Take the Time You Need

Dear ones, It is vital to take the time you need to heal, to grieve, to grow, to be. Allow yourself to take the time you need

Even if it is to pause in an overcrowded day so you can take a deep breath, to feel your chest, ribs, and belly expand with life giving oxygen. Pause a moment to fill yourself, then slowly release with full attention.

Surely you have the time to do this, to give this moment of calm to yourself.

Grandmother Cottonwood

You might pause a moment to notice the feelings and sensations in your body- where they are located, their quality, intensity, the fleeting nature, how they shift and change with your breath.

Pause for a brief time in your crazy busy day and pay attention to this moment. Feel the weight of your hands in your lap, the balance of your head on your neck and shoulders, your feet contacting the floor or earth, your body’s contact with the chair.

You are paying attention to being in a body and loving yourself in these small and simple ways. Let yourself feel and be without judgment, without worry or hurry.

Have you bound yourself with too many shoulds and oughts and must do’s, striving for an impossible perfection? I ask you to come back to your body, your breath, the stillness at your center beneath all the surface flotsam, the noise and the rushing from point A to point B.

When you learn to quiet your crazy busy life for several moments each day, you will learn to know and love your true and deep self once again as you knew yourself as a child.

The river speaks

I am ceaseless and timeless. I flowed past the camps of your ancestors in ancient times, and I flow now under the concrete and steel bridges of your streets and highways, between fields of corn and beans. I flow past the towns and factories through forests and wetlands.

Life flows endlessly here- always the same, always new and fresh.

I may change course over time, undercut and topple the tallest trees, cut through solid stone, shape and carve the landscape.

I carry much that you choose to discard, your pollution and garbage. It becomes part of me. Is this what you want?

I rise and flood in spring, after the long winter freeze, swelling and spreading expanding beyond my banks. I pick up speed and power.

Do not argue with a flooded river!

My ripples respond to the most delicate vibrations of wind and weather and light and water currents, to rumblings in the earth, the movements of the stars.

The sun reflects and creates sparkles and dancing bands of light in my depths. You might sit near me and meditate on my hypnotizing moving light and water show. Find peace here.

Sunlit ripples on shallow water

I provide a home for the water dwellers, the fish of all descriptions, crustaceans, insects, the tadpoles and frogs, turtles, food for the fur-bearers and birds, a place of thirst quenching for all.

I grind and polish rough stones to smooth. I grind and polish smooth stones to sand. I compress sand into sandstone. Do not ask me how or why. It is in my nature to do so.

I run under the open sky at night, only the stars and moon lighting me in the uninhabited places. I move under the earth in complete darkness, carving the structure of this planet into caves of great complexity and beauty.

I am the river of life that flows through your ancient memory into your present and on toward the future.

It is my purpose to collect the waters of the earth and channel them effortlessly, to cleanse and shape the earth, to reach oneness with the great waters at the end of my journey… which is only the beginning.

Strike spiritual gold

Have you locked in on a particular object that you “must have”? Do you feel your life is incomplete if you do not meet the income level of your dreams or own the shiny new car?

Take a moment to look around you without judgment. Bring your awareness to your heart.

Grasshopper and purple cone flower

In this moment, even though you may not have “made it” in comparison with your neighbors, family, and friends, when you quiet your ever busy mind and churning thoughts and take time to make friends with your true self and listen deeply to the longings of your heart, you will know that in this moment you are safe, you are whole, you are complete.

You knew this as a child, you can know it again!

You are safe, whole and complete with or without the higher income, the rare collectible object, the advanced degree, the life partner, the new house, the labor saving devices, the newest phone, the designer clothes and shoes, the high end jewelry, …(the list is endless, isn’t it?)

Slow down and get to know who you really are beyond all the things, all the education, the money, beyond the striving, planning and wanting.

You will strike spiritual gold when you get to know your true heart and genuine self.

Let yourself be

Can you let yourself breathe and feel the breath in your body, entering, filling, and emptying?

Can you let yourself relax, letting go of any tension in your body, letting your chair support you?

Can you let yourself absorb the sounds and sights and smells surrounding you, the sensory reality of this moment?

Can you let yourself be without texting a friend, jumping up to do a chore, remembering an errand you left undone, sending a message, planning the next meal, worrying about your appearance, feeling guilty about something you said…?

Can you let yourself simply be for a few minutes each day?

Can you let yourself be with no agenda, no plan of action, no time filling chores?

Can you let yourself be without judgment, without worry, doubt or guilt, with no anxiety?

Rippling water

Can you allow yourself to simply be in this moment, a living being on this planet one with all things, one with the web of life?

Come back home to yourself

Beneath all the noise and cacophony of headlines, arguing pundits competing and posturing for ratings with the ugliest most outrageous or inflammatory stories;

Beneath the constant traffic noise, the heavy vibrations of earth movers, the rushing sirens, jet engines with their off the charts decibel levels;

Beneath the rushing to work or appointments, the constant push to be somewhere else, then somewhere else again;

Monarch butterfly on blazing prairie star

Beneath all this constant hum and ceaseless activity and useless arguing and controversy lies the inner peace, the serenity of your spirit.

It is the one unchanging constant in your life, from cradle to grave and beyond; the foundation of your existence, the ground of your being.

When the rushing and worrying become too much, when stress overwhelms you, come back home to your heart and body and your resilient spirit.

Park your car. Turn off the news. Turn off the constant hum and irrelevance of the TV. Tune into the quiet and calm at your center.

Let your breathing slow and deepen, let your awareness come to your heart. Know that you are so much more than the outward trappings of life – the worry and fear, the job, the news, your political party, your race or religion, your schedule, your to-do list…

Yellow swallowtail on zinnia

You are an expansive and indestructible spirit living in a body with peace at your center. Know this and come back home to your true self.

Become water – a shamanic journey

Can you imagine with your heart and mind and all your senses, your body dissolving and becoming one with a stream of water? First, imagine yourself there in the stream, floating. Feel the silky water supporting your body as you float.

Now breathe and relax any tension in your head and face, your neck, shoulders, trunk, arms and hands, back, buttocks, legs, feet and toes.

Feel your physical reality gently dissolve and merge with the stream of water, allowing more and more space between your cells, letting any pain or anxiety drain away, releasing all worry, all fear, just letting yourself be. Don’t worry about breathing as water, it will come naturally.

Sunlight on shallow water

Can you imagine your cells gently becoming water droplets and moving easily with the flow of the current? Can you imagine yourself growing transparent? How does it feel, smell, look and sound like?

Nothing is more relaxed! You are suspended in the water, one with the water. You are the water!

There is nothing you have to do, nowhere to be, nothing to grasp, clutch, hold on to or resist. There is no need to hold yourself up, to think or worry or fight against. You float free, allowing the current to carry you.

Can you feel yourself flow easily around boulders, rushing where the stream bed is steep, falling over stone ledges, standing still in deep pools? Can you feel the warm sunlight striking the water and see it bending into the vibrant colors of the rainbow?

Now your stream merges with a larger river. Enjoy the beautiful landscape as you drift past; the trees, the wide river valley, as you flow smoothly, one with the life-giving water.

Now after many hundreds of miles, you enter a huge estuary, full of birds and wildlife of all descriptions, drawn to the life-giving waters. The river widens out and becomes salty as you enter the ocean surf and move out beyond the crashing waves into open water. Finally, you are home, where all water joins to become one. Here you can expand even more, suspended. One with all that is.

Enjoy the sensation of oneness with the water as long as you want to. Allow the water to clear and heal you. Allow it to sustain and support you. Let yourself be.

When you’re ready to call back your physical being and find your way back to solid earth, let your feet touch the floor, tap your cheekbones and chest, breathe.

Revisit this water journey whenever you want to relax and know your oneness with all that is.

Home to your heart

When you return home after a long trip or a day at work, or hours of rushing around doing errands, you can relax, be yourself, let down your guard.

At home you can do whatever you want to – wear sweat pants, drink right out of the milk carton, sing out of tune at top volume, feel what you feel.

At home you can lay on the ground under a tree in your yard, watching the branches sway, the shifting shade. You can ignore your to-do list for weeks, if you want to.

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Squirrel with a walnut

Likewise when you’re living in the past or future, when you’re hooked by feelings that drag you down, when you’re worried about problems in your life, you can come home to your heart and breath.

Place your palms over your heart and breathe. Bring awareness to your heart and chest  Relax into the rhythm and familiarity of your heartbeat, your inhalation and exhalation.

This is your calm place in a storm, a safe and peaceful home that is always with you. This is the haven where you regain your center and find clarity. 

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Your heart and breath offer a loving space where you can be yourself, can feel what you feel. In this place you can rest and go inward, you can be fully yourself and know the truth of who you are without having to defend or bargain, with no embarrassment or worry.

Come back home to your heart!

Be fully embodied

Do you spend precious moments wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else?

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Grandmother Cottonwood, fall color

Do you tighten the interior of your body as you do this – perhaps your throat or your heart?

Pay attention to the subtle ways you shut down the flow of energy through your body and withdraw your attention from what is while avoiding the present moment. Do not feel singled out, Dear one, for all humans do this.

Your impatience with what is has distracted you from your beautiful life, made up of moments just like this. This is your life!  Life provides you with many chances to shift your focus and come into the power of your present moment each day.

Remedy this shutting down of your energy by giving attention to your inner world of feeling, sensation, muscle bone and blood, the subtle opening and closing, the inhale and exhale, pain and ease, contraction, expansion, warmth and coolness. The sensations of your body create a window for you to experience this present moment, to slow down, to be here now.

Will you reach the moment of your death and know that you were too impatient to be fully present for yourself and your beloved ones? Or will you choose to live fully embodied? Bring your awareness down into your body and live in this moment!

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Access your power!

Does your mind outpace your body? Do you feel spacey and disconnected?

If your mind races ahead and leaves your body behind, you are living in the future and forgetting the present; neglecting your grounding in the here and now, your need for earth energy, for your full and complete presence in this time and place. Don’t jump or skip ahead!

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Red wing blackbird on a breezy day

If your body rushes ahead and leaves your mind in the dust, you are living in the past ; disembodied, perhaps getting yourself into situations that do not serve you well. Perhaps you feel stuck.

Can you bring your body mind and heart together and concentrate all your focus in this moment? Can you keep it together?

The present is where your power lies! When all of you is in the present.  This is the state of flow, where you are plugged into your power supply – All that is – and you have access to boundless energy.

Here’s a practice for you to help you pay attention to what is now. Choose one of the 5 senses: feel, taste, touch, smell, sight. Focus for a few minutes on only that information coming into your body and mind through that sense.

Can you narrow your focus that much, aligning body and mind and balancing your consciousness in this point in time? Can you gather all of yourself, your scattered energy, thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and know your wholeness?

In this way, you train yourself to be wholly present, to empower yourself and tap in to amazing energy!

Can you stop talking?

Can you stop talking for a time each day and sink deeper into your mind to a place that does not know speech?

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Cottonwood leaves and seeds

Can you stop thinking, obsessing, ruminating, judging, and analyzing for a time each day and allow yourself to rest from the constant barrage of thoughts? A moment of peace?

Can you observe the flood tide of words and thoughts in your mind floating downstream and out of your awareness? Can you put down your shiny device, turn off the TV, the radio, the computer, the little object that beeps, blinks, and demands your attention? It may seem impossible!

Can you make some room in your mind for silence? Can you clear a space – your own private, peaceful refuge within your mind?

Can you slow down your pace just for a few minutes each day and touch the central core of you, the infinite, the loving, the deep, the expanded heart and soul of you? Can you become intimate with your true self?