Tag: meditation

MOTHER OF THE GROOM

MOTHER OF THE GROOM

mother of the groom cartoonA year ago May, the opportunity arose for me to step into the shoes of the “mother of the groom”. Up until the day I started shopping, I assumed I was too young to play that role! When I began searching for something suitable to wear, I was stymied. Nothing I saw reflected me! They styles were all too old fashioned, too “mother of the bride”, too something my mother would wear!

Clearly I was out of touch with reality.  I was, in fact, ten years older than the bride’s parents! I was the right age for a mother of the groom, and in some cases the grandmother of the groom!  Still, shopping for a dress stirred up a hornet’s nest of conflict. Who was I? Suddenly, a fun and exciting process was morphing into a nightmare of epic proportions, and it was all going on inside of me! (Well, except the part the spilled out on my husband, poor man. I am so blessed.)

EXCITEMENT TURNED TUMULTUOUS

I was blissfully happy and over the top excited about the wedding until the day arrived when I had to decide what to wear, and  I was not loving the unresolved issue  I was facing.  After several tumultuous and agonizing weeks, I began to wake up to the unresolved issues beneath this simple decision. It was not about the choice of a dress at all. (I know you know that!)

Unable to step back from the situation, I could not love the questions and embrace the process of discovery. Instead, I went to war with myself. Precipitated by a family gathering, old conflicts brought my tribal insecurities to the surface. I didn’t like it one bit, but it was exactly what I needed. My goal was to show up as my authentic self, and this is what was required.

So I began to slow things down.  I took time to breathe and meditate, and to live with the unanswered questions.  I let go of my need to know the answers before I even knew the questions. The cause of my conflict slowly rose to the surface.

EXPECTATIONS OF THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM

I was not looking for a dress, I was looking for an expression of my authentic self.  Conflict arose because I was unconsciously trying to live up to the expectations of my childhood tribe. And, they were in conflict with who I am now.  The intensity caught me off guard, but it was a new opportunity for growth and self-actualization.  Even though I believed these issues were resolved, another layer was about to be peeled away.

Choosing a dress for my son’s wedding was a much bigger decision than I understood at first. The decision was a symbolic one, an act of self-expression and an excellent opportunity for me to bring forth another piece of myself.  In order to show up as myself, it was necessary to dispense with any concern I had, both conscious and unconscious, of what I believed others expected of me.  This included, most especially, my big sister and my deceased mother! That’s where the real healing needed to take place.

REDUCE RESISTANCE

Mother of the Groom
Much ado about nothing. . . on the outside!

As I reduced my resistance, the details of the conflict became clearer and my choice of a dress was then a breeze! I knew exactly what I wanted, I just had to let go of all the history that was keeping me locked in indecision. What I chose was not what either my mother or sister would have chosen. It was not what I had perceived initially as appropriate attire for the “mother of the groom”.   What I chose, however, was exactly what I wanted to wear. Poof. The conflict vanished!

I walked out of the store giggling with self-satisfaction, dress slung over my shoulder. I truly did not care what anyone thought of my decision. To me this was proof positive that I had made the right decision and had chosen from the very center of me. It was a lovely feeling and one that continues to bear fruit. Resolving conflicts such as the one that still lived in me prior to this time, doesn’t just make a dress buying decision easier, it gives us back a piece of ourselves. And, it’s ours to keep.

Each time we make a choice from our authentic self we take a step toward inner peace. It is not the absence of problems, but the growing ability to trust the process and our inner guidance with each challenge we face.  Being patient with the process of self-discovery is essential when traveling the path of authentic living. We will never resolve all of our issues, but what we can learn to love the questions and trust the process a little more each day.

Dorothy Sander © 2016

 

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

Mindfulness Mantles by Kay Moates

mindfulness mantles by kay moates

Kay Moates’ artistry is not about Kay and yet she is the essential ingredient in the making of her mindfulness mantles. Every stitch she takes is done in a state of mindfulness, her art is her meditation practice, and her very personal practice a very personal gift to her patrons. Kay, the artist and the woman embodies the spirit of acceptance, love and generosity. Her fundamental  and profound openness to the beauty of nature a blessing of connection to the world and all that’s in it.

In a previous life, Kay was a gifted dancer.  She did more than teach dance, she used it as a vehicle of healing for children. For twenty-seven years she created and directed Imagination in Motion, a creative movement dance company for young children, where dance was inspired by all forms of art and accompanied by improvisational music by a pianist. Through dance the children were taught to express the inexpressible.

There came a time when Kay realized lit was time to move away from dance.  She needed to care for and protect her aging body by reducing the stress that dance was placing on it. The desire for expression, however, was not yet ready to be silenced. She knew she would have to find a new medium to engage her creativity.

This is how Mindfulness Mantles, and her website On Slender Threads came into being. “From moving children through time and space to moving  fibers and stones into Mantles my work continues to focus on calling forth awareness to deepen life’s connections. Into the new I dance…” Fortunately for those of us whose lives she has touched and whose shoulders are now wrapped in the warmth and comfort of a beautiful handmade Mindfulness Mantle, her outreach continues.

Kay creates mantles that are both ornamental and practical. They are decorative, comforting and perfect for meditation and healing.  You will be warmed by her beautiful mantles, but more importantly you will be healed and uplifted.

Here’s how she describes them:

mindfulness mantle
Many include complimentary earth gems like this one.

Mindfulness Mantles ~ a gift for your Soul ~

companioning your journey,
celebrating your changes,
embracing your inner sanctuary,
ever gentling you deeper into being

many shapes, many fibers,
many stones, many colors,
many sizes
whoever you are,
whatever your pain,
there’s a Mantle for You

Created in silence with intention, Kay Motes offers healing and love to all those whose lives she touches.

See them for yourself by visiting her website On Slender Threads. 

Treat yourself to her healing touch by taking a tour

of her latest mindfulness mantels. 

[tweetthis]”Take care of you and there will be more to share with others.” DSander[/tweetthis]


Mindfulness Mantles kay moates 2
Follow Kay Moates’ Facebook page On Slender Threads where she posts her latest designs and positive, uplifting messages. 

Kay’s Mindfulness Mantles make wonderful gifts. They are beautifully wrapped and will be shipped directly to the recipient upon request; perfect for a friend or relative who is ill or going through a difficult transition, a bride to be, to honor a birthday, the possibilities are endless.

 

Overwhelm the World with Good – Wisdom Wednesday

Overwhelm the World with Good – Wisdom Wednesday

We think we are powerless to effect change, but can we not choose to overwhelm the world with good  and create an impact equal to or greater than that created by those who choose to overwhelm it with ill?  We all struggle to change the tiniest of habits in our own lives that we abhor. Why wouldn’t we believe it’s impossible to create change powerful enough to counter such a thing as terrorism, the most vicious kind of hate and indifference to human life? And yet, terrorism, like every other act of violence came about as a result of one human choice after another, one small act after another. We have that power as well. We have the same number of choices to overwhelm evil with good.

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Desmond Tutu 

The little bit of good that we do may go unnoticed, but it is no less powerful because it has not drawn attention. Our small kindnesses and acts of generosity may not reverberate in the media, or show up in a hashtag on Twitter, but they are no less able to have an impact.

[tweetthis]Peace is the only battle worth waging.” ~ Albert Camus[/tweetthis]

The war we choose to wage, such as a war waged to overwhelm the world with good is no less potent.  Our weapons may be silent, invisible weapons, such as the choice not to engage in the ongoing verbal rhetoric that creates animosity among the ego driven, or the choice to spend time in silent meditation reflecting on all that is good and right and true, or to offer a smile to a stranger, or hug a child. As we walk humbly, yet earnestly and with determination in the direction of all that is good, we can and will overwhelm the world with good.

Overwhelm the world with good

Let’s draw upon the strength of prayer, meditation, and silence and continue to turn our eyes, our attention, our energy toward that which inspires, creates and reveres life. Let’s continue in earnest to plant flowers, feed souls, nourish children, make music, dance joyfully, speak softly, shout with praise and gratitude for the gifts that we have been given. Each breath we take is a gift. Each choice we make is a prayer. Let’s pray with honesty, vulnerability, and grace, and set aside our greed, our obsession with all that feeds only our ego and set out instead to discover and cultivate our soul. This is how we overwhelm the world with good. This is how we win the war against violence and hate.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

 

 

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

Meditation

I love the beach. Who doesn’t? Who in their right mind anyway *smile*.  I am so ready to get out into the wide open sunshine, and to pay a visit to my friend, the sea. I know there are some who don’t care for the sand that gets into shoes and beach bags, but I find it impossible not to get lost in the sensation of it squishing between my toes as I walk the beach, flirting with the sea as it rises and falls.

There’s a rhythm to the ocean that lulls me, calls me, rocks me gently and insistently into my soul place. I drift away without effort, getting lost in the magnitude of its ever present ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, expanding and retracting. It beckons me to meld my spirit with it, to learn what lessons it has to teach me, to grow in my understanding that I too rise and fall, expand and contract, ebb and flow.

We are not rigid, consistent, structured, orderly creatures, we human beings. So why do we try so desperately to be so? Endlessly we seem driven to tame our spirits into submission, to create a reliable, solid, predictable foundation upon which to stand, immobile, unflinching. In doing so we contradict our very life force, a force that must breathe, must rise and fall, must know loud expression and silence, bold action and inaction, dancing wildly and praying softly. Our spirit must be allowed to soar to the highest heights and fade away into nothingness. When we remember that we are like the sea we become more flexible in our dealings with life, more resilient, more graceful, more soul driven, buoyed by our connection to all that is, resting in the knowledge that we are not alone.

A MEDITATION: Close your eyes and imagine the sea. Smell the salty air, the breeze on your face as it cools your skin, the sound of the waves as they roll closer and closer, reaching, stretching, longing to touch your toes; then…listen to the release as each wave relents in its effort to come to shore, falling away, the sound growing fainter and fainter until it is gone.  Are the waves sorrowful when they do not reach you? Do you yearn to run after them, to reach out and take hold of their force and power? Just notice what you are feeling. Don’t think. Continue to breathe in with the rise of each wave and breathe out as they fall. Feel your body swell like the waves with each inhale. Then, release your breath. Allow the air as it is released to co-mingle with each receding wave. Notice your breath as it ebbs and flows. Release your stress, your sadness, your striving, give it over to the receding wave and feel it wash out into the sea. Release what does not serve you, give it over to the tides. Lean into the ebb and flow of your imaginary ocean. Notice that you hold the same expansiveness within you, the same ability to release and let go. Take in, let go. Take in and let go.

filigree-motif_3_md

CAREFREE RV RESORTS

MY WORKSHOPS

In-Between Times

In-Between Times

transitions, Lent, transformation“Sometimes we are living in the ‘in-between-times’ when we’re no longer who we used to be, but haven’t yet arrived at our next stage ”.   ~ Marian Williamson

As the snow begins to melt after last week’s storm, and the calendar flips from February to March, I am reminded of the torment and the power of the in-between times. March in North Carolina is an in-between time. It can be cold (35) and rainy like it is today or sunny and warm (75) as it promises to be tomorrow. It’s neither here, nor there, and there’s no certainty about what to expect. It’s difficult to plan and dressing is a layered affair.

Despite the ups and downs of the weather, the birds know what’s on the horizon. They are already in full spring song. They have awakened from winter survival mode and the drive to mate and procreate has set them in motion. As they prepare for new life their song reveals the joy of new re-birth and the new beginning that lies on the horizon.

Life is a series of transitions. No sooner do we land in a place we’d like to stay, than it is time to move on. Something shifts or changes and we are called upon, once again, to adapt and change. Sometimes we are grateful for the change and sometimes we are terrified by it. Either way, the in-between time is one of not quite knowing who we are, what to do or what to expect.

Transitions come in all sizes, from the large life-altering external events such as marriage, birth, and death and the internal shifts of puberty and menopause, to day to day shifts in interest and focus, such as tiring of one hobby and searching for a new one, or finishing one book and looking for another. In all cases, the in-between times trigger an uneasiness, a restlessness and an uncertainty about what to do and what is next.

When we can step back from our discomfort and see the in-between time, as a period of gestation, of fertility, of alert waiting, just as the birds surely must wait and prepare for a mate and birth of their young, we can perhaps avoid falling into the trap of self-loathing, fear, anxiety and despair that too often moves in to fill the gap.  To elevate our viewpoint to one of open expectation, standing open to everything and afraid of nothing, ready and alert to the next challenge or adventure, is to understand and accept that transitions are a part of life, the driving force within and behind our inherent drive to create.

It’s no coincidence that major religions incorporate traditions that include the symbols of birth, death, and re-birth into their yearly liturgical calendars.  In the Christian tradition, for example, the season of Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and takes place in unison with the re-birth of nature. The season of Lent is a period of preparation, symbolic, if you will, of the in-between time.  (The word “Lent” is short for “Lenten” which refers to the forty days before Easter and comes from the Old Enlish word “lencten” meaning “springtime or spring”.)

One can see how important the “in-between” time is to the process of transition and transformation within the Christian tradition when seen through the eyes of the Lenten season. For forty days and forty nights, Christians are admonished to fast and pray, and essentially to wait with an open heart for new life.  One need not be a practicing Christian to understand and see the value of taking time out from focusing on everyday demands, from having to have all of the answers and knowing exactly what is coming, to prepare oneself, to realign priorities, assess values and activities, to pare down and create space for a new beginning.

We are a culture that thrives on activity and production. In-between times of non-activity and non-production are perhaps even more important to the final outcome. After all, if we are not ready and prepared, waiting openly and expectantly, creating space within and without, but are instead buried in activity or anxious mental gymnastics, how can we hear or see what is right in front of us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression – Fighting the Battle

Depression – Fighting the Battle

depression
Cineraria

There is no way to measure the pain of depression. There are no blood tests, x-rays, or questionnaires to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not an individual is suffering from depression. There are educated guesses. There are circumstances suggesting the possibility and likelihood of its presence. How much suffering can be endured is relative to the individual in all illnesses, but depression has a way of going unnoticed, of being looked upon as a behavioral or character flaw, not only by outsiders looking in but by the sufferer as well.

Depression is a nebulous disease. It creeps on us going undetected and managed through force of will and determination. Those with long-term depression often have not known anything other than a dark state of mind. They don’t know they’re suffering unless, or until, it becomes too hard to handle or their lives are turned upside down by poor decisions made by a depressed mind. It’s a tragic disease. It’s a disease that significantly alters the course of an individual’s life. And yet, there is no effective diagnosis and no guaranteed treatment or prevention.

Depression is widely treated with medication and therapy.  Almost anyone can walk into their doctor’s office, tell their physician they’re feeling blue and can’t seem to snap out of it, and be given a prescription for antidepressants — especially women — especially those over fifty. I have a problem with this. We’re a quick fix society that loves a fast, easy solution to problems. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing when it comes to treating depression. There are too many variables. There are too many physical, emotional and experiential dynamics at play.

Popping a pill doesn’t address unresolved issues. Therapy doesn’t address diet and exercise. Like most things, I’m a fan of addressing the whole person when it comes to most things. We’re way too complex creatures to toss a pill at a problem and call it a day.

TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION

  • Prescription Drugs – use is on the rise and prices are getting cheaper. Effectiveness is always up for discussion. They work great for some, not so much for others and not at all for a few.
  • Therapy – a valuable addition to the arsenal. Finding the right therapist is crucial. I always recommend interviewing potential therapists and choosing one with whom you feel comfortable and understood; someone who speaks the same language. This takes work, but it’s worth the effort and saves time and money in the long run. Researching types of therapy can be an added plus. More on that later.
  • Exercise – Research has shown repeatedly that exercise boosts endorphins and energy and effectively fights depression. It also combats stress which also can be a factor in depression.
  • Diet – Food allergies and sensitivities can create a physiological environment for depression or worsen an existing depression. Working with someone who understands and knows how the body reacts to a variety foods and circumstances can be very beneficial, a Naturopath for instance. Research has begun to show the ill effects sugar has on our bodies in general and it may in fact, exacerbate depression.
  • Body Work – Everything and anything we do to improve our health and well-being can help counteract depression. Massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, sauna, etc.
  • Spiritual Practices – Meditation, guided imagery meditation, prayer, mindfulness, reflective reading, etc.
  • Education – Learning something new opens the mind to new ways of thinking and re-directs our thoughts along more constructive pathways. Habits of thought are insidious and take a concerted effort to change. Therapy is one avenue, but reading and studying can also be helpful.
  • New Experiences – Depression tends to cause us to shut down and close the doors to our lives. A new experience  may be like a breath of fresh air that lifts the spirits. This, of course, would depend on the depth and nature of the depression.

SEEK HELP AND SUPPORT FOR DEPRESSION

The bottom line is that if you suffer from depression, chances are good that your quality of life suffers. Seeking treatment and support is absolutely a must. It is not something one can manage on ones’ own. It just isn’t. The sooner this is accepted, the sooner relief can be found. That being said, trusting your instincts and being your own advocate is important. If something feels right or works, do it. If it doesn’t, leave it alone and go on to another option. Do consider a variety of simultaneous treatments. We are, after all, very complex creatures!

filigree-motif_3_md

HOW TO RECOGNIZE DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY