Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Loss April 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 8:42 pm

I did not come upon my belief that God lives in me, in all of us, without reason. I have had experiences in my life that tell me it is so.

Recently, during savasana, at the end of a yoga class, as I was lying there, concentrating on quieting my mind, I received a thought. I say I received it because, while it was in my head, it was decidedly not a thought I conjured up myself. But it was Heard. The thought was this: I have not experienced a great deal of tragic loss in my life. Not since my grandmother died, and even then I was so young that I could hardly understand what was happening around me. The thought continued: I have not experienced a great deal of tragic loss in my life, for that I have been lucky but it is time to ready my mind for loss. This is not something to which I can continue to be immune.

A couple of days later, Laura and I were talking about this after she told me of someone else’s tragic loss. We talked about loss some, and tragedy and tried our best to understand what is not understandable: Why a person would take their own life. It was during this time, these days, that I was was discovering an awakening of my spiritual self. I felt the energy of life, of Earth, of God. There is so much love to give and receive.

Today I got news from my mother than one of my cousins, the same age as my sister and I, appears to have taken his own life in the night. This cousin lived in our house for a while when we were younger. We played Peter Pan in a makeshift bedroom in our basement. Later they moved to Alabama.

Not being a mother myself, I can never begin to understand the pain of losing one’s youngest child. Being a sister, I shiver at the mere idea of…. I can’t even bring myself to say it… it hurts too much to even consider.

In the midst of this tragedy, I find myself grateful for the timing of the Universe. I am grateful to have faith in something greater than myself. I am grateful for the things I have learned throughout the last 8 months. I find solice knowing and believing that Johnny will never be gone from our lives, that he can never truly be gone. For he will be returned to the Earth, from whence he came. He will grow up once more- as soil, as nutrients, as a beautiful flower. He will continue to give to the Earth. He will be in the air that we breathe and in the rain that will fall. He will never be gone.

“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.” Edvard Munch

“Believe not god is in your heart, child/ but rather you’re in the heart of God.” Jason Mraz

Rest In Peace, Johnny.

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Thoughts on God April 27, 2009

Filed under: God,healthy spirit,self-discovery,spirituality — Jenny @ 3:36 pm

I was raised Catholic. At best, we were pretty fair-weather Catholics. We attended mass on the occasional Sunday morning, but made sure to never miss an Easter service or Midnight Mass. My sister and I attended Public School Religion classes every Tuesday night until we were in middle school. I always struggled with my Catholicism. I always felt like a fraud in church. I never felt God, who I had been taught was separate from me. It pained me that I wasn’t touched by faith. Oh, how I wanted to have faith. In my youth, I never quite imagined there could be another path to God than the one presented before me. To say I worried about this is an understatement. If there was just this one way, and I couldn’t find myself on it… what would become of me? True to my own form, I spent a lot of time simply not thinking about my situation. I became apathetic, with a now-and-again spurt of religious fervor. The summer before my senior year of high school was one of these times. I fell in with a small crowd of peers who were active in their Catholic faith, and because I was both impressionable and, on a certain level, still desperate to feel God and have a faith of my own, I became slightly more dedicated to my religion. I started attending church on Sundays again and at the end of the summer, I went on a retreat with the youth group to Denver, Colorado. This was the first time I experienced God and Love. During this retreat, I felt emotions I had never known. I remember collapsing into weeping episodes that I couldn’t explain. I even stood up and committed myself to Jesus. I was saved.

The day that I got back from the retreat, I was with my friend, driving to go see my Mother for the first time in a week and we were in a car accident. I spent a couple nights in the hospital for observation. As if that weren’t enough for my poor soul, while in the hospital, the doctors found, completely unrelated to this accident, a tumor along my spine. With the utmost compassion and professionalism ever seen in the history of medicinal care, the young doctor who was assigned my case immediately informed me upon discovering said tumor that it was almost certainly a rare form of cancer, absolutely without a cure, and that more than likely, my short time on earth would be soon coming to an end. Then, after I, the 17 year old who had just come from telling God that she was His, that Jesus was her savior, spent a night lying awake in a hospital room, experiencing her mortality for the first time, the doctor returned with the news that what I had in my body was actually a benign tumor known as a Schwannoma. Essentially, an overgrowth of nerve cells and nothing more, easily taken care of with a simple surgery. No cancer, no dying just yet. (My thoughts on the American health care system to come a later point in time…) At any rate, what I’ll say about this ordeal and my faith as a 17 year old is that you could just go ahead and stuff your theories about “This is God’s test” where the sun don’t shine. I wasn’t having it. I gave my heart to You and this—THIS—is how you repay me? Commence the Dark Years.

Bitter doesn’t quite begin to describe my feelings toward God after this. In fact, I went staunchly in the opposite direction—as close to atheism as one can get without actually saying it. As it were, I don’t think I was ever an atheist, even if I had ever claimed to be one. Over time, I calmed down quite a bit and found what I considered to be a happy medium known as agnosticism. To this day, I don’t think it was an illogical mindset, and I fully understand the questions and concerns of the agnostic. What I eventually decided was that I just didn’t know. And what’s more, I had no way of ever knowing. Who was I but one little person. If there was a God, then He was so vast and huge and way beyond anything I’d ever have the capacity to understand or know. And at that time, that was just fine with me.

There were both good and bad reasons that led me to agnosticism. Commencing with the latter, I grew up seeing attending church as an obligation and subsequently, I saw God as an obligation, a chore at best, and achingly boring (even during my Religious Summer, attending church services each week was a test of my strength). Furthermore, I was raised with the idea that God was some Being outside of myself, of whom I should be fearful of and to whom I should spend my days begging to forgive me for all the wretched sins I committed throughout each passing day and please, please, please when I get to the pearly gates don’t send me away to the depths of hell for all of eternity. I remember thinking that God, if there was one, couldn’t possibly be so temperamental, so punishing and so full of wrath. Even before I reached the age of 10, I explicitly remember thinking that God (again, if there was one) couldn’t be anything other than Love. Allow me a pause here to note that I am not bashing Catholicism or Christianity, as I would discover later, it’s just that I came to understand it just simply was not the path for me, personally. This in no way means to say either are a less valid path to realizing God.

And there was also the good (or at least, what I see as good). From the things that I found negative, I established my own idea of “religion.” I developed the belief that church was not necessary to express your devotion to God (ITWO). I thought, “If I really love and believe in God, then I don’t need to go to church to express that love.”

Next, I allowed myself to develop an interest in how other people, cultures, religions devoted themselves to God. I opened my eyes to other possibilities. The summer before I went away to college, I became enthralled by Hinduism. This is where I was first introduced to Yoga. I loved the openness of the religion, the way you could practically cherry pick the things that worked for you, the deity that helped guide you to God, the prayers you chose, the way you prayed, etc etc. This was also my first introduction to the idea that God was not a Being outside of myself, that God was in me, that God was Me—that God was Love.

To make a long essay slightly less long and boring, I spent the next 5 and a half years simultaneously in love with the Hindu religion, and subsequently parlayed that into a love of Buddhism, which, being itself a spiritual philosophy, satisfied the part of me that still harbored a “thing” against any form of organized religion. But I still maintained my agnosticism. The rest then, is history, and if you’ve read my blogs at all, or know me, then you know my struggles in between then and now and how I came to where I am in my life- my dedication to yoga and the new eyes through which I see the world.

Why am I telling you this? (And jiminey- thank you if you’ve stuck with me thus far through my tale. I did NOT think it would be this long. If you’re still here- stick with me! I think I’m almost done.) I’m telling you this because one day a couple of weeks ago, I was milling about in my kitchen, making a batch of soup and, suddenly, like I had been slapped across the face— or maybe in this case, gently tapped on the heart—I felt my faith again. Without a doubt, to the point that just writing this sentence brings a knot to my throat that makes me want to cry with joy, with wonder, with love, I have faith in God. I mean… God. A word that I have struggled to reconcile myself with for so many years. Even at the beginning of my Yoga journey and self-transformation, the best I could offer up was the word Energy to explain everything, just so I didn’t have to say the G word. But I’m sorry (ha! no I’m not!)—God is alive and well inside of me. Oh, and I can feel it. I can feel the Love. It’s ready to burst right out of me. I have felt the call lately to take up my sitting meditation again. To rise with the sun and sit with God. Suddenly, with everything I do, I find myself thinking unconsciously, “I can be with God right now.” That mantra alone, fills me with love and contentment and unity with the world.

I have finally released my old emotions, and the old connotations that I had toward God, the word. I am embracing divinity. Never in my life have I honestly had as much faith as I do in this moment. I am certain that God is inside of me, that the universe is working with me, that when I send out my intention and my prayer that it is being heard and not only considered, but put into action. And if God is inside of me, then God is not beyond my reach, like I imagined was the case as an agnostic. I can know and realize God.

And, oh, how I want to know God and how I am going to put so much energy into knowing God (and consequently, knowing myself.) There is too much in the way that my life has changed in the past 2 years, or even in the past 7 months to deny that God is not providing for me. When I have broken down and screamed in my head that I could take it no longer, the Universe, with it’s never-ending charity, generously gave to me the strength and the direction. When I was aimless and exhausted from a lack of inspiration, overwhelmed by trying to choose a path for myself, there was God, answering my prayer and showing me the way.

It’s not that I believe in leaving it all up to God and letting everything just happen. No. In fact, I believe that it is equal parts God’s charity, and my elbow grease. God is in me, the resolution is in me. It’s a matter of tuning into my Truth, practicing and training my ear to acutely hear the answer coming from Me, not the answer coming from my ego, who is a workaholic and constantly aims to undermine the work I’ve done (who is even at this moment audible in the background, jumping up and down and saying, “Do you hear yourself? You sound like a kook! No, listen to me! I’m the rational one! Faith isn’t rational and therefore can’t be trusted! No, listen to me!”). Faith, by its very nature, is not rational, or else it would not be faith. So all I can say now is that I’m done trying to sound rational or logical about faith. Because God’s talking to me, and I’ve got no interest in only listening half the time and defending myself (to who, anyway?) the rest of the time. No more. God’s got my undivided attention.

 

Meme April 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 1:50 am

I refuse to let Facebook turn into Myspace by posting and reposting viral surveys. However, I was tagged by Kensington and I do so love to talk about myself. If you’re reading this and you have a blog, or a Facebook account, consider yourself tagged.

Therefore, I present to you: Jennology

***********FOODOLOGY******

*********
What is your salad dressing of choice?
balsamic vinegarette or honey mustard

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
thai papaya

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
bananas

What are your pizza toppings of choice?
hit me with all the veggies minus the olives.

What do you like to put on your toast?
peanut butter and honey

***********TECHNOLOGY***************
How many televisions are in your house?
1

What color cell phone do you have?
it’s green and silver. it’s a motorola renew- totally carbon neutral cell phone!

Do you have an Ipod?
yep, my momma got me an ipod mini before i went to france

***************BIOLOGY******************
Are you right-handed or left-handed?
right handed

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
a schwannoma removed from my spine

What is the last heavy item you lifted?
probably something at starbucks, while unloading the truck

Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
no

************BULLCRAPOLOGY**************
If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
absolutely not

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
i wouldn’t. just today i told someone that if i ever get married my husband will have to either have the last name starting with N, so i can hyphenate, or settle for the fact that i’m keeping my last name so i can preserve my clever initials: j.e.n.

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
it’d prob be easier and quicker to list the things i would NOT do for $1k

************DUMBOLOGY******************
How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
many, many. although lately i am more attached to my birkenstocks. my feet stay cleaner, and being true birks, they are much nicer to my feet and less stress-fracture-returning than flops.

Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
i guess it was when i got my speeding ticket last october or november. whenever that was.

Last person you talked to?
erin

Last person you hugged?
stephanie, at hallmark

**************FAVORITOLOGY****************
Season?
i like the transitional seasons, spring and fall.

Holiday?
thanksgiving

Day of the week?
either mondays or wednesdays, i guess. although i’ll admit i have a hard time seeing days of the week in a one’s-better-than-six-others kind of way.

Month?
sort of goes the same for months as it did for days but just for cooperation’s sake, april.

***********CURRENTOLOGY*****************

Missing someone?
a couple someones, in the way one constantly misses their great friends but lives fully despite this fact.

Mood?
calm.

What are you listening to?
Alone Apart by Marketta Irglova on my Glen Hansard Pandora station.

Watching?
the magic of letters appearing on a computer screen as my fingers tap tap at corresponding keys on the keyboard

Worrying about?
“same as usual” – this is kensington’s answer and i’m keeping it.

***************RANDOMOLOGY*****************
First place you went this morning?
the kitchen to start a pot of coffee

What’s the last movie you saw?
17 again… don’t judge me for liking it a little and maybe having a crush on zac efron now

Do you smile often?
several times daily

Sleeping Alone Tonight?
if i’m lucky a kitten named lily will come keep me company before too long

***************OTHER-OLOGY*****************
Do you always answer your phone?
no way. i’m a screener.

Its four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?
twitter or someone who wants to test my love for them by texting when they know full well i am asleep and will be angry if i get woken up, which actually will not happen because my phone never leaves ‘vibrate’ setting and goes on the floor at night so that it will not disturb me and i can maintain all desired relationships with folks.

If you could change your eye color what would it be?
i like the eye color i come with now.

If you could change any drink flavor at sonic what would it be?
i don’t go to sonic, so i have no idea how to answer this question

Do you own a digital camera?
yes, and it is full of pictures of my kittens, lily and fat olly

have you ever owned a fish?
several beta fish: ion, zen and then petit chou.

Favorite Christmas song(s)
ave maria by harry connick jr, do you hear what i hear by carrie underwood (gives me chills everytime) and mary’s boy child by boney m.

What’s on your wish list for your birthday?
i just had my birthday, but i didn’t really have a wishlist. i am using bday money to get a new tattoo though.

Can you do push ups?
i can come down with lots of control and straight, but i have a harder time coming back up and not leading with my hips…. you didn’t care about the physiology of my push up, but i think about it daily in yoga.

Can you do a chin up?
ha, i’d try if no one was looking, maybe.

Does the future make you nervous or excited?
both

Do you have any saved texts?
yes, i don’t delete until my phone says i have to bc of memory.

Ever been in a car wreck?
yeah

Do you have an accent?
we all have accents somewhere

What is the last song to make you cry?
om sanctuary, it’s both a cd and song. well technically it’s a seventy minute long song.

Plans tonight?
you’re reading ’em

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
i think we all do at some point

Name 3 things you bought yesterday.
i don’t think i bought anything at all yesterday

Have you ever been given roses?
once, by my parents

Current worry?
always money

Current hate right now?
hate’s not something i do.

Met someone who changed your life?
absolutely

How will you spend summer?
teaching yoga, experiencing new yoga, making people gourmet coffee beverages and traveling some as well.

What song represents you?
angel’s prayer by ty burhoe

Name three people who might complete this.
oh heavens, i don’t know who might maybe do this besides laura.

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?
not back in time as in, to revisit my own past, but i’d sure love to hang out in the 60s some.

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year?
yes

Do you have any piercings/tattoos?
6 tattoos, 1 on the way and 1 nose piercing

Will you be in a relationship 4 months from now?
i have no way of knowing this

Does anyone love you?
luckily, yes!

Would you be a pirate?
in light of recent current events, i feel this question is sort of off-color. however, my answer is no. i can’t hold rum quite like i used to.

What songs do you sing in the shower?
none, i listen to NPR

Ever had someone sing to you?
awk-fest

When did you last cry?
today, watching a video on youtube about the Earth, and no i’m not embarassed by this fact.

Do you like to cuddle?
surely

Have you held hands with anyone today?
no

Who was the last person you took a picture of?
lily

What kind of music did you listen to in elementary school?
i was a full on teeny bopper

Do you believe in staying close with your ex’s/prospects?
the grammar here is confusing me. my ex’s prospects or my exes and my prospects?

Are most of the friends in your life new or old?
a happy mixture of both

Do you like pulpy orange juice?
yeah. the pulp is good for you.

What is something your friends make fun of you for?
being a tree-hugging hippie

 

Living Dharma- Self Titled Blog April 13, 2009

Filed under: being present,Dharma,mindfulness,travel — Jenny @ 12:57 pm

I just finished reading the latest blog from the Yarn Harlot, entitled “Bridge.” In it, she describes her disdain for transitions. Specifically, she talks about traveling from one place to the next and the emotional and physical upheavals into which she is thrown. It struck me as interesting because late last year I wrote a blog with a similar emphasis on travel, except I took the opposite stance, describing what I loved about leaving places.

So as I was reading I started thinking about how much I enjoy the transition, the excitement of something different, the excitement of the upheaval, and furthermore, how I tend to struggle instead with readjusting once I have arrived and then maintaining a level of excitement once I am rooted.

For me, I feel as though the journey, the transition is the greatest part. There is something about having only exactly what I need, the bare minimum upon which I can survive, the supreme detachment to all of my stuff and then embarking on an adventure. It’s here that I can learn the most about myself because myself (or, you could say, my Self) is all I have. It feels like I’m living Truth. This, for me, is what life is about. The journey, the adventure, the learning, the revelation.

It is when I arrive that I am most thrown off guard. What do I do at the destination? Sometimes it feels as though I’ve forgotten why I initially intended to travel, having gleaned something I often feel is absolutely greater than I what I set out for in the first place. So I am there, and I have new information and new eyes. It would appear that I may never find myself lost while traveling, but may instead have no idea where I am when I arrive. Where do I set my things down? How do I interact with others? And generally, riding the Traveler’s High, I generally am thinking, When do we get to do it again?

So it’s safe to say I am not always most comfortable with the settling period. (Oh, by the way, if you haven’t caught on yet, I’m so very not talking simply about literal travel anymore…) Eventually, however, I do. And the next thing that comes is the attempts to stay excited about where I am. You could say I sometimes may confuse the word “stable” for “stagnant.” It happens in yoga (“When will my next ‘aha’ moment be?!”), it happens in my life (“This daily routine feels like I’m stuck in a hamster wheel!”).

As I’m writing and reading here, I am now able to see that the difference here is awareness and mindfulness of the present moment. In one situation- when I travel and experience detachment- I am fully alive. I am aware only of the present moment. In the other situation- when I am settled and becoming more attached to things or stuff or what have you- I am distracted and I lose this awareness.

Last night I had dinner with a friend and we had an extended conversation about balance and the middle path. As we talked about things happening in our lives, and the issues that were most important to us presently, we realized that at the core of every issue, we were trying to find the center between to poles. It seems that in this life we are always attempting to find balance. How can I be nice and not a pushover? Stern but not a bitch? How may I follow my heart and my own path without disregarding the feelings of others? How may I find myself both rooted and detached?

If I could find a way to see my life as the ceaseless journey it truly is, I could be fully aware and alive. There is no hamster wheel! Every moment is an ‘aha!’ moment!

Incidentally, I have just gone on the journey of this blog. I have traveled and explored. I have arrived at a destination, and I am lost. Now what? Now that I have gained some insight for myself, how do I apply it? How do I use it without overwhelming myself? At the end of yoga class we have 10 minutes lying in Savasana for deep relaxation, to let our practice sink in. Yet again, yoga gives us tools for real life applications of this new knowledge… My mind just did a really intense yoga practice and needs some Savasana.

I’m on to something here, I know it. It’s something I need to meditate on. It’s part of this transformation. I call my blog Living Dharma for a reason. I can find this middle path, or walk a lot closer to it on a more regular basis. I get closer every day and am grateful to think of myself as I was 2 years ago, 1 year ago, heck, 2 months ago and know that I get closer every day.

 

Time to Travel April 8, 2009

I wish I could blog something these days.

I want to express myself. I want to be inspired to write something. I’m not so busy I don’t have time to blog. I’m blocked. I can feel something inside of me that wants to come out, but it hasn’t made itself clear to me.

This scenario is playing out in other aspects of my life. I’ve been partaking in some energy work recently, to unblock channels in my body, especially in my hips and lower abdomen, where I tend to hold my tension. And don’t we all know about hips right? Since my last session with my energy worker, I have been pretty emotional, to either end of the spectrum and back. Crying in the middle of yoga class, or needlessly outraged because I’ve been minorly inconvenienced. My patience has absolutely gone out the window. And Universe, please forgive me for these days I’ve spent backtracking through my work on compassion. Honestly, I feel a bit like I need an exorcism. This energy is waking up inside me and I’m adjusting to it slowly. I see this opportunity as one to discover new things about myself, my body, and as an opportunity to cleanse and find genuine purity in my life.

Part of me is frightened of what I’m going to meet the more I focus on it. Things I thought I’d laid to rest? Things I hoped to never come up against again? Things that may completely blindside me?

So it’s safe to say there’s some fear, or maybe apprehension is a better word for it. But here’s what I know: tonight, I was engaged in a rather dull, yet somewhat cathartic activity at work. Despite it being a task I considered pretty mind numbing, I found myself intensely present in despite of that. Of course, it’s only in these moments of Quiet, wherever we happen to find them, that we are able to Hear. And that’s when I heard. I am on the brink of something here. Something major. There is a transformation going on in and around me. I don’t know what it consists of and I don’t know where it’s leading me. But what I heard was that it is big and it is good. Far outweighing my apprehensions is this overwhelming sense of peace, sense of calm. That wonderful feeling of knowing I’ll be taken care of by the Universe. It’s what I can only describe as true Faith.

What I’m conscious of is that the road may be rocky, but I’m headed in the right direction. I was never one to take the easy path, anyway.

So just in case you wonder where I’ve gone, I’m on a journey at present, and I’ll be sending postcards along the way…