The Untethered Soul ~ Your Inner Roommate

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“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.” ~ Michael Singer

And so begins Chapter Two of The Untethered Soul. In this chapter, Singer refers to the voices in our head as our inner roommates and we’re encouraged to spend some quality time getting to know our roommates. As we listen, we ask ourselves, “who is it that is listening to these voices?

We are then introduced to our inner witness, the one that watches and listens to our roommate(s). In my opinion, understanding the distinction between the voices in your head and the one who is listening is a profound spiritual teaching. So I’d ask you to pay close attention this week as you listen to the voice in your head. Again, ask yourself, “who is it that is listening?” The “listener” is your inner witness, or your consciousness, your soul. Call it what you will….the point is, the one who listens is not the voice you hear. Sit with that thought for a moment.

After spending time listening to our inner roommates we learn that we can free ourselves from this internal melodrama. In the coming chapters, Singer will provide us with the teachings and techniques to free ourselves and develop a spiritual practice of conscious awareness.

But there’s a catch…you have to want out of the self-imposed mental melodrama. You start by becoming conscious enough to understand your predicament. You have the will, and the power to take your life back. It’s your choice. And to be clear, it’s not that the world is gonna change for you – it’s the way you see and interact with the world that changes.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Next week, Chapter Three: Who Are You?

~Namaste

Putting my Spiritual House in Order

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I’ve decided to return to my spiritual roots and keep a promise I made when I first created this blog.

In the beginning, the focus was my spiritual path. Earlier this year, I wrote about The Voices in my Head, from Chapter One of Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul – you can read the post here.

My promise was to share my spiritual journey with a chapter by chapter review of Singer’s book; a book which I believe provides a strong spiritual foundation. But life got a hold of me, blogging challenges in April, summer vacations with grandkids while editing of my memoir, and then, a devastating family loss in September. That loss brought great sorrow and I realized I need to get my spiritual house in order.  Of course, I could continue to make excuses – National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, launches in November and I will be participating again this year, but no more excuses! If ever I needed a spiritual refresher course it’s now!

My plan over the next several weeks is to post my insights from each chapter of Singer’s book. I’ll post on Mondays and try to keep the posts short, between 300 – 500 words.

I hope you’ll join me on this spiritual journey. I recommend Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, for anyone interested in the spiritual path. The book provides a strong foundation for those seeking to understand our human experience and live their best life.

Let me entice you with an excerpt from the Introduction of The Untethered Soul:

“In the following chapters, we will undertake a journey of exploration of ‘self’. But we will not do so in a traditional manner. We will neither call upon the experts in psychology nor upon the great philosophers. We will not argue and choose between time-honored religious views, or resort to statistically supported surveys of people’s opinions. We will, instead, turn to a single source that has phenomenal direct knowledge on the subject. We will turn to one expert who, for every moment of every day of their life, has been collecting the data necessary to finally put this great inquiry to rest. And that expert is you.” ~ Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

Next week: Chapter Two ~ Your Inner Roommate

Chapter One Review ~ The Voices in my Head (original post from March)

~ Namaste

The Mirror of Judgment as a Spiritual Practice

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One of my greatest spiritual teachers is the mirror of judgment.  The teaching is simple: what I judge in others exists within me. The lesson is not easy.

Now, to be clear, this teaching is not about making factual observations or discernment. There is a distinction, although subtle. It is the intention behind our judgment or criticism of another that serves as the distinction. But the bottom line is this – you know when you’re being critical. We all recognize our inner critic. We’ve turned our inner critic on ourselves often enough to recognize it when it emerges.

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By way of example, let’s say you have a friend you think is a pompous ass. You’ve heard the cliché, “it takes one to know one”. That old saying holds a truth and a lesson. What you recognize in another and judge harshly, exists within you. Some of the most frustrating and difficult people in our lives serve as our best teachers.

You may find yourself resisting this teaching. I did. I confess, I was resistant to seeing myself in others.  It’s much easier to see and judge the flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings of others.  Seeing our own reflection through the mirror of judgment requires awareness – presence. 

Our resistance to such lessons stems from our ego’s inability to recognize itself. Our ego often stands in the way of spiritual growth. You can see your ego at work in the way you react to difficulties or criticism. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the ego falls away when you are truly present, focused in the here and now.

“To love is to recognize yourself in another” ~ Eckhart Tolle

If you’d like to try this lesson, pay attention as you go through the week. Stop and take notice when you hear yourself judging another or being critical. Take a deep breath and center yourself in the present moment. Then, hold your judgment up like a mirror and see what is reflected. Ask yourself, “What characteristic or quality exists in the other that exists in me?” This is difficult inner work but if you’re willing to step outside your ego, real spiritual growth begins.

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As you begin your week, let me leave you with the wisdom of the ancient Mayans,

“I am you and you are another me.”

~Namaste

Monday Musing ~ The Art of Politics

President Obama

President Obama

Caricature  [kar-i-kuh-cher]  Noun:  a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

I enjoy political humor. Sometimes comic relief is the only way to survive the long political season.  So, as another political season comes to a close I thought I’d share my caricature sketches with my blogosphere friends.

Let me extend my apologies to President Obama for this caricature sketch of him. I drew it back in 2012 when he was still smoking. Fast-forward to present day and we lose the cigarette and add some gray hair and laugh lines. It’s amazing how much our presidents age while in office. That said, he’s young, at 55, and I believe some of his best years, and best work are ahead of him.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The caricature sketch of Hillary is from a few years back as well. Although she’s added a few more laugh lines, whether you support her or not, she’s to be admired for her ambition and tenacity.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

In my caricature sketch of Trump, his mouth is closed – my personal preference where he is concerned. Enough said.

Don’t forget to VOTE!

A Conspiracy of Witches – 2016 NaNoWriMo

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‘Tis the season of the witch! With October comes the “thinning of the veil” and a reconnection with the spirit world.  Oh, and the mad-dash to prep for NaNoWriMo  – National Novel Writing Month. Nano officially launches on November 1st. The challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Crazy right? That’s what I love about Nano!

This is my third Nano and I’ve learned a thing or two. This year I’ve done a bit of prep work and actually have a story outline, character sketches and a few plot points developed. I’ll be blogging weekly on my progress. For now, let me share a short synopsis (work in progress) of my novel.

A CONSPIRACY OF WITCHES

In the small coastal town of Harvest Haven, overlooking the Puget Sound, an eclectic writer’s group serves as a front for a modern day witches’ coven in search of new recruits. Newcomer, Selena Bodin unwittingly stumbles upon the group of writers having coffee and scones at the local bakery and is invited to join them for a cup of joe and a spoonful of local gossip.  Will Selena be enchanted by the witches’ charms or repelled by their dark magic? And what of her husband, Gabe Bodin and his skeptical nature? How will he respond to his wife’s obsession with magic?

As the Bodin family settles into their old victorian home on the outskirts of town a dark cloud descends on Harvest Haven and the Coven. Shannon Strathmore the coven’s legal counsel has met with an untimely death. Was it an accident or was dark magic at play? The Coven, comprised of six chairs, six witches, now has a vacancy in chair number five.

Join me, dear reader, on a journey of mystery and intrigue as we unravel the history of the town, the Coven and the ever mysterious Selena Bodin, the Southern Witch.

~ Bright Blessings ~

Longing for Home on Edisto Island, SC

Hurricane Matthew threatens my childhood home on Edisto Island.

Edisto Island

Edisto Island


Our family beach house

Our family beach house

I guess that’s not entirely true. My grandparent’s home has long been gone, replaced by a more modern home but the island itself holds all my best childhood memories and will forever be “home”.

My sisters and I spent our summers on Edisto Island with our grandparents. Growing up military brats we led a gypsy lifestyle during the school year but every summer our grandparents flew us home to the island.

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When we were young..sistas!

Sweet tea, boiled peanuts, blue-bottle trees and trips in the Scout down the oak lined dirt road to Pink’s veggie stand and Botany Bay are all treasured memories from my summers in the south.

Road to Botany Bay

Road to Botany Bay

My southern accent vanished long ago, save the “y’all” but my southern blood runs deep even after 30 years as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. I went from the land of the low-country hoodoo blue root to the land of vampires. LOL. It seems every region has its lore.  But that’s a blog for another day.

Our last visit to Edisto, 2010

Our last visit to Edisto, 2010

For now, as I watch the weather channel, I want to send love and prayers to all my kin on the Carolina coast. Be safe y’all.

Monday Musing ~ Who’s your Drama?

DRAMA

Got drama? If not, you have the power to create your own.

But the real question is – do you want drama or do you want peace? You may be surprised to find that often you’ll choose drama. The choice isn’t right or wrong but it is just that – a choice. I confess to enjoying my soap opera, escaping into the drama of another world. It’s not my drama, but I’m entertained watching fictionalized drama.

As for personal drama, I try to avoid it. Most of my drama is a solo affair. My drama is self-inflicted by my own thoughts,speculations, and assumptions. One of the fastest ways to get my mind in drama making mode is to create a void, a lack of information – not knowing or only having half the story causes my imagination to go into overdrive and come up with the worst case scenario.

Drama is the ego’s art form and the ego wants a stage and an audience. Our egos are notorious for taking everything personally!  If we believe we’ve been slighted, we go into defense mode. Often times the things we’re offended by weren’t even aimed at us but we lash out anyway because our ego wants the limelight of center stage.

According to Eckhart Tolle, there is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right requires others to be wrong, further adding to the ego’s sense of superiority.

So how do you get your ego in line and minimize  your self-induced drama? In one word, mindfulness.  When we’re centered in the present moment the ego falls away.

Now, back to the question in the title of this post, “Who’s your Drama”….can you guess?

Yep, you guessed it – YOU!  We create, invite and attract drama to our lives.  If you don’t believe that, pay attention next time you find yourself embroiled in drama. Take a deep breath, pull back from the situation and see it for what it really is, your ego on the stage, beating its chest and insisting you’re right and others are wrong. When you hear yourself defending your position or find yourself offended by something someone said – that’s your ego, in a soap opera of its own making.

Remember, you always have a choice, peace or drama. Choose wisely.

~ Namaste