I took these pictures on my many hikes in Sedona, Arizona. This area never ceases to uplift my spirit. I hope these pictures brighten your day too.
I just spent the last six hours reading half of Mockingjay. My husband is out. He went swimming at the community pool. He likes to do that on the weekends. Sometimes I go with him. I feel great afterward. But this Sunday, I was too wrapped up in my book, and the most important things I needed to get done didn’t involve going anywhere.
When I came out of my book stupor, I actually had the wherewithal to take a shower. While I was showering I thought, I should clean up. I’ll start with the shower since I haven’t done it in a couple of weeks. And I should call Jill (my friend from high school) before it gets too late on the east coast. I’m thinking that I need to do physical, concrete things to get my life back on track. So I get out of the shower and start to get dressed and clean up. But as I do so, my brain opens up. I had been doing my best to stay away from my usual train of thought—the I need to do this, and this is the way that is—just to keep from thinking and feeling the way I usually feel because I didn’t want to return to the same old state. I didn’t want my mind to swirl around with what I thought I should do, what I thought others thought I should do, and random desires to do things. Sometimes these all compete in my head. To do that, in a way I was blocking my thinking. For a moment, however, it was like I stopped and this “spiritual” information came in. I had been blocking that too because I had wanted to do something simple and “real” and not just have a lot of nice thoughts and feelings.
For once, I was not confused from the influx of energy and information. I felt quite clear. What I sensed was, “You’re not fulfilling your mission.” I asked what I was supposed to be doing, and the answer I got was writing. I asked what I was supposed to be writing, and I sensed this blog. Now, from a logical perspective, writing in a blog that no one actually reads when I have lots of work and cleaning to do is a little ridiculous. And maybe I’ll regret it later . . . or maybe not. But hope and energy started to circulate inside and I knew that I needed to do it, even though it didn’t make sense.
So here I am, writing nothing to no one. I have a feeling, though, that something is coming down the pipeline, and if I keep going and keep listening to that feeling, something will grow and develop and come out. I’m not a person with special talents or expertise. I don’t have brilliant things to say or an engaging writing style necessarily. But I am someone who asked heaven to use me and who asked how I can be useful today. To get an answer and not act on it is even more ridiculous. I’m not going to follow logic, and I’m not going to block this flow of energy, even if I have doubts and fears and don’t know what to write. I will keep writing until it’s time to stop. And I know that I’ll know when it’s time to stop.
Last night I attended a ceremony at Mago Castle, the physical version here in Sedona, not the metaphysical one in the ancient story of Mago Castle. It’s at the top of a hill that’s at the intersection of the four known major vortexes. When I stood there at dusk, looking out over Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock and everything in between, my soul felt healed. I felt a deeper connection to Mother Earth and feel strong energy come up from the ground. That place is known for its strong energy.
When I walked into the house on the property, maybe it was because of the faint smell of wine that is used to clean the ceremonial bowls and platters that hold food, candles, water, and incense, I had the same soul-fulfilling sensations I feel when taking the Eucharist during a Catholic Mass. In that place, after that ceremony of chanting and prayer, my soul felt much stronger.
During the ceremony, the person guiding it asked us to reflect on what it meant to be able to do this ceremony in that special place that honors the Earth. As I did so, I felt and saw the Earth opening up and bright light coming from it.
Just as many people are opening to brighter light right now, the Earth is as well, and vice versa. I also knew at that time that I should be brighter.
How can I have amazing experiences like that and then the next day spend six hours reading a novel with lots of killing in it? That’s what I ask myself. I don’t have an answer yet. Of course, it’s also about survival and valuing life, and taking pleasure in the small things. Katniss had her own way of thinking about the world, as everyone did, and in the end it didn’t seem any better or worse than anyone else’s.
All I wonder now is how can my soul really be free? I’ll just keep following my instincts, bit by bit, and see where they take me. Right now, I think it’s time to clean the bathroom.
This is my therapy writing session for myself. It’s hard for me to focus inside today, and it’s hard to be nice to people. These two things go hand in hand. Along with that, it’s also hard to have a clear brain because there is so much going on around me.
But as I write this, it’s getting easier, and I can start to encounter the resistances energetically in my body. I sense a bright light at the top of my skull near my baekhwe point and energy filling my body. My heart is becoming clearer, and I can actually feel my stiff and dead legs better. The blockage that always exists on the left side of my back, especially along my bladder meridian, and especially near my shoulder blade, are starting to open. I feel calmer. My throat is opening. I feel more secure.
Writing is better than sitting here with whirling thoughts trying to figure out how to approach popular YouTubers about the Solar Body Method, who already have their own thing. I just did the exercises this morning, but unless I am connected to myself, it’s difficult for me to be enthusiastic about anything.
Sometimes after I do training, while I feel good immediately after, I become so open and scattered and I experience emotional and mental backlash. It’s as if I’m a rubber band that has been stretched, but I haven’t fully grown into that new length yet. Since I can’t fully support it, I tend to snap back to the old length. It takes repeated stretching, until I add enough new material, to be able to stay in a new awareness, energy state, or habit.
That’s essentially what happens every Friday after I teach the 7 am class at the Sedona Meditation Center. I become very sensitive to my environment and irritable as a result. Good thing I realize it so I can bring my focus back to my center and be less reactive. Sometimes I try to block my environment with food, coffee, and videos, but, that doesn’t help that much. It definitely doesn’t solve the problem.
Rather than survive, I want to grow. Trying to be comfortable or pleasant isn’t growing. So I accept my sensitivity and irritability. I accept everything going on in the energy of the people in our quiet office. I do not block myself from it. But I ask for help and support in the moments when I don’t feel strong (like five minutes ago) and feel grateful for the moments when I do (like two minutes ago).
Ok, I will attempt to cold email strangers once again and be grateful for the anxiety and doubt that goes along with it.
My friend Rebecca, who is the only person besides my husband that I told about this blog, said that our own suffering enables us to help the suffering of others. In my life, the only real suffering I’ve faced is from judgment—my own judgment of myself and others and the judgment of other people toward me. Judgment creates disconnection and separation from your true self. It says that you and I are different and that there is right and wrong.
I spent a lot of time and energy growing up trying to create good judgments. I wanted to measure up and get praise from my parents, teachers, and peers. And I did get praise, and criticism as well. The problem was that I let others define my self-worth. I yo-yo’ed back and forth between a superiority and an inferiority complex, which at their root, are both expressions of the same insecurity. Nowadays, with my teacher, Ilchi Lee, talking so much about self-worth and true value, I’ve had a chance to let go of a lot of the information in my mind that damages the value I give to myself.
We all have things about ourselves we want to work on, great and small. Perhaps we want a better hairstyle, or, like me, we need to commit to arriving places on time. Maybe we want to legitimately see ourselves as a “good person,” however we choose to define that.
But in trying to improve ourselves, we can forget to value our good points. Nowadays, differences are celebrated more and more, and there are plenty of experts telling us it’s ok to be this or that. But the trick is being able to accept everything we have inside without exception. Seeing it and accepting it is the first step in taking responsibility for it. From that grounded footing, we can leap into the next step of changing what we want to change, not because someone tells us it’s not good enough, but because it will help us fulfill our greatest dreams.
I’ve been going through that, even now, with speaking. I’ve been quiet and shy my whole life. I never understood small talk, and I could never think of what to say. Or when I did say something, it came out so low that I would have to repeat it, sometimes more than once, before someone heard it. This was not very encouraging. Other times people were so shocked that I said something that someone would say something like, “Wait a second, everyone, be quiet, Michela’s talking!” Needless to say, shy and self-conscious little me was very embarrassed. I just wanted to say something simply like everyone else.
One advantage, however, was that people really paid attention and gave weight to what I said because I wouldn’t dare say anything until I had thought it out thoroughly and made sure it was useful. I also did my best not to say anything that would cause criticism or derision to be directed at me.
But I liked people and didn’t necessarily always want to be a shrinking violet, so I studied them and what they did and what to say. I learned that there wasn’t always a direct connection between the content of the conversation and the purpose it served in a person’s life. Two people may be talking about the weather, but they are actually making a connection between them. My thinking (at least in terms of speech) was so simple and literal that it took me a while to figure that out. I was a good listener (naturally), so I focused on the other person and tried to match what they were interested in and how they spoke without completely copying them. (I was raised to think you need to do your own thing and distinguish yourself, so it went against the grain to match someone completely. I had to “be my own person,” and that kind of thing.)
Eventually I learned that taking conversational risks and doing experiments was ok. The world wouldn’t end. If I put myself out there, I would find out what the consequences were much more quickly, and that became ok. I think some book or other enlightened me to this, and like most of us, age and life experience made each individual interaction less significant or dramatic.
So despite my shyness, and despite the fact that I still struggle with how to respond to people or initiate a conversation, I went for a masters degree in health communication and work in marketing, write this blog, and make videos . . . go figure. I do this because I feel it is my calling . . . I really feel called to do it. My personal experience has taught me that what you most need to do in life isn’t necessarily what you’re most good at. But there can be a lot of lessons and growth through the endeavor.
It all comes down once again to trusting yourself. On the outside, you may look like a shy wallflower who can only give one-word responses when spoken to, but on the inside you may have messages you need to deliver to the world. Rather than beating ourselves up, let’s just bridge the gap. We’re already great, wonderful, fabulous, and amazing creatures. All we need are some helpful tips and lots of practice.
My friend, author Rebecca Tinkle, is encouraging me to try out the medium of video, which she herself is pretty good at. (You can check out her channel here.) So she sat me down in front of the camera one night and asked me questions, and we saw what came out of my brain through my mouth. When she saw my previous blog post, she thought it would make a great video topic, so here is the video version, which perhaps offers two cents more insight than the previous written one.
As you can see, the quality of the video, which we took from my phone, isn’t great, but it feels refreshing to circulate my energy by posting it. I’m grateful for the platform.