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Archive for the ‘Beauty Way’ Category

As I trouble over following my mother’s health directive to administer more pain medications to relieve her of the ongoing suffering bone cancer inflicts, I worry about whether or not she has said goodbye. Not so much to each of us, as we have all been saying goodbye for some time now. I wonder if she will have another chance to really take in the trees outside her window, and the blue sky. Will she ever hear bird-song again and does she need a spin in the wheelchair to enjoy that. I don’t need to ask myself if it matters to her. She is the one who first tutored me in its treasures. Perhaps she has been saying good bye for some time and we are just unaware of that. After all, she is already traveling in both worlds, here and beyond.

I realize some of this is a projection of my own needs and what I want. There is a post going around on Facebook of a forest ranger who was in hospice care and wanted to be in her beloved Nature again.  It never fails to move me. I know that deep call of nature and its healing resonance. If I were ill and could not go outside, I would want the sounds in my room, birdsong, ocean waves, breeze in the trees, whale calls.

Today, Earth Day, I am also thinking of another mother and, in both cases, what it means to say goodbye and how goodbye lives in relationship with hello.

Our earth, Pachamama, Gaia, is our mother and we are her children.

photo of dogwood copyright (c) KJLoh

Thinking how important it is to me to say goodbye, to her, I ask myself, “Have I said hello to Pachamama today? Have I honored her and thanked her, offered my respect?”

As I walked the woods pondering this, offering my gratitude to the trees in particular, I was greeted by more birdsong than I have heard since the approach of winter. I soaked it up, let it re-organize my cells. I regularly say “hello” out loud to the flowers, mushrooms, trees and many creatures I see on my walks and hikes. I wonder, having said hello so often, will it be easier or harder to, someday, say goodbye?

When I consider my own passing, I imagine having said hello more often, having received, really received the beauty and gift of this Earth, will make my goodbye more rich, and sad, yes, but very sweet. I wonder too, how often do I protect myself from a painful goodbye by withholding my hello? Do I imagine keeping my love and appreciation contained will somehow save me from deeper heartache?

If I have not said hello enough will I care enough to preserve the Earth and her creatures. Will I really know what it means to recycle, to conserve, to celebrate the biodiversity, to appreciate the bounty?

One of my teachers, Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, encourages us to honor Pachamama with song, ritual, dance, drumming. Yes, this is a profound and sacred way of saying hello.

And, please know, that if you are not inclined to perform ceremony or join a beach cleanup, your simple hello by way of true observation, connection and reception is more powerful and more healing than you might imagine.

You matter and you may be the only person to ever see that particular blossom, that dandelion seed in flight.

I invite you to join me, to celebrate our beautiful Earth mother, by taking a moment to say “hello” to her. Commune with a tree, take in the beauty of a wildflower, sit by a body of water in reflection. Listen to the birds singing. Stop, pause, if only for a minute, and say “Hello.”

Like beginnings and endings, hello and goodbye exist in the same moment, in a unity. We need to be aware of what we are unconsciously throwing away (and the many more painful goodbyes it may create) when we forget to say hello.

Pachamama, our beloved mother Earth, gives and gives. Your hello says “I see you and I appreciate you.” Say hello, not just today, but every day.

Copyright © April 22, 2015 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Today, I set down shame:

  • for designing my life to be mostly free of such over-rated complaints as overwhelm and too busy,
  • for creating a work week in which I get to find plenty of time for other people and being outdoors with Nature
  • for doing work that feels so much like play that at the end of a day with a Walkabout client I think “I’ve been goofing off, I need to do some work.”

Today, I celebrate how resilient and creative I am and that I am not “getting away with something.” I CREATED this.

I celebrate with intense gratitude, the beings and aspects of Nature (seen, unseen) that have been with me, loving and guiding me, every step of the way.

My life is not perfect. There’s a lot about it that is really messy and…

copyright(c) Aug 2011 Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved - flower

It is Beautiful!

What will you set down today?  (Boldly declare it in the comments/reply section below and see what happens!)

copyright (c) May 2013, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved including photo.

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The Gift of Trees

Trees Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

All week, the pristine quiet of my new foothill home has been disrupted by the roar of chainsaws, the hacking of axes, the deep bass drone of earth movers and trucks and the all too distinct crack and thud of a tree going down.

IMG_5989 copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved IMG_5987 IMG_6029copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

I would estimate more than 50 trees have come down so far. That first day, I could feel the shock of the trees, the earth, the birds. I reassured the trees on my property that the chainsaws would not be coming for them. I spent the day feeling completely rattled. A hawk flew overhead screeching as one tree was being cut. Was its nest high up there in the branches? I saw the same hawk fly down to the ground from a low limb the next day. Were there young ones to feed that now found their home on the ground? I don’t know. I only wonder.

My heart hurt and I cried. I also heard an internal voice chastise me saying “Where do you think the lumber for this house and this deck came from?” I also found myself curious about the process of cutting trees and furious about the destruction of the landscape to pull the logs out.

As I felt into all of my reactions,  I came to understand (among many other insights) that what bothers me most is (and this is an assumption) that they have not been honored. They were not taken down in a sacred manner. No one offered their prayer or blessing or gratitude.

As I said, that is an assumption. So, it all comes back to me. Have I offered my prayer, blessing or gratitude?  I spent that first evening in my sacred space doing just that. It created peace in my spirit and gave my heart a bit of rest. I am reminded to continue the practice of walking in the Beauty Way, honoring all of life. It’s so easy to forget.

The felling continues. As I write, I hear the drone of the tree mover with the big pincers creating roadways through the forest and dragging felled trees to waiting trucks.

This leads me to my invitation to join me in a healing ceremony, of sorts.

IMG_5975 apple blossom copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh

I invite you to join me in expressing gratitude to trees.

Leave a comment with your words or write a blog post on the subject and post the link in the comments section below.  In this way, we can practice some earth medicine and send energetic healing to trees being felled everywhere. In addition, if you feel so moved, speak your gratitude directly to a tree today.

I will start:

Thank you to the trees.

Thank you for your beauty, shade, blossoms, shelter.

Thank you for offering yourselves to become my home, furnishings, books, bags, paper.

Thank you for giving me your limbs for warm fires on chilly evenings.

Thank you for your medicine and the wisdom you always convey to me when I seek your counsel.

Thank you for harboring birds and squirrels.

Thank you for my guitar, violin, piano and the sweet songs that come from them.

Thank you for your sweet aromas, your waving branches in the breeze, your reminder to remain grounded.

Thank you for your teachings, sometimes painful, through the taking out of power for a day or two, or falling through a roof of a house or car.

Thank you to the giants for living so long as to remind us of timelessness.

Thank you for reaching high and pointing the way to the stars and that beautiful silhouette you create encircling me as I stand in a clearing stargazing.

Thank you for peace laurels, Christmas trees, wreathes and garlands.

Thank you for opening my heart and reminding me of the sacredness of all life.

 

Will you join me? Thank you for posting your gratitude for trees in the comments below (click on “comments” the last word of this post, below the likes and tags)

Many blessings!

Copyright © March 2013 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

I notice as I begin to write this post, that it is high noon. I’m reminded of Westerns in which the moment of confrontation is scheduled for high noon.

I have felt myself to be traveling toward high noon. The confrontation is not with any outer circumstance or individual. It is within me. It is that moment when my personality squares up with my soul and says “draw pahrdner!” It is the moment when my mind steps aside in deference to my heart.  It is the portal to a new way of being that can’t be known, but only glimpsed, from this side of the door jamb.

But wait…let’s rewrite the script here.  I think I’ll write it as me riding off into the sunset at the beck and call of soul.

I’m not interested in fighting. Fighting, especially with the negative ego, is the ultimate detour. I’m interested in being an enchanted wanderer in the Great Mystery.

I’ve not posted much here recently, and I’ve had plenty of passion and ideas about what to write. Passion and inspiration are moving through me so quickly that I find myself living those unwritten posts and moving on before I ever get near the computer.  Some of it gets disseminated in my journals, my emails to friends and comments on other people’s blogs. The rest is simply digested.

It used to be that I kept track of every inspiration, every whisper or sign from the Universe that it is friendly and helpful. I wanted to remember the magic, hold on to it forever. Now I’m inundated with messages and it’s all too much to hold; spilling over. Trying to accumulate to remember is another distraction. True remembrance is re-membering; embodying

I have a suspicion many of you have been feeling something similar; an apparent acceleration (or shrinking) of time. I say apparent because the reality of linear time is questionable and so it follows that acceleration would also be an illusion. What if it is about the speed of soul and we are beginning to feel that vibration? I suspect that we will find ourselves soothing our physical bodies by slowing down to speed up; meaning becoming more deeply present to the infinite here and now in order to attune to (or even survive) the new frequencies.

Still, here we are…moments past the actual time of the Super Moon (2:10 pm EDT), hours away from the Spring Equinox tomorrow (March 20 7:21 pm EDT) praying for Japan, praying for the ocean, praying for ourselves.

copyright(c) March 2011, Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

Do you see the dancer in the shadow to the right?

This equinox finds us at a different kind of high noon. We are precariously unbalanced and in great need of realignment. Fear begins to shut down our physical systems. We begin to show symptoms in pain, illness, depression, confusion. We can meet our fear at high-noon and stare it down, hope to God/dess to have the fastest draw, or we can let our fear live out its own story in some other reality while we ride off into the sunset of Love, guided by our hearts.

This riding off into the sunset is not an ending. It is a beginning. It is accomplished in the simplest of steps and awarenesses:

Where is your attention?

To what are you giving your energy?

What do you tell yourself about you?

When you are thinking, who is thinking and who is listening?

Where is the Love? (hint: all around you)

What does it take to open to receive Love even in the face of fear?

How can you extend any amount of Love if you are not opening to receive it?

What will soothe your physical body so that you feel safe?  (hint: it’s the small things)

What in your space and activities is more noise and distraction than beauty and clarity?

What will you do about that? (in the name of Love)

Here’s an example of soothing by way of something I created for myself in an improvisatory moment last night.

I’d been feeling very out of sorts. I had a stiff neck (from exercising my frozen shoulder) and I was feeling some kind of heaviness in my head. My blood pressure felt low. I was also sick and tired of all the rain and dankness in my place. I was miserably cold. I decided to take a bath to get warm.

I set up the bath with the usual candle and bath amenities and I set Pandora to my Hawaiian slack key channel. I immersed myself and let the water work its magic. I let my arms float and make hula movements in the water. I found myself in the warm waters of Manele Bay where the dolphins swim.

I sang along with the instrumental music in Hawaiian style, making up words that sound Hawaiian but are actually nonsense. The amount of challenge presented by singing with harmonies that were unknown to me was just right. As I sang, I pictured Lanikai Beach. My mind drifted to the memory of a game I’d played with Jeff Jacobson and other Lucid Living friends. We made up words and phrases in fake Hawaiian sound-alike language.  In my imagination, while soaking in the tub, I created a reality in which I was having a great time with these friends. Jeff’s wonderful playful energy was with me in that moment. I laughed and sang and laughed some more. I got downright silly.

copyright (c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Lanikai, Oahu, HI

By the time I got out of the tub, my entire system had been re-set. I had created community and fun and my heart was filled with joy, love and playfulness. Love was present and I was present to Love.

Question: was it real?

Answer: Did I experience it?

Now I ask you, as you consider riding off into the sunset at high noon: if we create our reality, what reality do we want to create? One of fear and constriction?  One of Love and expansion? (And yes, there are many more choices and we include it all, but I have a notion that Love and expansion are more inclusive than fear and constriction.)

Even if you don’t believe you create it all, you can at least think about your capacity to be at choice with how you will be with the reality you perceive.

My bath time wonderland last night was my oxygen mask. The one I put on before I can help others; the one that enables me to spill over with joy and Love – the same joy and love that powers my prayers and visions for Japan, for Christchurch, for Chile, for Haiti, for Libya, for New Orleans, for polar bears and arctic ice floes.

Tragedy, chaos and destruction in the world do not preclude laughter and play, they demand it.

So, I invite you to leave your fear standing alone in the dusty, empty center of some ghost town and ride off into the sunset of your new reality on a laughing and singing on a horse called Love. It must be high noon somewhere and the world needs laughter and prayers from hearts spilling over with Love and joy.

Here’s a soundtrack for your ride (Led (Ledward) Kaapana):

PS: How about some hope? Lucid Living is offering a workshop: Anchoring New Hope: Sacred Ceremonies for a New World. Click HERE for more info.

Copyright © March 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
– Ruth Ann Schabacker

There are always plenty of reasons not to write. I have had lots lately. At least, I’ve had plenty of reasons not to post to the blog, though I remain faithful to my morning pages, which I’ve done for nearly 20 years. (Don’t even try to fathom the number of journals that has filled.)

The surface reasons are things like: not feeling well, lacking the inspiration, too many insights coming through so fast that picking one to write about is difficult, beautiful weather beckoning me outdoors, drawers and cabinets to clean out and organize, get-togethers with friends, client calls, brainstorming and mind-mapping my new offerings and directions, physical therapy sessions (for a frozen shoulder)  interrupting my creative time.

Subterranean reasons are, well they are subterranean, so I am not all that aware of them. My guess about the subterranean reason is that I’m in a period of rapid change and what used to satisfy me as a post, is shifting.

What is it I want to say now? What wants to be shared from this place, this raw, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-it terrain?

I guess we’ll find out over the next few months.  Meanwhile, I know some people have been waiting for my next post, because they’ve written to me or told me face to face that they are wondering why I’ve not posted lately. Thank you faithful readers! I count you among my blessings.

Speaking of which, I want to share with you one of the practices that spontaneously burst out of me one morning during a few days of peak discomfort. It brought me relief and heartened me.

I was making breakfast and was so tired of feeling crumby, that I made the decision to shift my attention to what is working in my experience from a whole body, mind, spirit, heart perspective as well as from each aspect. I found the first and began saying out loud:

Thank you for the blessing of: (fill in the blank with a blessing of  simple things like):

Thank you for the blessing of another day.

Thank you for the blessing of full breaths.

Thank you for the blessing of the smell of coffee.

Thank you for the blessing of the pink clouds at sunrise.

 

Sunrise Pink Skies copyright(c) JAN 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Thank you for the blessing of a wonderful new client.

Thank you for the blessing of friends and family who care.

Thank you for the blessing of a heater that works and warms my house.

(Pretty soon I was dancing around the tile kitchen floor in my socks, whirling like a 7 year old ballerina)

Thank you for the blessing of these feet and legs that walk and dance.

The inner wretched one (aka party-pooper) wants to say things like “yeah, but…” and “what if …?” Thankfully, it gets drowned out pretty quickly as I persist in finding the blessings and the heart begins to radiate and fill my mind, body and spirit with brilliant light and happiness. (Hint: It helps to begin with a smile, even if it is simply a physical turning upward of the lips.)

It’s all really simple isn’t it? Simple and complex; like breathing.

We are living through some tough times. A courageous heart is one filled with radiant love and light. We can’t go to the well often enough to drink of beauty and raise our vibration.

As with any ritual, it is easier to remember to actually do it if we practice regularly. So, I’ve begun what I call the Ten Blessings Breakfast. However, lately it’s become, Ten Blessings Wakeup, since I have fallen into an awareness that has me look for the blessings immediately upon awakening.

I also have added it to my evening ritual – Ten Blessings Bedtime.

I’ve had occasion to play with it as Ten Blessings Bruhaha. This one I use whenever something comes up that throws me into anxiety or fear; generally conflict in my body, my life or in the world. Recognizing and saying ten blessings in such moments soothes me and brings me present. Most of what I fear is a projection of what might happen (and likely won’t). Most of what causes me grief is past. When I look at this very now moment, I see that right here, right now, there is much to enjoy, embrace and savor.

Why ten? Intuitively, it struck me as a good number. It was something I had to reach for so I would not just stop at a few. In certain studies it is also the number where completion and beginning meet: 1 and 0.

The ten blessings practice opened the way for some amazing insights regarding pain, fear, wholeness and separateness and I plan to share these with you in coming posts.

For now, I’m headed out for an unlimited blessings walk.

Copyright© February 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Day 4 #Reverb10 – How do you cultivate wonder?


It seems to me that wonder is a natural state of being.

Wonder comes when I am deeply present.

When I am in the past, my wonder becomes wandering. I get lost in what was. I am not with what is.

When I am in the future, my wonder becomes worrying and hoping. I get lost in what might be. I am not here.

I cultivate wonder by nurturing truth, integrity, beauty and presence.

Wonder is a garden. I weed.  I feed. It’s a labor of love. It’s a practice.

I pull the weeds of:

  • Judgment (as much of me as of others)
  • Fear (move toward anxiety)
  • Ostrich behavior (changing don’t see: doesn’t exist to being with what is)
  • Shadow projections (bring it on home)
  • Blame (bring that one home too)
  • Urgency (there is plenty of time – step into the flow of Divine timing)
  • Dis-ease and dis-harmony (bring awareness to it)

I feed and receive truth, integrity, beauty and presence by:

  • Opening my senses
  • Sowing seeds of happiness
  • Engaging with dogs, cats and wild creatures big and small.
  • Communing with trees
  • Receiving the gifts of flowers
  • Getting up close and personal with the world through the camera’s macro and telescopic lenses
Pin-sized mushroom copyright (c) April 2010, Kathy J Loh

Pin-sized mushroom

  • Cloud gazing
  • Watching the sun rise and set

Sunset 3/6/2010 copyright (c) March 2010 Kathy J Loh

  • Meditation and grounding daily, engaging soul, body mind spirit heart, and Divine Essence
  • Remaining ever curious (Who is that person across from me, really? I look beyond my assumptions and I open to be with who he/she is.)
  • Reading Rumi, Hafiz, David Whyte, Mary Oliver
  • Cultivating magic and miracles
  • Playing with messages from the Mystery
  • Stargazing and contemplating infinity
  • Watching the moon rise and set
Venus and crescent moon copyright (c) April 2010 Kathy J Loh

Venus and the crescent moon

  • Walking a path of Beauty
  • Receiving Grace
  • Living in the question
  • Dawdling
  • Singing the song that asks to be sung in the moment
  • Falling into the silence that follows the song
  • Listening to music, traversing the pathways of melodies and bathing in colorful harmonies

And you, dear reader, how do you cultivate wonder?

Copyright© Dec 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I meditate.

I contemplate.

I have great internal Board of Directors meetings.

I sing and chant and sometimes even rant.

I fill my heart and empty my mind.

I follow my mind and empty my heart.

Dance with my spirit and inhabit my body.

Sometimes I am guided. Most often, I dance alone.

This morning the sunrise was a sight to behold. Clouds to the west kissed illuminated hills and homes. I could not sequester myself in my meditation room and miss the morning.

 

copyright(c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh

Where does the pathway in the clouds lead?

 

Jackhammers abused concrete somewhere in the valley below. A steady stream of cars snaked its way up Wolfe Grade and silver jets left vapor trails between the clouds…so many people going somewhere.

Is this how we honor the dawn?

Is this how we honor all beginnings?

I don’t know. I only wonder.

Not wanting to miss the changing colors and shapes of the clouds; not wanting to miss the flocks of crows (and one tiny hummingbird) that traverse the skyscape, I began to sing, as I always do to begin meditation.

At first I was aware of my voice and the wending of the melody. Soon enough, I was absorbed by the pastel hues, absorbed by whatever it is that absorbs me, of which I am a part, to which I belong, and the song emerged as a completely self-organized melody; my morning song; this morning song.

Or is it mourning song, like the dove in the pine outside my window? For the tears come as my heart cracks open and I don’t really know what is sad or what is too much to hold.

Perhaps it is gratitude.

Perhaps it is Beauty.

Surely it is Love.

And, it doesn’t need a name.

When I retreat to my mediation room each morning, supposedly to ground myself so as to be more present during the day, to what have I become un-present? Where have I gone and how much of the day already missed?

This “being present to”… this offering of lullaby to the dawn and all the weary travelers, this is what grounds me now.

What is your morning practice?

copyright(c) October 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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