Bhakti (faith, devotion) and Kriya, (Action, to do)

work not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for everlasting life …

John 6:27

During my chemotherapy treatment yesterday I listened to a podcast sent to me by my dear friend, Zahara. The timing of the message felt so serendipitous, as always with relationships we seemingly “find” ourselves in.

I’ll share the link to the podcast below, but in summary, the orator revealed to me something that enhanced my worldly perspective:

Any “other” in our life (shared relationship) is there for you, not you for them.

What does that mean?

What we “see” outside our personal self is perfectly placed there (in harmony) to our (yet unrevealed) need for reconciliation, healing, awakening, purification, and steps to Knowledge (God).

“They” or “It” is there to mold us, shape us, teach us, offer us an opportunity to make choices for our own path to self-realization (one-ness and connection with God)

Does that mean we (our personal self) play no role in service to others?

NO.

Of course, our personal course of action in the world is meaningful – our service to other; however, again, it is actually for the same purpose.

Undeniably, it is ALL for the SAME PURPOSE.

Enlightenment has to translate into service if it is to be real and meaningful. You were sent into the world to do something specific. Knowledge within you knows what this is and is trying to guide you and move you into a position where you can recognize this and meet those individuals who will be a part of your greater service and accomplishment here. Along the way, knowledge is building your strength, building your discernment and building your courage.

Most of the spiritual work is deconstructing your confinement, your disabilities, your fantasies, your obsessions and your delusions to help you divorce yourself from your weakness and to unite you with your strength. It takes faith to do this because you don’t really know where it is taking you. You do not really know the outcome.

You do this because you know you must do this. Because in your heart, you know you must take this journey. Not to satisfy the goals of the mind, your ideas of enlightenment or to become a saint, a goddess, or any of this foolishness. You’ve taken the journey because you must. And this is what returns you to God because you are following what God has put within you to follow. You do not know where it is taking you. It is deconstructing that which is imprisoning you. It is building your strength, your confidence and your ability to discern the power and the presence of Knowledge within you.

Marshall Vian Summers

How can this help us navigate the physical world?

When you look outside your eyes at that other appearing in your life – in every relationship and circumstance, ask yourself, “How will this encounter polish the inner diamond of my heart so that I may better serve the will of God within me while I am here in this moment?”

I hope there is a crumb of inspiration in this writing … I truly hope to share what may serve another along the way.

The foolishness of this world, the seeming deceit, corruption, and insanity has taken my personal mind down to a level of sadness that has actually served to further ignite and strengthen the force within me to seek a course of action in planting seeds of LOVE in the mud of the world.

I devote this post In gratitude to ALL of my teachers along the way:

Cancer – husband – family and friends – pets – nature – food – and every stranger I will encounter in this world.

Namaste.

unlocked

Today’s Contemplation:

is your heart and mind like a locked box?

are old beliefs locked inside and new beliefs locked out?

what if you could unlock your heart and mind?

allowing the old conditioned ideas to be released

accepting the possibility that those ideas/beliefs were never really true

Now new ideas and possibilities can enter

Leave the lock off

Leave the box open

Now the hearts True Voice can be deciphered.

Now the mind is open to resonate with the heart

the heart’s innate ability is to choose each action in the present moment without attachment to outcome

Today’s Prayer:

Creator of Life Itself

I open my heart and mind to your True Voice

I offer my ignorance up to You and humbly request your True Wisdom

to inform my action in the present moment

Help me to remember to leave the lock off

Unlock my heart and mind

To receive your Infinite Presence and Truth

And to serve Life through That Wisdom

Show me the way to serve in each moment

I’ve unlocked the box for YOU to enter

I got my dreams back

I keep a dream journal.

It’s about a decade since the practice was first suggested by my yoga teacher, Gail (my very first teacher/guru).

I don’t think she’s aware how valuable that suggestion turned out for me.

I even created a website, The Yoga of Dreaming, where I document my dream/awake life happenings with intent to inspire a community of like-minded dreamers to participate.  The website is a work in progress, on hold at present, but I’ll return my energy to it when the time feels right.

Interestingly, about a week ago I noticed a long lapse of no dream recall. Like 3 or 4 weeks – no dreams!

What’s going on? I wondered. Could it be that Dream Tincture from the Columbia Care medical marijuana store?

The “pharmacist” at the medical marijuana store carefully selected just the right “medicine” for me based on my evaluation:

I’ve read the research on CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities. But I hate smoking pot … I get paranoid and can’t shut my mind down … the smoke hurts my lungs … I’ve tried the chocolate marijuana and had the same problem …  I need my rest at night, and what I’ve tried so far isn’t helping.

So he prescribed the Dream Tincture liquid:

A liquid drop each night before sleep – start by taking the smallest dose. A drop under the tongue, hold in mouth for a minute, swallow and you’ll be off to a night of sweet dreams.

After about 3 or 4 weeks of religiously taking my nightly dose, I noticed that I was indeed sleeping like a baby again. Quick to fall asleep, no tossing and turning.

But no dreaming …  WTF?

Hey, if this CBD is supposed to be healing for my inflammatory breast cancer that’s great – but if I’m never gunna dream again, fuck that!

So I stopped taking it.

My husband was flabbergasted by my decision. “You’re actually going to stop taking something you believe is healing for your cancer so you can remember your dreams?”

“Yes.” And exactly 3 days later my dream life resumed.

And the dream was a gem.  

I titled this dream Overcome with Joy:

               I witness what looked like a grocery store for elderly folk. I’m inside, observing the shoppers pushing their carts. I’m sensing the feeling of community and kindness among the customers. I watch my mother as she pushes her cart. Another shopper “finds” something and places it in Mom’s cart. I am aware that this item is something “special” and it is intended to be given to me as a gift. It’s a dish of food/dessert (?) with cellophane wrapping and a ribbon. I watch from afar. I know it’s for me. I can feel Mom’s thoughts. It’s a humble gift, but she looks forward to bestow this gift upon me and feels happy that she is able to do so. I begin to cry, at first uncontrollably, then with a smile and a feeling of overwhelming joy. I say to myself out loud through my tears, I am overcome with so much JOY!

There are really no words for the depth of love this dream imparted on my consciousness. Whether it was a literal “gift” from my mother’s consciousness to mine or a message from an unknown level of existence assuring me that this is the love that is the Reality of Life – and this is what it feels like.

I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I will never forget that feeling. And it was given as a gift in my dream.

Prayer

Saturday was my great-nephew’s 5-year-old birthday party. It was one of those days when the weather is so magnificent you almost can’t believe how beautiful the earth actually is.

So I took the long drive, to be with family who I haven’t seen in a while. To celebrate and enjoy watching the children play outside together.

It was a glorious day for an outdoor party. Great food, conversation, laughter, stories, kids on the trampoline and the clown makeup and balloons.

However, there was something very strange about the day for me. A lingering feeling. An indescribable sense of lightness, a mistiness – kind of how you feel in the steam room when the solid objects are sort of blurred. It was not only the haziness that lingered throughout the day, but there was also the intense presence of my deceased mother. No, I did not think she was there, I knew – yes, I KNOW – my mother was there with us the entire time.

One of the grandmas at the party mentioned to me that my smile reminded her of my mom, and she said, “how she loved to talk and to be with the children.”

I said, “Yes, I know. And she’s here with us today.”

Except, my comment was not made as a casual figure of speech.

On the drive home, the setting sun left the sky so picturesque that I was in awe for the entire ride. Not that that’s so unusual for me. However, it was more intensely felt because I did not feel separate from what I was admiring. I was the sky.

I cannot even explain it any better than that. And it wasn’t until my friend, Annette, shared this video with me this morning that I found a way for it to be expressed with a little more clarity.

Carolyn Myss, 2019 live in Canada is a talk about faith, miracles, prayer, and mysticism. These little blurbs really resonate with me, especially after yesterday’s experience. (these are paraphrased excerpts)

On Miracles:

What’s required for a miracle is that you have such regard for yourself – the more you trust heaven the closer it gets.

Self-esteem at the soul level is the ability to be able to be given an experience that nobody else has, and you can withstand the doubt of a tsunami of people coming at you. If you require the enforcement of other people you cannot be given an experience that only you can substantiate. You’re too fragile, everyone’s doubt will turn into your rage. That’s because other peoples’ doubt for you is personal. It’s not until their doubt means nothing to you that you can handle an experience that only you know is real. So their doubt means nothing. Nobody’s’ fear scares you, nobody’s illness scares you; What’s there to be afraid of? There’s nothing on earth to be afraid of because your soul knows better.

On Prayer:

You pray like you’re crazy.

Okay God, I don’t know how to pray with you yet, but I’ll listen, I’m coming for you, come get me.

Start there. There’s no need for petition prayer. That’s irrelevant. Don’t pray for stuff. 

Take me down deep, show me the reason you gave me life and keep me on that route.

Turn the light on, show me the reason

Let me face what I do not want to see.

That’s how you pray.

Let me do no harm with my dark side while I encounter it.

That’s how you pray.

Pray like you mean it.


the unknown and true healing

Having had so much time for contemplation, under different circumstances than usual (now that I’ve been diagnosed with an “incurable” illness), I am given opportunity realize the power of the unknown.

Now more than ever.

I wonder, do we all get that moment? To realize life’s infinite potential for the unexpected? I suppose I should feel immense gratitude for being given the opportunity to recognize, to revisit, to place all my attention, to value the absolute power of Life (God, Chi, Prana, Source, Brahman, Tao, etc.) and its ability to infinitely Create limitless potentiality.

So I begin to look back at my daily routine, only about 6-8 weeks ago, which would consist of morning breakfast, (after feeding the cats, of course), a lemon squeezed in my water, fresh blueberries and Kefir laced with Chia and flax seeds, along with my toasted slice of Ezekiel bread and a schmear of chunky almond butter. Coffee, of course. AHHH, pure heaven! Breakfast was always my favorite meal of the day. Then my home yoga practice, meditation, daily contemplative reading, stretching, and always a handstand to get the adrenaline flowing. And finally off to teach my yoga classes for the day ……..

I took that simple routine for granted. Not that I didn’t practice gratitude. I certainly did, as this was part of my work as a teacher to live and impart this knowledge. But truthfully, it’s not until one is faced with the reality of losing something that the actuality is available to knowing how valuable that something was. Now its REAL.

Loss, unexpected change, trauma, illness, is always a wake up call. Some may call it fierce grace. Whatever one chooses to call it, it kind of feels like losing your house to a tornado, and some of the neighbors houses are still standing. You wonder, Was there purpose in this for me?

Now, I have been given the opportunity to learn a new routine. I am awakened in the morning by pain, and I reach for the pills at my bedside. Then I hobble to the toilet, cringing at the stabbing, burning pain enveloping my entire right chest and armpit.

I have found that once I get the pain managed with pills, I’m able to conjure up the strength, slowly, to continue that morning routine of cat feeding and my breakfast. Now, I REALLY value this even more because it’s so difficult to achieve.

Then I spend time in contemplative reading, meditation, dream journaling, and admiring the scene of summer’s nature out the window. I know I won’t lose the ability to engage in these practices unless I should lose consciousness, and for that I am so grateful. The pain is less at this point after eating breakfast, although I’m very weak – the chemo has begun to do its job of killing my blood cells. There is no longer any ability to perform a physical yoga practice, unless walking very slowly can be considered my new asana.

There is no more driving. The painful rash and swelling enveloping my chest has created a limited arm movement that makes it unsafe to drive. It’s a loss of independence.

There is no more teaching yoga, floor or aerial, or home practice. It’s like losing a dear friend.

There is no more physical intimacy with my beloved the way it used to be. A reminder, the physical sensation of youth is temporary.

There is no more cleaning and vacuuming, cooking and grocery shopping on my own. Time to let go of control.

I have learned a few things from all of the unexpected loss and change:

I need to take strong pain medicine to have any decent quality of life. I will never harshly judge another who may have abused narcotics. We don’t know the reason for one’s sense of need to manage their pain.

I can only move my body in very slow motion to avoid any sharp pain. This has provided me with a deeper sense of gratitude for practices I’ve learned, such as Tai Chi, that enable slow graceful movements that feel energetically powerful.

I cannot hug anyone or lie on my side or lie prone. It is actually uncomfortable to lie down at all without strong pain medicine. But I do enjoy holding my husband’s hand, squeezing it during my chemo treatments, and looking into his loving eyes.

Of all the seeming loss this inflammatory breast cancer has caused, there is just as much gain in many aspects of new awareness.

As I took a slow walk outside today,

I listened more closely than I have in a long time.

I smelled the summer blossoms and country air.

I felt my emotional body and God’s presence more deeply.

I cherished nature’s beauty more sincerely.

I loved each moment’s opportunity to be a witness to my own awareness.

I forgave myself for all of my mistakes, misunderstandings, and wrong judgements.

I recognized that the potential for true healing has little to do with a physical body and that true healing is a mystery which is unsolvable by a human mind.

I sensed that true healing has infinite possibility to be experienced through the human heart.

mission

I have a mission to fulfill.

Don’t we all?

I recognize for an instant the connection of consciousness as One.

It’s only an instant. Pouf, it’s gone. I forget again.

Instead, I focus on the sharp stings in my chest, my armpit. I cringe. Fucking pain. Fucking cancer. The skin on my chest is so hideous I look like a freak show. And it hurts like a mother F-er.

Take another pill. Ha, me who never took an aspirin. Now I need a narcotic to get through the night.

Oh, she loves to pity herself doesn’t she?

Then I snap back.

I have a mission to fulfill.

Seriously. This mission is so important that it’s the ONLY thing that really matters.

And I’ll never get to KNOW what the mission is.

Maybe the mission will be revealed after this body is gone.

Or maybe it won’t.

It doesn’t matter.

It’s an INFINITE mission.

And we are ALL fulfilling it.

life’s greater purpose

it’s Not about me

AND

it’s ALL about me

How can I serve the greater whole?

How can I (the me)

serve the

greater whole (the not me)?

a CIRCLE illustrates that perfectly

Thinking Mind will not come to understand or see this Truth.

But something will clearly express it in our lives, when we open our hearts to allow it to be revealed.

It will always show up in a way that is unexpected. It may feel undeserved, unfair, unholy, unthinkable. But that is only the interpretation of the smaller thinking (me) mind.

Life’s greater purpose is Always working through us. No matter how it appears on the surface.

oracle

I’ve been using the I Ching along with the Wisdom of the Oracle for many years. I ask a question (even though I recognize that within myself the answer is already there) and then surrender my linear mind’s knowing to allow the deeper Divine Knowing to reveal itself to me.

It is quite miraculous to witness that the answer revealed to me is ALWAYS exactly what I already know, but it’s symbolized and shown to me in a way that is crystal clear for my linear mind to understand.

It always feels most urgent to access spiritual wisdom when life challenges arise and our path is unclear.

At those times, despite my inner knowing that no matter what path I take, it will always be the correct path for me; nevertheless, I find myself wanting to ask the question. Something about the affirmation allows me to feel, ahhh, see, I was right!

Here in northeastern PA, it’s been a long winter. Spring has just revealed its precious light in the last two days, and I am resonating with nature’s calling to be NEW again. With that, comes change, big decisions, deep introspective reassessment of my life.

And so I turn to my beloved Oracle, and I ask the question:

Am I listening to the true voice of my heart?

I shuffle the card deck. I choose the card. The Oracle answers:

Card #21, upside down (a protection message):

CLEAN IT UP!

“Is it possible you may be focusing too much on other people right now?

Trying too hard to be helpful?

Perhaps you think its your calling to relieve people of their burdens, but what is the cost to you, and to them?

Don’t clean up someone else’s side of the street. You’re not helping by freeing him or her of responsibility. You’re also not doing yourself any favors, and you might just be adding an even greater strain.

You are loved as you are. You don’t need to be needed to be loved.”

Whack! Just what I needed to be told, to really hear, to own. I know all this. Yet, its message is one I continue to struggle with.

It says, Janet, you know exactly what you have to do.

Mercury retrograde

A good time to reflect on where you “are”

Last night’s Sleep Dream:

The street is a sloping downward hill, and I am witnessing some passengers in a small (red?) vehicle slowly rolling BACKWARDS down the hill.

I perceive that they are attempting to slow the car by using the brakes (there’s a loud screeching sound of the brakes) so they don’t go flying down the hill backwards.

As I witness this, I am concerned, thinking, Wow, the brakes are barely working.

Then I observe the dog. A sweet mid-sized mutt, white with brown/black spots.

The dog is sitting on the street, and I realize he is leashed to the front of the vehicle, his back facing the car, and he is either being dragged down the hill with the car or he is purposely slowing down the roll by his body weight.

The dog does not appear distressed at all; however, I am infuriated and appalled at the sight of this.

Determined, angry, I decide to go put a stop to this. I must catch up with them and reprimand these people for dragging this dog down the hill backwards!

But first, I must grab my pocketbook. As I go to gather it up, there are two identical bags on the ground. Which one is mine? I rummage through the contents of each to see which is mine.

End of dream ……..

There ARE SO MANY SYMBOLIC indications in this dream. But the one that resonates for me is the Mercury retrograde in our present astrological configuration. A sense of either being “pulled” backward or willingly “reflecting” backward. In the “awake” dream, I am also experiencing a deep calling to look back, reflect on where I’ve been to discern where I’m “going”, both personally and collectively.

I’m working on a new website, called TheYogaofDreaming. I hope to soon have a community forum to share our dreams …..

fierce grace

I am the Way and the Master who watches in silence
Thy friend and thy shelter and thy abode of peace
I am the beginning and the middle and the end of all things;
Their seed of Eternity, their Treasure supreme
Bhagavad Gita 9:18

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think someone slipped a chemo pill into my wine glass at the Lake Region Fitness holiday party.

The next morning I awoke with a sore throat, but I bull-headedly forged ahead to work obligations and appointments, and 24 hours later the effects kicked in; fever, chills, body aches, nausea, diarrhea.

I haven’t felt this way since chemotherapy, was my initial thought.

But I also intuit that it often takes a fierce grace to bring our soul into alignment with our truest journey. This bout with a viral infection afforded me:

• Time to rest.
• Time to contemplate.
• Time to have no responsibilities to others.
• Time to accept discomfort on the deepest level.
• Time to fast.
• Time to be fully present with myself.
• Time to sleep deeply and dream.

So I write this as a Reminder to Self that the innate wisdom of our highest path is so beyond our understanding, so outside our limited perception, ineffable ….

I remain humbled in the Mystery.