Tag Archives: Grace

Full Snow Moon

From Jamie’s post: “Sometimes we bury our dreams and desires deep within, as though hiding them under layers and layers of snow. Protecting them. Protecting ourselves. Waiting until the time is right for them to grow. Now is the time to tune into your heart, to let your intuition and your dreamboard express and reveal the dreams that are hidden inside. Let the creative process take you below the surface, beneath the layers of safety and protection, guiding you to the innermost dreams sparkling in your soul.”

The Full Snow Moon asks: “What desires lie deep within?”

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Ganesha, lord of beginnings,
remover of obstacles,
master of intellect and wisdom.
The elephant is a symbol of luck, fortune and protection,
and thought to be a blessing to new projects,
able to clear obstacles from your path.
An elephant represents strength, honor, stability, and patience,
and specifically the power of the feminine,
a guardian and protector.

Move with ease, with grace
and a thirst for knowledge, understanding.
Everything’s in reach.
Your garden, your earth, your heart, your deepest longing.
The art of loving, of living
lies in a fine mingling of letting go
and holding on.

Where the spirit leads the feet will follow.
Down distant paths for unmapped miles.
Transformation, as from a caterpillar to butterfly.
A mandala made of dreams and breath and dirt.
Heads forget but hearts remember.
The art of living, of loving knows no bounds.

Kaun Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion.
She who hears the cries of the world.
She holds a lotus flower, the innate purity of Buddha nature.
She holds a sutra, the enlightened wisdom of the Dharma.
She holds a mala, the vow of the Bodhisattva to save all beings from suffering.
She holds me.

Whole life, whole health.
Community is our heritage–
being with ourselves,
practicing with friends.
Noticing the quintessential nature of things, their origins,
in memory, meditation, emotion, and pure delight.

Sanctuary in practice and place,
space for rest and calm, refuge.
Stay, relax, let go, surrender.
I make a vow, a commitment to dedicate my life
to keeping my heart and mind open,
and to nurturing my compassion
with the longing to ease the suffering of the world.


This video is Deva Premal chanting the Ganesha mantra, intended to remove obstacles. May it make way for a new beginning for all of us, a fresh start in which suffering is eased and love grows in its place.

Breathe In the Longing, Breathe Out the Wish

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Breathe in the wish, the longing to take away the suffering; breathe out the wish to send comfort and happiness. ~Pema Chödrön

I am allowing myself space on this retreat. As I mentioned yesterday, I dropped the plan, and am instead seeing how things might naturally arise. There is wisdom, clarity that will emerge if you allow it room and time. I am trusting in this.

Today I was very aware of suffering, in the world and in myself. I was touched by the suffering of others, those dealing with illness, death, loss, grief, self-hatred, fear, abuse. I was softened by my own suffering as well, so similar, so much the same. I gently contemplated my regrets, my failures, the ways I’ve lived in the shadows, stayed hidden away and closed off this past year.

Rather than beating yourself up, use your own stuckness as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against all over the world.

Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us.

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings. ~Pema Chödrön

I practiced Tonglen for all of us. In a video I watched, Pema Chödrön talked about how in Tonglen, we “relax into the outbreath,” and how the practice is about sending space, relief and comfort and ease, so that those who are suffering will know that their hearts and minds are indeed big enough to accommodate their discomfort, their fear, their despair, their anger, their physical or emotional anguish.

And today there was also so much joy and gratitude. I experienced compassion and comfort through the connections I’ve made in the past year, long conversations about important things, short exchanges that make me smile so big my face hurts from it, sharing our experiences, cheering each other on. So many brilliant and beautiful women who offer their support, wisdom, kindness, strength, and good humor, who fill my life with so much grace and laughter.

And later into the snow on a walk with my little family, I feel the cold air as I draw it into my lungs, warm it and release it. I feel the strength of my lungs and legs, the willingness of my whole body, my whole self to move. I revel in the company of my three boys, the beauty of the world around us, and wonder at my luck.

I live in a place where every year someone decorates a few of the trees along the trail. I live in a world where people open their hearts to each other, sharing our stories and our pain, a world where people offer each other support and help. A world where every day our hearts are broken, and yet once they are, we see that there is room for all of it, the suffering and the joy, that there is so much to love, to live for.

I’m so glad you are here with me, kind and gentle reader. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal–may we keep our hearts open to all of it, may we know that they are big enough to hold all of it.