Tag Archives: meditation

My Hero

Emerge from a grave of darkness,

That you thought would never end.

Writhing pain and torment kept you

bound there, and emitted the illusion of

hopelessness and death.

You sought help, and though it was slow to

answer your pleading, it came and confused

your captor.

The assistant was not the ultimate

savior, you see, rather the tools she gave you to

strengthen your own resolve became the

keys to freedom.

You sit in this hell for a while, and sharpen these

devices until they are deathly.

Then, set yourself free.

Self – control, meaningful meditation, deeper

understanding of your own weaknesses,

Allow an escape, once and for all from the

darkness.

Triumphant, born again with fortitude that evaded you before,restingplace

 

You will now walk your path without trepidation.

You have a quiver dressed with arrows to deter future captors,

And a soul covered with armor to protect from further attacks.

You are stronger, more alive, more

determined.

You have become your own hero.

 

 

 

 


Election Reflection: Turn Inward

This was intended to be a general ‘life is rough’ article, but as events unfold and we reel from the recent election, it seems prudent to change the angle a bit.

I mean, after all, we are a hurting nation at the moment.

Many fear for the security of their lives since it has been threatened, and like most humans, allow their ‘fight or flight’ instinct to overcome reason.   I understand the protests.  I will never condone the violence.

Many are in shock at the idea that a bully could have garnered enough support as to be elected to the highest, most respected office in the land. They are concerned about international politics and fear permanent damage to allied relationships  as well as world economic functions.

Many are happy.   They wanted change (I completely understand this sentiment) and they got it.   Whether it plays out in their favor or not, time will tell, currently the president-elect is filling his cabinet with very cozy Wall Street employees so I personally don’t hold out any hope.

Some are gloating.  In my hometown a high school student was passing out home made ‘deportation notices’ to the minorities in his classes.   An elementary lunch room in Michigan was the scene of chants of “Build that wall,” instilling fear and shame into Latino children.

On top of all this, we each have our personal problems to deal with.  A friend of mine is a recent widow.   Another friend just lost her sister.  My niece is bound for lung surgery this week.   Someone, somewhere is going through a divorce.  Someone, somewhere was just betrayed by their best friend.  Someone, somewhere is dealing with a child who is struggling with a heroin addiction.

Life is pain, meanwhile we must be kind to ourselves.

What does that mean?  It means giving the world some space.   We can’t control everything (we can control very little) so quit trying to control everything and turn inward towards yourself.   Allow  yourself to validate your own feelings, allow yourself to accept shortfalls as part of the human experience rather than some defective character flaw, allow yourself to just be and gather strength from ‘mental stillness.’   It is empowering.

Go for walks. Getting in touch with nature never fails to put things into perspective.   The

mtshasta

photo credit to the author 11/09/2016

leaves are turning and littering the earth right now, another summer is over, another cycle consummated, time goes on, we are but a mere speck within it’s marching.  In this bigger picture, our troubles are less taxing.

Meditate.  Shut out the world, listen only to your breathing.   Connect with the universe as a part of it, not separate from it.  Speak gently to yourself.

We must be kind to ourselves at this moment as we reflect on the election and what it means to us personally,  so that we have the capacity to be kind to others.

There are many who need it.

Yours,

Frankie


Acquired Strength

Against my back is the rough texture of oak tree bark,

I give it my entire attention, for it is here that I find my strength.

Fragile spine against a layered trunk of experience and trials,

I am inspired by it’s sturdy habits.

At times, strong winds bent it nearly to breaking, yet it remains upright;

Reminded of the forces that have threatened my own grounding,

I am reassured that I too will stand tall once more.

Long limbs reach down and like a crone’s overgrown nails

scratches the itch within my soul, their shadows hug me close to the earth.

Invisible cocoon that welcomes and nurtures,

I sit with my back against the rough texture of an oak tree,

and there acquire the strength to live.

 


Bird Wise

The sparrow picks away at some wiggly delight in the yard.  The young morning is sweet with new light.  Work, already.

The natural wont for us to be busy.  Eons old, the compulsion can not be stifled. Fend for a living.

When is man happier than when he provides for his family?  When is woman more confident than when pursuing her passion?  Innate career goals.

I took a moment, a long quiet nurturing moment, to watch the scrub jay sitting in happy calm upon a fence post.   I learned  much.

The winged territorial animal just IS.   He seemed content within himself and his circumstance.  I thought.

Awareness has its drawbacks.  The jay is unconscious of the abstract. Free from its weight.

I released the stress that greeted my day.  Instead I simply saw the present.   Minuscule part of an infinite whole.

I sit and hear a robin perched high in a confident cedar.  Her song is cheerful, seductive.  I am reminded.

It is important to listen, just watch and observe.  Thus I feed the well waters of my soul. I enjoy.

She has no care! she will survive today and that is all that matters.   She sings, not knowing that I am moved.   I have my own song.

I will sing it.

 

 

 

 


My Favorite Earth-thing (or….A Note on Trees)

It’s Earth day (and later in the week Arbor day) so I’ll take a moment to acknowledge one of my favorite of Earth’s inventions:  Trees.   As corny as it seems, I have a deep love for trees.  They provide our homes, give us warmth, and allow us a reprieve from the sun.  But these wonderful inventions of Nature are much more than a utilitarian plant to me; they are my brothers and sisters.

My first experience with trees was climbing them as a child.  Right away I learned that they offer solace.  As a kid (the sixth in a family of seven) I remember scaling an aged elm tree at the side of our house and sitting high in its branches, the perfect escape from a noisy and busy house.  I reveled in the solitude and quiet.  I adored the altered perception of being up off of the ground.  It was a form of separation; taking me out of human interaction and transporting me to a world of birds and butterflies, cats and imaginary sloths, where I was always reminded that an entire macrocosm exists beyond the four walls of my home and it bears consideration.  Having the heightened perspective of sitting in tree branches also gave me the ability to understand, early on, the smallness of my existence.  I would watch cars traverse the freeway at the bottom of the hill our home occupied, thinking how small they were from the angle of my perch. Later on, when studying the vastness of the Universe, this important lesson gave me a strong foundation in the process of comprehending my insignificance within it.  I also considered that I was invisible to those cars, I didn’t exist to them, which gave me the opportunity to come to terms with the idea that the world does not revolve around me (dammit!).  I loved that elm tree; it housed me from the big scary world and taught me some crucial lessons about it as well.

As an adult, I don’t climb as many trees, but I still rely on them for escape. There is one tree in particular that I seek out.  It is an old, old oak tree, so old its branches hang down and brush my shoulders as I walk past them to the inner sanctuary of its trunk, which must be around four feet in diameter.  I sit in the small crook where tree meets earth and ponder life with the wisdom and experience of an adult, yet with the same sense of separation and differed perceptions I possessed as a child– open to whatever lessons I might be able to extract from my time meditating there.  Trees and I have a completely different relationship now though because I’ve learned more about them.

Nestled in the seam of tree and earth, I let my mind wander to the intimate nuances this tree and I share.   We breathe for one another.  That which I breathe out is exactly what the oak tree needs to breathe in, and vice versa – it’s a beautiful relationship.  I take a moment to note that this living thing has veins, and liquid running through them, just as surely as I do.   If I imagine hard enough, I can almost feel our ‘blood’ coursing together and I am reminded, as I was then, that I am as much a part of Nature as this tree that I lean against.  My small, fragile spine conforms to the straightness and strength of the tree’s spine and I am not in the least bored with the thought I’ve had a million times before:  that arms and legs and trunks exist which are different from mine yet eerily similar. No wonder Tolkien could envision Ents.

Spine to spine, I meditate and think. How many have sat at its trunk over the centuries of its life and found solace in its shadow?   How many have sought shelter under its leafy arms from the rain or sun?  What stories would it tell me of overcoming harsh winters and dry summers?   What wisdom would it offer me about the perception of time and trials?   What tales of affection would it tell of housing bird and squirrel families?  What would it say about his human form that comes to share its space and time?

“Welcome friend,” I imagine it would say, “sit and keep me company, tell me of your secrets,” – just like a true brother or sister would.

Be Well,

Frankie


new information kids!

proof that meditation does work

 


The Best Part of Gardening: The Things it Teaches Me

For the first time in a few years I’ve grown a garden this summer.  It’s not much, an old table set  with some herbs, lettuces, and cosmos,  and two half barrels on either side of it, one containing summer squash and one with tomatoes, all tucked in one corner of the backyard.  I also planted some new flowers to add to the few plants and lone miniature rose bush on the patio. Add an eclectic group of chairs and I have a quite nice sitting area for all my efforts. It’s autumn and I’m sitting amongst my plants and flowers now, reflecting on the lessons my little garden has gently brought back to my conscious, and I am grateful for them.

The first lesson I was reminded of is that timing is everything.  My grandma and mom religiously planted their garden by the moon signs (the Farmer’s Almanac was a staple in my home as a child) and judging by the jars of tomatoes and green beans I had to help ‘put up’, they were very successful.  There is a time to plant and we must be ready when it comes.  We must have our beds all made and soil prepared, after all, you can’t just throw seeds into some dirt and expect a bountiful harvest. If I want my business to grow, I must make sure I am prepared with knowledge and watch for opportunities to use it. If I want my children to succeed, I must prepare them for the ups and downs of life and I must know when to allow them more freedom.  Timing and preparation are imperative if I want my garden to succeed, and equally imperative if I want my life to succeed.

Gardening requires diligent watering.   I live in a very hot climate so missing one day of watering could be the end of a seedling.  Even if I missed a day with full grown plants, I could see the stress it caused them.  They could not produce fruit at their best with haphazard watering.  I learned to love the discipline of it.  One of the benefits of gardening is that we get immediate gratification.  Almost daily we can see our little sprouts reaching out with new growth.  I was reminded that some areas of our lives require daily “watering” as well.  Exercise for one thing.  Our muscles lose strength if we miss even a day of a workout.  Our mental health requires some sort of meditation on a daily basis so that the new seeds of thought or creativity can break free of the soil and grow to bear fruit.  But we learn to love the discipline of it.  I like the strength my body has, I like the way my clothes fit as a result of keeping myself physically healthy.  I enjoy the new ideas that come to me as a result of meditating – watering my soul.  I definitely cherish the enlightenment and personal growth that comes with it.  And if I don’t, if I miss a day or week or so, then I find I am stressed, not receiving any new enlightenment.  I am not growing, and any fruit I bear is puny.

As our seedlings grow and plants mature, one of the crucial elements of gardening comes into play: thinning and pruning.  Those little sprouts, so perky and promising must be thinned.  I know it is logistically impossible for my half barrel to sustain twelve squash plants, three or four at the most.  So I must pluck from them the weakest, the smallest, and the ones less promising.  Ideas are like this I’ve noticed.  I do not possibly have room in my life for every idea that comes across the wire. I must choose which one will benefit me most, which one is most promising, which one will grow to bear the most fruit.  But it is not just in the thinning of the sprouts that pruning takes place, we must also prune as the plant grows.   My tomato plants remind me of “Little Shop of Horrors,” they know no bounds and would take over half the yard I swear if I didn’t cut them back.  By doing so, the plant is allowed to focus its energy on the developing fruit it has.  Otherwise, it would become overtaxed by trying to feed all the tomatoes and they would end up puny.  It is good to bear fruit.  It is not so good to overtax ourselves trying to feed too many projects; they will suffer in their success.  I was reminded that we must be careful to understand that we cannot do it all. We must remember to scale back those areas of our lives that would inhibit the best harvest, even if they are healthy, even if they have the potential to bear fruit.  The simple reason is that we only have so many resources available in this life, we must be sure to channel them carefully for maximum yield.

We must enjoy our harvest!  There is no better feeling than being able to go out, grab a couple of summer squash and a handful of basil and cook it immediately, food straight from my back yard and into the mouths of my family; or picking a few tomatoes to dice and throw into a salad, bright red, sweet and juicy – best taste in the world.  Neither is there a better feeling than when an idea has come to fruition:  an article was published, a contract gone through, a child earning an award. It is important to savor success; much work, effort and discipline goes into its creation.  Besides what happens if we do not eat the fruit?  It spoils.  We might as well enjoy it.  I was also reminded by my proliferous squash plants that it is important to harvest consistently or else there’s no room for the new squash to grow.  As a writer, this particular reminder hit home.  If I have two or three ideas for articles to write, then I must get them out, I must harvest them in order for new material to come to bear.  What happens to squash (ideas) that are not picked?  They grow to be absurdly big and too tough for consumption.  They spoil – and they rob the plant of the ability to focus its energy on new squash since it has to feed this old dying useless thing.  Likewise, consistent harvesting of our ideas means more creativity.

Finally, gardening gently reminds me of the cycle of things.  As I said, the growing season is coming to an end.  Already I’ve pulled up my squash plants. I’ve got another month left of tomatoes, basil, and oregano before the first frost.  It seems that we have a similar cycle of creativity.  A project begins as a seed and before you know it it’s run its course.  Game over.  While we feel pressure to move on right away to the very next thing, gardening reminds us of a different path.  We need a moment to rest, just as the soil needs a moment to rest, just as an apple tree needs a moment to rest.  We need a rest to recuperate after a harvest and build up the energy for another growth and bearing cycle.

So happy hibernating!  Enjoy the fruits of your labor this winter if you’ve ‘put up’ some of your harvest – I will be enjoying some homegrown, homemade sundried tomatoes.  And as I do, I will be thankful of the lessons I’ve been reminded of this summer, keeping them in mind for when I’ll need them later, like tomorrow.

Be Well,

Frankie