I am incredibly grateful for my friend Karen who invited me to join her in hot yoga class today. Our family has recently moved into a new home and for the past month I’ve been getting my exercise hauling boxes up and down stairs. One of the great things about neglecting ourselves is that when we get back to nourishing these glorious bodies, we feel the gratitude in our cells and marrow. On the mat, my stiff legs and neck slowly released months of tension while the conscious, intentional breaths revived my spirits.
We have a family dinner tradition that (most) nights we will each share something for which we are grateful. Some days are easier than others for some of the children and I wonder how to help them turn what feels like negatives into positives. Today, at yoga, I heard this beautiful poem. Now i know what to share with them this Thanksgiving as we continue to count our blessings.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
Sending you and your family warm wishes for Thanksgiving this week.
Photo: by Lisa Labon
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”
I grew up in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. I believed in the possibility of Sasquatch. My father, an avid outdoorsman, kept an open mind. We camped (nearly lived) every summer in the Northwest forests. While rowing across the still lakes or huddled next to the campfires, I would peer into the shadows along the shores and tree lines hoping for a glimpse. Strange smells or distant howls called to my imagination ancient hollows and caves, hidden dwellings beyond the footfall of curious man. Too afraid to explore more than a holler away from camp, I wondered if my fear kept them away, these mysterious creatures that looked more like apes than humans.
Then I heard a couple of Washington state men confessed to dressing up in costume and creating fake footprints in the woods. I was disgusted. Really? I guess anything for a buck. How foolish to have given my childhood fantasies to a hoax. And like the dawning resignation that comes with understanding your parents have been Santa all along, I shelved Sasquatch with the other fairytales and myths that stubbornly stir in our imaginations.
It wasn’t until the late 90s that Sasquatch returned to me. I had just started taking photography and printing classes again and was desperate for some non-mommy time. I snuck out to a friend’s photography show on Polk Street in San Francisco. In this large and unfamiliar crowd, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. So I lingered, and nibbled and pretended to study the images I already knew well. As I moved through the crowd I noticed a towering 50-something man carrying a plastic cup of wine. He tracked me subtly at first. He had dark blonde hair in a clean cut style with thick waves rolling across his very substantial head. I remember the collared shirt, sweater vest and slacks, like a professor or accountant, a statuesque nerd floating about the gallery. Finally, he said, “hello.”
The grinning giant asked if I had any art in the show. More small talk about nothing I can remember and then I said something about Sasquatch. I am pretty sure I brought it up. I think I was making a joke about how something was as unlikely as Sasquatch to which this man replied, “What do you mean? Of course Sasquatch is real.” I laughed, “Oh yeah. Right.”
He went on to tell me in all earnestness that Sasquatch was real. But his explanation for why we’ve never found a body or remains other than hair is that they are multi-dimensional beings. I was dumbfounded. I started to move away from him, sure that he must have snuck out of the city mental facility. I shortly made my break, nearly bowling down a leather clad young man near the front door. He teetered slightly and reeked of smoke. Staring at me very intently, he shoved a CD in my hand, “‘Dis is fo’ you. You must listen. It is Basque. It is magic.” I was so flustered I tried to give it back to him. ”Why are you giving me this?” He just smiled, winked and wandered back into the night.
Shaken by the absurdity of the evening, I walked briskly to my car checking over my shoulder every few feet to make sure Mr. Giant wasn’t following me. I slid into my car and locked the doors. Curious about this CD I popped it in the player. The sound was foreign but very intoxicating. I could not understand the lyrics. Why did he give this to me? I later learned that the Basque are a very ancient culture along the Spanish/French border in the Pyranese. The infamous spiritual Camino de Santiago runs through their territory. Years later I would gain increasing appreciation for the mysteries of Basque origins and history. For now, this music was my cue, to keep an open mind.
A few months later I was at a spa in Austin with a friend and I ordered “energy” work rather than a massage. I had no idea what that meant but I was curious. In that session, I met my first healer, Karen. She was an intuitive, probably using a form of reiki, though I had no idea what that was at the time. She used a pendulum to check my chakras. ”Do you know what the chakras are?” Nope. She explained our energy centers and how they flow from head to tow. She noticed that my throat chakra was severely blocked. As she moved energy around me, without touching me at all, I could feel something shifting. A large weight began to melt. The relief was palpable. I began to cry. I didn’t want to cry. I thought it was absurd that I was crying over what seemed to be nothing.
When she was done she gave me a huge warm hug and said, “How do you feel about God?”
What? I was used to hearing this question from my Preacher Grandfather, but a new agey energy healer person? I was shocked and confused.
“It’s time to awaken. I have a book for you to read. It’s called Real Magic by Wayne Dyer. It changed my life.”
I left the spa stunned, swollen from crying and spinning in a strange euphoria. I drifted through lunch with my friend unable to articulate exactly what had happened. I felt drawn to the spa store to buy a pendant with a hunk of aventurine, which I later learned is associated with healing. I went immediately to the book store and read my first (of hundreds) mind blowing books on the incredible magic of being human.
That strange year began a journey that continues today. The most important discovery is that what appears to be mysterious or magical, is really just something we can’t yet explain. Are coincidences some random thing or actually CO-incidences, events that happen simultaneously due to an unseen mechanism or energy? Is that mechanism unconscious or lying beneath reality like an underground river, as some traditions describe? Is synchronicity a poetic motif or a fundamental property of life? Or are there energetic forces that entwine us or influence our thoughts and feelings like suggestive data clouds? And how much can we influence this magic with conscious awareness? (My novel has some theories on this!)
I know THE SECRET was a controversial film for many, but it contained truths worth considering, including this little piece that “coincidentally” showed up in my “news feed” just a couple of days ago –> Everything is Energy! E=MC2 — perhaps the most elegant truth sitting right under our over saturated noses. (Sorry the video won’t embed directly…wordpress is annoying that way. Here is a second link just in case - Metaphysics 101).
So many mysteries have been solved or explained by accident or dedicated scientific inquiry, but an infinite number remain. While it’s tempting to shut off our curiosity and confine the imagination to what can be easily explained or understood by current paradigms, metrics and tools, inviting the mystery to flow in our lives is like letting the wild waters run their course. Life’s mysterious flow brings blessings and seasons to our shores while inviting us to commit to the journey. As we begin to peel the onion of our perceptions and knowledge, we find an expansive universe of possibilities beyond imagination. And in that unveiling, we discover the truth that we are much more than our bodies, much more than mental machines, much more than stories we’ve been told or tell ourselves. And the power we innately possess is to hold the colliding forces of spirit and matter within our noble hearts to act upon this world by spirit and grace.
Life itself is magic, and faith and infinite choice. The flow of grace and spirit defies every box and container, every label and theory. It is every where and no where. It is you. It is me. It is all of us at once. What if everything is always possible for those who believe it? What if you are ultimately the one who taps YOUR self on the shoulder in every form and says, “Hey, let’s play.” Every perceived obstacle is a gift in disguise. Every emotional extreme the crescendos of a magnificent masterpiece you are conducting from the very depths of your own soul. Are you open to this idea of magic? Can you allow for a universe that answers itself with more questions? And even more importantly, that answers those questions through YOU? Would you dare step away from the stories that confine you and imagine the infinite possibilities, the playful dance that awaits your attendance?
I am okay with the mystery of Sasquatch. Whether they are real or unreal, manifest or imaginary doesn’t matter. Sasquatch may be a collective unconscious symbol of the elusive mystery and singular authority of the five senses. Who knows. Maybe they do live in a crack in space time and pop in every once in a while to forage here on our planet? There is no time limit on mystery. What does matter is that I believe in magic, the great creative wonder that is beyond definition, that which has no name, that is God or Spirit to some and just Awe to others. I know that it lives within me and you and everything I think I see.
The best evidence for Sasquatch!
Have others? Share them!
photo source: www.imposemagazine.com