Archive for Living

Adirondack Retreat My Mid-Life Journey to Wholeness

My book is now available through Amazon.com-title as above. It has been a long journey…and I hope you are inspired and touched…dreams do come true with determination, hard work and faith in the dreams that we hold in our hearts!

Home Again

I am finally home nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks with light falling snow, plenty of snow cover for added beauty, a roaring fire in the big old stone fireplace and my mini dachshund Shortey fast asleep in his bed.  The silence is broken only by the heat coming on and an occasional ringing phone…the silence and peace fill my soul.

It’s been a challenging month for many reasons and I am so grateful to all my loved ones.  Being with my children always fills my heart with joy and my parents made the holiday so special, especially Mom with all her great cooking and baking and decorating so everyone would feel the holiday spirit through her love.

After the migraine episode everyone urged me to return home… all reasons filled with love and I was swept up in the promptings and urgings even going so far as looking for places to live but I was not myself at all.  I knew that much.  I knew my mind was not clear and that even though I moved through every moment of every day the experience was like being in a dream and watching myself.   It was not the time to make any major decisions. 

I watched and observed my mind.  I was busy moving from place to place, visiting and doing whatever needed doing all the while fully aware of my condition.  With legal issues of a 6 year old divorce settlement still bearing down hard and the heart tugging holidays it was exhausting.  It is unnatural for me to be down home without a home filled with the warmth of baking cookies, Christmas tree and lights, my children, family and friends gathered around me.  It was hard and painful. 

With a weather forecast of snow I left early and headed back to the North Country and as soon as I head outside of Warrensburg and drive the mountain roads my whole body melts, my breath opens, my mind settles down and tears fill my eyes with joy.  This has become my home, I just wish I could share it with all those I love so dearly. 

My first intention to resume daily sadhana with a sense of urgency because this is what brings me home to myself every time.  When I am connected to my spirit…I am connected to God.  It is my time alone with myself and God.  All that I do to prepare for sitting meditation is like sending an invitation to God…to come sit with me and just Be.  Through this I am finally back to clarity of mind and filled with awe of the lessons I’ve learned with no control over this migraine equivalent and all that followed.  I thought I was well two weeks ago and know now that I was not because it all feels like a dream.  But I am fine now.   I fully trust that God has carried me through this experience and that even when I feel separated from myself through an experience such as this…I am never alone and never separated from God. 

I have learned to think things through and make decisions from a place of clarity.  I am going to remain here in the Adirondacks for as long as I possibly can and will not leave until it is time.   I will know through God’s grace when that time comes.   Everything will flow with grace and not come from a place of fear.

As for 2008 there were many challenges, but it has also been a wonderful year of growth, expansion and opportunity for me.  I’ve made wonderful new friends and consider my students among them, I have completed my first book which will soon be published, expanded my healing work of Reiki and spiritual guidance, will begin training as a retreat leader in Spring and will soon start speaking about Aging And Spirituality here in the North Country.  I am grateful for all that 2008 has given me…and I look forward to every moment of 2009 with peaceful surrender knowing that I am home within myself and that God is always with me as He is in everyone.

Fully Present

It’s been a couple of weeks but I can now say I am once again fully present.   All of my tests from head to toe are superb and I am delighted to know what I already knew…I am in excellent health. 

I attribute my healthy state to my meditation, yoga, and spiritual discipline which lead to healthy eating and lifestyle.  How can I be so in touch with my body and my self and not honor healthy living?  The fresh pure air of the Adirondacks, the total silence and solitude of the past 15 months, the step- back- in- time living all contribute to my radiant health and I am forever grateful.

Today I am in New Paltz visiting family and friends for the holiday and looking out the window at a foot of snow.  My big boots are in my closet at the lake…not here where I never expected to be wading in the white stuff so soon. 

Throughout this process I’ve had very little time on my mat and cushion.  My eyes and head were sensitive to movement.  I had one good meditation in two weeks and I feel tremendous difference in my ability to cope with some life issues.  Today I look forward to returning to my full practice…clear and ready to reap the benefits of sitting in the stillness of my body temple.

The migraine equivalent has passed and I’ve learned so much in the process.  Sometimes I have to choose to ride it out…to surrender and allow whatever is happening the freedom to happen and just Be.  Fear, anger, any emotions at all cause resistance in the body/mind and when I let go and fully surrender a welcome peace fills my heart and mind.  I picture myself resting in the Hands of God…knowing full well that I am united with All in a very special way through these moments of challenge.  I am fully conscious that  I(we) are never alone and in these moments so precious I glimpse the wholeness of the present the richness of the eternal. 

This experience has enriched my life but it is not without the suffering of external challenges that are beyond my control.  Ongoing legal issues of my divorce settlement are now in year #6, mounting legal bills, judges that do not enforce their own rulings or the rulings of the higher courts have allowed my exhusband to completely ignore every ruling so I can get my settlement and move on.  He has made a mockery of the judicial system and continues to get away with it.  The whole process is beyond my control and I can’t afford to walk away from it.  Needless to say after this episode I have felt very vulnerable and frustrated beyond words…but knowing I can get on my mat this morning and work it out is a relief…clarity will return along with strength and courage…which will once again bring me to surrender and non-attachment to the outcome.  Without my daily practice I observed the working of the mind and how the vulnerability led to lots of crying and a sense of loneliness.  The Yogi’s teach that everything is illusion and rarely are we experiencing Reality.  There are as many worlds are there are minds…I am the creator of my life by what I think.  But thinking hasn’t been very easy these past couple of weeks!  Hey……it’s all maya anyway.

Like the migraine equivalent my present life is changing and I sense the odd space of being in between where I am and where I would like to be.  I miss having my own home… a center for gatherings of my children, parents and friends.   I am seriously considering returning to be near family and my dearest friends…returning to LIFE and the fullness of living knowing full well that I will return to the Adirondacks anytime I am in need of refreshment, solitude, silence and the healing beauty of these glorious mountains and lakes.

I am fully present…emerging from a long retreat…ready to return and eternally grateful for the life I have created and all I discovered hidden in the solitude of the Adirondack Park.

Being Present

For years now I have focused on cultivating the power to be fully present.  To live in the present moment.  It’s hard work, being present…and takes years of practice through Yoga, prayer, meditation, self study, discipline and determination.  So it has been an interesting experience watching the present from the distance of stroke-like symptoms.

Today I am more present than I have been since Wednesday, November 27th, but I am still not 100%.  I have moments of clarity and then this tired feeling settles in.  I am amazed at the length of time this Migraine equivalent is taking to clear out and this morning I wonder what my new normal is.

The weeks of being on what I call brain delay have been interesting to observe.  I am keenly aware of the present but am not in the moment, the reality is a distance away…it takes time to get here.    Last night I went to dinner with  a friend and though I felt much better and more present than I have been there were many times in the conversation I was at a loss for words.  I could not recall them much less speak them.   I lost words like “moderation” when talking about eating and drinking.  I believe in moderation…but the word during the conversation?  Blank.  Recalling authors names?  Blank.   I spent so much time last night after returning home trying to recall the words I meant to say.  Moderation…that finallly came to me this morning and to be perfectly honest, I forgot it as I was trying to type it and had to sit here and think really hard to find it again.

Yet throughout this experience I am aware of the present moment.  I see it and know it…but I am not one with it.  Perhaps this will give me a more solid ground with the present once I return to it.  For now, being present is easy because I watch the space in between being present and the reality of this moment.  I am peaceful and know that surrender is best for now.  I keep affirming my radiant health and am consciously exercising my brain to challenge memory. 

It is through Faith and Trust in my journey that I know this will serve me in great ways.  There is a reason for all things.  It sounds cliche and it is, but it is also true.  Everything has a higher purpose and I have grown to Trust in that and to have Faith in the process of my life…even when it sucks.  That is where Faith and Trust are most powerful…this is the ground upon which I learn the lessons of Life and grow from all of it…every blessed moment.

I am Being Present right now as I look out my window at the beautiful blue sky, sun shining brightly on the snowcovered forest where it is now -8* peaceful, silent…and so perfect.  Living in the Adirondacks I continue to heal, continue to grow, and learn.  I am present enough to know how blessed I am.

Power Of The Mind

Part of my Yogic training, a great deal of it, is centered on the power of the mind.  I can choose how to move through any situation.  I create my experiences of life by what I think.  Strong body, strong mind.  Think strong, be strong.  I am capable of all things through the power of the mind.  I have power over my mind.

But what happens when the mind isn’t functioning properly?  I drove down to see my family for Thanksgiving, excited to see everyone and happily singing in my car most of the way down.  I arrived around 12:30 to visit with a friend and while listening to her I lost the vision in my left eye, had numbness, weakness, and tingling in my face, neck and jaw, then my arms, my eyes were out of focus and then I almost passed out.  Needless to say I ended up in the ER and was diagnosed with a possible TIA, mini-stroke and remained in the hospital for a couple of days…even Thanksgiving Day.  I could not think clearly and spent all of Friday having one test after another.  The tests ruled out the mini-stroke and I was then diagnosed with a Migraine Equivalent. 

The following days after my release were surreal.  I was functioning but my mind was not present.  My brain was on delay, I struggled for words in conversation and had vision and speech difficulty that accompanied fatigue.

The power of the mind.  How did I move through it?  I just did.  The whole experience was beyond my control.  I kept affirming my radiant health, I tried to imagine the blood flowing freely through my veins, but the fog was thick.  So I surrendered to whatever it was.  I surrendered to the process, to the lessons, to the moment.  I’m learning that sometimes I am without power…and then the greatest power is in surrender, relinquishing any power I think I have and rest in the Hands of God.  Before drifting off to sleep I remembered one of my favorite poems and pictures…Footprints In The Sand.  At the time I thought God was not present…He carried me.

I surrendered to the love of family and my dearest friends and I surrendered to my Spirit.  I have learned to Trust and have Faith wherever and through whatever my Soul and glorious God lead me.  There is great power in surrender…the power to learn and experience the blessings and gifts of Love and Life.

Thanksgiving

This morning I leave for the hustle and bustle of Orange County to visit my parents and my children and some of my dearest friends.  I am ready and need a dose of their love and hugs, support and friendship.  This season stirs pangs of feeling homesick and yet I’m not sure about returning fulltime.  I love the simplicity of the Adirondacks and yet simplicity is really from within myself.  Every day I surrender to the flow of Spirit and trust in God’s Divine Plan for me…whatever that is.  God’s plans are always far better and grander than the limitations of my mind.  And with that thought my heart swells with Gratitude for my wonderful life.

I have and continue to face many challenges but in the midst of those challenges I have found the greatest gifts…surprising strength and courage, determination, discipline, patience, integrity, wisdom, knowledge and of all these the greatest is love.  The love of those who surround me…my parents, my wonderful children who are the joys of my life, my dearest friends who are some of the most loving, generous people on earth…a couple of my closest aunts, uncles and cousins…and I have found self-love. 

I am grateful for my warm bed, my little buddy Shortey, the hot water that falls upon me in the shower, my warm fireplace and the wood to put in it, and the gift of living here in the Adks on my self-imposed retreat…all of my material comforts.  I am grateful to all those have passed through my life…and my heart is open to receive with gratitude…all those who are yet to come.  Gratitude is the single gift that has carried me through the toughest times…because when we look, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for…always. 

At the end of every Yoga class I close with this guided meditation:  “If I want peace on earth, peace in my community, my family, my workplace and my relationships…I must cultivate peace within myself…I cannot cultivate peace in anyone else…it all begins with me.”  As I have cultivated peace within myself for many years…that Light and Vibration of Peace is what I carry…and what each of you carry.  That is the only way I truly do my part to bring Peace on Earth.  I have grown to Trust in this…and have Faith in it.  It is this peace that carries me through everything.  Inner Peace is our greatest power and Meditation & Prayer will always take me there.

 For these lessons…for these blessings and gifts…I give Thanks.  May each of you be so blessed.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Finding Myself In The Adirondacks

It’s been a long time since my last entry and a very good year.  I arrived in the Adirondacks just over a year ago to retreat, heal and write and I’ve accomplished and received so much more just by Being. 

In the solitude of these glorious mountains and lakes I have found a deeper connection to myself, to God and to All.  It’s been a year of daily walks with camera in hand snapping everything that spoke to me and inspired me to write.  My first book is complete…or at least in the hands of a publisher and now it is time to wait and see. 

 My time has been mostly spent in silence yet I managed to establish many wonderful friendships through sharing my Yoga practice with many local residents and offering healing work through Reiki as well as Spiritual guidance and mentoring.

Life is simple here.  A step back in time.  There are no malls for at least 60-90 miles and while at first I found it unsettling, I have grown to love the simplicity of purchasing only that which is needed.  I now find it stressful to return to Orange County and be unindated with consumerism every where I turn.  Before stepping away into the quiet I was caught in the current of a busy overcrowded area where most are in a big hurry to get here and there.  It is always a relief to return here to the quiet…to a place where we take our time and patience is a way of life. 

I have learned so much from living here amidst the trees and Mother Nature.  Observing the natural world has helped me become more aware of my natural rhythm.  I find the most beautiful landscape to be that which is broken, uprooted, dying and surrendering to the process of life.  I step outside and stretch out my arms look up at the sky, close my eyes and breathe…knowing I am One with All.  I am fascinated by the everchanging flowers and shrubs; the transformation of the hobblebush from beautiful white cluster blooms to bright red berries and jack in the pulpits from the unique caped petals to clusters of bright red/orange berries…all extraordinary. 

 The leaves that hold on tight refusing to let go as another Winter approaches, raging wind from the lake bow the trunks and branches, yet the one small leaf clings for dear life.  Beech nuts that remain on bare branches catch the falling snow.

But I do not enter this winter lightly.  I know the weather is both unpredictable and dramatic from so many bodies of water and high elevations.  I have learned to respect Mother Nature and wait patiently for this to pass.  The first year solitude was my comfort and my welcome companion, however, now I am ready to explore new opportunities and perhaps find new love one day.  I am alone, but not lonely…there is always something new and wonderful within and without. 

The spiritual life I have cultivated for over 30 years has been the toolbox for this retreat.  Everything I needed to take full advantage of this time is in that toolbox…my life experience and and a lifetime of learning, study and a disciplined spiritual practice.  It is through my study of Yoga that I found the best tools for life. 

I see myself everywhere and I consider myself blessed to have this opportunity to heal and write and retreat… and yet the most wonderful surprise was tucked in the woods, flower petals and creatures…I found myself.

My Great Teaching of 2007

Today I reflect on this past year…a year of tremendous challenge.  One would think I’d be glad to see it go, be rid of it…move on.  I could dwell on the challenges and adversities.  I could dwell in misery if I choose and I’d certainly be entitled to that, but I choose to see the Teaching and in that I see Light.

This year has taught me the true testament of Faith and Trust.  Having Faith in God’s divine plan for me and Trust in God’s promise to provide even when it seems there is nothing left.  God’s work in my life has come through those closest to me.  When I broke my foot my dearest friends and children came to my aid.  When I lost my job as a result of my injury, my dearest friends once again supported me.  Lyn came to my apartment every week with groceries and homemade goodies (including goodies from her mother and Joey), Rhonda also came by each week with lunches and thoughtful gifts…and it was with her generosity my rent was paid.  Mary also came by each week with any items I needed and Reiki when I wanted.  Krissy came by often to help, as did so many of my students and dear friends.  Sandy was always available for listening and helping me sort through the process.  So many came by with flowers, food and gifts:  Elizabeth, Sunny, Jeanne and Ron, Neal, Lois, Barbara, Jimmy, to name a few and then the phone calls of loving support were countless. 

Everytime I was faced with another seemingly hopeless challenge another Angel appeared with an offer to help in whatever way was needed at the time often without any communication beforehand.  I’ve learned that faith and trust must come with surrender.  I had to surrender to the offers of help.  I had to say “yes” even when it was the hardest thing to do.  And it was hard.  It IS hard.

Every time I said yes I opened another door for God to provide my every need.  I live in the “flow” of God’s grace and this continues even today…perhaps even more so.  This past year has taught me the true meaning of Faith and Trust because my every need and my every hope has been fufilled.

While I am looking forward to a wonderful year to come, I am humbled and most grateful for the past years that have taught me so much.  Every moment in life holds a Teaching if we look and I am grateful for the awareness that I have nurtured for over 30 years through prayer and meditation.  For the Great Teaching of 2007…the lessons of true Faith and Trust in myself, in God’s divine plan and in my fellow human beings…I bow with the deepest Gratitude and Humility. 

The Holidays

What is it about the holidays that bring so much expectation?  What is it about the holidays that brings sorrow?  For me, the holidays bring memories…some sweet and some very painful.  There are the memories of those no longer in my life, Christmas past, memories of my little girl and boy in warm feet pajamas and blankie running to the Christmas tree, excitement and delight with each gift opened… then to my lap for cuddling.

As my adult children slept here under the same roof for the first time in a couple of years I experienced the peace and sense that all is right in my world.  Yet Christmas morning as I fussed in the kitchen and they started packing up to head home, the tears began to fall.  I cried in front of my children…weeping for a time long gone.  The time when I could fix their boo-boo’s with a kiss, wipe their tears and bring a smile to their sad little faces.  The time when I knew they were safe every night, because I could hear them breathing in the next room, healthy meals and snacks I prepared daily filled their bellies.

Living so far away makes the reality and finality of those times more tangible.  I love every moment of motherhood…then and now.  Our friendship is rich with survival, growth, triumphs and failures, both theirs and mine.  I loved those little bodies on my lap, reading bedtime stories and tying shoes.  I loved what I saw in the little girl and the little boy…and love what I see now.  I am proud of the wonderful adults they are….and I look forward to many holidays…to reflect on what was…and with great joy experience what is.

The Sounds of Silence

The Sounds of SilenceThe sounds of silence here in the Adirondack forest are amazing…sounds I’ve never listened to before.  A light breeze rattles the brown dry leaves that remain on beech trees and hobblebush.  The sound of natures own wind chimes…an orchestra of elevated tones from the lighter beech tree leaves that are high light and airy.  The hobblebush leaves are low to the ground dark heavy and large adding the depth of bass.  The snow has her own sound as she silently touches all in her path accompanied by a breeze the sound moves ever so eloquently across the surface striking chords of tree bark, shrubs and pine.  Mother Nature has her own divine orchestra…a symphony of Silence.  At mid-life I feel whole…allowing this experience, this precious gift to permeate my senses, my heart swells with gratitude, as I listen deeply to the sounds of Silence.

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