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Archive for the ‘Wholeness’ Category

I have a frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis. This means, I can’t raise the arm attached to that shoulder much higher than the shoulder itself. It makes things like sweeping, washing my hair, putting on pullover tops and the like challenging or nearly impossible without pain. I’m to avoid pain. Nice directive and one for which I need little reminding.

[Let me take a moment to announce to everyone, especially the mid-life women out there, if you feel pain in your shoulder and it doesn’t go away for weeks on end, get it checked out. It is easier to take care of early in the game. Once it adheres, the recovery can be a long one. Natural recovery (without intervention) can take 2 to 4 years. Much of what I’ve read says it is likely hormone related. I would have liked to have known about all of this prior to the adhesion, so consider this my public service warning to all you ladies out there.]

As for me, I felt it last fall, before I went to Hawaii, but I figured it was just another of those aches that goes away if you just give it a little time. While I was in Hawaii, it loosened up as I swam in the warm waters of Lanai. But then, I suspect everything feels better in Hawaii.

There are details of the journey, whom I saw and what they recommended, but where this post really begins is the night after I got a cortisone shot in my shoulder.  Agony was my teacher.

The pain was the worst I’d felt since I broke my foot.  I experienced wave after wave of pain and no position made it better.  There was no break, no breather from the misery.  I walked around my house saying “and this is supposed to make me feel better? Are you kidding me? WTF!”  I began to wonder how people with chronic pain manage and my compassion for those people went up exponentially.

When I went to bed,  I put on the Reiki Whale music I listen to every night and tried finding the least painful position to lay in. At first, I resisted, as in, I tried to go to sleep despite the pain, trying to ignore the pain and listen to the music. That didn’t work.

Finally, I decided to work with it rather than against it. I repeatedly said “You are a part of me. You are a part of my wholeness.” Then I went deeper into the pain with curiosity; wanting to know more about this part of me. I found myself being with its rhythm, riding its wave. Somewhere in that ride, I drifted off. When I awoke, the pain was gone.

That morning, with my focus no longer captive to waves of pain in my arm, I noticed that my big toe joint hurt, my left shoulder was also unhappy and there was a kind of kink in my groin. These typical morning aches and pains felt heavenly in comparison to the previous night’s waves.

I took the contemplation of wholeness to my morning meditation. What was the pain teaching me?  I thought of all the ways I have separated from myself in resistance to pain; physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain, mental pain. Whenever I resist, I am saying, you are not me, you are the enemy.

Then I became aware of all the ways I’ve separated from myself by berating myself. Every time I have found myself wrong, imperfect, flawed in some way, I’ve disowned a piece of me and created separation.  I became aware of the ways I’ve colluded with others who have foisted their own pain on me in the form of disrespect and abuse.

When I am not experiencing myself as whole, I feel broken and feeling broken I chase after whatever I think will fix me. Thus, I’ve set up a cycle of separation and pain.

In my meditation I welcomed it all back, all of it and all of me. I sent messages and vibrations of love to all of me, the whole me with everything included.

Now, the me who is already (and always was) beautiful has an opportunity to catch up to the me that has been chasing after perfection.

Beauty is not perfection.

I said to myself: This is where I not only “see what is,” I accept. I surrender. I stop chasing. Now I can begin again from Love.

As I sat with those thoughts, I noticed little complaints from various parts of my body as if to ask “me too?” “Yes, knee, you too.” And as quickly as it came, the throbbing in the knee vanished.

The prior night’s pain brought me into my body and would not let me escape. Being in my body had me be aware of what it needs. It forces me to listen and that’s all the body wants, for me to be present and listen.

I became aware that if I am self-loathing in any dark little corner of myself, I hold myself separate from me, from others, from life, from God / Goddess / All that is.  This loving wholeness, embracing it all, is the antidote to self-loathing. Rather than focusing on how I am not perfect and all the things that need fixing, which has me not like myself until those things are fixed, I am turning my attention to being whole. I’m loving the whole me inclusively and my body, mind, spirit and heart can all feel safe and loved, rather than marginalized and disowned.

If I want to be heard and seen, best to begin by seeing and hearing myself.

And so, I am re-membering the disowned parts and I am remembering who I really am.

And you, dear reader, what pains you and how is it related to separation?

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

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I’ve started this sentence many times over. It’s not that I don’t know what to say. Rather, I am distracted by (or what I prefer to call otherwise attracted to) the wildlife outside my window. It’s the daily luncheon at the oak diner for chickadees, juncos and woodpeckers. Today they are joined by two robins who are perched still as statues while a jay warns in the distance of a hawk soaring overhead. That same hawk is sharing the air space and the wind currents with two turkey vultures. A crow is showing off its wide vocal range. Several birds follow their feast with a bath in the copper sculpture across the way, while two red squirrels chase each other through the branches with clownish grace.

Such are the magical moments presence in the Great Mystery offers. I’ll sprinkle the images throughout this post.

And I’m feeling a bit like a cat at the window;  my eyes tracking every little movement; “what was that? What was that?”

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

It’s precisely this sense of surprise and wonder that I want to expand as I move, with the passing of the Solstice, into days of more light. And, yes, I mean that metaphorically as well as literally.

The only appointment on my calendar today was a meditation and energy healing with Ping Li of Awaken Within Path. Today’s meditation and energy healing was on abundance and receiving. As I sat in the silence, open to receiving purification of old energies that no longer serve who I am becoming, I brought forth three things for transmutation: money, love, healing.

I distilled it down to three unproven notions still swimming in my energy field:

  • Money is evil (or at least the root of it) [clarification to come]
  • Love hurts (betrayal being my sore spot)
  • Healers suffer for their gift(s), not only have they been wounded, they remain crippled (don’t have a clue where I got this one…past life?)

You can imagine how helpful these beliefs are for one who wants more income, a loving partner and is engaged in healing practices. Uh-huh! Does any of this sound familiar to you?

I’m not much of a scientist. I have the curiosity of one, but I’m not very detailed oriented and don’t like restrictions on my movement.  I’m more an explorer than a scientist. So, I set about to explore these notions to find the one thing that would help me release them, which is to say, to discover them once and for all untrue.  Here’s what bubbled up:

It’s all just history.

Money is evil

The whole money is evil thing is from the Bible, only the words are actually: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV ) and, according to a Wikipedia article: “A more accurate rendering from the original Greek may be: ‘For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil,’ (New American Standard Bible).”

Money doesn’t create anything. We do. What we do with money and how we are about it, is not about money, it’s about us.

Love hurts

Love doesn’t hurt, we do. We get hurt and we hurt others. We betray, get betrayed and worst of all, betray ourselves. We numb out, freeze our hearts, cheat, create eternal busy-ness in our attempts to avoid pain, thereby creating the greatest pain of all – separation.

We are afraid to love because we are afraid to feel the loss of love. In a funny way, we pre-empt the pain by creating it from the start with our separation and isolation. That’s about as rational as saying: I’m afraid that, someday, I won’t have any food.  So I’m not going to eat anything ever and that I won’t know the feeling of hunger after having experienced a full belly.

woodpecker copyright(c) Dec 2010, Kathy J LohHealer’s suffer or are crippled (as in saints and martyrs and psychic healers struck by lightning and the archetype of the wounded healer.)

People don’t suffer because they have chosen to be healers, they likely became healers,  because they have suffered and it is easy enough to gather evidence that there are amazing healers in the world who are not crippled or ill.

This is a story my negative ego dangles in front of me when, faced with the question, “who am I becoming if it is not who I am now?”  It responds with a lot of very scary images to keep me confined to the shadow of who I think I know myself to be. Because that’s what the negative ego does. It pulls together little bits and pieces of sayings and events, tosses them in a blender and pours a toxic cocktail of half truths and assumptions and serves them to us with a mischievous smile. “Here, have a drink. It’ll make you feel better.”  It’s much safer to cling to my “personality” than to go off on some adventure to find a “me” I’ve never known before.

Sure, I’ve been wounded. Who reading this has not? Opening to my capacity to heal myself and others has no direct correlation to suffering other than it is meant to alleviate it.

Byron Katie’s (The Work) questions help here:

Me: (Supposition): If I open to my full capacity as a healer, I will suffer.

Katie: Is that true?

Me: Yes (tenuously, but I can’t say no)

Katie: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Me: No (I must admit)

Katie: How do you react when you think that thought?

Me: I feel scared and weak and timid. I feel like I’m not living up to my fullest potential as a compassionate being. I’m sitting on my hands, so to speak. I hide out.

Katie: Who would you be without the thought?

Me: (here we are back to that question…who would I be, but this time instead of the great wild unknown of who I am becoming, it is an exploration of life without just this one thought…just this one)

I’d be someone willing to engage with the world with an open and compassionate heart. I’d be someone exploring their fullest potential.

OK – this is a no-brainer now! Without that thought, I can be one who brings healing to others, in whatever form I do, while also being mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically vital. That is to say, in integrity.

The precise time of solstice is 14 minutes away.  At this time of our shortest day and longest night (in northern hemisphere); at this time when there is much promise of hope, forgiveness and new beginnings; at this time when the old structures are giving way and new ones await our creation; at this time:

I release history and dance into the Mystery

Robin in birdbath copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

wash it all away

What happens when I no longer believe that evil and money are married at the hip?

What happens when I no longer believe that falling in love is setting myself up for betrayal?

What happens when I bring forth my healing gifts with integral health and well-being of body, mind, spirit and heart?

At this point in my meditation I heard, “We’ve been waiting to play with you.”

I smiled and the word surrender bubbled to the surface of my awareness for another go round.

Surrender your history

Surrender to the unknown

Surrender to potential and possibility.

I recall a quote I used in a recent Mystery Message about surrender:

“You can remain in your present idea about yourself, or you can choose again. I like the idea of choosing again.” Neale Donald Walsch

As I type these final words, the solstice moment has arrived, right on time.

Into the light everyone, into the light.

Surrender to the truer, more real you.

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

 

Eclipse lunar copyright (c) Dec 2010 Kathy J Loh

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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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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 spent a bit of each day this weekend sorting and sifting through more boxes. I have to admit, no matter how much enthusiasm I can gather for the image of spending the entire weekend efficiently and magically clearing away all forms of clutter and leaving my home Martha Stewart clean, when it comes to the actual doing of it all, I fall short. I fall into the pool and onto the sun lounger. I trip down the hiking trail toward the river. I fall into my friend’s car and out to a few of the many boutique wineries in Santa Cruz for some tasting. I fall into reverie. I fall onto the ground and stare up at the stars. I fall into bed with renewed enthusiasm for what tomorrow might bring.

Pool time! (Kathy Loh)

Pool time! (Kathy Loh)

Still, I did manage to make another dent in the entire project. Wrestling with it all just doesn’t serve. I’ve surrendered to the one-box-at-a-time process. I relish every trip out to the recycle bin. The sound of the shredder makes me giddy. With each slam of the recycle bin lid or whir of the shredder, I become lighter, my life and the weight of the journey becomes lighter.

It’s all about energy. Somewhere during those years of transformation, I lost the will to expend more energy than I receive. That’s not a way of being that I’ll be looking for in “lost and found” any time soon. Time spent writing, connecting with friends, connecting with Nature, connecting with Spirit and with myself is more important to me than time spent herding paper. So, I will be keeping less of it in the field of my life. Yet, it takes time to trim the herd, especially one that’s been growing for so many years.  I am reminded to be patient.

I was talking with my neighbor, Chuck, yesterday while carrying a box out to the recycle bin. He is an interesting character. He lives in one room and has a minimum amount of possessions. He was talking about his tools. He loves to woodwork and he has an amazing mind for invention. I marvel at his spatial intelligence. He spoke about things needing to have good homes.  He feels if he is not using his tools enough, he is not honoring their energy. If we are keeping things and not using them, not enjoying their beauty, then, in a way, they want us to find them new homes. Things lose their energy if neglected.

I thought of a lovely illustrated poem by Michael Hogan “Progress” which I have displayed in a glass clip-frame. I noticed it was dusty and I could feel its energy was depleted. Like crystals, things need to be cleansed and re-energized. Although I bought this poem-picture 30 years ago, it has stood the test of time. Like any good poetry, one can relate to it from just about any level of awareness. The simple process of dusting it had me re-read it. Its message was renewed in me.

I wonder sometimes if we don’t buy more things only because we’ve neglected to renew the energy in old things. We might be trying to revitalize ourselves through the energy of “new.” So many of our old things actually do still resonate for us, when we renew our connection with them. The ones that no longer feed us deserve new homes, where they are appreciated. It gives new meaning to house cleaning and dusting.  In doing so, we are creating beauty in the space, renewing the energy of the objects in that space and, thereby, reinvigorating ourselves.

As I ponder this, I realize that I can have this all or-nothing-approach. Keep it all, file it all, maintain it all or toss it all away. Both perspectives are about quantity. Either-or quantity quickly leads to scarcity or abundance. Now, I’m considering resonance. What is the resonance factor of each piece, each item, in terms of the whole of who I am now and who I am becoming? Memories are lovely. Some items filled with memory serve my current resonance. Others do not. Those need to be released to find new homes.

By releasing them, I create space for alignment of my energy with my environment as well as a lightness of being. I also create more time to spend floating in the pool….which is precisely where I’m headed now. The next box can wait.

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

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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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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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