the emotion of love,
care, and concern enough to portray it.
So the lesson becomes “trust,” instead of “follow my dreams.” Trusting that if I
slow down, I’ll be okay. That if I allow myself to be seen (a lesson that’s
been on my syllabus for a while), I’ll be okay. Trusting oneself is not an easy
lesson to learn. Trusting in the safety of being oneself is not an easy lesson
to learn.
There’s a phrase I’ve been mulling on this morning: There
comes a point in your recovery when you stop backing away from alcohol, and you
turn around and start walking toward G-d.
Whatever your thoughts are about “god,” the idea, to me, is
that eventually, we move beyond being motivated by fear, and must begin to be
motivated by love.
The idea that I know what room I walked into, what lesson
I’m supposed to learn, is a manipulation based on the fear that I can’t be
myself, that I’m not okay with whatever “is.” To accept the fact that I don’t have the syllabus for my life and that
the Fates will steer me toward whatever lesson
they deem necessary for the goodness of all, means I have
to be willing to let go of my expectations for my life and myself. For all my
aspirations and intentions, in many ways.
To let go, doesn’t mean to abandon. It means to release
control, or perceived control. To let go doesn’t mean to not audition, pursue,
or practice what is in front of me. It doesn’t mean to reject or eject
anything, in fact.
For me, this morning, “to let go” means “to allow what is.”
To allow what is in me, in you, in the cards, in our hearts to BE.
I’ve never had the greatest relationship with the phrase,
“Let go.” It feels like falling. But “To allow what is” feels like releasing
and accepting in a warm way.
So, I will walk today into the classroom of life, and I will
allow what is here to mold and shape me, and I will allow that I am cared for
and need not brace for it, and I will allow that I am safe in the care of these
lessons, and I will allow myself to shed one millimeter of armor between us.
I will allow the idea, just the idea!, that I am actually
totally and completely held, and therefore be able to turn my attention from
clenching and bracing to opening, giving, and receiving. 
Bonus quote: “G-d steers the boat; all you have to do is row.”

acting · adulthood · crazy · family · forgiveness · humilty · love · money · persistence · receiving · self-support · the middle way · work

Day Jobs.

Yikes. Unintendedly, I apparently freaked my mom out. I
guess “What goes around comes around” is a less than spiritual comment here.
When I was camping this weekend, one of the women said she’d
used this 23andme site that did genetic mapping and testing. She said she found
it to accurately confirm things she knew she had and “labeled” her cousin as
her own on the site, so she felt it was reliable when it came to the things she wanted
clarity on or might not know. So, on a whim, I looked it up yesterday. Part of
it is my own rampant curiosity about my dad’s father’s side of the family, about whom
we know nothing (very hush hush, gramma got pregnant at 15 in an Irish Catholic
family under-the-rug), so I’d like to know about that fourth of who I am.
Secondly, and importantly for me, my mom’s mother died from
Alzheimer’s and I want to know if I have the gene or not. You can get it
without the gene, and you can not get it
with the gene. But, I’m curious. And a little excited. If I don’t have the
gene, I can (and would) worry less; and if I do have the gene, they’re coming
up with all kinds of new things people can do these days to stave it off or
minimize the effects – and I’d look for more information on stuff like that.
So, in an effort to “share the good news,” I emailed my mom
and brother yesterday to let them know about it (though women are more likely
than men to get Alz). I got an email back this morning from my mom saying that
no matter what to never [BOLD FACE] EVER tell her the results of it.
Yikes. Granted, my mom is a class-A worrier,
anxiety-disordered woman on medication, but… yeesh. That obviously wasn’t my
intention, to freak her out – I guess I imagined she’d react as I did – “Cool,
what can I learn, so that information can be useful in how I lead my life?” …
Best laid plans, I suppose.
It’s Friday, so it’s a little rough to go into what I
remember of my mom’s parents’ deaths, and what I consider to be and have been
“wrong” ways of grieving. And so I won’t do that today. It’s NOMB – None Of My
Business.
So, I’ll undeftly switch topics, as I’m uncomfortable. 😉
Yesterday, in reading Tina Fey’s book, I had a sort of
realization about “day jobs.” Fey worked at a YMCA for $5/hr in Chicago when
she left undergrad. She wanted to take improv classes, so she angled for a job
“upstairs” in the office of the YMCA. When she was asked on the interview why
she wanted the job, she replied unabashedly, So I can afford improv classes.
She got the job, took improv classes, and quit the job less than a year later
when she got work with the improv group.
I had my informational interview with my former acting
teacher last Friday, and she said nice things like I have “great instincts,”
and that “it’s obvious [I] really enjoy it.” She didn’t really give me the
“constructive criticism” I was looking to get – areas that I could improve in,
and as I was recounting this to my friend last weekend, she said it sounded
like I wanted to hear places I could just do X, Y, and Z, so that I could “fix”
it, and suddenly everything would fall into place. Yes, give me a set of
movable problems, let me fix them, and then let me be free of problems forever.
That sounds about right.
So, I didn’t get that. I got what felt like nearly reluctant
suggestions. Again, I guess I had expectations. But, I heard that acting
classes would be a good idea to continue with. So, yesterday, I looked up the
classes at A.C.T. Studio, and their summer program. It’s not very expensive,
but surely more than I have now.
And I remembered what Tina Fey had said: she took a job so
she could afford to do what she really wanted to do. For SO long I’ve been
agonizing over what is my “ideal” job, or what will feed me spiritually,
intellectually, and creatively – what one
thing would fit all my needs. I don’t feel this way about people, why would I
feel this way about work? I don’t expect one person to fulfill all my needs –
that’s ridiculous, unfair, and leads to disappointment. So, why should I feel that a job
would or ought to do the same.
There’s something in this. It takes a shit ton of the
pressure out of whatever job comes to me next. That it is a means to an end. And further, I’m honing in more
closely on what I’d want those “ends” to be – what I want my job to afford me
to be able to do. Lessons, classes, (acting & music, for now). I’m not sure what
this realization will bring me – except that I already feel less internal
pressure about “What I’m going to do next.” Chances are (G-d willing!!!!!!)
that the job that I get next
can
afford me the disposable income to take classes like that. Or, rather, the
chances don’t have to be there, I can just start angling the satellite dish of
my focus in a slightly different direction, picking up on things that I’d
dismissed, as they wouldn’t “fill me spiritually.”
Like a person, it’s not a job’s … job to fill me spiritually. That’s up to me. That’s up
to me to take the kinds of actions that will allow me the freedom from financial
worry to do things that
do feed
me spiritually and creatively. I have a phone call date with another acting
friend next week, having been inspired by the new angle of my satellite to be
able to continue having these conversations with people.
What comes of it? Who knows. But I feel more open to things,
and I’ve noticed that makes a world of difference.
(Sorry, Mom – didn’t mean to freak you out. LU, m.)

abundance · adulthood · community · compassion · forgiveness · growth · love · reality · receiving · surrender

What Ifs – A Response

What if I thought more of others’ happiness
What if I were grateful for what I have
What if I took good care of my possessions
What if I took good care of my body
What if I allowed myself to receive love from others
What if I allowed myself to receive my own
What if I believed I was alright
What if I were grateful for my coffee mugs, 
                                                 gifts from
kind friends
What if I were grateful for the furniture in my apartment, 
                                                 free, all of it
What if I were grateful for the electricity
                                                 clean water
                                                 hot water
                                                 a refrigerator
What if I allowed myself to fill my refrigerator
What if I allowed myself to believe in my inherent goodness
What if I believed that I was more than my wants
What if I believed that I was able to carry more than I ever
have
What if I thanked others for their kindness
                                                 What if I meant it
What if I let myself feel love for other people
What if I let myself feel generosity of spirit
What if I thought there was enough for everyone
What if I thought more about everyone
What if love was a gift

What if I let myself breathe 
                                                 when I hug people
What if the smell of children’s hair was enough
What if I let myself believe in my dreams
What if I let myself support them in an adult way
What if I opened to hearing your praise
What if I opened to hearing your guidance
What if I opened to hearing your story
                                                 without thought
to improve, correct, enhance
What if you were enough.

What if I were enough
What if I let myself stop 
                                                 worrying
                                                 being small
                                                 hiding
What if I believed it were safe
What if I believed you were safe
What if I believed that I were
What if I let myself be
What if I were more generous with my gifts
What if I were more generous with my affection
What if I were more generous with my laughter
What if I could relax
What if I could relax.
community · courage · discovery · faith · fate · poetry · receiving · school

Rituals, Rites of Passage, and the Spindly Lines of Fate.

Here.We.Go.!
I’d written last week to some of my fellow cohorts to ask if they
wanted to mark our graduation with some kind of a “ritual” or ceremony. That
very afternoon, I was invited to read a poem at the “Spiritual Send-off”
graduation ceremony at school. Apparently, I really do and am meant to have a
ritual around this. To mark and honor and acknowledge what a privilege this is, and to mark and honor and acknowledge what we’ve done and how we have shown up and completed something sort of major.
When I got into school two years ago, a friend of mine suggested we have
some sort of ceremony of our own to celebrate and honor and give thanks for
having gotten there, to wherever there was – an answer to a stated and unstated
prayer or longing or wish. For years, when I’d ask folks what they did for a
living – trying to vicariously divine what I ought to be doing for a living – when folks responded that they went to school full-time, invariably, I said that
I envied people who could do that. Who did that. Underneath envy, is longing.
I knew for some time, and said it occasionally or often,
that I wanted to “go back to school.” That I wanted to go for some advanced
degree, but I had no idea what. I toyed with many ideas. Rabbinic School.
Cantorial School (the singers in synagogues). Masters in Education. Masters in
Jewish Education. Clown School (just kidding). Master’s in Literature… that
always seemed to make the most sense, what with my undergrad in English Literature, but I had no inspiration for what I’d study in that or why.
Through a series of “coincidences,” I’d heard of Mills
College. Although well-known here in our little Bay Area enclave, I hadn’t
heard of it prior. What happened was, in about 2008, my friend in Brooklyn,
whom I’d met here in SF, started a magazine. An arts and culture journal. She
called me and asked if I’d interview a writer for the magazine who lived out here in the Bay,
and despite my lack of experience, I said sure.
Yiyun Li was working as a visiting professor at Mills
College, I found out in my research about her before our phone call. This was the first I’d heard of it. I toodled around the
website, and something somewhere in me sighed,
Yessss….
Every six months or so, I’d revisit the website. I’d never
been to the college campus (The first time I even saw the campus was orientation day!). I’d hardly ever been to Oakland. But, I’d read the
description of the English Department’s Masters’ program, and I felt …well,
like I knew. Like I knew, but dismissed, closing the browser for another six
months. That’s for other people. People who can afford to go back to school, or
who really know what they want to do.
I found a notebook recently that has scribbled notes from a
phone call with my Aunt. She’s an English professor at a university in
Virginia, and has been doing all this for a very long time. My notes are probably
from 2008 or 2009. They’re asking me to check out programs, and seek out
writers I like and see where they’re teaching. They’re asking me to take action
to help “figure out” what I want to study.
See, my above list of my options for Masters’ degrees remained.
What did I want to study? Desire and
action are two different things. Vague desire and clarity are as well.
But, at some point, all of those peekings at the Mills
website came to a head. And in the Spring of 2010, I called the English
department admissions coordinator to talk it out.
Huddled in a side office at my job, I sat on the phone with
her, and she told me about the requirements for the Masters in Literature
Program. The problem became, that I didn’t really do so hot in the last days of
my undergrad (read: Pulling a Britney), and I didn’t have any connections with
my professors from then, and I certainly didn’t have any academic papers on
hand.
I called my brother, and asked him to go through my room in
New Jersey, to see if he could find a paper of mine. He said he didn’t see
anything like that as he sifted through a few years’ of my papers and creative
writings, but that “It is obvious that you are, and have always been a writer.”
This phrase helped more than he knew. I called Stephanie at
the English Department, and as the deadline for application drew voraciously
nearer, I asked her what I should do. I asked her, then,… what were the
requirements for the MFA in Poetry Program….? (insert full body chills)
Those requirements, I had. 15-20 pages of recent poems. I
had 16. No lie. Letters of recommendation – my gorgeous and supportive women
Karen and Kristin who’d seen my evolution over a number of years and were aware
of my poetry (go Facebook). And an essay. My essay. An essay which wove
together the disparate streams of chance and circumstance and fate which
brought me to the cave of longing for a Mills’ degree – about Yiyun Li, and the
thread of creative writing through my life (thanks to Heather for that phrase),
and about a mission statement I’d heard from a friend of mine – “To use my gifts
and talents to be of maximum service to [G-d and] my fellows.” That although I
didn’t have my own mission statement yet, mine would be something like that.
It continues to be something like that.
The threads of fate conspired, faint as gossamer, lost as a
cobweb in the dark at moments. At other times, bright and obvious as the red criss-crossed string of a movie manhunt over a map. Termed as I’ve put it, “an answer to a
prayer I’d never have let myself utter,” instead of the MA in Literature, I
applied to the MFA program in Poetry, and I got in.
In my friend’s living room a few weeks after I was accepted
and in process of heading down a path I’d no idea to where, cross-legged on the floor, we wrote down all the things that we
wanted to let go of – things that had brought us to the point where we were
now, but which we believed weren’t serving us any more. To honor those
characteristics and beliefs which had been necessary ‘til then, and then to
burn them as a symbol of surrender and release of them.
So many of my “let go of” qualities were about doing it “on my own,” feeling like I needed to or had to do it alone, or that I had to figure it out.
I wrote down, “I can’t” and I burned it.
When the ceremony was at its end (“ceremony” being us
burning several strips of paper over a bowl!), we wrote down what we wanted to
take with us, as we headed out from there. On one square of blue lined paper, I wrote what I wanted to
take with me from there, to Mills, to my future, to the world as I engage it
more fully:
We Can.