Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday Wish (128); Remember Your Wings

photo via google images, www.energybasedhealth.com

Dear Friend,

I wish you knew what your letter did to me, how deeply it affected me. It’s been days now and still, I’m intoxicated by your words, my body swirling with the things you wrote, with the courage it must’ve taken to reveal yourself to a me, someone you have never met. And yet I realize when I take a deep breath and step inside myself that somehow we must have met before. For when I read your words the very first time, I knew you. My heart knew yours. We’re old friends, you and I, aren’t we? How could we be anything less? Old friends who just this week rekindled their beautiful forgotten connection. Can you feel my smile?

You wrote to ask me about your path in life and if I think your choices will bring you the happiness you have always longed for. You ask me. You have asked others before me—friends, family, maybe even strangers on the bus, or at the airport, or in the check-out line at the grocery store. You compare yourself to others, measuring your worth against people you see and hear and read about in the news. (Don’t forget, we are old friends so I know these things about you.) And while I understand your reasons for doing so, I can’t help but ask, ‘when did you forget the magic that is you?’

Your letter sang to me a song, each verse revealing a different piece of your story. And not just with the words you chose but, if I am completely honest with you, with the spaces you left in between. Yes there, my friend, there is where your real truths lie. Amidst the spaces in between, that sacred dwelling that lives within, inside, not out, in the real you left hidden away.

Did you forget, as so many of us do, that the real answers never lie outside? Did you forget that no soul shares your same truths? Did you forget that there is only one place that will ever be able to offer you the advice you so need to hear? For if you have forgotten these weathered stones, well worn from each our own paths in life, then let me, my friend, humbly remind you.

You are magic. You are beautiful. You are everything you ever need to be happy in the deepest sense of the word. And all the wisdom you will need for the rest of your one wild life? It all lies within—within that beautiful, magical Self of yours.

So please, dear friend of mine, feel those feelings, those knots at the end of the threads, for they will always, confidently, lead you within, to the depths of who you are. To the depths of your soul. And if you listen carefully, as you once listened to every other voice around you, you will hear what that wise soul of yours has to say. She'll tell you, you have wings.

With love,
Your friend,


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Wish (127); Our Hearts Are the Same

Across the Valley
kabl1992's photostream via Flickr
The flat bed truck grumbled as it crawled up the mountainside. It knew the way well and wasn’t happy to be doing it all over again. Once a day was enough. More was cruel. Like an ornery old man it sputtered and hissed, stumbling on rocks the size of melons and creaking out in despair at the surefire pain that lay ahead. The drive from Tari to Komo in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, a land known as the Last Frontier and boasting its fair share of present day cannibals was long and treacherous, hot and bumpy, and as tiring for the driven as the drove. I looked down at my Teva-laden feet already covered in a thin film of dirt. It was going to be a long afternoon.

Most days the trip would take anywhere from four to six hours depending on the number of bridges we’d have to make. But that was knowledge I didn’t yet know. It was my first day, my first ride, my first sightings of the area I would call home. And it was incredible.

The broccoli-topped trees were carpeted with cloudy mist. Horn Bills and Birds of Paradise echoed in the distance. I breathed in the scent of sweet grass and native sweat both swamped in humidity so thick my clothes hung like damp rags. Banana trees, orchids, fruits I had never before met...what was that? I pointed and screeched as a whampadee animal loped across the road. The driver shrugged. I unscrewed the top of my water bottle to gulp in a big swig, pouring more into my lap than into my mouth. I had never driven on such a bumpy road before. But look at that view. And smell those exotic scents. Am I dreaming? Let me stay if I am. Oh, let me stay!

The Southern Highlands was an area completely unknown to the outside world until the 1940’s when a small group of Australians decided to take an extended hike. I was going to live amidst the Huli, the second largest tribe in the country with a language that had never been written down. They were a people who saw their first wheel on the underside of an airplane, who would weep for me when they heard my people have to work for food, and who would laugh at me when they saw my attempt to keep time on my wrist.

My head was starting to ache. It had been hours since I sipped my last drop and still the sun blazed down on my freckled cheeks. We had made four bridges with the heavy logs carted along for exactly that purpose, and we were tired. I sighed.

“Not much left. You will hear. Listen,” he said to me, as we neared my new home.
And like a prophecy, it was true.

The sound emerged like a low chant rising as we neared, not stopping but rising, rising, rising still higher until the crowd sounded as if it were crying a unified, high pitched wail. As we came to a stop, they moved closer and closer, tightening their seams, elbow to elbow, bilum to bilum*, wig to wig.** My eyes stared transfixed. My heart beat wildly. They were natives. They were real natives. And not just in a National Geographic magazine, but in person. And they knew I was arriving. They were waiting for me. They cared. I could feel their emotion, their anticipation, their enthusiasm. 

Poroiba - Wigschool
Rita Willaert's phtostream via Flickr
When I got down from that aged old flat bed to meet the people of my new home that day in September of 1995, I soon realized I would never be the same. A sea of people enveloped me, tightening around me as if I were the last drop of water on a parched earth, every person aching to touch the novelty, the reincarnated ancestor, the young woman with the straight hair of an angel. They kneaded me like bread, my calves, my forearms, my cheeks and back. They cried out like only Huli natives can—in high-pitched song expressing their heartfelt, excitement-driven emotion. I reached out to touch back, to care back, to connect. They guided my hands to their faces, to their hair, to their arms and leather-worn hands. I looked up and into their sparkling eyes, all of us a mess of tears. You, too? they said, over and over again in every face I saw.

You, too? 
You, too??
You, too???
YES! Me, too!

I may look different but yes, I weep from the very same heart.

(*) the woven bags Huli women wear hanging from their heads
(**) the Huli men are famous for their wigs

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Wish (126); The Little Things

photo of forget-me-nots via www.ishalerner.com

On the bus to Sayulita in the tropical jungle of Mexico, I close my eyes. I lift my chin to catch every bit of breeze as it licks the sea, soaks itself up with a sultry touch of the sun, then finds its way to my thirsty body. I can’t help but smile. I am almost home.

The breeze whips around the bus stirring stray hairs, loosening attached ones, even a moustache or two. And a newspaper. On a seat. Billows. Page after page, back and forth, but never flies away. I listen to it. Alternative news. Innocence, begging to be recognized. Magic, at ease with itself. The breeze pulls out one page and sends it to the floor. Just one. I watch as it blows toward the front of the bus, between two sets of legs and around a shopping bag until it catches on an old man’s foot.

He’s daydreaming. Maybe about his wife’s enchiladas that await his return. Or the look on his granddaughter’s face when he comes in the door. Or maybe what it would have been like if he too, tried living in a different country, a country very different than his own.

He feels the newspaper flutter on his foot and reaches down to pick it up. He smoothes it onto his lap with the careful consciousness so many of us forget. He finds his glasses in his shirt pocket, rests them on the end of his nose, and begins to read. I catch the edge of a smile. I see him nod his head. I notice him look out the window as if to follow a new thought. He nods again. Then, he takes off his glasses. He folds up the newspaper with gentle care, almost love, and tucks it, all of it, into his back pocket. And just like that, he stands up.

He has reached his stop.
He is home.

As I watch him go, the tuft of newspaper peeking out from his back pocket, I am flooded with the beauty of life. It’s the little things that make life magic, the little things that bring the greatest joy. And while the little things are everywhere, in every town and city in every country of the world, today it is my little Mexican town that gives me the time and space to see them, to feel them, to enjoy them with my wide open heart that time and time again, never fails to set me free. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Wish (125); See Auras

photo via www.thisiscolossal.com

Life will not, it will never, make sense to your mind. 
The secret is to see life from the soul's perspective; 
to add to the mind's experience the soul's 
wisdom, awareness, and total knowing.
--Neale Donald Walsch

I imagine they came to me like magnets, some mysterious part of them hearing my call, the magnet within me, the voice in my heart, drawing them near. And yet, I didn’t know then what it was all about. I just knew that what I was doing felt right, that it was something I needed to do.

Inmate generated line-ups weren’t generally permitted in prison. But still, most were used to breaking rules and doing something that was supposed to help rehabilitate them seemed like a good excuse. So the men dared to coagulate by my door, swearing and laughing and talking about things nearly every other man talks about—their families, their work, their sports teams, their hopes and yes, sometimes even their dreams. And even so, each one came to me with something very different from the others. Each one wore his own unique configuration of color -- his aura.

Most staff would read up on an inmate before they met with him, preparing themselves as best they could to address the pertinent issues. Me, on the other hand, I challenged myself to break my own rules, to know nothing about the inmate I was meeting other than his name. I wanted to let each of them unfold before me at their own pace, to be seen with fresh eyes, to be heard, just this once, by someone who had not pre-judged them. And it worked. I saw them and for a brief moment in time I’d like to think they also saw, themselves.

After introducing myself and calling him by name, I cocked my head to the side and with a soft smile invited him to tell me about himself. Who are you, my heart whispered, what secrets does your soul ache to share? I stared at his face, my eyes rimming the hard lines of his jaw, the gentle sweep of his mouth, the darkness under his eyes, the brush of hair on his head. And as I stared, as my eyes found that blurry space between seeing and fogging away, his colors began to emerge.

A golden hue, much like the edge of a warm light bulb in the darkness of night, transformed into blues and greens. Other silhouettes glowed with tufts of red or swashes of yellow. And still others had a few different colors, all at the same time. As each man in front of me told me about himself, I was utterly mesmerized, hushed by their beauty … the beauty of each criminal sitting before me.

*          *          *

If you ask someone to look, they turn their head to let their eyes see. But how many of us take the time to really see, to look beyond the surface? How many of us even know how to? Do you see the garden but miss the flower? Or look at the person but miss the depth behind their eyes, the voice of their heart, the colors of their aura? And if so, how do you break that habit? How do you see, truly see, with deeper eyes, with the eyes of your soul?

1. Slow your pace. Find your breath and release it. Relax into that quiet space inside that feels like the hidden you, that place that houses your secret, most vulnerable Self. Feel the air upon your face and the ground beneath your feet. Let your heart rate turn away from adrenaline and into peace, into the love that you are at your core.

2. Soften your eyes. Stare at something, preferably a blank white wall, (with or without a person in front of it), again, losing yourself inward, but this time bringing your consciousness fully into your eyes. Imagine you are about to fall asleep and that all of you has migrated up into your eyes—every bit of you, beginning behind your eyes.

3. Love. 

*          *          *

Seeing an aura isn’t woo-woo, it’s natural. It’s what happens when you slow yourself down enough, when you soften your eyes enough, to really see what is before you. And what is before you? Inmate or life mate, it can only ever be one thing---a soul much like your own, making its way home. Home to Love.