Monday, December 31, 2012

Winds of Change

Winds of Change will be held
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. EST.

I wish you each peace and sheer joy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

At the onset of Winds of Change time, I was lost in the 1,000-piece moose puzzle I was making, so it was nearly 3:15 before I made conscious preparations to be with all of you. 

I lit a stick of Devotion incense, then attempted to light a tea candle set in a square glass candle holder, each face decorated with a simple brass etching of an ancient shaman standing within an upright circle. When I lit the wick, it sputtered before releasing a flame too high for the glass walls, so I impatiently blew it out, found my scissors, and trimmed the wick. Taking note of the impatience which had risen within me, I real-eyes-ed that I was hurrying to set the tone for WoC time, which had already started. I eased myself back to the present moment, as the ritual of lighting the candle became part of Woc time, and my impatience mingled with the flame and dissipated.

With the warmth of a screened, woodstove fire inside complementing the gentle, steady snowfall outside, I positioned myself on the carpeted floor, lying on my back with legs bent at the knees, and listened to the 30-minute version of The Aethos Sound Meditation. (According to one of Tom Kenyon's Hathor messages, "The Aethos (pronounced, AH-EE-THOS) is a bandwidth of consciousness anchored in pure non-duality." More simply put, it is where we can readily access the vibration of interconnectedness.)

I was quite distracted for the first 5 minutes or so, unable to reign in my wandering thoughts, surely a result of my Christmas sugar overload. I turned off the sound meditation, took a few deep breaths, centered my focus on my heart chakra, and began again. As I relaxed into my heart chakra, creating space for all of us, the area of my chest seemed to expand into a boundless emanation of soft yellow light - an infinity of glowingness. It was so soothing and peaceful that I was lulled to sleep, which I realized only at the sound of loud crack-pop-ing noises coming from the woodstove, which woke me. I re-focused, heard more loud popping, focused again, heard even more popping, and decided to pay attention, opening my eyes and turning my gaze to the blazing fire beyond the screen.

In my soothed state of awareness, the tongues of fire, leaping, flickering and dancing, reflected how we are all Fire, yet each of us, an individual Flame within that Fire. This is exactly what the Hathors had described in their message which accompanies the Aethos sound meditation:

"Some persons believe that interconnectedness is the same as 'oneness' and that as you enter higher states of consciousness and higher dimensions of being, you merge into a blob of light, in which all distinctions disappear. This is not our view. 

"Interconnection or interconnectedness is the recognition that all beings and all aspects of the cosmos are interrelated and at the same time beings have unique differences. These differences are fascinating and unique. Sometimes they are annoying, and sometimes they are enriching. But these differences are part of the tapestry of manifest reality, and they are not superfluous.

"...In our experience of ourselves through all dimensions we remain unique individuals, and the higher dimensions of our being do not obliterate our uniqueness but rather present greater opportunities for creation."

As I continued to gaze into the fire, each of us was a different tongue, a different expression, of the glow. Once the 30-minute sound session was ended, I continued to lie on the floor in silence, having several more enlightening visions before arising and sharing this with you, as I now invite you to do. I hope to hear from you! Namaste. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winds of Change will be held Tuesday, December 25th, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. EST. Please join me in being consciously aware of your thoughts, words, and actions as well as the presents/presence of other WoC'ers, during this time. 

Also feel free to share your experiences and thoughts here on this blog. Namaste.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice, 2012

I'm sitting at my writing table as winds up to 60 mph blow outside, whistling through the bared deciduous branches and heralding in the shift of my blogspot name from Harnessing the Winds of Change to Riding the Winds of Change. And what a ride it is!

My sister Anne had suggested the name change close to a year ago and I'm finally catching up to the idea as my life reflects the ride more and more. From day to day, moment to moment, my life twists and turns of its own accord as I real-eyes that I don't harness the winds that drive me, but instead ride them. And it is the manner in which I choose to ride that makes the difference.

So here's to the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar and to New Beginnings as we all ride the Winds of Change. And to enhance the ride, I will once again set aside weekly or bi-weekly, one-hour sessions for the Winds of Change, announced through my e-mail list and this blog. As always, wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, by simply acknowledging our group time, you are contributing to the Winds of Change. I recently read a quote on a solstice greeting card from The Borealis Press housed in Blue Hill, Maine, that beautifully expresses the purpose of WoC time:

"A time to quiet our hearts ...
to soften our edges,
   clear our minds,
   enjoy our world
   and to
   share best wishes"
   that these days and 
   "... all the new year
   be joyful and peaceful."

I look forward to our renewed shared time together, as I hope you do, too, and encourage you to post comments here on this blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

At the onset of this week's Winds of Change time, I was gathering up my letter writing materials at Peaks Cafe, where I had enjoyed the company of the two owners, Lisa and Ellen, as they worked on a picture puzzle of Slavic decorated Easter eggs while I wrote to my dear friend Loanne.

I packed my shoulder bag, donned my turquoise patterned fleece vest, button-up, grey wool sweater, wool hat, and mis-matched gloves, and headed out the Cafe door. I meandered up the hill towards home, walking the winding "back way" road, taking you all with me. Just this morning, I had seen two male cardinals, or perhaps the same cardinal, from both living room and kitchen windows, harbingers of a day of Self love. I crested the hill, and as I followed the northwest turn in the road, I heard chickadees calling, smelled the scent of mud as I felt the squish of soft earth under my boots, saw bags of garden soil in neighboring yards, and spotted newly turned flower beds. In the distance, between seaside roof tops to the south, was the glistening sea, beckoning me to her.

When I arrived at my doorstep, I entered my kitchen, pausing long enough to put down my shoulder bag and pocket a small pair of binoculars, returning to the out-of-doors and the short, ribboning roadway to the ocean side. Following the lead of some other calling, I clambered across rocky beach to a sheltered stand of ledges, finding a perfect shelf to sit on, facing the receding tide. 

The play of sun in and out of clouds patterned the sea with long slices of white glitter and muted slate grey in whatever way sun and cloud tagged the sea. I closed my eyes, feeling the sun's warmth caressing my face, releasing any tension into a slow and easy smile. It has been weeks since I've formally meditated, as moment-to-moment has become a meditation on Aliveness, so the stance my body was taking was like a homecoming, a familiar invitation to stillness, silence, and peace.

As I was let go, there was the sensation of the middle space of my body, from shoulders to hips, expanding into grey ocean like ripples, the very ones before me, as my head and my legs remained solid. I returned, laughing with a gull I heard overhead, wondering if he saw me, this head floating above water, with legs bent in a sitting position. I peeked open my eyes, seeing the sea, and closed them again, to the very same sensation of head above water, and feet planted firmly on rock solid earth. Was I dissolving into the Beingness that Tony Parsons describes? And is it my head - my  mind - and my legs - my movement through this world - that are resisting this transformation? I laughed again, opening my eyes to the moment before me.

Soaking in warming rays, I took off my hat and gloves, then removed the binoculars from my sweater pocket and lifted them to my eyes. Out on the sea was a flock of maybe 30 ducks, most of them looking to be younglings to my untrained eyes. They swam westward together, intermingling, then one by one, disappeared under the waves, only to emerge again, repositioning themselves, instinctively improvising this dance over and over again. Putting the binoculars down, I gazed at the large rocks by the water's edge, some splayed with seaweed, others wet with sea spray, and one particular formation glistening like seals huddled together, shapeshifting from rocks to seals and back to rocks again.

I took up the binoculars, looking to where I thought the ducks would be, and they had disappeared. As I scanned back over the waters towards the east, they had backtracked and were turning back around, heading in the direction I had first seen them swimming. What were they doing? I thought. "Simply being," came the answer, "riding the Winds of Change" without a need to how or why. And so have we, I thought, during this shared hour and a half. 

Please feel free to share your experience of the Winds of Change time or your thoughts on my experience in the comment section of this blog. Namaste.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I set today aside as a Mindfulness Day in keeping with Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings - "to be mindful means to dwell deeply in the present moment, to be aware of what is going on within and around us."  

In that light, I was so grateful to acknowledge the presents/presence of all of you in my life as I am experiencing a bout with vertigo, which I understand many of you have come down with as well. At the onset of this Winds of Change, I felt a communal embrace, and it was comforting. 

As I gazed outside my kitchen window, there were huge flakes descending, an unpredicted freshness added to my day. I finished making my vegan "chicken" salad, searing the tempeh in marinating juices of balsamic vinegar, Braggs liquid aminos, and dijon mustard, as I blended soaked raw cashews, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a bit of rice milk in my blender for homemade vegan mayonnaise. Once the tempeh had cooled, I toppled it into a mixing bowl, adding the cashew-naise, chopped celery and onion, and a dash of poultry seasoning, stirring it all together, covering the bowl, and placing it in the fridge to set. I then decided to clean up the kitchen at a slow and steady pace, and proceeded into the living room, sitting at my laptop and writing this blog post.

Oftentimes when I'm not feeling well, I check in with my sisters for clarification of possible causes. My sister Anne is usually ready with a reading from the book Heal Your Body by metaphysical lecturer Louise Hay. This "little blue book" as it's referred to, includes an alphabetical chart of physical ailments, the probable causes, and healing affirmations. I've misplaced my copy, and decided to e-mail my sister Mary instead, whose response was, "I don't see you being 'sick," per se...more spiritually 'off.' Does that make any sense?" It most certainly did!

I've been so off-kilter in my day-to-day spiritual practice, I feel like everything in my life is topsy-turvey, and my responses are so unpredictable. As one small example, while at work two days ago, I received a phone call in the middle of my shift. Because employees are only allowed emergency calls, my mind immediately ran through possible disastrous scenarios involving my mother, my daughters and my grandchildren. By the time I reached the phone, all of my flight-or-fight responses had kicked in. As I listened on the phone, it was the hospital calling to update my medical records. I calmly and clearly conveyed that it was not an appropriate time to call, hung up the phone, and returned to my shift, heart still pounding. 

I was angry, coming down from what felt like a near panic attack, and at the same time, surprised at my vehement response. I finished the 20 minutes of my shift before breaking for lunch, still fuming in the break room, preparing my lunch and walking down the stairs to the cafe, where I found a seat in the sun and stared out the window. It wasn't until then that I was able to break through the illusion of the moment, observe the totality of my reactions, acknowledge them, and shift my focus from my reactions to simple beingness. I felt an immediate release. 

Just as Anne wrote in her comment to the previous post, my life is "...taking unexpected turns every day - somehow not playing out the way I imagined or even planned. And it's all okay and often even better than what I thought or at least DIFFERENT." Indeed!

These days, I feel like I'm breaking down old concepts and the new has yet to settle in, so I'm in a temporary limbo. Thoughts and feelings, ideas and no ideas are coursing through this identity called Claire, and yet, there is no Claire, not even clarity. As Tony Parsons says, "It just is." Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience of the great shift that is taking place, and please, if you are moved to, feel free to share your own thoughts here. Namaste.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winds of Change will be held Saturday, February 4, from 10:00 - 11:30 am EST.
Please join me in being consciously aware of your thoughts, words, actions, and deeds, as well as the presents/presence of other WoC'ers, during this time. Sharing your experiences is encouraged and welcomed. Namaste.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

For today's Winds of Change time, I first lit 2 incense sticks - Awareness, for myself, and Devotion, to all of you, turned on the Himalayan salt lamp, and then started a fire in the small wood burning stove, bathing the living room in a soft glow from shimmering flames and lamp light.

I sat on the floor by the wood fire, mesmerized by the play of orange flames, rising in bursts and settling into flickers, over and over, around and through different parts of the 3 igniting logs. I then lay down, knees bent, in silence, listening to the the hum of the Rinnai heater, the crackling of birch bark, and a gentle whirring of the ceiling fan blowing a warm breeze over my body. I watched through the south windows as the sky turned from sunset to stars, like magick, with mighty warrior Orion appearing ever brighter in the heavens. 

I basked in the stillness of my body, the coziness of my home, and the community of you all. As my life is enriched day-to-day, moment-to-moment, through a conscious effort to be presently aware during routine tasks at home, daily walks, commutes to and from work, work responsibilities, and communications with family and friends, I am finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and sacredness in the mundane. Lying on my living room floor, I felt part of something much bigger, beyond words.

In my contentment, I was moved to listen to several Tony Parsons' audio clips, sensing the aliveness he speaks of with humor and simplicity and directness. I contemplated separateness and Wholeness, this illusion called life, ego and the dissolution of ego, and Consciousness vs. Beingness. I realized that when I first started Winds of Change, I opened my home to weekly hour and a half group sessions in hopes that it would spark routine conversations about the very same concepts I was contemplating today. 

Perhaps it is time for me to once again try to organize discussions about the great leap in consciousness evolution, however it translates for each of us, and how each of us is navigating these forceful Winds of Change. I would love to hear if there's an interest in this, and if so, your ideas about the frequency and location of such meetings. Let me know what you think.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 21st Winds of Change

In the past several months in particular, I've been very aware of a shifting in perspective in my life which I attribute to the great shift in consciousness that is taking place on all levels - personal, local, global and universal; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I see and hear of its impact on a day-to-day basis, in the news - weather patterns, the Occupy movement, toppling of governments - and in the lives of family, friends, and acquaintances.

I recently read and have re-read the Tony Parsons' book As It Is: The Open Secret to Living an Awakened Life, in which he attempts to describe Beingness, which I experience as "the Field." Like many other sources I've read, he describes this life in our physical bodies as a play, "an illusion of a journey in time."

During one particularly striking instance in his life, while walking across a park in London, he describes his own shift: "What happened then is simply beyond description. I can only inadequately say in words that total stillness and presence seemed to descend over everything. All and everything  became timeless and I no longer existed. I vanished and there was no longer an experiencer."

He goes on to write, "Oneness with all and everything was what happened. I can't say I was 'at one' because 'I' had disappeared. I can only say that oneness with all and everything is what happened, and an overwhelming love filled everything."

What I am experiencing in bits and pieces of my life feels similar to what Tony Parsons describes, and also feels like a "crises" in awareness, only in that it is critical - of decisive importance - to my life as I know it. I've been sharing my path for years, through letters to my friend Loanne, who in turn shares her journey. I also have been sharing my evolving with my mother, while at home growing up, and once I left home, in meetings, letters and conversations.

At times, it is difficult to use words for what I am experiencing, and yet, I find it significant to share with others. During this Winds of Change time, I spent the entire hour and a half with my mom on the phone, talking about what has no words. (This makes me smile as I write it.) We've discovered in these past few months that we our experiencing very similar alterations in our awareness to the point that, if there is such a thing as "soul mates," I believe that is what my mother and are to each other, just as Loanne and are "celestial soul sisters," and each of us together are WoC'ers, harnessing the Winds of Change, for which I am truly grateful. With that, I look forward to your comments, and to our scheduled time together tomorrow. Namaste.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Greetings one and all.
Winds of Change will be held from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm, EST, Saturday, January 21st. Let's  join together at that time in being consciously aware of our shared presence/presents wherever we are and whatever we may be doing.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
  ~ Rumi

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It was a chilling -9 degrees this morning as I began my Winds of Change, a low sun reflecting off a pristine hard-crusted snow cover, with elongated shadows of tree trunks patterning themselves amidst the sparkle. I offered a prayer of gratitude for the beauty surrounding me both outdoors and indoors, the warmth of propane heat, the coziness of my living room, the comfort of a thick rug on which to stretch and meditate, the awareness of our shared time together. Knowing where some of you were, I pictured you in your own spaces, walking, sitting, gathering together, driving.

I wanted to skip my stretches, a good indicator that I should indeed do them, which I did cautiously, having experienced a bout of vertigo yesterday, not the debilitating dizziness, but the feeling of being top heavy in my head, as if I would topple over at any moment from the imagined weight. Though none of it lingered this morning, I felt light headed and nauseous. I invoked the healing presence of each of you to steady me through my stretches, each movement a prayer of thanksgiving for your "presents."

I then decided to lie on the floor, knees bent, hands resting on my solar plexus. I chose not to listen to any soundings or music, but simply to feel presence deep within, as my mind wandered in opposing directions. It was an exercise in ebb and flow, wandering and centering, breathing in and breathing out, being aware of stiffness in my body and letting go to relaxation, hearing the Rinnai heater turning off and on and listening to stillness within, listening with my ears and listening with my heart, holding the image of my spinning chakras and not holding any image at all. 

In the past, I would have struggled through this meditation, considering it a failed attempt. Today, as I experienced the differences in my state of being, I remained calm, accepting each occurrence as part of my meditation, with gentleness and nonjudgment. There were no visions and sensations, no quivers or sounds. My meditation was quite ordinary, and yet there was an underlying extraordinariness (extra: outside of; ordinary: commonplace) about it, a genuine joy and an all encompassing peace.

I know that bringing all of you along through the Winds of Change enhanced my meditation, which I experienced as a collective meditation, and as a result, I was able to find wonder in my meditative wandering. Thank you for participating in the Winds of Change.

I invite you to share your response or your own WoC experience by posting it here. I would love to hear from you. Namaste.

Friday, January 6, 2012

As I sit to write about my Winds of Change experience, I gaze out from my living room windows, seeing a dark sky and a layer of newly fallen snow blanketing trees, rooftops, and earth, our first real snow of the season.

In preparation for Winds of Change, I re-played one of my favorite Om chant videos as background music, having just finished watching the beautiful array of colorful mandalas fading one into the other. As I listened, I built a fire in the small wood stove cornered along the north wall of the living room. With every action - crumbling old newspapers, opening the windowed doors to the wood stove, placing the crumbled papers on the grate, gathering sticks stacked beside the stove, strategically placing them over the papers, selecting two sticks of wood, one a birch log, my favorite wood scent, positioning them on top of the pile, striking the match, lighting different pieces of paper, putting the protective screen in place - I was conscious of sounds, smells, textures, positionings and motions. I also opened myself up to the "presents" of each of you, wherever you were, whatever you were doing, inviting you into my experience.

As I entered the kitchen to freshen my cup of Egyptian licorice tea, I heard my phone ringing in the living room. Though I missed the call, when I checked my phone, I noticed that it was from my mother, so I decided to call her back. Talking with my 86-year-old mother is always inspiring - in~spire - in~breath - to take in a fresh breath - and the entire hour and a half was dedicated to our sharing. I wish I could have recorded our talk, it was that powerful, uplifting and holy. Our topic - our own day-to-day, moment-to-moment evolution in consciousness - was truly aligned with my original idea for Winds of Change as a conversation about the great shift that is taking place on a global and universal level. I am eager to hear how your own WoC was, as you all were WoCing along, side by side with my mother and me. Please feel free to post your experience here. Namaste.