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Archive for the ‘Time’ Category

First a few questions for you to consider:

Did you have a productive day today (or yesterday if you are reading this in the morning)?

How much did you do?

How do you personally quantify and or qualify productivity?

How important were the things you did and by whose standard?

How do the things you accomplished fit into the big picture of what you want for your life?

Merriam-Webster’s tells us that to be productive is to “have the quality or power of producing, especially in abundance” which is how most of us think of it, but it also says to be productive is to “yield results, benefits, profit as well as yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities.”

So, if we review our activities at the end of the day with the measurement of how much we got done, are we necessarily speaking to our productivity? Maybe and maybe not. Perhaps we are just bustling with activity or checking things off of our list without being discriminating about the value we are producing.

If you sat under a tree all day, would you be productive? What if you were Buddha?

P1010709fbready

Most of us collapse productive with being visibly busy or producing visible results.   We often feel like we are playing beat the clock. There is only so much time in the day. This leads to multi-tasking (now known to be counterproductive for most people) and myopic vision of what is important; putting out fires.

Busy-ness with no cohesion of direction or intention, with no sense of overarching purpose and lacking in substance, leads to overwhelm and burnout. For a long time now, being the busiest, most overwhelmed person around has been a kind of badge of honor. It is the ego’s way of saying “I am important. I must be, because I am so busy. Everyone needs something from me.” It is also the martyr’s excuse for never being able to get to what matters to them, because they are taking care of everyone else’s business.

But what does the wound-driven ego or the martyr know about what really matters in your big picture?

If you invested your time today in things, thoughts, activities, people that are in alignment with your soul vision, in alignment with your values and priorities, then you have been productive whether we can see it or not. You have surrendered to your vision and your priorities and come to understand what, at the end of the day (literally), really matters to you, no matter what other people make of that.

In the same way that action without substance can lead to burnout, substance without action can lead to a whole lot of potential with nowhere to go and it can lead you to depression or delusion.

So, being productive is about both the visible and the invisible, action and substance. There is a story that Einstein was often found sitting with his feet on the desk staring out the window. Was he being productive in those moments?

The key is not to fool yourself into thinking you are not procrastinating simply because you are being busy. By the same token, your musing, planning and visioning time may be highly productive or it may be a delay tactic. In either case, be honest with yourself.

Were you able to accomplish anything today that feeds your soul vision, your values, your creativity, your imagination of what’s possible for you in this life? If so, congratulations! If not, what were you up to instead?

Were you taking care of another person’s agenda?

Were the decisions and choices to be made so overwhelming that you escaped into the social media vortex?

Were you focused on that mountain of things that you think need to be out of your way, before you get to what matters?

It is time to walk away from the mountain. One thing I have learned about that mountain is that it will never be conquered. It is always growing. Trying to get to the top is about as easy as trying to move a sand dune, one teaspoon-full at a time.

You will need your body to help you out here. The mind sees things as done: whole and perfect. It has little concept of what it takes to birth something. Consider the last time you installed a new program on your computer and ended up online with tech help the rest of the day. Consider the last time you had a remodeling project or thought you might just do a “little yard cleanup.” Consider what you feel like the first Monday morning after we switch the clocks to daylight savings time.

The mind can plug things into your calendar without regard for your body’s needs. It just sees open squares with times next to them. Your body doesn’t care about the calendar whether paper or digital. It is not a machine. It follows the sunlight, your bio-rhythms, the moons, the seasons and the weather and reacts to what you ate the night before. Your body has reliable reactions to your choices and what you consider your priorities.

So, if your mind tries to convince you that you can add this one little thing your friend asked you to do because, it shouldn’t take long or says you can sit at your computer eight hours a day without consequence, check in with your body. Trust your aches and pains, your gut reactions.

Procrastination then is not necessarily detectable by a lack of action, nor is being busy proof you are not procrastinating. Meanwhile, we can just as easily procrastinate on what matters by getting busy with unimportant things or constantly taking care of other’s needs as we can procrastinate by doing nothing.

Sometimes what looks like procrastination is actually a time of stopping so that we can break old habits that keep us locked in our familiar patterns. This happens to musicians all the time. She may find that she’s been playing something incorrectly all along and the only way to break the habit is to leave it alone until she can approach it with a fresh start.

We are evolutionary beings. We are not meant to lock into one way of being and working our entire lives. We are not machines. We are not meant to be grinding our gears 24/7. Sometimes we need to just stop and wait and listen for a sign, a vision, a direction.

It takes love and hope to generate and receive your soul vision.

It takes vulnerability and willingness to stand for that vision.

It takes courage to hold your boundaries around your own agenda. Many will call you selfish for their own selfish reasons.

It takes commitment to invest your time and energy regularly in your soul vision

It takes discipline to meet that commitment time and time again.

It takes flexibility to surrender to the river of life when it takes an unexpected turn.

It takes forgiveness to meet your failings and begin again.

It takes faith to get off the familiar trail you’ve been on for years and follow your heart to blaze a trail  that is entirely yours.

How do you get a vision, develop deep listening, receive signs?

How do you develop these qualities of courage, commitment, flexibility, forgiveness?

That’s what I’m here for. If you are ready to invest in yourself and your dreams by receiving the help of a qualified coach and spiritual anchor, contact me today to set up an exploratory consultation.

I also invite you to read the other entries in this blog for inspiration and illumination.

Copyright(c)March 2016 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved (includes photograph)

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“Anyone else having a bumpy re-entry? Today was one of those days where by noon I was already back curled up under the covers and needed to do a bit of yoga to re-center.”

A lovely, creative colleague of mine posted those words (above) on her Facebook page the first Monday of 2015. It caught my attention, because I’d already posted to my business development group that I was finding myself in a state of huge resistance to returning to work after two weeks “off.”

I enclose off in quotes because truly the weeks of Christmas and New Years are not a time of rest and retreat. All that time “off” is needed to attend to the busy-ness of the holidays. I posted my agreement as a comment in her thread and was comforted to see others, especially my creative friends, do the same.

While I didn’t feel like I wanted to crawl under the covers, I did want to stop time. I especially wanted to stop the tidal wave of emails coming in from marketers with whom I’d traded my email address for freebies this past year. It seems that the new year, the time of making resolutions, putting away the last year and gathering (or in most cases re-gathering) our hopes for the new year, is a good time to market your programs to people. But, to me, it all came across as too much noise.

photo of apacheta

Apacheta, offering to Gaia with gratitude – I later added rose petals from my solstice ceremony

Add to that, the noise of my panicked inner slave-driver chastising me for not having my own program launching with the others and that was all it took for my inner dragon to arise from its slumber. That’s good actually. I can use a little fire. Healthy anger is an indication that some boundaries have been crossed. I needed some boundaries. I needed to quiet the noise and shut off the inner slave-driver. I started opting out of all the lists and deleting emails. I refused to get on the new year-new you-productivity bound train. Instead, I stood on the platform and watched the train roll out of the station. As I did, I began to wonder. Why?

Why do we think that turning a calendar page from one year to another means we suddenly have a boatload of will power we didn’t have before?

Why do we think it’s time to rev our engines? If your holiday has been as relaxing as a two week silent meditation or spa retreat, perhaps you are ready to go on January 2nd. But for many of us the holiday has been go, go, go and January 2nd feels like jet-lag after a European whirlwind tour.

Yet, there is more at play here than a busy holiday.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, January falls in the dead of winter. The days are very short and the nights are long. Unless you are a night owl, trying to fit all you want to accomplish in the daylight hours is extremely challenging. It’s not natural to begin pushing ourselves to adopt new schedules and achieve high productivity in the winter months. OK, for you, maybe, but not for me and certainly not for the others who responded to my colleague’s Facebook post.

For me, what is natural at this time of year is to slow down, hibernate a bit, plan, and look within. As Ted Andrews wrote (in his book Nature-Speak):

This is actually a time for withdrawal from our outer activities, so that we can give birth to the light within our own darkness. To bring new life from the darkness of the womb is the goal of this season…These universal rhythms converging upon us are keyed to enable anyone who is seeking to awaken the interior gifts and light….Unfortunately, society has created an attitude of participation in continual gatherings and outward celebrations. This is contrary to the energy and rhythms of this season. The energies playing upon humanity stimulate great introspection and facilitate meditative states of awareness, and time should be given for these.

If we have attended to the gathering and preparations of Autumn, then we are ready to pay attention and receive the whispers, signs and messages from the Mystery that help guide us on an inward journey where we may commune with our soul and shine a light on our shadow.

All I really wanted to do, besides meditate, journal and walk, was put away the holiday decorations, clear the clutter, clean up my office and make it a beautiful and welcoming space within which to work. I wanted to futz and putter. I liken it to stretching the canvas, sharpening the pencils, noodling at the keys, ordering seeds.

Every creative knows that a good deal of puttering and dream time is needed to get the flow going. Futzing evokes the muse.

The other thing that happened was I reviewed my journal from the turn of 2013 to 2014 and I discovered that I had not accomplished all I’d hoped to. Honestly, I already knew that, but there it was in black and white. It was deflating to see that year after year, I wish for the same thing that does not materialize and it was disheartening to assume this year would be different. Still, I know I didn’t fail, because I certainly lived a wonderful year. I grew. I loved. I played. I stayed in business doing work I love.

What if I just let these perennial wishes go?

If I want to grow a garden, I first plan it. I browse seed catalogs. I dream of the harvest in Technicolor savoring, in my imagination, the smell and taste of fresh ripe tomatoes. I determine the space that I will designate as garden and when the soil is ready, I till it. I amend it. I till it some more. I will not plant until the days are longer and the frost is past. Why not do the same for my life?

At the Winter Solstice, I did just this. My planning consisted of setting the resonance for my future and in so doing, I invited my future to reach back and show me the way. The tug I feel upon my heart; the messages I receive from animals and experiences of synchronicity; those chills I feel when I make a proclamation or someone else says something to me with which my soul is in alignment; those events are my future speaking to me, beckoning me, the one for which I built a resonant field, not with specific form, but with how I want it to feel and who I want to be when I am living it.

When dreaming a future, form can be so limiting. Resonance is generative. My Solstice ceremony was to build that resonant field that invites possibility, while releasing with compassion and forgiveness the past and anything that does not align with that field or hold that resonance.

photo of a collage

2015 New Year Collage

So, when the first Monday of the new year arrived, for me, the soil of 2015 was nowhere near ready to be tilled, not to mention harvested. I want to hear my own voice, not the voice of others telling me what is missing in my life, what needs fixing and their method for doing so. Oh boy, can the “never-enough” ego get hooked by all that advertising!

It is winter and I want to hang out with my soul; the two of us cozy by the fire. I want to hear my soul acknowledge my journey thus far with love and compassion, as it will. I want to know the truth of myself, not as someone who is broken and needs fixing, but as a unique expression of the Divine, whole and complete; a perfect rose unfolding more and more each day. I want to have a clear sense of what is truly productive and not mere busy-ness.

Together my soul and I can dream the delicious future that calls to me, putter about and weave it into a visionary tapestry. I may not know what it means yet and I may not be able to control the form, but I can listen deeply, beneath the ego’s complaints and rest in the inner knowing that I am deeply loved and held. It’s OK to simply be me following my own rhythm. That rhythm is what gives me my desired sense of experiencing time-out-of-time.

photo of collage detail

Under the window of the collage

And you, dear reader, how will you dance to your own rhythm and fashion a life that suits your soul and invites the assistance of the Universe in a profound way?

A coach is a powerful ally who assists you with visioning a future in alignment with your true rhythm and soul’s calling while also helping you stay the path when the forest gets thick and the way unclear. I offer several options to help you fall in love with life again. Watch also for an upcoming FUN way to move through your fears (group program). To sign up to be the first to hear about my new offerings or to contact me for a consultation, check out my website

Copyright© January 2015, Kathy J Loh, All rights reserved

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“The words ‘I am’ are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to.  The thing you’re claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you”.  ~A.L. Kitselman

I saw the movie Tree of Life last night. It’s a long film and more a collage or kaleidoscopic adventure than linear story.  It’s definitely more art than entertainment, though I found it to be both. It’s definitely a feast for the eyes and perhaps the soul. It met with mixed reviews from the audience, but then so did Impressionism, Symbolism, Cubism; you name it.

About half way through the movie, the guy eating popcorn next to me checked the time on his watch. When it was over, the woman behind me sighed loudly and said “Oh thank God. That was awful.” (I wondered why she found it important for the rest of us to hear that and why she stayed through the entire film.  Why spend precious moments of life voluntarily enduring something that causes you pain?) In general there was a huge question mark hanging in the air in the theater as everyone made their way to the aisles and back to “reality,” speaking in muffled late evening voices or simply walking together in silence.

I carried that question mark home with me and it wove itself into my dreams and threaded its way into my first waking thoughts this morning.  Never mind trying to come to grips with some missing details in the storyline like how old was the boy when he died and whatever happened to… or what was being said / not said about afterlife.  Never mind, as well, how much I related to a story set in the 1950s with an authoritarian parent and the death of one of the children.

What I was sitting with (or what was sitting on top of me) was the paradox of significance and insignificance.

In the film, we are treated to amazing scenes of the Universe. The sense of space as infinite and time as eternal is awe-inspiring.  I felt so small while viewing those images. While making breakfast, I continued to feel the tug of war between my desire and passion for creating a life I enjoy, making a difference while I’m here and some sense of nihilism. I experience both extreme discomfort and huge relief when I ask myself “what’s the point?”

I took the paradox into my morning meditation / contemplation.  After getting myself deep into a meditative state, I found myself saying out loud:

I am significant in my insignificance.

I sat with that for a moment and then I said:

I am insignificant in my significance.

I let it resound in my being for a moment, without answer, just experiencing the impact of the words.

Then, thinking I would say “I am both”, I found myself uttering:

I am

A huge wave of energy washed through me. I can’t describe it better than that and I can say that the tears (OK sobbing) came with the wave and it was not sadness, it was more like gratitude. I saw a sun floating before me that I decided to take into me. It filled me with another wave that forced breath in and out of my throat chakra. It was the breath of life. That’s what it felt like; like the first cries of a newborn babe.

The mind, being the wonder it is, may look for connection with the biblical verse from Revelations:  “I am the alpha and the omega.” But, honestly, I have no need to follow the mental thread any further. I was in the experience and what I knew for sure was that something was coming online.

Some part of me that I’d left for dead was recognizing I’m alive and that all that matters is this gift of Life.

This gift of Life is exactly that, a gift and not something we have to wait to live until we’ve earned it through our good deeds, our political, spiritual or eco-correctness. It’s not a reward for achievement(s); not a destination on some far horizon.

The generous giver of the gift only wants us to receive the gift. Receive.

I don’t think we are expected to give anything back. Our generous receiving is our giving.

Those redwoods I hear singing in celebration when I listen deeply – perhaps they are singing joyful songs of “I am.”

copyright(c) October 2009,KathyJLoh, All Rights Reserved Soquel Hills

We spend a lot of our lives adding extra words to “I am.” By those words we define ourselves and others. We lay claim to our specialness in a way that leaves us bereft of our true uniqueness. 

We get our knickers in a bunch over what to say after “I am” and we get confused if what we think we are conflicts with what we wish we were. We carry the baggage of the words by which we call ourselves around with us, adding more and more through the years. Some of those words are lovely and some, downright degrading.

Perhaps all we need is our name (which in many traditions is the source and the resonance of our life power) and to know that at the root of every name is Love.

As one who is Love, we are each and every one, significant.  We are the unique expressions of creation; the vehicles through which creation gets to play in form; sees and is seen, hears and is heard, knows and is known.

In our sense of time, this unfathomable timeline of eternity, my life, your life, is but the blink of an eye, as it is said.

At the same time, all that is and ever was is now and the blink of an eye is a major event in the now.

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

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Full moon today

Full moon and a lunar eclipse

What do I know about the full moon? I know that I love the light it casts upon the landscape at night…both the light and the shadows. I know that I love how it floods into my bedroom through the skylights. I know that it comes and goes in its own time and I have no control over it.

My Tibetan/English-Qi Gong-Magical Energy-Worker friend, Pemma, wrote in an email that “today’s full moon is known as the Thunder Moon or the Hay Moon. Thunder moon because it’s the season of thunderstorms … so metaphorically if things have been particularly stroppy for you, be reassured that you will soon be out of this phase.” She goes on to point out that we can consciously use the energy of thunder to push through things.

When I posted this to Facebook, other friends responded: Suzanne wrote that this “full moon is also known as Mead Moon, for celebrating the reaping of the first harvest — a time for appreciating accomplishments and choosing those to expand…”

Angela wrote that it’s “also the Buck Moon, the Native American name for when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads.”

What I notice is common to all of these attributes is that they speak to cycles; to endings and beginnings. Beyond the normal association of cycles with the moon, these particular attributes speak to the time of year, the time when the first crops are harvested, fledglings are flying, young ones are maturing, insects and reptiles are shedding shells and skins. The quail chicks have hatched and we celebrate their arrival even as the shell of the egg whose arrival was at one time celebrated is now discarded.

For something to expand, it needs to push outward, upward, through. It needs to claim or be given space. For the next generation of a crop to have room to grow, the first fruits need to be harvested, need to be cut away, cut back, up-rooted. Fawn gives way to yearling, gives way to its adult potential and antlers reach skyward, pushing through skin.

On my walk today, I found a hollow shell of something that, at first, I thought might be a baby rattlesnake rattle, but it isn’t. It is an exuvia of some creature; the home for something that outgrew it. Something moved on and left the empty shell of what it no longer needed behind; left it there to disintegrate into the dirt, blow away with the wind. Most of us keep our empty-shell-pasts in boxes in the garage, in our unconscious habits, in our energy fields.

Full Moon Lake Tahoe (c) Kathy Loh

Full Moon Lake Tahoe (c) Kathy Loh

What we perceive to be the cycles of the moon teach us that expansion and contraction are part of wholeness and are not in opposition to one another. The full moon gives way to the new moon gives way to the full moon and it all has to do with lighting, reflection and our perception. It is always the whole of the moon.

When we forget it’s a cycle, we become fearful. We go linear. We see our lives as a kind of timeline that has credit (expansion) and deficit (contraction) and we judge credit as good and deficit as bad. We call expansion abundant and contraction scarcity. We hold them as opposites, even competitors and we forget they are all one cycle, one whole.

When we are walking a linear timeline with the “good times” and “bad times” we set ourselves up for disappointment. We begin to create crafty means for attempting to control and restrict the periods of contraction while we look for ways to control and sustain the periods of expansion.Can you say struggle?

There are cycles that delight us, like the seasons, and cycles we find less enchanting, like how the house needs cleaning, or the laundry needs washing, again. There are cycles that keep us alive, like our heartbeat and breathing.

All around us, things are ebbing and flowing. The moon pulls upon the tides. Time pulls upon the rose. Nothing is still and we can always depend on the fact that things are in constant movement, in a perpetual state of change. I find this rather fascinating given how we often imagine and complain that nothing is changing and we feel stuck or terminally bored. I make up that this happens when we are more interested in getting somewhere than in noticing and celebrating who we are and where we’ve been on our journey.

We need to receive the fruits of our labors and celebrate expansion even at that very moment where it is tipping over into contraction again. If we fear contraction, we fill our garages with might-need-it-again-someday, might-want-to-be-that-person-again-someday stuff. We horde the harvest and dampen our celebration.

If we fear the tension of pushing through, outward and upward, we stunt our growth. We become fearful of taking up too much space. We may even remain small and neatly contained in the shadow of larger bodies, like the moon or sun eclipsed.

What larger bodies might you be allowing to eclipse you, to cast a shadow over your light far beyond what is cyclically appropriate?

Astrologer Risa D’Angeles wrote that the eclipse of today’s full moon is the first of 3 eclipses this summer:  “July 7 (lunar eclipse, Full Moon), July 21st (blue moon, new moon, solar eclipse), and August 5 (lunar eclipse, Full Moon). Triple sets of eclipses will continue until the year 2020. We know eclipses bring an end to both inner (solar eclipses) and outer (lunar eclipses) realities.”

So here we go, lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, lunar eclipse…outer reality shifts, inner reality shifts, outer reality shifts – more cycles, more endings. As changes occur inwardly and outwardly, we are bound to feel some tension, especially if we see it as linear rather than cyclical; if we forget to perceive wholeness.

Let’s call upon some of that thunder energy, of which Pemma spoke, to consciously respond to and match the restless energy of creative becoming.  And when it comes time to be still and go within, rest. Rest creates rich compost.

Expand and contract

Inhale and Exhale

Receive and Give

All one, all whole…

And all a cause for celebration.

*extra note: For some wonderful artwork and ideas for you to explore with visual creativity around the Buck Moon theme, check out Leah Piken Kolidas’ blog Creative Every Day.

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

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“I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep.”*

Visiting with a friend the other night, we got to talking about dawdling. 35 years ago, she was a busy mother of 3 young children running a family business. As we talked, she reminisced about a morning that truly stands out for her as a special time spent with her son, who is now nearly 40. I asked her to send me the story again so I could get the details correct. Most of these words are hers with some sentence crafting by me:

One day, when her son was 4 years old, they were walking home together from the family business.  What was normally  a ten-minute drive turned into a two-hour walk. It was early spring and it was one of those crisp, crystal clear, sunny days. There was an aliveness to the air as the sun warmed the morning dew, releasing the sweet and pungent odors of grass, flowers and weeds.  In those days, the neighborhood was semi-rural. There were no curbs or gutters. In some yards, chickens played catch-me-if-you-can through holes in the fences.

Mother and son chose a pathway where they could stop to visit horses in someone’s expansive yard.  As they walked, they stopped to investigate the silvery tracks of snails heading for shade as the pavement heated up. She can still see him, a little boy, scuffing the dirt, creating dust clouds with his feet; the dust sticking to the sweat on his face. He climbed a low fence and he tossed the occasional rock.

She concluded her note to me with, “JUST BE and be in motion. NOTICE the details of the world.  A little boy and his mom in communion with the day – precious moments. Makes me smile to this day – 35 years later.”

What are your memories of precious moments and communion with other; with the day?

For me, it’s the time spent outside of time. The time spent lingering in the glow of friendship and love. The time spent on a trail, on the beach, adrift with the notes of beautiful music.  Like that one night with friends, watching the full moon rise over the ocean while listening to shimmering strains of John Abercrombie’s  Timeless.  I remember an afternoon on the beach where everything was perfection; the sound of the waves, the sunshine, the warmth of the sand, the gentle breeze and the sounds of laughter. It drew me in and I had no desire to leave, ever; until the sun began to set and it got chilly and, I would have to guess, I got hungry.

I remember the moment, while performing a piece I wrote specifically for him, when my father’s voice and the notes I was playing on the piano locked in together, rising into a beautiful unexpected crescendo, taking on a life of its own, something really sublime.  It was a moment when the music used us and we did not get in the way.

I remember being 10 and a girlfriend and I lying on our backs on the carpet in the living room, staring up at the ceiling and creating our own laugh-fest. Gosh it felt good! Summer nights bring on the memory of my bare feet on the warm asphalt of the street after dinner;  those delicious extra hours of play and gathering of neighborhood kids that come with the longer days.

I’ve check off plenty of things on my to-do lists and I’ve rarely been anything other than punctual, but there are times when I’ve just had to ignore the clock say to the trees, to my lover, to my dinner guests, to the music on the page, the keys under my fingers, …….”I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here with you.” When I say this to them, am I not also saying it to myself?

And when I think about it, on my list of regrets, not one was due to taking the time to commune, to dawdle, to play.

When all is said and done, what are the memories that will find you smiling as you look back over your life?

What really is worth your time and attention?

Where, really, do you have to be and for what – and – what will you remember about that?

When a moment begs to be savored, another soul needs to be heard and seen, when beauty calls out “over here…over here…” how will we respond?

If we are always “late for a very important date,” as the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland lamented, then maybe it’s time to create a margin for dawdling in our schedules.

If we can take the time to dawdle, to linger just a little bit longer and then a little bit longer more, we are saying:

“Life I love you!”*  And life will be very happy to hear that!

*The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

( Simon & Garfunkel )

Slow down, you move too fast
You’ve got to make the morning last
Just kickin’ down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

Hello, lamp post, whatcha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing
Ain’t ya got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo, feelin’ groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

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As promised, here my story of the snake that told time….

In 2005, I was in ceremony with White Eagle (medicine Keeper of the Origin Teachings of the Delicate Lodge) near Abiquiu, New Mexico. I camped on the land, in the shadow of the Cerro Pedernal with about 9 other people. We lived very simply; cold-water hose showers and pit toilets.  We gathered for story telling, lessons, fire building, medicine wheel training and spent time in solitary contemplation.

One of the highlights of this area is the amazing vistas common to New Mexico. Georgia O’Keefe used to drive out to this land, set up her canvas in the back seat of her car and paint. The ground is covered with thorny cacti  and alive with large red and black ants. (A little aside, there are 241 species of ants in New Mexico.) The cliffs are multi-colored red, brown, buff; limestone, sandstone, shale and a lot of clay.  Pinion, sage and beautiful ancient Junipers stand watch over the land. Below the cliffs of White Eagle’s land, runs the Rio Chama.

We each chose our “spot” for contemplation. It was a place to which we would return regularly that week. Most chose some point along the cliff line. I found a spot along a wash that had an amazing vista of the green valley on the other side of the ravine. I could see mesas in the distance which would have been in the general direction of Ghost Ranch. Two Junipers stood guard at my spot and the land fell away between them in stair-step fashion where seasonal rains had carved their natural pathway toward the river.

View from my spot (Kathy Loh)

View from my spot (Kathy Loh)

One day, after White Eagle had sent us out for solitary contemplation, instructing us to return at a specific time, I arrived at my spot suddenly realizing that I did not have my watch. One of the things I loved about my spot compared with sitting at the edge of the cliff  was that I could not see any of the other participants and they could not see me. So, I could not rely on someone else to be my timekeeper.

I was debating about whether or not to make the trek back to my tent for my watch when I spotted a large snake resting about 5 feet away and just down the wash from where I was sitting. As always, when I see that spotted pattern on the back of a snake, I check the tail. No rattles, phew! It was likely a variety of gopher snake. It was a good 4 feet long, and was resting with its hind half in the sun and its upper half in the shade rising up a ledge. A bulge gave away the fact that it was digesting a recent meal.

I struck a deal with the snake. I said “When you move, snake, I will know that it is time to return to the medicine wheel.”

I then proceeded with my contemplation and journaling. All this time, the snake never moved.

As time passed, I got a little antsy. I asked myself “OK, are you going to put full faith in this snake?”
“Yes,” I replied. So, I waited and meditated some more.

Eventually, the snake began to move ever so lazily, heading further down the gully. “Now’s the time,” I told myself and I got up to make the journey back. Just then, I spotted one of the other participants some distance away making his way back to camp.

Snake’s timing is precise.

I’ve been writing about dawdling and losing track of time. I have a desire to be able to fall into that lost space, that pure presence without an eye on the clock. This has led me to fashion most of my days with enough flexibility to muse, wander, get lost in a project.

I’ve learned to rely on the partnership of animals. If I need to get out for a walk, Callie, the local dog, will show up at my door and bark to invite me to head out to the woods. I trust her instincts and, if it’s at all possible, I drop everything and go.

When hummingbird comes up to my window and hovers right in front of my face for a moment, I know it is time to add a little variety and joy to my day.

When I was in need of solitary time, bobcat made a regular appearances day and night.  My neighbors, who have lived here over 20 years, have never seen a bobcat, and I was seeing this one regularly.

Squirrel reminds me to plan ahead and hawk shows up when I need to get some distance on a subject.

Last weekend, 2 snakes appeared near my front door, while another showed up on my walk yesterday.

In January, I participated in a Tarot Pilgrimage with Pamela Eakins of Lightning Spiral Mystery School. At the pilgrimage we pulled a card for each month of 2009. My card for June depicts two serpents. Nice synchronicity.

Animals, seasons, trees, flowers, they are all speaking to us all the time. They are all willing partners. Whether or not we listen is up to us. It takes trust and a leap of faith and, in my experience, it is trust well invested and faith well founded and well rewarded.

How have animals partnered with you? I’d love to hear your stories and invite you to share them in the comments section below.

Note: for anyone interested in learning more about animals as messengers or looking for a great Tarot deck and book, here are three great resources:

Animal Speak by Ted Andrews

Medicine Cards (book and cards) by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins

Copyright(c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Dawdling un-rule #2 is no time, now time.

When we dawdle, we lose track of time, or at least, we stop tracking it momentarily.

(Whether or not time is actually an illusion anyway is another topic, a great one for social dawdling.)

I’ve heard so many creative clients say that one thing they love and fear most about the process of creating art is that they lose themselves in it. They lose track of time and time seems to forget them.

I know this is true for me. If someone calls while I am in the midst of composing, I have a hard time bringing myself out of the music and into the conversation, out of reverie and into, uhm…what day is this? Don’t make me jump from composing to the calendar!

I wonder if this is why we creative types say we want huge expanses of time in which to work; in which to get lost. We dream of a day, a week, a month outside of time. Oh to have the clocks stand still for awhile.

As a child, I naturally dawdled, being so otherwise-attracted to the world around me and the songs within me. I still remember how jarring it was to be called out of my reverie to go somewhere and to “hurry or be late.” Somewhere, I collapsed dawdling and loss of time, even presence, with bad behavior and wasting time.

Dawdling in Glacier National Park

Dawdling in Glacier National Park 2004

What I notice now, is that dawdling expands time. It renders the space between the minutes, the space between the hours longer. Presence creates more time.

It follows then, in my crazy logic, that dawdling is a time saver. (Hey kids, try this one at home!)

Whether we are musing internally, observing outwardly, or living at the intersection of the two, time becomes no-time and our awareness of this moment becomes all of time.

On the clock, an hour is an hour. Within me and my experience of life, an hour is all over the time-map.

If I am willing to surrender to dawdling, surrender to the reverie of musing, I am more able to receive the gifts of the creator (whether you read this Creator or creator)

And here’s my favorite part:

In that deep presence there is no judgment. There is no projection of me on to other people I imagine watching me to make sure that I am behaving. With the suspension of time, comes the suspension of the inner critic.

I am free to sing, to twirl, to follow whatever wants to unfold, to free my body to move more naturally. The other day, this meant walking down the driveway in a switchback pattern and I could not, I just could not do it without opening my arms like airplane wings.

I admit it, I felt a little bit shy and a little bit silly.

I admit it, I felt fantastic!

It was not the straight line home.

It was not the most efficient use of my time and energy, or was it?

(Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the story of the snake that told time)

Copyright(C) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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