Monday, December 28, 2009


I'm not sure what to write about. Sometimes when I am in this place and I have time to write something ends up flowing out of me. It's almost as if it writes itself. Tonight I am aware of how much I have been running from being quiet. I am eating past the point of being full and picking my nails more. When it is cold out I feel more anxious. I have this disconnect in my brain that says when I am cold eat. It feels good to write about this and sit with the feeling of wanting to eat and not rush to the refridgerator to allay my anxiety. What is going on with me? What is behind my desire to eat anything that isn't nailed down. I notice a vague sense of unease. My breathing is shallow and I'm experiencing a sense of urgency.What am I running from by distracting myself with thoughts of what I will do next?
As I sit here breathing I notice tension in my chest as if I am afraid to breathe fully. It's almost as if some scary character from my past, like a big scary gunslinging cowboy I wouldn't want to encounter, is waiting for me under my breath so I keep it shallow to avoid meeting up with him. Sometimes I feel this anxious feeling that has no name and no story. My fear of the feeling is much worse than the feeling itself. As I breathe more deeply into my chest I notice a catch in my breath. There's the place I don't want to go.
Well, I guess I did want to go there because right after I wrote that last line the power went out in my house momentarily.My computer needed to restart and i couldn't get to my e-mail. I took it as an opportunity to be with myself and breath until I was able to write about it again. Under the tension is my critical ego voice telling me I am doing it wrong." I am wasting my life, nothing brings me joy anymore. I am going to be sixty and I will never be satisfied. I make choices that don't support my full aliveness. I settle. I sell out. I want too much. My expectations are unreasonable. Life will never live up to what I want. Why can't I be satisfied with what I have? " The basic message is " I am doing it wrong". I feel the gripping tension in my chest and the desire to spin a story about my relationship that proves that I am doing it wrong. That is door A. The habitual place I go to to run from the present moment.That's the canon fodder that feeds the fire of doing it wrong. Door B is to breathe and do something different. Just noticing Door A and its familiar appeal is the ticket to Door B. Awareness with compassion moves me toward the present moment where my egoic voice of "I am doing it wrong." can't meet me. It has on a hat and hats aren't allowed here. It has to leave and find something else to do. I get it that spinning a story that proves to me that I am doing it wrong keeps me in door A and keeps my critical ego in charge. What if doing it wrong is a myth I tell myself that perpetuates avoiding present moment awareness? What if doing it wrong doesn't really exist? What if doing it wrong is a deep fear I walk around with that is actually what keeps me from being with myself enough to know what really feels good to me?
What if with my breath into this moment I can move beyond doing it wrong and doing it right to what resonates with who I am in this moment? In this moment writing about this process is juicy for me. The tension in my chest and the urgency and anxiety and the overeating and the nail picking are all messengers that the present moment is calling to me and my vehicle of transportation is my breath. What if doing it wrong is really believing that I am doing it wrong and acting as if that were something I needed to defend myself against?
If you look at your own inner voices or critical ego what is the bottom line negative belief you are telling yourself? If you don't know, see what happens when you ask the part of you that knows. What if thinking you don't know is a roadblock to the knowing, like a flagman that says you can't go here?
The tension has been replaced by excitement about this process unfolding. In the presence process this week my present activating statement is, " I consciously respond to all my experiences. "I am starting to see the path of presence as a journey toward all of who I am that is actually underway. That is exciting. I can use whatever I am experiencing to bring me to this moment even if I am already actively engaged in automatic pilot door A. Door B or conscious awareness of this moment is just a breath away. What is your whoosh? The knee-jerk that draws you into doorA in such a familiar way it almost feels like an old friend? What is your canon fodder? What is the story you spin that proves to you that Door A is all there is? What about a breath into the awareness that automatic pilot is only one option and that conscious breathing will bring us to Door B, the possibility of other options.We don't even have to know what they are. only that other options exist. That is alot.
May 2010 be filled with whatever it is filled with and may you use it to bring yourself back to your own center, the indwelling place of right here and right now. Thanks for being an important part of my process. I hope I have contributed to yours.Warm blessings, Andrea

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Light and Darkness

What do Christmas, Chanukah, and Solstice have in common? To my mind they all celebrate Light. In my understanding of mystical Christianity, the birth of Christ symbolizes the birth of christ-consciousness or awareness of the divine or divine light within. Hanukah is the festival of light. In mystical Judaism that light represents the birth of awareness within. This light of awareness has the ability to illuminate our ego or personality strategy so we can release our habitual patterns and heal. Solstice is the celebration of the longest night and the returning of the light. It honors both the darkness and the light. It is important to me that in celebrating light we also celebrate darkness. Light wouldn't exist without darkness to be in contrast to it and neither would darkness esxist without light. I like to do spiritual practice that honors the darkness as well as the light. Let's say the light represents spiritual awareness and the darkness represents the stillness and quiet in which to realize the light. On Christmas when my daughter was small she and I and her father would sometimes sit in a darkened room and gaze at the lighted Christmas tree. On Chanukah I have a ritual of lighting a menorah, turning off all of my lights and watching the candles burn down. Gary and I went to a solstice party where by candlelight we all shared our personal thoughts or poems or chants about darkness and light. At this time of year we may be connecting with family and friends and appreciating them. It is also important to balance that with spending quiet time alone being still honoring darkness and light. It seems especially needed after spending time running around darting in and out of crowded stores under florescent lights. I want to be still and quiet the least when I need to do it the most. When I'm not centered quiet time seems overwhelming to fit into my schedule. I forget that being overwhelmed is a signal to me to slow down and be with myself.
So in this holiday season let's make a pact to breathe and remember our light within. Take a few full deep breaths right now allowing your breath to move into your belly and your heart.
Breathe into the light of awareness that is shining brightly within you.Take the time to be still and quiet, sit in the darkness and honor the light. I leave you with the words of Rumi:

Sit down and be quiet.
You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.

I wish you holidays filled with whatever they are filled with.
Much love,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The presence process

I have an unexpected hour. A client didn't remember her appointment. Although I am anxious when that happens and often feel abandoned, like I have been stood up, I also feel grateful for the time. I didn't know how I would find the time to write today and I wanted to. Here it is and here I am. Thanks for being with me again. I am glad to be home from my trip to Mexico. I had a lovely time. I especially enjoyed taking six yoga classes and hiking with Gary to a giant waterfall. I led Laughter yoga while I was there and as always I appreciate the opportunity to be a complete idiot that Laughter Yoga brings.
I am reading a book called the Presence Process by Michael Brown. My friend Ginger told me about it. Over the years Ginger has told me about several things and I do them. Her enthusiasm for healing and growth lets me know her recommendations are ones to consider. Michael Brown was in chronic pain for twenty years. He tried everything eastern and western to help himself. What helped him was what he calls the presence process. I had read the introductory materials before I left and I began the presence process while in Mexico. This is a ten week commitment to do fifteen minutes of conscious breathing twice a day, use what he calls presence activating statements and read the book. The purpose is to uncover, release and heal repressed emotional experiences from the past. This increases the capacity to experience the present moment. I am finding it to be very challenging and extremely satisfying. My present activating statement for this week is: I chose to experience this moment. I have been using it frequently.
It is helping me to see that I can be present in this moment whatever this moment happens to look like. Sometimes I like the moment and sometimes I don't. When I chose to experience this moment I notice I am grateful to be writing this blog. There is such a simple pleasure to be sharing my experience from my heart with you.
It was fun to be on vacation and I love being home. After about nine days I was ready to come home. My life is so full and satisfying just as it is. I am grateful for that too. I have wanted to do spiritual practice in the evening before I go to sleep for many years. I often start and last a few days or a few weeks. Committing to doing fifteen minutes of conscious breathing for the fifteen minutes before I go to bed each night for ten weeks is a real stretch for me. I am hoping that in ten weeks it will be second nature. One way to practice chosing consciously( Door B) over chosing habitually (Door A) is to commit to a practice of choosing Door B over a period of time. Making an agreement to do this process before I go to bed and when I first wake up for ten weeks brings up stuff just by itself. Michael Brown says to see everything that comes up as part of the process even resistance to the process. I notice I am calmer and more peaceful sometimes and more in touch with my joy and also that I have been near panic a few times. I have been quicker to react angrily and quicker to get over things. It has only been six days. I am eager to experience these 10 weeks moment by moment. I love being challenged to look at myself. I think of it as deep fun. Except when I don't and then I want to shut my heart down and run away from it all. The problem is always when I run away from it all I have to take myself with me.
This morning it was challenging to do the process first thing.I was putzing around a little and making myself wrong for it. Then I realized the book says as soon as possible upon awakening and I cut myself some slack. It's more challenging to do something first thing here than it was on vacation. I have to be aware of the little sabateur that says, What about checking your e-mail? What about eating breakfast? Arent't you really hungry?Etc. Etc.
Fifteen minutes goes by quickly so far. I will keep you posted. If the spirit moves you to check out this book it is available on amazon. It would be fun to have you do it and to give each other support through this blog. Or not. Is there something that you have been wanting to commit to that you could allow yourself to welcome your resistance in for tea and to do what you've been wanting to do? It could be small or big. What's the next step? How would it impact your life to do something you've been wanting to do and haven't let yourself? If the spirit moves you go for it. If you feel like sharing what it is feel free. The link goes through to my e-mail now. I'll talk to you next week.