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Posts Tagged ‘word energy’

Earth

She is a place we call home

She has a life of her own

On any one day

In any one moment

She is active

Always breathing

Sometimes easily

Sometimes fitfully

Ever sacred

As are we

Familiar with each other from the outside in

What is it to experience each other from the inside out?

I am

I am the waterfall

     and trickling stream

I am the wild wind

     And drifting sand

I am the bursting buds

     and new grass green

I am the snow-capped peaks

     and ancient land

I am the light

      and things unseen

The shadows, the singing, the silence between

I am

Copyright © April 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Happy Earth Day my friends!

Video from YouTube – BBC’s trailer for Planet Earth

And for our sweet animal companions


					

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Time is eternal…What can happen in 7 minutes?

Will you give yourself 7 minutes for a sound bath?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

copyright (c) December 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved - video embedded with permission.

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I love New Years Day.

As much as I also love Winter Solstice, it falls too close to the holidays and gets trampled beneath the feet of travel and shopping, for me to completely find rest and peace on that day. But New Years Day falls after all the craziness and I get to be home, me alone, without obligation or interruption of any sort, wandering through the day in any way I choose.

My Winter Solstice ritual is fairly simple. My New Years activities are greater in number.

I begin by spending New Year’s Eve in the way that most suits what my body, mind, spirit and heart ask of me. This year, I had a cold and I decided to, speak with one of my best friends, watch a movie, participate in an East Coast 15 minute meditation with Ping Li for the new year by teleconference (which means I get to do it at 9pm) and then take a bath listening to Hawaiian slack key guitar music.

I decided to get a jump on my New Years divination activities by completing the evening with a Flying Bird spread using Osho Zen Tarot cards. Doing divination is a way for me to co-create with the Divine. So I call it Divine-ing.  I’ve done this for the past few years and last year’s spread spoke to me all year long in the most profound ways, so I wanted to see what might happen this year.

As I lay out the spread, I became disconcerted. I was tired and the quick interpretation I did of it made little sense to me. I decided to sleep on it.

This morning, I reviewed the spread referring to the expanded version of Osho’s book as well as using Pamela Eakins’ Tarot of the Spirit book. I was thrilled with what the cards portend. The cards fell as a continuation of last year’s spread and gave me a peek into an adventurous 2011.

After that, I began my other favorite divinations: pulling a Healing with the Angels card, two Spirit Cards (I AM and I WILL) and sitting in meditation. Near the beginning of my sitting, I heard a hummingbird, but there was none by the window and the sound came from my altar which houses my crystals and animal totems. It dawned on me that I might pull an Animal Medicine Card as the animal guide for the year and then randomly open to a page in the Crystal Bible to find a crystal guide for the year. Not surprisingly, yet delightfully, the two were well connected in essence.

I tell you about the practice without revealing the actual cards, because my meditation practices are for the most part private, unless I choose to reveal them for teachings (as I did in Movin’ On (take 3) Un-boxed and Settling In) I enjoy giving you some ideas for what you might do with divination for the new year. This is a practice aside from vision boards, vision stories, setting goals and choosing words for the year.

Speaking of choosing words, I noticed that a number of my Facebook friends were choosing their words for 2011. Choosing. Great coaching word. At first, I resisted, and then I thought, I will randomly pick a word from the dictionary and see what comes up, for fun.

Floating sculpture in Paris Fountain copyright (c) Sept 2006, Kathy J Loh

Intuition

You see, I love the random choices. That’s why I do divination. If I choose something, there’s a good chance I will choose from my mind. I will choose something I think should be the word, symbol, focus. I do plenty of that with my business and goal setting. What I want is an infusion from my intuition and I use the divination methods as a way to pop my thinking outside of its well-worn grooves. Sometimes, the cards make no sense, at least not to my logical mind and certainly not to my ego’s goals. The ego’s sense of timing is completely different from the soul, for the most part. Divination or randomness has a way of teaching me, through gradual unfolding of understanding, how these cards, these symbols, play out in my life over the year.

Making sense out of chaos requires creative thinking and maybe the process begins with making chaos out of sense. I take the cards seriously and not seriously at all.

The divination from 2010 revealed treasures that sparkled for me, that reflected a me I could not see at first.  They pulled me back time and again to a spacious way of being with myself and circumstances.

2010’s Flying Bird spread unfolded miraculously. I kept it on the wall in my mediation room and referred to it from time to time. I could see how all cards were dynamically active all year long and at the same time guiding me down my evolutionary pathway.

My angel cards from last year, Divine Timing and Manifestation, were a constant reminder to be patient whenever I got upset with the timing of things.

Anyway – back to the word. I pulled a dictionary off the shelf and flipped back and forth until the moment felt right and I stabbed a page with my finger, but the page I struck was blank. I thought the pages had flipped, but they hadn’t.

I decided to try it again with a thesaurus as if a different book might be the key. My finger landed in between entries, pointing to a completely blank spot.

“OK” I said to no one in particular and someone watching over me. “I guess you don’t want me to have a word.”  (I knew there were plenty of other interpretations, but I chose to be disinterested.)

I headed upstairs to unpack from my trip and create a laundry pile. There on the floor, previously unnoticed was a Spirit Card that said:

Passion

I laughed, just as I had squealed with delight when I pulled some of my other cards today. I like the way the Mystery plays with me.

That’s my word for 2011. Passion.  If you knew the other cards I pulled, you’d know there could not be a more suitable word.  There is plenty to explore when contemplating passion. There is so much more for me to know about this word and all it symbolizes, not to mention so much to embody.

So there you have it. I’ve revealed my word. The rest will remain a mystery for now.

I’m heading off to play with structures:

  • What are the structures and practices, what is the scaffolding that will support dancing in the Mystery?
  • What is the framework that will bend and flex with me as I explore the frontier of my own thinking?
  • What is the calendar of the heart, the timepiece of the soul?

I’ll be writing about this over the coming months.

I’m deeply grateful for each and every one of you dear readers. Your comments and email notes mean a lot to me and I love our connection.

Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Coming up: my first ever “predictions” post. Stay tuned!

words and images copyright (c) January 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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In my last post “Birthing New Beginnings,” I wrote of my resistance to manifesting my ideas into form. When I pondered the resistance, I discovered I had a fear of revisiting the deep trough of sadness I’d experienced a few years back in the form of a broken heart. Here is the continuation of that contemplation.

There is no long story to this. It’s pretty simple really in all its complexity. The bottom line is: I am not afraid of a broken heart. The breaking of my heart is not what caused my protracted misery. What I realize is that my own attachment to the misery, my attachment to the people, story, identity I did not want to release, my refusal to leave the chrysalis and emerge anew was what caused my pain.

There is this voice within that is not so pleasant. Some call it a gremlin, saboteur or inner critic. Others call it the negative ego or distorted voice. Whatever we call it, it still stinks. It is sly, conniving, a shape-shifter and, at times, downright malicious. I have experienced this voice as an energy that comes over me.

I remember sitting at the breakfast counter in a house I was staying in and feeling this energy pummeling me. I was in pain. I was crying. I felt myself a total victim to it. My whole body was contracted and, though I knew it would pass, for the moment I was under its spell.

I remember another time, just getting ready to go to sleep at a beautiful retreat in Punta Mita, Mexico. I could feel the energy hovering over me, ready to come in for the attack. I simply said “No, not this time.” The energy left and I drifted off to a deep and peaceful sleep. It was a pivotal moment for me; one in which I had finally stood up to my negative ego.

Moon 8_28_09

(c) Kathy J Loh

Most days, if the negative ego begins to speak to me, I hear it, I recognize it, but I don’t fall under its spell. The only spells I experience are the ones I am so under that I don’t even know it. I am a fish in the waters of the spell. Others may be able to see it, but I don’t, until I do.

This is where contemplation becomes essential. My daily sessions of going within are intended to help me awaken more and more to truth and release myself from the grip of delusion and illusion.

Once I had made the distinction between fearing a broken heart (a normal rite of passage in life) and wallowing in it because of attachments and shadowy archetype reactions, I was able to stumble upon a gem of enlightenment. I say stumble upon, because I was actually out hiking when it hit me and I stopped in my tracks and gasped out loud.

I am not afraid of a broken heart. I am not even afraid of becoming attached to my sadness. What I am afraid of, that which is trying to spook me, is my own self-loathing. I saw it. My negative ego is powerful only in direct proportion to my own self-loathing and my willingness to be mean to myself.

(note: I notice that after I wrote that last sentence, I got up and went to do a load of laundry. It’s not easy sitting with the fact that I have and experience self-loathing.)

It was my delusions of worthlessness, and of being unlovable that took me down.  Those delusions had me grasping for identities, people and things to earn and somehow give to me worth and love. I was under the horrific notion that I could fill those needs out there in people, things and doings.  (Yes, we all do it and that does not make it any less horrific.) It’s a downward spiral. Once the negative ego had me, the self-loathing led to more of the same.

What stopped me in my tracks was not so much the discovery of the truth beneath the ruse, but the simultaneous liberation that accompanied it. I don’t loathe myself anymore, not like that. I don’t despise myself so much that I am willing to tolerate days of misery bullied by my negative ego.

For over a year, I have faithfully practiced the “I Love You” exercise I made up and wrote about in an earlier post. I have found and used my nurturing parent voice. (thanks to Lucid Living) I have rewritten my story, forgiven others and most importantly, myself. In truth, my heart has cracked as widely open with joy as it has with pain.

I love myself and this life I am living. And I trust myself. This is the crux of the discovery.

I trust myself not to create protracted pain for myself from a place of self-loathing.

I trust myself to laugh at my foibles, to lean into the support of friends and unseen allies.

I trust myself to be nurturing, kind and loving to myself and others.

I trust myself to speak honestly to others and myself and to be compassionate rather than rescuing or demeaning.

I’m still on that journey. I’m still learning and growing. There are more illusions to dispel. I trust myself every step of the way. If a big wind comes and knocks me sideways, I trust myself to love myself through it. I know I will find my footing again.

This is the celebration, the return at the end of my Hero’s Journey; this particular journey within the broader journey. Because I now know that I love and trust myself, I also celebrate, honor and respect myself. In so doing, I also celebrate, honor and respect others and all of life. I celebrate the miracle of life and the miracle that is me.  I am aware of the preciousness of life, of breath and the wonder of the human spirit.

This self-loathing piece is slippery. When I look in the mirror and I catch myself thinking mean things about how I’m aging, how my body is changing; when I look around my office and berate myself for the disorganization; I know I am being unkind. There are times when my desire to improve myself mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually, is not truly generated from love. It is born of a lack of self-acceptance, of conditional if-then love and comparing myself with others or with commercial standards.

Here’s how I can tell the difference.

If there is a resonance of self-loathing, I have resistance. A duality of imprisonment and over-indulgence takes shape in my behaviors. It shows up in statements that begin with words like “I must, I need, I should, I deserve, I’ve earned” and it feels really hard which leaves me feeling really entitled. My energy is depleted.

If I am celebrating the miracle of life and living, I have no resistance to taking exquisite care of myself in all of my practices be they mental, physical, spiritual or emotional. If I am loving myself, it feels clean, good, honest and true to exercise and eat right; to clean my home and even to say no to someone’s request of me.  My energy is replenished and vital.

I like to imagine consciousness having created each of us from an urge for a unique expression. Now, as that unique expression manifested into form, consciousness marvels at itself, through us and through our senses.

I choose to celebrate.

My mantra for the week has been to ask “How is this celebrating the miracle of me?”

I offer it to you as a practice:

How is this next action, this thought, these words you are about to speak celebrating the miracle of life and the miracle of you?

You are amazing!

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

Put on your dancing shoes. Here’s a little song for you:

I’m Amazing by Keb’ Mo’ (Keep it Simple) (written by Keb’ Mo’ and Robbie Brooks) Samples on the site.

(sometimes the word “true” appears as “drue.”)


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Happy New Year!

Last night I danced by the light of the blue moon and sang whatever song illumined my heart. Any day I have written and walked in the woods is a good day. Any day that sends me a sprinkling of synchronicity is one that sparkles. Yesterday was one of those good and sparkly days.

I am contemplating the word “open.”  It’s not my new word for 2010.  It’s a 2009 spillover.  Just because I turned the calendar page, doesn’t mean I’m done with the contemplations of 2009.

Soul-time knows no calendar.

My body, in its infinite though sometimes painful wisdom, is having me look again at this word “open,” by way of a very swollen tendon in my right-hand thumb pad. I did not do this in some noticeable way, like an accident. It just came on and the explanation is likely connected with some way I held the steering wheel during my long drive home. It’s painful. I type very slowly. It hurts to write with a pen. To hold or grasp anything with my right hand, I have to use the fingers only. It’s giving me a new appreciation for the evolution of the opposable thumb!

In Heal Your Body, Louise Hay writes that issues with hands are about how we handle life. I took a walk contemplating how I might be trying to hold on too tightly, steering too much with the masculine (right side of body) “doing” aspect of my being; how it might serve me to release and open more. I took my hands out of my pockets despite the chill, and opened them wide.  As I left the woods and approached the driveway, I thought “I need to get rid of all that stuff I’m holding on to in the garage.” Then I stopped in my tracks and laughed out loud when I heard, “You don’t even need to hold on to letting go.”

The either /or of hold on – let go is a polarity that keeps me distracted with the game of it all rather than living life more freely. There is the baggage without and the baggage within that weighs me down, physically and psychically. In this contemplation it was about stuff, but in the bigger picture, it’s about life.

It’s not the stuff in the boxes that weighs me down. It’s how I think about them. It’s not my past that holds me back, but the story I tell about it and this notion that I somehow have to be entirely free of the sadness and anger in order to feel alive and happy. It’s also some idea I have that if it crosses my mind at all, I didn’t really release it.

I don’t have to do anything. I can do whatever I want: pick through it, let it go, give it away, sell it, never look at it again, let it rot, mold, be destroyed by mice. It’s not about letting go of the stuff. It’s about awareness of my fears; that there is one right or best way to handle it, that I will be letting things slip through my fingers, that I have to honor it, hold on to the lessons, understand everything about it, to release it and be complete. That’s precisely how having to let go makes letting go nearly impossible.

I don’t have to permanently forget people and pain from the past. I don’t have to make them saints for the lessons I learned from them. I don’t have to do anything other than what I want, which is to accept it for what it is, and open wide to accept new people and new experiences into my life. If tears come through now and then, it doesn’t mean I’m not healed. It means I have an open heart and energy moves through and around an open heart.

I want to hand-le life with an open heart!

Clay figure from Bell Pine Art Farm "Open Heart"

"Open Heart" Bell Pine Art Farm* (K J Loh)

*you can get this and other lovely clay figurines from Bell Pine Art Farm.

Interlude: Breathing is a cycle of inhale and exhale and that curious space of nothingness (no-thing-ness) in between.  I use both my fingers and my thumb to grasp things. They are in opposition, like the poles of hold-on and let-go, and they work better together than alone. So, as I open to grasping, I grasp opening. Giving and receiving, I hold one hand turned outward and one hand facing me, and both are open. It’s becoming clear that the lesson for me here is in giving and receiving open handedly.

Living in the paradox (hold on, let go: give, receive) means living in the question. Living in the question is living in that curious space between the in and out breath.  It’s what Julie Daley wrote about in her blog today as the “blessed unrest” and what Beth Follini wrote about in her New Year post as “living with not-knowing.”

I call this space “creative tension.” It’s where we are always at the edge of our frontier as creative, evolving beings and consciousness; where the drop knows it is the ocean and yet still the drop. It’s unfamiliar, edgy and completely natural.

It’s a muscle we build, this willingness to be and live in the tension of the question. The friction ignites our creative embers. I want to warm and heal the way I handle life by the wisdom and courage of this fire. I want to use its light to illumine my way through the ever-unfolding Mystery.  And, while I’m driving the distance, perhaps I don’t have to hold the steering wheel so tightly!

Oh, and my new 2010 Spirit Cards (chosen during my New Year’s Day ritual)?

I Am – Mercy

I Will  – Inspire

I’m dancing with these to the music of Open.

I’m dancing to this song by Abbey Lincoln that my friend Joette Tizzone played for me after I told her about my contemplation during our New Years Eve chat. Enjoy! (The lyrics are below)

Throw It Away (Abbey Lincoln)

I think about the life I live

A figure made of clay

And think about the things I lost

The things I gave away

And when I’m in a certain mood

I search the house and look

One night I found these magic words

In a magic book

Throw it away

Throw it away

Give your love, live your life

Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open

Let the sun shine through

‘Cause you can never lose a thing

If it belongs to you

There’s a hand to rock the cradle

And a hand to help us stand

With a gentle kind of motion

As it moves across the land

And the hand’s unclenched and open

Gifts of life and love it brings

So keep your hand wide open

If you’re needing anything

Throw it away

Throw it away

Give your love, live your life

Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open

Let the sun shine through

‘Cause you can never lose a thing

If it belongs to you

Copyright (c) January 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved (excluding artwork, video, music, lyrics)

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Today’s prompt (for the Best of 2009 blog challenge by Gwen Bell) is challenge: something that made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

I set a challenge for myself each year. The challenge is meant to expand my being beyond its current edge. I say “being” because it’s more about the unfolding of my soul’s journey for me, than about a specific tangible goal. (And yes, every year  I say I’m going to be fitter and healthier, along with everyone else who pledges that on January 1st)

When I set it, the challenge feels edgy or exciting (depending on the eyes of my perception) but as the year progresses, it reveals itself to be a synthesis of the monumental and the mundane; the sacred and the profane.

Here’s the thing about resolutions, intentions, and challenges: be willing to be surprised. That’s the nice way of saying “be careful what you pray for.”

shadow on beach Nov 09

Mystery (K J Loh)

The challenge I set for myself in 2009 and beyond (I’m now hearing Buzz Lightyear’s voice) is to make an ally of the unknown. I made a conscious decision to play in the Great Mystery. I tend to forget the play part all too often. So, life throws me a full range of opportunities to remember and this year was no different than any other in that respect.

In addition to naming a challenge,  I  pull Spirit Cards (by Joette Tizzone) on New Year’s Day. This year, I accidentally pulled two I AM cards along with the one I WILL card. The result was:

I AM abundance worthy

I WILL open

What I know about invocations is that powerful energies are brought into the space through word, sound, symbols and intention.

This year, I invoked opening to abundance, to knowing there is always enough. This brought on inquiries of what is enough; lessons of gratitude; challenges around receiving and patience.

I invoked knowing that I am worthy of this abundance for no other reason than because I was born. This brought on numerous dialogues between my ego and my soul. My internal board of directors went toe to toe around proving, earning, receiving, allowing.

I invoked the possibility that play will serve me in ways that struggle never has. (I can hear my mom’s voice commenting on how I always have to make things hard – you were right mom) This brought on further lessons in martyr archetype and helped me release any interest I have in looking like I am suffering more than others. I’m kind of over suffering. It’s so 2008.

I invoked the possibility that I will actually enjoy not knowing. What I mean is, not knowing in a way my logical mind can wrap itself around. Yet, knowing in a way my heart understands. I am choosing to read the signals of the world around me as feedback; be present and aware in the moment and work with rather than against the flow;  to co-create with cosmos and the great river of life.

So it all sounds really good huh?

Well on the monumental level, the littlest things are pure magic to me; animal messengers, falling trees, chance encounters, heart connections.

On the mundane level I find myself challenged by what others would find perfectly common place.

I promised yesterday to tell the story of going to a concert alone. This was mundane on the surface and monumental in its impact on me. Here’s the story:

There is a song I love, that I first heard on a Trisha Yearwood CD “On a Bus to St Cloud.” I was searching for a performance of it on YouTube to share on Facebook and Twitter when I came across the performance by the actual songwriter herself, Gretchen Peters. So I tweeted about it and within an hour, I got a tweet from Gretchen saying she hoped to see me at her concert at a local venue two nights later. I had no idea she was playing here, but I could not resist this opportunity, which I took to be a flirt from the Universe to get out in the world even if I have to go alone. So I said yes I was coming.

It would have been so easy for me to back out. I was not accountable to anyone except Gretchen and that was only in my imagination. My soul egged me on. I had to go, to a new part of town and a new venue I’d never visited. I called ahead to get a sense of the seating arrangement and where to park. When the time came, I got dressed hoping to be dressed up enough and not overly so. Then I hopped in my van and took off singing loudly to steady my nerves.

I walked into the bar and everyone turned around and looked at me. Oh boy, feeling conspicuous already. I let my solar plexus lead the way as I went right up to someone who might point me in the right direction. The place was already pretty packed with groups of people enjoying drinks and dinner at cozy tables. I asked the ticket taker to show me a good seat. He showed me two tables in the darker corners of the back and side walls and one right up front. I took the one directly in front of the piano; one little table and three chairs. I sat in the middle chair. Maybe someone, someone handsome and single,  would decide to join me. Uh huh…

Gretchen’s songs are stories. They are lovely, poignant, fun. They make me laugh and they make me cry. Sitting front and center, in the skirt-edges of the stage lights, alone, I was not comfortable crying, but so many of the songs reminded me of loss; loss of love and loss of my dad, that I had to reach into my purse for some Kleenex, despite rapid blinking. Sitting there, I was reminded of the many concerts I went to with my ex-husband. One thing I miss about him is his voice and the gentle strains from his guitar. So Gretchen’s beautiful voice and genuine presence scratched across a few of the scars on my heart and it hurt while it healed.

Click on the play button for this video and enjoy a bit of the “concert” for yourself. (For further info, please click through to YouTube)

When the concert was over, I saw an opportunity to go over and catch her as she stepped off the tiny stage. I wanted to thank her and to let her know that the “Twitter gal” had shown up. We spoke briefly. I was conscious of the fact that she had an agenda with others. I spontaneously hugged her and I could feel her grow rigid, but accepting. Then I left and headed toward my car as two bar patrons hopped on their Harleys and disappeared down a very quiet, very lonely Highway 9.

I was feeling embarrassed for my spontaneous hug. How could I behave as if we were so familiar? Performers just hate that don’t they? Gretchen has no idea the catalyst she was for me; the beginning of re-entering a world I’ve missed. She can’t know the way her tweet reached out to me as a personal invitation.  I hugged her like she saved my life.

I drove home by a new unknown route, following my instincts, newly freed by my willingness to venture out alone, using the gift of a great internal compass. As  I rounded a bend, I was greeted by a full moon rising in an ink washed sky, mysterious wisps of clouds suspended across its face. It was right out of a William Blake collection. That’s when I knew this seemingly innocuous challenge was truly a turning point for me. The opportunity presented itself and I accepted it. The moon smiled back. I’d walked right to my edge and over it.

I am abundance worthy

I will open

I am making an ally of the unknown

Lookout unknown!

In 2010 you can forget about me making you my ally

I’m ratcheting this up a notch to full on lover!

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

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I love you.

The words we long to hear.

The words we hear and don’t believe.

The words we say to another to express the depth of our feelings.

The words we hope there’s time to say to someone (and to hear) before passing.

The words we often toss off as mindlessly as “I’ll have fries with that.”

Words have energy. The sounds alone are energy. Words spoken from mind, from heart, from spirit, from body….all have different impacts. The speaking and hearing of words is a cycle of giving and receiving.

Earlier this year, I posted a practice I call “I love you,” which is to simply say out loud to ourselves those very words. Today, my focus is on saying I love you to another.  I did not use quotations, because what I’m going to speak to is awareness of the impact of our words upon those we love and expressing appreciation.

Country singer-songwriter Hal Ketchum sings “It’s more than just I love you baby. It’s every little word.”

It all counts. You can’t whitewash a powerful shaming or belittling with “I love you.” There was a couple who attended a few dinner parties at which I was present. She noticeably made him the butt of every joke. She was cynical and ridiculed him at every opportunity. I laughed along with everyone else at first. Then, I had to wonder how it was that anyone could laugh at this cruelty. No matter how funny it was meant to be, it was at the cost of another human soul’s dignity. She was a teacher to me in that she made me aware of my own tendency to make jokes at the expense of another.

Love Connects (clipart)

Love Connects (clipart)

I teach my relationship clients to offer appreciations to one another at our first meeting and it is how we close every session. It’s a practice I learned in my training with both The Coaches Training Institute and  Center for Right Relationship.

Because this is a practice, it is something I ask my clients to do every day, whether they feel like it or not. It’s easy enough to offer appreciation to someone, to say “I love you,” and to receive these words when we are feeling good. It’s near impossible when we are distressed and that may be when it is needed most. Practicing during the comfortable times makes it easier to use during the tough times.

Here are the steps:

1. Face each other and take an ample and easy clearing breath.

2. Keep your eyes on each other’s eyes, windows to your souls.

3. Energetically drop into your heart and allow yourself to connect with love. Love does not imply approval or even like. It is love from the Source and no matter what is going on, we are all capable of connecting with that Source when we are willing.

4. Begin by saying the other person’s name. Saying our names out loud is powerful. It is an announcement to the Universe that we ARE.

5. Then, say “I appreciate” and follow it with a quality about the other person that you want to acknowledge.

This is KEY – find something about who they are BEING rather than what they are DOING. We want to be loved for who we are as much as, if not more than, for what we do.

Examples:

DOING – I appreciate you for helping John with his homework.

BEING – I appreciate your kindness, patience, willingness and love that is so evident when you are helping John.

DOING – I appreciate you for standing up to Jack.

BEING – I appreciate your courage.

If you are having trouble moving from doing to being, consider this. Take what it is that the person did that you appreciate. Then discover within your heart who that person had to be, what qualities of character they drew upon to create that action. Those qualities are your being words.

6. Finally, the recipient of the appreciation simply opens their heart and allows this gift of acknowledgment to sink in.  “Thank you” or “I feel  seen” is all that need be said.

Sometimes the more challenging of giving and receiving appreciations is receiving. We want to slough it off, make excuses for ourselves, hand off the credit to someone else.  So, as the one hearing the appreciation given to us, the practice is to be with the unfamiliarity of opening our hearts to receive.  It may be uncomfortable at first, like a first sip of water through sun-parched lips. If you are like me, you’ll get used to drinking it in pretty quickly.

If you practice this with another on a regular basis, you may find that you have a very small vocabulary for appreciative adjectives. It’s not surprising really. In my own search for a broader spectrum of words, I’ve looked through the dictionary. I’m certain there are many more negative words in the English language than there are positive. You can also build your positive vocabulary simply by looking into your heart and finding words that truly resonate with what you feel. Be patient with yourself and take time to let it come to you. And yes, there is always the dictionary or thesaurus.

Don’t be shy. Practice with the dog or the cat first, if you must. Then, invite your partner to practice with you. Soon enough, you’ll be offering your appreciations to sales clerks and postal workers in simple sentences creating smiles all around. Honestly, I’ve never met one that didn’t just beam with joy when offered an appreciation (sans hand-holding, of course, but looking them in the eyes is always good). By the way, have you ever noticed how little we actually make eye-to-eye contact with say, the grocery clerk?

More heart, smiles and positive words…soul to soul connections…I’m thinking the world can use a little more of this.

Closing note: The entire time I was writing this entry, two butterflies were dancing around outside my window. Symbols of beauty, aliveness and transformation….how might this practice enliven and transform your relationships?

If you need a little coaxing watch this: (Thanks to the soulful Lori Tuttle for finding this fun video)

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

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