Sunday, February 16, 2014

Unfold


"Who gets up early 
to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?


Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Solomon 
cuts open a fish, and there's a gold ring. 
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop.
Now there's a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
Suddenly he's wealthy.


But don't be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.


Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling 
the wings you have grown,
lifting."

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Merging With The Ocean



As a child I lived in the U.K. in a town far from the sea. Yet, I could hear the sound of waves arising and subsiding inside. It was a sound both familiar and achingly beautiful.

All those years ago, I could never have imagined that I would one day be living in the Bahamas. It would have seemed like a fantasy. Yet here I am. 

At 5.15 a.m. each morning my husband Tony I sit up in bed and enjoy a cup of coffee. We listen to the waves. It is a beautiful way to start the day.

Sometimes we hear the waves crashing angrily against the shore.  At other times they lap gently, like a big cat licking a sweet bowl of cream.

After coffee, I go to the meditation room. I light a candle and incense and then sit. The sound of the waves is louder there.  The silence echoes more deeply. 

In the thick of that sound, birds circle and cry, signalling the start of the new day. My neighbor revs up his car to head to work and twice a week, the garbage men announce their arrival with the cranking and crashing of the bins.

All these sounds swim in and through one another. They arise from the same Source. They are born from silence and they dissolve back into silence.

When we start to pay attention, when we really listen, we realize this. We also notice how our thoughts and words arise from silence.

The beauty of this practice gifts us with what Merrill-Wolf calls ‘high indifference.’ This is not disinterest. Rather it is the capacity to see, hear and perceive from the highest perspective.

When we leave the confines of the mind we are free. We realize we are not separate. We see how intimately connected we are to all of life.

In the thick, vibrant energy of this profound realization we are home. We are what we have been searching for all along...



Excerpt from the Living in Alignment online course.





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Like Swans


Those who awaken
Never rest in one place.

Like swans, they rise
And leave the lake.

On the air they rise
And fly an invisible course,
Gathering nothing, storing nothing.

Their food is knowledge.
They live upon emptiness.
They have seen how to break free.

~Dhammapada:
Teachings of the Buddha,
by Thomas Byrom

Friday, October 25, 2013

Paradise Island Bridge and More


This week has been yummy. I have been visiting Nassau, staying with my lovely friend Sonia on Paradise Island.

In between counselling sessions, teaching and writing I have been enjoying getting caught up with friends. These are friends I have known, it seems like forever, for more than twenty years. 

These friends are like family. I love how we never have to explain anything. There is an instant and intimate understanding between us.

Have you noticed how it can also be like that with people you are meeting for the first time? I have and I am noticing it more and more.

Just the other day for example, I hopped over the bridge from Paradise Island to a shopping mall in Nassau. It's not really that far, maybe just over a mile, but when the sun is beating down mercilessly it's not the most comfortable of jaunts.

When it was finally time to turn around and head back home I decided to take a cab. I stood outside 'Fresh', a wonderful food store. I sent a simple message to the universe.

"I need to get home. Please send a cab."

Seconds later a cab pulled up. I asked the driver,

"Are you free?"

He told me,

"I have to get medication for my grandfather. Just wait a while and I will be right back."

Minutes later, he arrived clutching a brown bag. Then he jumped in the driver's seat and took off at break neck speed with me bouncing around in the back.

Shouting over his shoulder as we climbed the bridge, the cabbie told me his life story. He detailed where he grew up, which school he went to, the girl he married and lastly the health issues of his grandfather.

This is one of the things I love about Bahamian people. They are so open and friendly. They warmly invite you in as if they are recognizing you as a long lost member of their family.

They also laugh a lot and take things lightly. One of the things the cab driver insisted before he said good bye was this,

''Take it easy and stay blessed!''




Monday, October 14, 2013

Saying Yes.



On Friday a package arrived in the mail.  It was a book. This little, aqua-green gem has been wending its way to me for over a year.

The title of the book is, 'Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself.'' The author is Lori Deschene. She is the founder of the Tiny Buddha website. In August 2012, Lori had written to ask if she could use one of my articles in the book.

I said, "Yes."

This past August, Lori wrote again. She wanted to know if I would support the book's launch, by offering a free gift.

She also wondered if I would like to participate in an interview. Lori attached a list of interview questions and asked for them to be completed within a few days.

At the time, I had just arrived back on Grand Bahama Island. I had been in the UK all summer where I had been spending time with family and friends. I had also been completing writing projects, teaching and counseling.

Lori's e-mail arrived the morning after a grueling transatlantic flight. Back to the reality of island living, the heat and humidity was unbelievable, the car wouldn't start, there was no food in the fridge and I had a gazillion things to get caught up on. I was feeling worn thin and overwhelmed to say the least.

However, I said, "Yes."

Years ago, I remember reading about a Zen Master who asked one of his disciples,

 "Why do you always say No, before you say Yes?"

This question triggered an epiphany. In that moment, I realized I have rarely had this problem.

The reason is, I trust my heart.

Even with exhaustion and concerns about whether there will be time to get everything done, if my heart wills it, I know it will all magically happen.

Somehow, my heart just knows.....

Tiny Buddha

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Life-Changing Moment

On a warm, sultry afternoon in July 2001, I was at an ashram. Surrounded by a broad swathe of other spiritual seekers, I was tingling with anticipation as I slowly inched my way forward to a podium at the front of the hall.

Seated on the podium was a stunning looking woman. Robed in the silken-orange tradition of the Saraswati order, it was obvious that this beautiful Indian Guru lived in a state of transcendence I had been looking for my whole life.

Questions, which had been bouncing around in my head hours earlier, such as, "Can she be real?" "Is she authentic?" dissolved the moment I laid eyes on her. My soul simply 'knew'.

Her energy field was thick, alive and vibrating intensely with the most intoxicating and limitless love I had ever felt. In the body of this love, there was no need for words.

Breaking the silence, a hostess whispered in my ear, "It is customary to bring something when meeting a Guru for the first time. In India, coconuts are offered, symbolizing the hard shell of the ego."

With this prompt I scanned the people around me. Sure enough, they were tenderly holding flowers, coconuts and exquisitely wrapped gifts.

A tumult of emotions began to arise. I suddenly felt terrible. Having left my bag by my chair at the back of the hall, I had nothing to give.

Looking down at my hands I decided, "I'll offer my engagement ring." Then I thought, "No it does not hold enough significance. I need to give something more meaningful."

With that determination, I took off my wedding band, placed it in the palm of my hand and held it to my heart... Read More

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Father Bede Griffiths


A beautiful talk on how exploring other religions can enhance the faith you practice.