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Archive for the ‘meditation’ Category

Time is eternal…What can happen in 7 minutes?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes for a sound bath?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to offer compassion to all of humanity and this beautiful Earth?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to receive a blessing and heart opening?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to align body, mind, spirit, heart?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes to ground and allow your mind to be at peace?

If yes, then treat yourself to 7 minutes of  an exquisite multimedia presentation.

A blessing of photography, video, bells, beautiful chanting by Phap Niem  and voiced by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ Enjoy!

 

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

 

The music was composed by Gary Malkin and can all be enjoyed as book/audio book co-authored with Michael Stillwater: Graceful Passages

*This came to me by way of Anthony Lawlor, author of the new book 24 Patterns of Wisdom which I also highly recommend.

copyright (c) December 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved - video embedded with permission.
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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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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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Winter Solstice is Monday, December 21st. It is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Energetically, it is an excellent opportunity to mindfully and powerfully release old baggage that no longer serves us; habits, ways of thinking, dark and stuck energies. From the 21st December until the Summer Solstice in June, the length of the days, the number of minutes/hours of sunshine increases and we can play with that as expansive energy. That expansiveness can feed the seeds of intention that we plant now.

sun

Solstice (c) Kathy J Loh

There are three parts: preparation, ritual, follow-through. I am sharing my process with you in this post in hopes that it will give you inspiration, ideas and a gentle nudge.

Preparation

This morning, I did a meditation, specifically requesting assistance with my own Winter Solstice ritual, which I will hold on Monday. While the whole of Autumn has been a good time to prepare (as in gathering acorns) for this ritual, now is the time to determine what ritual will work for you and what you will want to do to be ready for it.

In my meditation, after calling in my unseen support team, I created a meeting of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. I let the format come to me intuitively. I’ve been working with the imagery of leaving bags on the platform and getting on the train to a chosen new destination with clients. So, it’s no surprise that this is what I worked with today.

Body was the first to speak, followed by Heart, Mind and finally Spirit. While I won’t reveal to you the specifics, I am happy to share the structure.

Create your metaphor or story-scape – set the stage

My stage was a train boarding platform, bags that were to be left behind, trains with destination signs to be filled in as part of the meditation.

Release –  What are you no longer willing to carry? What no longer serves you? What will you leave behind?

I asked:  What bags will you leave behind on the platform?

Intention – With what do I want to fill the energetic space I’m creating for myself? Where do I want to powerfully point myself?

I asked: Where is the train, you are boarding, headed?

Follow-through – What is one action I will take to give energetic support to my intention?

I asked: What is the first powerful action I will take on board that train?

Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit were interviewed one at a time and their responses were both expected and surprising. I love the imagery I got from Mind. Rather than the usual flood of words, I got the intended shift in the form of a symbol that unfolded into a new symbol.

I then asked them the same group of questions as an aligned whole. Again I got an image that showed how unaligned they’ve been and a symbol of what their new alignment would look like.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Ritual

Before closing this meeting of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart, I asked for guidance in creating my ritual. Knowing I will be away and unable to enjoy the complete privacy of my own woods, I wanted it to be “portable.”

Again, I am sharing this with you to prompt your own creativity. You know best what will work for you.

Create the space

  • Make the space on your calendar
  • Give yourself the amount of privacy or community you want
  • Ground yourself and become present, align Body, Mind, Spirit, Heart
  • Call in whatever unseen help you like through invocation and invitation
  • Perhaps honor the Four Directions or Elements of Air, Water, Earth, Fire

Carry out the ritual

Release:

  • Do something that symbolically transmutes that which you are releasing (I am collecting rocks to represent the bags to be left behind and placing in them those things that BMSH told me they are releasing)
  • Let your body feel the heaviness or stuck-ness you are about to let go
  • Let your mind feel the constriction of holding on to the old thoughts associated with what you are now releasing.
  • Let your heart feel the gratitude for what this meant to you in the past and the sadness or joy of goodbye
  • Let your spirit feel the how trapped it has felt and the new expansiveness about to become available to it
  • Align into the whole of you and offer up these things you are letting go for transmutation. (I am going to listen to the rocks and let them tell me what to do. I’m not sure yet if I will be in the canyon or at the beach. If I’m at the beach, I will probably place them where the water can tug at the energies I left in the rocks and dissolve them into the great ocean.)
  • Know that you are not releasing negativity into the world if you ask the Divine and Nature to transmute them

Intention:

  • Take a moment to breathe and reground
  • In some way, demonstrate your commitment to your intentions: declare them out loud to your surroundings or to your circle, create a line you will step over, write them and put them in a jar on your altar, whatever comes to you. Perhaps you will get a melody to hum or your body will want to dance, walk, jump, skip.  (I plan to watch the sun set in the water)
  • Save room for being surprised by what shows up in the moment, a bit of improvisation and play

Closing:

  • Take a breath and reground
  • Let yourself be infused with the energy of the planting of this new seed of your powerful intention and know, have full faith that it will be.
  • Suggestion: say “This or something better, with harm to none. Let it be and so it is.”
  • Connect with your circle if you have friends with you
  • Thank the unseen friends/Divine/guides you called in at the beginning of your ritual

Follow-through

  • Remember to take the simple action steps that you set for yourself in your meditation/preparation
  • It might be helpful for you to create reminder notes and to ask friends for support
  • Don’t be surprised if some things in your physical reality, emotional, mental or spiritual health shift as a result of this
  • Keep a journal to track your follow-through and what shows up along the way

I made this up. It’s a synthesis of other rituals of which I’ve been a part. You can make up whatever you want. You might enjoy creating a collage, using a fire to burn the old, writing a letter about your intentions and putting it where you’ll find it in June or next December.

The point is the power of consciously and intentionally letting things go and making new choices, taking new actions that serve the life you want to be living. Doing so at any time is empowering. Doing so on Winter Solstice aligns you with the cycles of nature which brings a powerful boost to the process.

Co-Creating with the Universe

Pay attention and watch for signs. I have had repeatedly seen, read about, and come across red and white roses. I will make sure to have at least one of each with me on Dec 21st.

Resource

A great resource for solstice rituals and working with nature is Nature-Speak by Ted Andrews. It contains a wonderful visualization as well. I highly recommend it. (While searching for the link, I discovered that Ted passed away October 24th of this year. What a bounty of gifts he left in his wake!)

Many blessings to you, dear readers.  May you walk in Beauty.

There are so many things to celebrate in a year and one of the main ones is YOU. When you hire me as your personal coach, you can design the goal of the coaching to uniquely suit you. I have a number of clients who use our coaching to help them develop their spiritual practices, awaken in a way that transforms their lives and harness the wisdom of their own hearts. We invite soul and earth to assist us. Are you ready? Email me at kathyloh@coachkathy.com and we can have a conversation about how I might serve you and your beautiful life.

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

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In conversation with a redwood tree

Redwood Tree

(c) K J Loh

Walking to the river on a misty morning

trail inthe mist

(c) K J Loh

In or on water

toes in water

(c) K J Loh

Coolin’ my heels in the river at Big Sur River Inn

sitting at the River Inn in the river

(c) Rick Loh

An uncrowded beach

Footprints on beach

(c) K J Loh

On a road trip in my van

Van at campground

(c) K J Loh

There’s one favorite place that I’m unable to photograph, so I will attempt to describe it.

This place is an intersection of the outer and inner worlds, somewhere near the third-eye and not really.

It is a spark, an essence, the smallest point of a point and yet it’s as deep and expansive as the universe.

The stillpoint perhaps?

I’ve been there a few times.

Once was during a shamanic journey when I found myself on some distant star.

Other times during meditation.

It is a peaceful, quiet place. A place of no time (and hence no urgency) and no judgment.

The only word I have for this place is home.

It is a place where the I that is my ego, my identity in this lifetime, discovers a new me which doesn’t know separation from all the other me’s.

It is a place of unconditional love.

Not so much a love I feel.

More a love that I am.

Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved (including images)

This post is in response to Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 blog challenge for the month of December

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There’s a technique I like to use whenever I feel stuck or stalled. I interview myself and get the energy moving again by creating an internal board of directors meeting.

Who sits on the board?

Well, it depends on who I wish to assemble at the time.

I draw from my internal “cast of thousands.”

Sometimes, it is a gathering of various iterations of child, adolescent, parent voices along with the inner critic.

One of my favorite, though, is a four way conversation between Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Generally, these conversations show me where these aspects are out of alignment and how to bring their energies back into balance.

The other day, I was feeling out of sorts, antsy and I caught myself in a procrastination loop. I knew I had the entire day free to go at those boxes of files again.  I sat with this board in contemplation of the issue, attempting to get some clarity as to which aspect(s) was in resistance and why.  It was quite informative. I’ll share it with you:

The first thing I noticed is that mind was at the “head” of the table. (no pun intended)

After checking in on the energies, I felt into Heart first. Heart appeared with some sort of metal ties wrapped around it. It seemed kind of mopey and said it was tired of Mind running the show.

Mind said something about Heart needing to heal and Heart said it is healed enough and it is Mind that needs to “heal” by dropping all those old patterns of thinking.

Body appeared as a giant banana slug…tired…too tired…Mind tires it out. It wants to follow Heart. Body asks when we are going swimming again.

Spirit came from some distant place to which it had retreated, zipped into the room as dragonfly (a totem for me these days) and landed on the table as Shrek and said “It’s all about fun and adventure.”

Then, I got this image of the three of them (Heart, Body and Spirit) sitting around playing cards all day waiting for Mind to get over itself and get on board with them.

It never fails. When I interview Mind, Mind says it is tired of running the show and would like a little support from the other three. Actually, it likes to show its prowess, but then it gets too high on itself and takes over. So I tried something. I let Mind be held by the other three, as if in a hammock.

I asked: What is it to release to the wisdom of heart, body and spirit?

(c) Kathy J Loh

(c) Kathy J Loh

This question landed on the backdrop of attempting to seriously downsize my possessions and files. When this internal board discusses letting go of all my stuff, Mind goes right back to all the sorting, organizing, what to sell, donate, etc. Why wouldn’t it do that? Mind is a brilliant strategist and calculator.
The other three just sigh and say, “Stop bogging us down!” They tell Mind that it doesn’t have to be done that way. Just get rid of it. It’s stale. C’est passé!

This is where my heart quickened – that familiar cocktail of excitement and fear.

I know I’m at an edge here.

I put heart at the head of the table, not as the boss, but as a way of realigning the weight of the voices. My energetic motor was restarted and I accomplished a good deal of work that day which I’d previously been avoiding.

Here’s what I know. There is a new way for me to be in the world that I am evolving toward. Since it is new, I don’t know what it is. I call it moving into the Great Mystery. I say I am looking to follow The Beauty Way (as the Navajo call it).

I know that it requires a strong internal alliance and alignment of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Each aspect is called forth to its highest strength and my highest purpose is best served by the strength of the team not one or two individual aspects. Each holds a powerful truth. Together, in their alignment, they provide the point of contact between the human me and my soul.

Together, in alignment, Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart resonate with the one-ness from which I feel so separate and help me re-member that unity.

(Tomorrow, a note on what happened the day after I was whirlwind productive at downsizing boxes and files, because this moving into the Great Mystery thing is way bigger than just clearing clutter. I’m only setting the stage with that stuff.)

Meanwhile, try this stuff at home, kids! Many of my clients get great results with this. I’d love to hear what happens for you.

copyright(c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I’ve just discovered a lovely set of short talks and descriptions of beautiful meditations with Thich Naht Hanh on Oprah’s site.

I highly recommend them (despite the quick commercial on the front end).

Want a respite from your day?

Want to become centered and grounded right now?

Been at Twitter, email or Facebook too long?

Always useful and perfect for those moments when you find yourself indecisive, overwhelmed and spinning.

You can choose from breathing, mountain solid, flower fresh, water reflecting, space free meditations.

Follow this link below. From there, you can view the others

Thich Nhat Hanh – Space Free

On Oprah’s site there are many brief audios to explore that will rejuvenate your body, mind, spirit and heart.

Click on the link below for more audio meditations for revitalizing the body and then have fun exploring.

Meditations for rejuvenating body

I’ll be back again later today with another post. Meanwhile enjoy this beautiful day that was given to us. All we need to do is receive.

copyright(c) Kathy Loh April 2009 all rights reserved

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