The sweet peace is surprised by the loud, hooting call of a Barred Owl, and answering call from the yard next door. It is long past their bedtime. Do you suppose it is an illicit treat for them to call, questioning to each other from their beds like disobedient children? “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” The first caller dares leave its bed and fly on silent wings, off to visit its partner in crime no doubt. They keep quiet now, probably whispering clandestine owl secrets to each other in the morning light.
This is a precious moment, timeless and fleeting. Soon, the day will begin in earnest. There is work to be done after all, appointments to be kept, preparations to make. Life to be pursued with the single-minded devotion that believing in the gravity of our individual lives inspires.
Yet the breeze still carries its message, waving from treetop to treetop, rustling through the branches. “Stay with us,” it whispers, “stay.” Then all is quiet and my thoughts return to my lists and the clock, email and texts. A hummingbird appears, hovering, magic on wings, dipping into the petunias in my planters on the porch steps. Flitting from flower to flower, never landing, never lighting, an iridescent fairy creature in plain sight.
What is this magic that calls me to stay? Persuading me to allow the wonder, convincing me with the touch of a breeze softly brushing my arm. It sways me to listen for the swishing, rustling, chirping, twittering, hooting, seeming quiet of the morning, the ever-changing green surrounding me and the wings that flutter from tree to feeder and back again. It fills me with the sweetness of the rain-washed air, and I stay. For it is love made manifest, magic indeed.
with appreciation into my back yard, sometimes when I traveled to beautiful locations, or participated in spiritual workshops. It was nothing that I had any control over, it just happened. Yet I sought it out, increasingly hungry for more.
Then, last week, another spiritual explorer, a good friend and soul sister, who delves deep into meditation and inner guidance, recommended a very short video meditation by Gregg Braden. Gregg Braden is an author, well-known in spiritual circles for bridging science and spirituality. The video is about something I’ll call, Heart Coherence, and is a cut of the last few minutes of a longer lecture. He begins with a short explanation of the three-step meditation for Heart Coherence. Then he takes you through the meditation.
OMG! This was what I’d been looking for – a way to create a peaceful, aligned and joyful state intentionally and easily. The state I now had a name for, Heart Coherence or Psychophysiological Coherence. Let’s just call it Coherence for short.
“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation.”
-HeartMath Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin McCraty
Lo and behold, I discover that the HeartMath Institute has been studying this state for almost two decades. In that time, they have cataloged the many benefits of Coherence for the body, mind and spirit. The results of the studies conducted at the HeartMath Institute show that Coherence results in sustained positive emotion and increased emotional and mental stability. Of particular interest at this time in our history, is the fact that Coherence allows us to build resiliency to stressful situations. We can recover more quickly without a reduction in energy. This in turn supports the immune system as well as cognitive function, memory, focus and learning. What’s not to love about all that?
The irony is, Spirit has been telling me about Coherence off and on for years, answering my unspoken prayer over and over. I just didn’t listen. I first heard about the HeartMath Institute long ago from another friend. But the sound of all that science put me off. What I didn’t realize was that the actual meditation for Coherence iss short, simple and easy. Over time, I heard about HeartMath from Dr. Wayne Dyer, and others on the forefront of spiritual teaching. But I didn’t tweak to it. I guess I just wasn’t ready to feel that good every day; not until now. Fortunately, Spirit is patient and persistent.
The state of Heart Coherence is entered into with a simple, easily remembered, three step meditation that takes only a few minutes. The benefits last up to six hours, at which time you can repeat the short meditation, for another six hours of benefits. The more you do it, the more you entrain Coherence into your brain and the easier it is to enter and maintain the state of Coherence.
I now love the fact that Coherence is a measurable, much studied state with all the science to confirm it. I love that it has all these benefits for my body, mind and spirit; but I do this meditation several times a day, every day, just because it feels good. I feel happy, aligned and balanced, connected with my spirit and in touch with my inner guidance.
In the video, Gregg Braden discusses the fact that once you enter into this state of Coherence you are in the foundational state for so much more. Do you want to ask for guidance? This is the time to ask, when you will be able to receive with clarity. Do you want to communicate with your body? Do you want to ask your heart anything? Now’s the time. Do you want to manifest something new in your life? This is the fertile ground in which to plant those seeds. Do you want to meditate? Pray? Or do you just want to feel good? You’ve got it.
So, I ask you, got Heart Coherence? If not, it might be worth your while to give it a try. It could change your life.
My home is in a between time too. No longer is it as I knew it. The breaking down phase of noisy machines, ripped up baseboards, flooring, and torn out wall boards is finally over. Now the skeleton of the basement awaits the builders who will create something new out of the destruction. I feel the potential of what will be, not just replicating what was before, but creating something new. I feel an appreciation for the best of what was, and what is to come.
It is like this time we live in. Right now, is a between time.
No longer is it the world as we knew it; that world has been torn apart. Our belief in our government, our newscasters, our scientists, our health, our safety, has been shaken to the core. The old, patriarchal, top-down structure of government taking care of us like a responsible and knowledgable parent has crumbled before our eyes. The foundations of our belief ripped out.
Still, we can appreciate and feel grateful for what right in our world during this time of potential. We have the opportunity to rebuild from the bottom up, from the foundational level of our highest beliefs, creating more of what is right in our world.
It has begun. Even with social distancing restrictions, business, store and school closings, people are reaching out, sharing their creativity, offering classes, making connections, enjoying being together digitally if not physically. People are coming together in loving community, sharing appreciation and gratitude for what is most meaningful in their lives.
I feel hopeful, like the in-between time just before the full awakening of the new day; like the time awaiting the builders who will reconstruct my home. I feel hopeful for the potential of this, our world, that we as the builders are creating anew.
Since last Thursday when the main floor and basement of our home was flooded, Spirit has consistently moved me out of the cozy comfort zone of my usual routines. The peaceful haven that is my home has been turned into a tornado of noise. This morning I turned on the garbage disposal in the kitchen and could barely hear it.
My ears are stuffed with squishy, bright orange ear plugs. The muted, multi-toned roar of fans, humidifiers and heater still manages to reach my abused ears. The machinery sits about on the floors of my home. Fans looking like huge, blue snails blow in every direction; the wind bouncing off walls drilled through with large holes. The hum of humidifiers competes with the fans, and the heater wins out over all with a high-pitched, unnerving tone rather like a blender set on high. There are black floor drying mats, outlined in blue painter’s tape, attached to the heater/blower by long curving, bright yellow tubes with a multitude of smaller tubes sticking out of them. They look like enormous centipedes crawling across the floor. This is a unique experience for me.
The silver lining is that this won’t last much longer. The looming cloud is the next step of working with contractors to put our home back together.
OK, not the most positive attitude. We are so lucky in the middle of a pandemic that we have been relatively unaffected. Our family and friends are all fine. A flooding toilet has been more disruptive to our lives than a world-wide pandemic. I’m counting my blessings, believe me.
So, what’s the life lesson here?
“The root of suffering is attachment.”
In this case attachment to my life as I perceive it should be. Wouldn’t it be easier if I could just accept what is? For sure it would. So, why do I choose to feel so stressed by it all? How I feel is a choice, though apparently that message hasn’t gotten through to my pounding heart, overwhelmed ears and strung out nervous system. Neither has the run-away thought train in my mind paid any attention to the warning flags of severe grumpiness posted all over the track.
Perhaps the first step is to stop taking the situation so seriously.
“This too shall pass.”
The next step is to take control of what is possible. This situation has left me feeling out of control of my home in addition to what’s going on in the world. That leaves me feeling insecure and vulnerable. It feels like there is no safe place.
See what I mean about taking things too seriously? 😉
I deeply believe that we live in a beneficent Universe and all that happens in our lives ultimately benefits us. As Abraham-Hicks says, “Everything is always working out for me.” It’s just that sometimes my inner child gets involved and throws a tantrum about how it’s all being done to her. Then she looks tearful and says, “This is so scary!” I feel for the kid.
So, what can we take control of when things feel out of control?
It’s all a matter of perspective.
There is a wonderful story of a guru and his devotee. The devotee comes before his guru and complains that his in-laws are living with him and his wife in his small house. They are taking up too much room. His house feels cramped and crowded. Can’t the guru do something about it?
The guru tells his devotee that he can solve his problem. He tells his devotee to go home and bring his goat into the house. The devotee doesn’t see how this will help but he trusts his guru. He goes home and moves his goat into the house.
The next day the devotee is back at his guru’s knee complaining of how much worse it all is. The guru tells him to bring his cow into the house with them.
The devotee is horrified but does as his guru says.
The next day the devotee is back, complaining even more. The guru tells him to bring in his chickens.
Finally, the following day, ready to tear his hair out, the devotee goes back to his guru. The devotee tells his guru that the animals have taken over his home, messing everything up. There is no room for the people. The situation is intolerable.
The guru then tells him to take the animals all back outside. The devotee rushes home to obey his guru.
The devotee comes back the next day full of delighted wonder. His house suddenly feels enormous. His guru has solved the devotee’s problem. The devotee has changed his perspective.
A good lesson here. Don't you think?
Another way to take control of what we can control is by creating a displacement activity. This doesn’t solve the problem but it is an effective stress reliever.
This morning as I walked around the house the chaos was getting to me. The clutter and mess of ripped out baseboards, holes drilled in the walls, boxes of books removed from living room book cases, furniture helter-skelter around the living room, workshop filled with boxes of books and gaming paraphernalia from the basement, noisy fans and dehumidifiers in every room, floor drying mats with hoses waiting for me to trip over them. I wanted to clean everything up and put the house back in order. The feeling was so strong it was like craving a food you cannot have. Instead, I created a displacement activity for myself.
A displacement activity is an instinctual form of releasing pent up anxiety.
“Displacement behavior usually occurs when an animal is torn between two conflicting drives, such as fear and aggression. Displacement activities often consist of comfort movements, such as grooming, scratching, drinking, or eating.” https://www.britannica.com/science/displacement-activity
In this case I’m torn between the desire to get my house fixed and my desire to throw all the fans and repair people out the front door. Instead, I’ll displace all that pent-up craving for peace and order into decluttering and cleaning my upstairs closet – doors closed, gentle music playing, and away from the noise and chaos downstairs. Bringing order and harmony into one small area of my home. I feel better just thinking about it.
Here are the three steps again.
A good friend of mine, with whom I’ve shared much of my spiritual journey over these last many years, often greets life lessons from Spirit with a grimace, a laugh and the words, “It’s just another f*#?! growth opportunity!” It always makes me chuckle and nod my head in sympathetic agreement.
Life lessons are a constant because Spirit is the constant in our lives.
It is a constant, which paradoxically is everchanging. Perhaps that is the essence of the quote from Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” Usually that quote is referred to as meaning that life is full of change so don’t get too attached to the way things are. Get with the program and be willing to allow things to change. And that is one way to deal with the inevitable change that happens.
Or, we could look at change as the movement of Spirit in our lives.
Mother Nature gives us all sorts of metaphors for this, flowing water that is never still, the constantly moving wind, one season shifting into the next. The energy of life, ever in motion, never still.
Change is growth, evolving, transforming, becoming, discovering itself. To stay the same is to stagnate, to die. Yet, even in death there is transformation, dissolution and change into something other than what was.
Change is Spirit moving in our lives, consistently offering us the opportunity to grow. Spirit offers us change in several ways.
Change can come from the outside. It can look like a new love relationship, a new job, a difficult relationship pushing you to make a change. It can look like a flooded basement. It can even look like a world-wide pandemic. ☹
Change can also come from the inside, which looks a little different. Change from the inside is more about feelings. Maybe you feel the urge to try something new. Maybe you feel a sense of excitement about a new project, or a different aspect of a project you are already working on. Maybe you feel increasingly uncomfortable about a situation you are in. You feel the need to make a change. Maybe a new idea comes to mind and sticks with you until you do something about it. This is Spirit communicating the need for change, growth and evolving.
Often, we’ll receive the impetus for change on the inside first.
If we don’t act on that prompting, the need for change will come at us from the outside. We do tend to get comfortable in our ruts and Spirit will need to push us from several directions at once.
Recently, I’ve been getting the push for change from Spirit. And when I say Spirit, I mean from Spirit through my Higher Self. So, my Higher Self has been pushing for a change in my blog writing, and my website. I’ve been feeling increasingly uncomfortable and resistant to continuing the current format. I’ve been feeling a strong impetus to simplify it all.
Paradoxically, I’ve been resisting that push to change. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Wrong, at least in this case.
Our Higher Selves know better than we do where the path of growth is, and even if it feels scary to us to venture out of our comfort envelopes, it is venturing that we must go.
I woke this morning to Peter’s urgent voice saying, “Holly! We have a major leak in the bathroom. It’s all over the floor and the basement is flooded. The floor and ceiling will have to be replaced.”
I was curled on my side, cozy in my blankets. My bed was warm, soft and so comfortable. I was sorely tempted to just go back to sleep. I didn’t want to deal with floods at 6 AM. What a wonderful metaphor for that cozy comfort zone that lulls us back to sleep instead of waking up to the changes we need to make in our lives.
So, this is how Spirit is moving in my life this morning. The change is coming at me from the outside. This tells me there is something I need to wake up to on the inside. There’s probably a leak somewhere in my energetic plumbing that’s flooding my foundations.
Peter called the plumber right away this morning and the plumber is downstairs now, fixing the faulty seal on the toilet that created the flood in our basement. Now all I need is a spiritual plumber that I can call to fix the faulty seal creating the leak in my energetic system!
Spirit is offering me the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and grow. The life lessons just keep on coming. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After all, who doesn’t want another f*#?! growth opportunity?
Life is full of spiritual lessons. Some feel good, some not so good. All support us to grow. This blog is about my life lessons. Perhaps you'll find yourself within these stories.