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Archive for July, 2012

I took a little trip

I took a little trip the past couple of days, but not the kind where you leave your home. I went on an ego trip, the kind that literally trips you up; as my ego put the pedal to the metal, full throttle, taking me for a ride I really didn’t want to go on.

I count my spiritual awakening as one of the greatest and most significant life changes I have been through. I never want to go back to who I was before that, and I never will. I spent the majority of my life sleepwalking through it, but now I am awake and alive in a way that is so refreshing! It feels like a good stretch when you get out of  bed; this true self of mine shining through. Ah, but there can be some pitfalls with all this love if one is not careful, what I like to call “spiritual superiority”. This is when the awakened soul climbs up on a pedestal they have constructed for themselves, feeling as if they are the enlightened and exalted ones, better in so many ways than those poor creatures still dowsed in fear. These are the times I forget I have an ego. And believe you me, I have climbed up there a few times, and subsequently fallen off – thank goodness for that! The ego may be bruised and battered after falling, but the soul always says, “Thank you”.

And it’s funny, because I could see events leading up to my fall; I watched myself climb up to that pedestal where the ego likes to hang out. I had lunch with a couple of friends one bright, sunny day, and as we sat talking about one friend’s cute haircut she had just gotten, I found myself wanting to say, “Enough about her hair, what about mine? Isn’t mine pretty too?” Then the conversation turned to talk radio, which I don’t care to listen to, and I could feel myself pouting inside like a child, left out of all the attention. Then the next day the crabby side of me came out; the side that is short tempered with strangers who are just doing their job. I went to the Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood, and was stopped by a very nice young lady from the local electric company, wanting to explain a new program they have. As she was patiently going through her talk, I could feel my blood boil at what I felt was her pushiness, and it was all I could do to not say, “Leave me the hell alone, would you?!” But I held my tongue and just walked away, seething.

Then it all came to a head as I met with my financial adviser the other day, to look at my dwindling retirement account I have been living off of, trying to come up with a solution to save that money for the future and find some money for me now to live on. Well, I knew the answer – I am going to have to find a job, after being retired for three years. And bless his heart, this man had worked so hard to put together all of the data and numbers, showing me the reality of things in a very kind and patient manner. I was not upset with him for showing me the light. But after I got home, it was then that my ego dragged me into full meltdown mode; telling me I was a failure, a fool, an idiot for thinking I could play the retirement game before age 59, when I can use that money without any penalty. I felt angry and betrayed; having to work again was not part of the plan for my life now. My ego did not like it one bit, having to finally accept the fact that this really is part of the plan. But now I can see it as such, and accept that going back to the world of work is a path I am to go on, and the reasons will be revealed to me when I am ready.

I know that we can dream our dreams, and create what we feel is best for us by focusing on and ultimately manifesting those intentions. But then there are the times that it is not to be, and that’s when we have to let go and trust in God and the Universe, as we are guided and led to places and events that may seem unpleasant at the time, but afford us much growth and are exactly what we need. I want to enjoy my time here, not go through it kicking and screaming because what I thought was best for me did not transpire. I learn time and time again that God always brings what is for my highest good and the good of others, and I find that trust once more.

Perfectly Portland – The Big Busk

One of the things that really drew me to Portland was the great music scene here. I had always felt pride in the wide ranging nationally known music of Minneapolis – Prince, The Replacements and Bob Dylan of course, even though he really turned into more of a New Yorker when he finally achieved his fame. But now I am proud of not only the great music that has come out of Portland – Elliott Smith, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney and even Paul Revere & The Raiders – but the emphasis and respect that is given to the buskers, the talented and hard working street musicians that serenade us all around the city.

Today was a special event designed to give extra special notice to the music of the streets, a festival called The Big Busk. Unlike most music festivals that are held in one specific location, this one was held all throughout the downtown area, on various street corners. Each artist or group was given an hour at a time on whatever corner they chose, allowing a rotation of artists and locations. This guideline is actually part of something called the Street Musician Partnership Agreement. This is a policy that was written to help the street musicians and downtown businesses come to agreement on some guidelines to assure a safe, respectful and enjoyable time for all, allowing everyone to take in the joy of hearing great music in such an amazing city setting.

I often stop to listen to the buskers on any given day when I am out and about, as well as taking in the great buskers that are always playing at the eclectic gathering we call Saturday Market. But today was so much fun, as I came across so much great music.  I listened to a young man play music on a gorgeous guitar, which I’m sure is his pride and joy that he saved up to buy, complete with a leather guitar strap with roses embossed on it (Portland is known as the Rose City). Then I listened to a duo sing a song that lifted my spirits; words sung to me of hope that I really needed to hear – and they gave me a free cd of their music! I saw a woman in a long skirt pushing a xylophone to her next corner destination, but I lost her somewhere along the way. But I found a woman playing a beautiful handmade hammered dulcimer, that produced ethereal sounds in contrast to the cacophony of the city noises. What a lovely way to spend a bright and sunny summer’s day, listening to the sweet sounds of music in the city I love so much.

That little voice inside my head

We all seem to hear about “women’s intuition”, and I can remember telling my daughter as she was growing up, “Trust that little voice inside your head, because women just seem to know things, even if they don’t seem to make sense.” But since that time I have come to realize that we all have that gift of knowing, men and women alike.  I do believe that it is easier for women to admit to using it and trusting it; the male ego sometimes dismissing it as much too illogical. But I am convinced our world is heading towards a time when the use of intuition as guidance will be universally accepted and trusted.

My whole adventure of moving to Portland from Minnesota was a shining example of using intuition and following messages that came from elsewhere – I was told to rent a car, what papers to bring, and I was even given numbers that translated into the zip code of the area I now live in. One day as I sat eating my yummy peanut butter sandwich, enjoying the delicious simplicity of it, I started to think about how much I wanted to move to Portland. I had a train ticket to go there in September, six months away, thinking I wanted to enjoy one last Minnesota summer before planning my move. Then I heard the voice, clear as day asking me, “What are you waiting for?” Good question – what in the world was I waiting for? So before I gave my fun- killing, logical left side of my brain a chance to reason me out of it, I called Amtrak and changed my train ticket to May. This was a spontaneous and impulsive move for me, so unusual for my usually organized, safe and calculated self – but it felt so right! And now I find a year later, having made that move to Portland, that it was exactly what was supposed to happen. I am happier than I have ever been here; I am in my soul’s home.

The past couple of days have been ripe with small examples of intuitiveness – knowing seconds before the phone rang that my step mom was calling me, and the other day anticipating the early arrival of my friend for our weekly walking date – this is my dear friend who is always running late by at least 15 minutes, and that day I just knew she was going to be 15 minutes early – and she was! Now these are not earth shattering instances of intuition at its finest, but I think they are meant to show us how us we are so much more than just our logical, thought out selves. And granted, it is not an exact science by any means! I have had my share of misses; things that come to me that I am convinced will come to pass but never do. But I look at our time here on earth as a classroom, and learning comes by trial and error as any good scientist will tell you. Intuition is a skill like any other, to be practiced and honed. And earth is not a place of perfection, that’s for sure! So while I am here, I will continue to use my intuition – I have discovered it is my very best tour guide on earth.

 

 

Better than a glass of warm milk

I don’t know what the problem was the other night; too much ice cream, the overly dramatic book I was reading or maybe the Mercury Retrograde has seeped its way into my system. At any rate, sleep just would not pay me a visit. I lay in bed for what seemed like hours; tossing, turning, staring at the night sky through my skylight and counting the few stars I could see in the bright city sky. Nothing seemed to help, nothing relaxed me enough to drift off into my usual land of crazy dreams (I tend to have very vivid dreams that last all night long, like some kind of science fiction movie marathon). So I turned to the one thing that can relax me like nothing else – the sweet sound of music. I wanted something mellow of course; The White Stripes seemed like a poor choice in my efforts to turn off the monkey mind in my head. I found myself drawn to the one artist who can calm me like no one else – Elliott Smith.  His album New Moon was the perfect choice to me; full of his gentler acoustic songs, sung in the soft vocals that he is known for. And lo and behold, I must have drifted off like a baby listening to a lullaby. I woke up with my headphones on and the cd no longer playing. After that it was nighty night! I thought about how the music was like a lullaby, and how sweet it would be to have one lover singing the other to sleep in this way – so romantic! To fall asleep in this way would be pure bliss…

Lullaby

My heart is cradled in your music

Sweet high notes that gently rock me

To and fro on your rhythm of love

Tender melodies that caress me

Whispered words in a sea of calm

My soul slips into a dream

Of a love so gentle, so soothing

Lulling all my cares away

And my heartbeat sings a song to you

“I love you, oh so true”

A lullaby of love

A morning walk

I try to get out and walk every day, which is usually sometime after lunch. In the mornings I have my routine of prayer and meditation, followed by coffee or tea while I journal or read something spiritually uplifting. This little routine I have can sometimes go on for three to four hours, so there goes the morning most days! But I do find it a lovely way to start my day. The other morning though, something in me whispered, “Let’s go for a walk, before the day becomes warm and full of people.” So at 7 a.m. (gasp!) I was up and out of bed, and headed up the steep climb to Washington Park, which is the home of the International Rose Test Garden here in Portland. What a wonderful treat it turned out to be, as I cleared the morning cobwebs from my head and took in the beauty of a place that is so deliciously close to my home, available to me at any time. And the writer in me found inspiration in a few words I journaled about my experience, how it just felt so good – and the words come out in a poem.

It Felt So Good

 

At the top of the hill I stopped

And looked out over the city draped in haze

Sitting on the soft green grass I rested

In a meditative pose

I opened to all the earth’s gentle energies

It felt so good!

Walking through the playground I stopped

To sit on the swing

Slowly moving, to and fro

I gathered my strength and flew above the earth

Gliding through the cool morning air

It felt so good!

Meandering onward I came to the singing fountain

I stopped to sit on the stony edge

And listen to the lovely melodies

Of the water chime as it played on metal

Tantalizing my sense of sound

It felt so good!

I walked along until I spied the splash of colors

Roses in full bloom, roses in the fullness of being

I noticed the brilliant shades and hues

I breathed in the familiar fragrance

I brushed the soft silk of a petal against my skin

It felt so good!

I turned to go home

Along the shaded dirt path

My body swinging with the rhythm of life

My heart open wide like the roses

My soul singing like the fountain

And it felt so good

Some call them pigeons, I call them doves

I feel a kinship with these birds, the ones so many proclaim as “dirty”, my avian friends that seem to love the city life as much as I do. Most people call them pigeons, but I prefer to call them by the more lovely nom de plume of doves. The word dove conjures up images of peace and serenity, and this is what they bring to me as I hear them cooing outside my window and up on the roof. They are much shyer than the crows, with their loud and raucous caws, bold enough to walk across my skylight and look in on me. The lovely doves are hesitant about presenting themselves; gingerly stepping onto the skylight almost as if it were a dare. In the early morning I hear them fly about with harried activity, as their wings whistle while they fly from building to building. Sometimes they land on my windowsill for a brief rest, but they are much too introverted to respond to my attempts at conversation. So I listen carefully to their silent message of peace, and rejoice every morning as I wake to their gentle songs.

Shadows of the doves

Their beating wings spreading peace

Cooing songs of love

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