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Posts Tagged ‘hawk’

Ever had a brain lift? I make up that it’s like a face lift, but instead of erasing wrinkles, it erases beliefs.

I felt a wire in my brain snap during a coaching call with my coach, Jeanine Mancusi, the other day.  She’d asked about my ideas as to why my ex-husband went on to have an apparently happy life, the new young wife, dogs, etc., when he had been the “bad guy ” who had never behaved like he really wanted to be married to begin with. I made up all kinds of amateur analyses about it, finally admitting I didn’t really know and I felt I never would, because I’m not in his head. I’m not even in his life anymore.

Then she said something that hit me like Cher’s “snap out of it” slap in Nicholas Cage’s face in Moonstruck. She said:

“He chose to be happy.”

It was as if my brain went on red alert and all thinking had to be shut down in order to handle some sudden voltage. This is what it feels like when an illusion is pierced by the truth.

Uhm….it’s that simple? It’s that simple.

I was totally energized when we hung up. I got straight to work doing the things I’ve been resisting for months. As I marveled about the new burst of energy, I also mused and began to unravel, further, the tapestry of this belief I’d been holding. Actually, it’s the belief that was holding me….hostage.

The warp and weave of this particular tapestry comprised such notions as:

If you are good, you will be rewarded with happiness.

If you are bad, you will be punished and happiness will be withheld.

People who are bad and do bad things don’t deserve to be happy.

People who are good and do good things deserve to be happy.

People who do bad things and are still happy are cheating.

Now, how old do you think the person was who thought all of that up? It’s been hard-wired  in my brain for a very long time.

Suddenly, I understood the strange sense I have had all these years of waiting for the good news, the money, the soulmate to arrive. I have been awaiting, patiently and sometimes not so patiently, my reward for good behavior.

Here’s the catch: I’ll never be good enough. (Notice the collapse between inherent goodness and good behavior.) There’s always a thought or action that will land me in the penalty box in the game of life. If I sprain my ankle, I make an assumption (with the old belief) that I must not have been good enough. You know, like that old saying: if you bite your tongue you must’ve been thinking something bad about someone.

Even more wicked is this part: If anyone else in the world is unhappy (especially innocent people) then I can’t be happy because to do so would be in very poor form. It would be selfish and taking more than my share. (As you know, there is only so much happiness to go around!) A good girl learns to share. If I was happy and taking more than my share while others were unhappy then I would be a bad person and you know where that gets me….back into the penalty box; losing points and losing ground in my pursuit of happiness.

So, as humans will, I’d created an elaborate scheme for earning happiness which has to do with putting myself though lessons of unhappiness to grow myself and become the better, more deserving person and thus closer to receiving the reward of happiness.  It’s kind of like working really hard and doing extra credit homework for the A, or striving for sainthood.

Then all of a sudden, la-dee-da, along comes the realization that anyone, regardless of good or bad, (A student or F student), deserving or undeserving, hard worker or lazy, gets to choose to be happy just because they want to.

WTF? That sucks! And WOW you mean?

The waiting is over, sweetheart!

Right here, right now, I can decide to be happy and I don’t have to do anything to earn it, to pay for it, to coax it, to deserve it. All I’ve got to do is choose. The entire tapestry of the old belief structure had been pulled apart, string by string and there is nothing substantial to sustain it anymore.

3_3_2010

Perspective (c) K J Loh

A hawk is circling skyward outside my window as I write this. It reminds me to note that I covered this territory in this blog last October.  It’s no straight line, this evolution of consciousness. More like a spiral; each time we rise higher on the current,  getting an ever broader perspective. At the same time, like the hawk, able to see the finest details with clarity.

My resistance to doing what I wanted to do (written about in the two previous posts) was generated by several factors:

Rebellion: I’d been earning for a very long time and I was tired of showing up and not getting rewarded.

A holding pattern:  I’m waiting for my reward. Surely it will arrive any day now. (The scary thing about this notion is that I could easily wait myself into the grave.)

Indecisiveness: I didn’t know for sure what action or activity would get me the most points toward happiness.  I mean, if I’m trying to earn points then there must be some scoring scale for various activities, right? (Some of you might recognize this one as wanting to know if you are on the right path, doing the right thing.)

As I went to sleep that night, I reflected on this thought:

My life is a grand adventure!

I thought of all the adventures I’ve had so far. I was able to see the amazing life I’ve had. Yes, there have been tough times, but for the most part, I’ve lived a privileged and wildly creative life. I’ve participated in many amazing activities, taken fabulous journeys. Even the painful times made complete sense as part of the whole vista (a window I’ve peered through before).

I cried for the sheer Beauty of the Adventure.

I am currently at a point in my life where I can go anywhere and do anything I want. I have a blank canvas before me. I can work from anywhere as long as I have a phone. I have no pets, no spouse or mortgage to worry about.  I’ve dreamed of having this blank canvas for as long as I can remember.

What is the adventure I want initiate now?

As a coach, and a visionary, I am used to taking people and myself through the visioning process. I have lost my interest in visioning the places, people and activities many years ahead.

I am more interested in visioning who I am being come whatever may. I am enchanted by the Mystery. I don’t want to plot my course so much as dance with it. I don’t need a GPS, I just need my dancing shoes.

Whether or not someone else is happy will no longer be the gauge by which I measure the happiness available to me.

Happiness is not a competition. (Neither for that matter is unhappiness, but that’s another subject.)

My coach once asked me “Does Kathy get to be happy?”

I now ask you the same question: Do you get to be happy?

Notice, as you reflect upon your answer:

Any discomfort in your body

Any conditions you place upon it

What you make up about why or why not

Does everyone else in your life and in this world get to be happy?

Why or why not? What are the rules and conditions that dictate your answer?

If you are someone who says you don’t know what you want, consider that you do know what you want, but you don’t think you get to have it. Why not?

Ok now, who wants to go dancing in the Mystery with me?

Copyright (c) March 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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(This is a follow-up post to Informed by a Fallen Oak)

The guys showed up at 7:24 Monday morning. I watched them walk by in the dim light of dawn; the boss and the three workmen, looking a bit grim and bracing themselves against the cold morning air. Within moments the disturbing whining of two chainsaws broke the silence.  The men had been summoned to cut up the fallen oak and remove a couple more live ones.

I sat on the edge of my bed and wept after hearing the first limbs fall. I cried for the tree and its life and I cried for all of the creatures it has supported. I cried for the beauty of life. It felt important to me to honor them by being present to their demise. I decided to take some photos too and this is when something magical happened.

I was struck by the relationship between the tree cutter and the tree. They looked to be in intimate embrace, tied together by the ropes that keep the tree cutter from falling. He wrapped his rope around the tree and after he sawed off some limbs, he climbed higher by moving the rope up the trunk with the saw hanging by a separate cord. He used the limb stumps like telephone pole staples; stomping heavily on each to be sure they would hold before applying his full weight.  Once in position, he pulled the saw up and removed the next batch of limbs.

I thought: The oak allows the one with the chainsaw to climb it for the purpose of taking it down.

Fallen and sawed up oak tree

Oak remains (K Loh)

The oak that fell the week prior, spoke to me of being done and not knowing what’s next; of being uprooted with no sense of a new home.

Watching these live oaks being taken down, I thought of the structures, external and internal, that present potential hazards and blocks to who I am becoming now. I wondered what those structures are.  Internally, I know they are beliefs and fundamental choices. Externally, there are many options, from the amount of time I spend online to where I live.  It’s possible they are also the spiritual practices to which I’ve become somewhat attached. They’ve served me so well, that it pains me to let them go. They will support me as I disassemble them.

And so, I am in an intimate dance with my structures, climbing to the top, chainsaw in hand, removing limbs as I go and allowing enough to remain to support me as I climb. At some point, I will remove the top and begin the decent and dismantling of the trunk.

With the root, the original essence of all that is my calling, remaining in the soil, new sprouts will grow. These will be the new structures and new ways of doing and being that will arise in service of that calling.

firewood remnants of fallen tree

Firewood (K Loh)

The logs from the original tree will become firewood to warm us and our neighbors through the cold winter months.  As my coach, Jeanine Mancusi,  reminded me, the energy of the tree lives on in every piece of firewood, every stem, every leaf. There is a phoenix that rises from the ashes of all that I’m willing to burn.  The ashes feed the seeds.

There is more spaciousness in my view with the trees gone. There is more room to breathe and more room to move without some of those old beliefs and habits. The sunsets and stars are more visible. I can see beyond the forest.

I have tremendous gratitude for the old practices and how they helped me survive some very rough times. I grieve for them even as I embrace the adventure of creating and easing into new ones.

Just as I typed those words, a hawk rode a wind gust past my window, through the very space that used to be crowded with trees. It banked, circled and then flew directly at me gliding up over the roof.

It says something to me about where I’m headed these days…

Maybe it feels like being uprooted.

Maybe it feels like deconstructing, removing, rebuilding.

Maybe it feels like burning it all to the ground.

Hawk reminds me… it’s all about dancing with the winds of change.

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


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photo: Kathy Loh

photo: Kathy Loh

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 words and images copyright (c) April 2009 Kathy Loh all rights reserved

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It’s springtime in the hills of northern California and, today, the weather is perfect. Forget-me-nots wink at me from the shaded portions of the hiking trail. Bright red Indian Paintbrush clings to the cliffs in the sunshine. Bees buzz the California Lilac and my purple jacket. I can’t imagine I smell as good as the lilac. Poison oak is crowding the pathway, drawing my attention to my footsteps. Lupin sends its brilliant purple spikes skyward.

Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots (photo:Kathy Loh)

I love this time of year. Billowy clouds invite the imagination to discover transmutable shapes in them. I remember childhood innocence and I’m prone to dawdling. At such a pace, the whole world opens up and time is ineffective. Remember that musical “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off?” Well, today, for me, it is “stop the world I want to get on.”

My first steps on the trail were met with a piercing screech from a nearby pine. I followed it to see two Red-tailed Hawks catch an updraft, circling directly overhead. One was smaller than the other and I made up it was parent and offspring. As I watched them, I came to notice a third hawk way, way up in the sky. “OK,” I said to them. “I get it.” This is more than a message or a nudge. This is a request for my commitment to partner with them.  They are telling me it is time to soar and glide with the currents of life and they will be my willing guides.

A hummingbird darted toward me in a warning posture. I figure it must be protecting young ones in a nearby nest.

Teaching young ones to fly, protecting nests and boundaries, blossoming wildflowers reaching for the sun. ..sounds just like us.  We reach for nurturing and illumination. We are wild. We want to soar and we would like a little guidance and love along the way.

If we are to self-actualize, we need to feather our nests in alignment with our body, mind, spirit and heart. We need to protect that nest with the fierce bravery of the hummingbird; create our boundaries with a firm no when it serves us. We want to re-member our innocence and our wildness; give ourselves plenty of time each day to reach for that warm sun and glide on the current.

We are all familiar with the dreaded voice in our head that drives us all day long and the other one that says we deserve a pint of ice-cream for our efforts. What amazes me is how difficult it is for us to find that loving nurturing voice within.

The voice that cares about what’s really good for us.

The voice of the one who would soar right alongside us as we learn to fly.

The voice of the one who is patient and curious and can agree that this moment and this amazing blue flower with the delicate yellow center is all that matters right now. Everything else can wait.

The dreaded voice drives us out of our minds and out of this world. Hawks, hummingbirds, flowers and clouds go unnoticed.

The nurturing voice lovingly calls our souls home and makes everything about being in this world, including hawks, hummingbirds, flowers, clouds, you and me…a miracle.

What voice will you cultivate today?

copyright (c) April 2009, Kathy Loh, all rights reserved

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