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Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Another #reverb10 post – today’s prompt is: What (or whom) did you let go of in 2010? Why?

I’ll answer the last question first: because it’s time.

As for the what (or whom) ….

Take a look at the tag cloud over to the right there. See the words Letting Go? The larger the word, the more times I’ve used the tag. If you click on it, you’ll get plenty of past posts about letting go. Four of them were written in 2010:

Movin’ On (Take 3) – Un-boxed and Settling In

How the Universe Conspires with us to Awaken

From Performance Anxiety to Co-Creative Bliss

Open Hands, Open Heart

What I noticed while reviewing these posts is that letting go can be a cyclical process.

  • Realize something wants or needs to be let go
  • Decide to let it go
  • (possible detour of waffling about letting it go)
  • Let go
  • Notice the energy of it remains or has returned
  • Let go at an even deeper level

Sometimes it feels like what I release has a bungee cord attached to it. I let go, it bounces back. I let go, it bounces back. Eventually the cord wears out and snaps. No more letting go, simply gone.

I suspect that the bungee cord is made up of spirit (energy), heart, mind, body or some combination of these aspects.

Something is lodged in my energy field and needs purifying.

Some emotion is churning in my heart and needs to be fully felt.

Something is spinning in my mind and needs fierce truth and stillness.

Something is lodged in my body and asks me to pay attention to what has yet to be digested by spirit, heart or mind.

Then, I wonder …….

Every time we exhale, we let go

Nothing stays the same

Change is inevitable

There is no holding on

So, if there is no holding on, why are we so preoccupied with letting go?

 

[ pause]

 

I could get all Rumi-like on you here, but I’m going to shift gears. Can’t help myself, being a Gemini and all. So take a breath and relax (oh, that’s about letting go too) and when you are ready, read on…

Sometimes you just have to get irreverent and drop the spiritual correctness and the sentimentality.

This one, by Jo Dee Messina, says it all. Get your moxie and your dancin’ shoes on. “Buh-bye now!”

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

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This is a post specifically written for  Karen Caterson’s blog (which is always a great read BTW) round robin: Support Stories – Strength from Within. Thanks for inviting me to participate Karen! (Click on the link to see more stories, poems and posts on the topic by other bloggers)


When a tree is a sapling, it may be given some additional and external support. It may need stakes, ties and even deer guard to give it a chance to become the giant it was born to be. Over time, if all goes well, the tree outgrows the stakes. The branches reach high enough to evade foraging deer. Its root system grows deep and wide, bringing it nourishment from the ground. A strong trunk supports the wide canopy that drinks in sunlight. A tree wants to live. That’s an assumption I make. It will do all it can to survive in the densest of shade and the driest of soil. It wants to live.

There was a point in my life, not long ago, (ok, about 6 years ago) when I came to a cross-roads. I wasn’t sure I could go on much longer feeling so much emotional pain. I entertained the notion of suicide without really contemplating it. I was aware that I could let the big wind that entered my life completely uproot me or I could let a branch or two snap off, bend with the winds that blew, send a taproot deeper into a still place and make my stand.   In one inspired moment, I chose the latter.  Despite the pain, the complete uncertainty about my future (especially financially), I wanted to live. I wanted to create something new, find out what I was made of, maybe, eventually, find new love. I had a faint glimmer of hope that I’d make it to a better day.

That’s the thing about hope. It’s like a homeopathic remedy. It only takes the essence of hope, the faintest hint of hope to keep us going.

As I applied the essence of hope daily, I began to develop a relationship with myself, with nature and the Divine. I came to appreciate the gift of Mystery and the way in which we can navigate the unknown with Love. I filled the empty hole of feeling unappreciated and broken with a deep regard for the sacredness of all of life, mine included.

It meant giving up any notion of being rescued. It meant giving up suffering like a martyr.

Victims wait to be rescued.

Martyrs go through all kinds of tap dancing to suffer in silence (with a few deep sighs) and then get angry when no one notices all they have sacrificed for others.

Victims and martyrs are waiting for something outside themselves to support them. They’ve let the stakes, ties and deer fencing become their (illusory) prisons.  I know. I’m an “ex-con.”

Here’s the thing; once we commit to something, all of reality (and that which is unseen) conspires to support us.

If we are playing footsies with victim and martyr, we will be supported there too. We will create relationships with unwritten co-dependent contracts acting out roles of heroes and villains.

We make choices and those choices create our reality. What reality have you created?

What reality will you create now?

Some trees in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parkgrow at right angles. They were tossed sideways in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and then continued their upward growth toward the sun.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been tossed sideways by some kind of earthquake in their lives. We can live sideways and consider it over or reach for the warmth and light. It’s a choice.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m not saying it’s hard.

I am saying, stop waiting for someone to come to the rescue. Chances are if you are not loving and nurturing  yourself, you won’t have an open enough heart to receive the help when it’s offered anyway.

You are your own hero (and your own villain). It’s an inside job.

Squirrel resting in tree Copyright (C) November 2010, Kathy J Loh

A sturdy tree makes a nice resting place (c) K J Loh

When it feels like all the world’s  got you in a spin and circumstances are chaotic, when you feel lonely and like you don’t belong, what to do? Be still. Breathe. Find your center. Send that taproot even deeper, let your canopy dance in the passing breeze. There’s a lot of space between you and all that is happening. Observe. Rest. Be with your genuine emotions raw and real as they are and pan the story. At least tell a new one.

I’ve created a strong sense of inner support by way of connecting with nature, the Divine, my own heart. Here are some of my practices with some selected resources. They are practices because there is no arrival, simply the daily devotion.

Wow, that’s a lot of external resources for developing inner strength. Like I said before, it’s an inside job and it is the commitment to the inner work that brings the support of a friendly world to your doorstep.

Enjoy dear ones!

If you have something you’d like to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment with your practices for creating strength from within.

Ready to receive some help with that inside job? Email me at kathyloh@coachkathy.com and we can set up a conversation about how I might be able to be of service to you.

If you are ready for radical transformation of your inner world (which will have a delightful impact on your external world) then you are ready for a Sacred Life Walkabout with me. Let’s talk!

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

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My Tarot of the Spirit meditation this week is on birthing. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, with the new moon and the Lunar New Year introducing the Year of the Tiger.

As I sat in the quiet of contemplation (well, ok, the quiet with some mind-chatter), I pondered my first birthing; that entry into this physical world from the cosmic void, the cosmic everything, from one-ness into a singular me. I wondered when we start to forget who we really are.

I wondered what it is I am birthing now, for surely I’ve had the pangs. I wondered about my resistance.

I revisited the birthing that took place when I left my family and went out on my own. I considered my birth into the world from the womb of the ivory towers and the brief independence before I birthed myself into marriage.

Each of these later births was a grand adventure full of hope and promise.  Each was a full on commitment.

There have been, since then, births that have not felt so good. These hold the key to my reluctance to leave the womb of my half-way home.

“Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet.” Bruce Cockburn

… a really big wind, a punch to the gut, a canon-ball  hole to the heart. I got that about 10 years into my marriage. I can make up that I stood at the threshold of the call to adventure and refused the call, but the truth is I will never know for sure what the greater undertaking was; stay or go.

Finally, 23 years into my marriage, big winds blew relentlessly and it was time to answer another call. I’ve seen the Hero’s Journey diagrammed as a kind of curve; one that leads downward into an abyss and eventually returns upward. I’ve heard Joseph Campbell say that once you cross the threshold, there is no turning back.

I was in a seminar discussing the Hero’s Journey when someone asked the leader how long the abyss part lasts. That caught my interest, because at that point in time, I had been sitting on the bottom for quite awhile, having lost my love, my home, my pet and having waved goodbye to 16 years of teaching piano  while my new business seemed to be going nowhere fast.

A wave in the dark

Dark Seas (c) K J Loh

How long would I remain lost at sea battling demons and looking for my allies?

The seminar leader said it varies; for some it is a matter of months and for others it can be years.  When I heard that I made the decision to begin my journey home. I had no interest in remaining lost at sea forever. Whatever it took, I would keep myself navigating toward the return and celebration part of my adventure.

I will not live an interrupted hero’s journey.

My heart, spirit and mind have returned. My body is still wandering; probably because I’m just now learning how to really be in it.

So, I asked myself in my meditation, “Why have I stagnated? What’s the reluctance about?” I did not have to think any thoughts. The pain in my heart set off a minor temblor that culminated in a wave of tears. It’s the fear of more pain.

All I ever wanted, was just to come in from the cold.”Joni Mitchell

I’m like Sleeping Beauty. I’ve pricked my finger on a spindle and now I am asleep, awaiting my magical awakening. I await everyone and everything like I wait for good news to arrive in the mailbox.  This home that is a bit too cramped, this life that is a bit too safe is, at least, very comfortable. This home, this “me,” this ennui, is familiar and I really am reticent to leave and risk being caught out in another big storm. My heart may not be soaring, but at least it’s warm and dry.

There is this last push I need to complete the birthing of the new beginning to which I committed myself a few years ago.  I see the shore, but I let myself drift with the currents of social media networking, errands and menial tasks. It’s a kind of sacrosanct busyness with which many of us are all too familiar.

In the weariest of moments I complain that I didn’t want this birth. It wasn’t supposed to be this way and it’s only because it is this way that I pick myself up and move on.

Still, the promise of a full return and celebration twinkle like the lights on some distant shore. I’ve seen them. My visions and maps fill me with hope. Getting there is going to take some effort.  I will keep my eye on my North Star, pick up that oar and paddle. That’s all there is to it really, that and dumping a few items off this skiff to lighten the load.

What I realize is that this broken heart has done all the mending it can with just being. It’s time now for some action. The time of waiting is over. To surrender to the fear being hurt again will, ironically, only leave me broken-hearted.

I wrote about this before in “(Don’t) Rescue me from Creativity.” At that point I was releasing control and surrendering to creative chaos. The hurricane has passed. Seas are calm. It’s time to make some sort of landing.

Someone recently told me I put wings on their feet. That’s wonderful! You can have mine for awhile, because, as soon as I hit shore, I’ve got some earth to feel and some walking to do.

Notes:
The Bruce Cockburn quote is from his song “The Whole Night Sky” on the CD The Charity of Night
The Joni Mitchell lyric quote is from her song “Come in From the Cold” on the CD Night Ride Home
Copyright (c) February 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Dear beautiful wonderful readers:

Here’s a little something that I hope casts golden sunshine your way!

We are all drops in the same ocean; uniquely exquisitely gifted drops sparkling in the sunlight, dancing in the moonlight, and we are all beautiful.

May this song, its sentiment, its dancing pulse and celebration wash over you and free you from any dark little hyper critical thoughts to which you may have been giving way too much air time.

Time for a bit of the truth!

I met the songwriter, Mark Shepard, on Twitter. That’s how I discovered this song, which I am now declaring one of my Best 2009 song finds. My heart is voting.

It’s a simple song, yes. And isn’t it all really that simple while deeply complex? Complicating things with drama just might be over-rated.

Thank you Mark!

(If you haven’t seen it yet, you might like to read my earlier post You are so Beautiful)

Copyright © Dec 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Today’s Best 2009 prompt is: Album of the year

Oh gosh, never ask a musician to make such a choice. How much time do you have? Which genre? For the lyrics, the music, the voices?

I decided to share two of my favorites with you today.

The first one is a re-discovery. I still play CDs in my car. Whenever I hit the road for more than local errands, I grab a stack of CDs from my collection and on this last trip, I listened to James Taylor’s Hourglass. I’d forgotten how much I love that CD. Every song on it is exquisite, provocative and  the entire CD is true to Taylor’s mix of loving kindness, consciousness, musicianship and mischievous humor.

The lyrics of the song “Gaia” move me as much today as they did in 1997. I especially love when he sings:

As if you were your own creation

As if you were the chosen nation

And the world around you just a rude and

Dangerous invasion

As per Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary , Gaia is the hypothesis that the living and nonliving components of earth function as a single system.

Lyrics

The sky was light and the land all dark
The sun rose up over central park
I was walking home from work
Gaia

The petal sky and the rosy dawn
The world turning on the burning sun
Sacred wet green one we live on
Gaia

Run run run run said the automobile and we ran
Run for your life take to your heels
Foolish school of fish on wheels
Gaia

Turn away from your animal kind
Try to leave your body just to live in your mind
Leave your cold cruel mother earth behind
Gaia

As if you were your own creation
As if you were the chosen nation
And the world around you just a rude and
Dangerous invasion
Gaia

Someone’s got to stop us now
Save us from us gaia
No one’s gonna stop us now

We thought we ought to walk awhile
So we left that town in a single file
Up and up and up mile after mile after mile

We reached the tree line and I dropped my pack
Sat down on my haunches and I looked back down
Over the mountain
Helpless and speechless and breathless

Gaia

Pray for the forest pray to the tree
Pray for the fish in the deep blue sea
Pray for yourself and for god’s sake
Say one for me
Poor wretched unbeliever

Someone’s got to stop us now
Save us from us gaia
No one’s gonna stop us now

The second CD  I want to share with you is Reiki Whale Song by Kamal Engels. I listen to this CD or Reiki Whale Dreaming every night while I do Reiki and then drift off to sleep. I think it is one of my secrets for a good night’s rest. I love to immerse myself in the sounds of water and whales.

I’ve listened to this watching the stars out the window of the back of my VW Camper in campgrounds all over the west. I’ ve listened to it with the light of the full moon on my face. I’ve listened to it in good times and bad, through smiles and tears, at home and in strange bedrooms when I was tossing about deciding where to live after my divorce. I’m listening to it now as I write and it brings me immense peace. It is music of the heart. Whatever your heart feels will be brought to the surface and released to the ocean breezes.  Now that’s music.

Here is “Whale Dreaming” from the CD Reiki Whale Song

Please share with me your favorites. I love to discover new music.

Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
(the lyrics and music are copyrighted by the artists)

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The long days of summer are over. Fall has arrived, if not in your backyard, then at least, on your calendar. The Autumnal and Vernal (spring) equinoxes are the two times a year when the length of the day and the length of the night are more or less equal.

The weather, fickle as it always is, is less reliable than the angle of the sun when it comes to knowing Fall has arrived. It snowed in Denver the other day and then returned to a sunny 70 degrees. There are deluges in Georgia and heat waves in California.

Some will know it’s Fall by the return of football season, children returning to school and the final race to the world series in baseball.

What tells me it’s Autumn is the gray and black squirrels (newborn last Spring) scampering about the oaks gathering acorns. The Jays and the Acorn Woodpeckers are competing for the same booty and then burying it the ground or  hammering into the telephone pole. The persimmons are turning orange. I am going to bed earlier and awakening a bit later as the nights grow longer.

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Persimmons (Kathy Loh)

Ancient cultures made monuments to honor the solstices. That we make meaning from this time is built upon the wisdom of the ages. How we make meaning is personal and cultural.

In general it is known as a time of harvest. The harvest invites gratitude and the observation that we reap what we sow.  With the shortening and cooling of the days comes the natural desire to hibernate by slowing down, reflecting, preparing.

Just as those squirrels gather their bounty for the winter, we can take time to reflect upon how well we’ve lived our year to this point, what needs cleaning up and completion and how we want to prepare for a new cycle that begins at Winter Solstice.

As we are in the sun sign of Libra, the perspective of balance between the dark and light, balance of polarities, is especially poignant. I had a wonderful call with a client today that illustrates how we can work with polarities with one simple question that accommodates “and.”  As we explored her vision of her most robust future, she mentioned both adventure and living at a relaxed pace. She then laughingly wondered how she could have both. At first glance we assume adventure and relaxation to be contradictory. Curiosity offers another perspective. I asked her what it would be to be in relaxed adventure? A new doorway opened.

I invite you to take something you are playing with as either-or, that creates a black and white debate in your mind, and write your own inquiry similar to the one above. The Autumnal Equinox may well infuse your contemplation with balanced energy.

Another Autumnal sign and energy is that of Scorpio. Scorpio is all about the sting, the transmutation of energy, initiation. It’s a great time to reconnect with the soul and inquire as to your soul’s purpose. It’s a good time to heal old wounds, create alignment in your chakras.  You might like to meditate upon the chakras, do some chakra chanting, work with a healer, shaman or spiritual coach/guide to facilitate these processes.

Finally, many of us have been busy discarding old items, clearing out closets and garages, clearing our very hearts of clutter and things we no longer need. It turns out this is natural energy to feel this time of year. The Autumnal Equinox encourages it. As we head toward the nadir of the Winter Solstice, as we head toward the end of the year, it is natural for us to assess the path we’ve walked the past 9 months and release that which no longer serves. It is also natural to begin to prepare for the upcoming year, the beginning of a new cycle at the Winter Solstice when the days begin to grow longer again and the energy is just turning toward expansion.

You might like to assess your year so far and ask:

What will you claim and celebrate?

What will you release?

What feedback or learning are you taking with you to prepare for your next adventure?

What seeds will you gather for next year’s crop?

How does your heart wish to express gratitude?

Then pick one and follow through in some way that resonates with you.

Happy Equinox dear ones!

A nod and apology for my northern perspective to the Southern Hemisphere where they are experiencing their Vernal Equinox – may your Spring be abundantly joyful!

Copyright(c) September 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Resource (book) for ritual: Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews

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My tarot card for the month of July (as pulled during my January Tarot Pilgrimage for the year) is Death. As scary as it first seems, the Death card is actually perfect for me right now. It is about endings; things that need to be completed and left behind.  Regarding this card, Pamela Eakins, PhD writes in Tarot of the Spirit, “…something in your life is dying. Some structure, pattern or form that you created, or with which you have been involved, is disintegrating or dissolving. This is necessary, of course, in order for new birth or transformation to occur.”

I’m paying attention to what’s dying and what is being born. What wants to leave me, even if I try to hold on? What’s coming to me? Pay attention and intention. Vision quest it.

I’m aware that the structures and routines I built that helped me survive these last few years are ready to be revisited and dismantled. The time of licking wounds and healing is ending and I am reorganizing my life to accommodate the work I want to do in this world. I’m visioning my next creative contribution.

This is a good time for purging my environment of items I no longer need.  I have a relatively travel-free month, the days are long and I have a deep desire to regain some  floorspace from the many boxes I’ve never unpacked.

DeathTarotCard

(Card from Tarot of the Spirit Deck by Pamela and Joyce Eakins.
Copyright (c) 1992 U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Used with permission.)

Yesterday, I dipped a toe into my past and waded through two boxes; boxes that have housed “file later” papers neatly organized into hastily labeled grocery bags, for about four years now. When I was in the process of divorce and I moved into two rooms in a friend’s house, I had little desire, not to mention space, to attend to filing. Yet, it seems, I had plenty of interest harvesting and preserving anything that might inspire, inform or come in handy in a future I could not forsee. It was precisely because I could not predict it and because I am a creative thinker that everything seemed somehow useful. Everything held potential.

Add to that, the things with which I could not yet part; letters, notes, items from my cat, Stella, that I had to leave behind (long story) and documents that one keeps that prove the mortgage was paid off and various financial obligations have been met. I kept these because I was the silently designated keeper of these things in my marriage. I also resisted filing because I was the administrative assistant designee as well and it all left a bad taste in my mouth. I rebelled and thus, created for myself one heck of a clean- up job.

Opening each box is like opening a carton from the back of the frig. I am not sure what might be in there or what I will experience when I open it.  Some of it hit me hard. Stella’s collar, for instance and realizing she is 18 years old now, if she’s even still alive. I don’t know, because I’ve been purposefully deprived of any information about her. I sat there holding that collar close to my heart, as if holding her, and I had a good cry.

No wonder I’ve avoided these boxes. They are full of good-byes; good-byes to people, pets, homes, loves and most poignantly, good-byes to various iterations of me. Carrying out this task to completion means sending papers to the recycle bin and the shredder; a final good-bye.  Only the choice bits will actually find a home in the filing cabinet.  I have a little more clarity than I once did around what I need for this next leg of the journey.

Yes, there are some hello’s as well, some amazing finds that I will write about another day. Today it’s about good-bye and honoring the courage that transformation requires.

I’ve been on a heroine’s journey ever since I decided to get divorced. I packed all my things (well, 50% of them by California law) and set sail in uncharted waters armed with a vision, faith, determination and no small number of allies. I got really, really lost along the way. I wandered all over.  I visited many interesting islands; Lucid Living, Leadership, Shamanism, Soul Retrieval, Reiki, Sound Healing, Yoga of the Voice, Medicine Wheel Ceremonies,  you name it. I was gone as much as I was home and when I was home, it felt temporary. I traveled in my VW Camper and lived in and out of boxes.

I got braces and I grew my hair out from 1 inch to 15 inches. I was experiencing a second adolescence, but it wasn’t about the fun stuff,  it was all awkwardness. I was grieving, crying nearly every night and I had the dark circles under my eyes to prove it. Just as things got better, my father died.

It all really hit home yesterday as I went through the boxes. I found an 8×10 photograph of my Reiki group in Bend OR with William Lee Rand. I looked and looked at the picture, but I could not find me. I wondered if I took the photo and didn’t get in it myself. Then, I saw her…the she that is and used to be me; front and center. I did not recognize myself with chin-length hair, bangs, sallow complexion and very crooked teeth. I still have a hard time believing it was me.

I recognize myself in pictures prior to those years and I recognize myself in pictures from the last two years..but in pictures from that time in between, no. Who is she? My heart is filled with such compassion for her. Those lost years, the un-recognizable years, are the goo stage of metamorphosis. I recognize the caterpillar and I recognize the butterfly (even that took some time), but the chrysalis years are a mystery to me.

Who are we when we don’t know who we are? In the chrysalis stage we are re-cognizing ourselves while being unrecognizable.  We have to become unknown to ourselves so that we can create ourselves anew.

So, I wasn’t lost, I was hibernating, disintegrating to reintegrate, transforming. All the ingredients that went into that re-integration give me the heart-vision of compassion with which to see my journey, every step of the way in every direction I look.

The me I could not recognize in the picture is probably the closest to my heart. She is the one who had the courage to continue onward. She is the one who held steadfast in faith and reached out to her friends for help. She is the one who doggedly and creatively grew her business on her own in the face of potential poverty. She is the one who developed a deep and abiding relationship with Nature and Source. I could give a rat’s behind what she looked like. Her heart is pure gold and she taught me surrender and self-acceptance.

She brought me to the shores of Grace and that’s something worth “dying” for.

Copyright(c) July 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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