One of my favorite songs growing up was Hands by Jewel.
As I child and teenager, I found the words of the chorus:
My hands are small, I know,
But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
centering and a grounding reminder that size and age do not define worth. Much can be contributed to the Earth, to the Universe truly by hands that are small in size, but great in love. I want to tell you about someone, my great grandfather. He was a farmer who worked his fields until he was 95 years old if my memory holds correct. The fruits of the Earth came to life under the care of his hands and labor. Pumpkins, raspberries, tomatoes, squash, green beans, corn, apples in the orchard and more… years of tilling the Earth, of working the grounds to grow fruits and vegetables, left his hands so callused that when he went to get fingerprinted for a gun license there were no fingerprints left to capture. I remember thinking that to be comparable to a superpower when I was young – having no fingerprints. We would joke that he could get away with robbing a bank seeing as how he had no fingerprints on record and could not actually be fingerprinted.
Now, you have to know Gramp to find this as amusing as we did. Even in the early 2000’s Gramp still sold his produce on the honor system – a simple wooden box nailed to a table stood outside near his home where the picked produce sat lined up and ready for purchase. Gramp trusted those in his community and felt no need to complicate a system that had worked for him throughout the years. He was a simple man in a way, never traveled much, enjoyed his routine, and worked hard. He was a man of great and deep love – so simple is not actually what he was at all. I will never forget his hands or his cheeks. His hands they fascinated me, no fingerprints, rough from the Earth, strong and comforting. Gramp’s hands symbolized (and still do symbolize) what great love looks and feels like to me. True, deep love is not without its wounds, it is wrapped up in layers, and it changes us, as working the Earth with love for years literally changed the structure of his skin. And then there were his cheeks, to me they felt rough like sand paper, but boy did Gramp love his hello and good bye kisses. I did too, but I did not love the way his sandpaper skin felt on my lips. It was rough, scratchy and carried the truth of his age. His age was not a reality I wanted to face, but it had to be faced when he passed on. Gramp is no longer here as a physical being, but his Soul is – I feel it, him, journeying with me, especially when I continue in the direction of love.
Take a moment… look at your hands, they are so powerful – through them, you can express love or pain to another. Through them, our hands, we can transfer energy and effect change. What story do you want your hands to be tell? Now, run your fingers along the palm of your hand. Feel the love that you are and can be for others. When I would listen to the words of Jewel, I would find great strength in the truth that my hands are just that – mine, My hands are small I know, but they’re not yours, they are my own, they are my tool through which I can express love, transfer energy and effect change. Jewel continues singing – And I am never broken … and I would feel that I could stand a bit taller, breathe a little easier. I certainly felt broken at times, as I know many others have, but I am not; you are not, broken. Now, place palm upon palm and bring your hands to your heart center, allowing your thumbs to gently rest on your heart center. Steady - the heart beats; in stillness you feel it move through your thumbs and into your hands. Tools of great love, your hands tell your beautiful story of strength and resilience, love and sorrow. Even in the space of pain, I find that I am whole and never broken. Some of my most cherished moments with others are spent in peaceful silence, hand in hand – so much being communicated without the need for words spoken – so much being felt, such tremendous, judgment free love and acceptance.
The song Hands begins with the words:
If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
And now it is these words, I won’t be idled with despair … For light does the darkness most fear, that catch my attention and speak to my Soul. With my hands and the Love that I am – I am and can continue to be the light that does the darkness most fear. By choosing to be the deepest expression of love that I am for the world, and myself I too have a superpower (as do we all) residing within me that may be expressed through the work of my hands. These words come to life through my fingers moving over the keyboard, in classes I teach I am able to support a student through the asana practice with grounding touch and connected breath, a child may be comforted with a hug or a rub on the back, as can an adult. The work that the Universe calls us to do may come to be through loving presence and the use of our hands as tools by which to transmit the powerful love that we are.
Tuning into the chaos unfolding all over the world can be overwhelming and leave one feeling hopeless in the desire to effect change and stay connected to the truth that light does the darkness most fear. I know it can be for me at times. From the unrest in global politics, to the fires that are reducing neighborhoods in California to ash, to the hurricanes, floods, and wars that ravage on in other countries, to the slave trade that is still alive today, to our sisters and brothers living impoverished, without healthcare, in need of nourishment, love and a helping hand. It can certainly all come to feel like too much. But, I have to know what I believe to be truth. Love yourself, for you are love. Nourish your Soul and use the love that you are, as a driving force in your life, effecting the waters that surround you, sending waves of love out into your home, community, county, state, country, and the world. Together, we can create waves of love that darkness cannot permeate.
In Peace, Love and Light always, namaste.
Remember who you really are.
You are not what you do. You are not what you don't do.
You are not the job title. You are not a labeled societal sub group.
You are not your personality;
You are not a happy person, a depressed person or an angry person.
You are not a definition of your own qualities.
Who are you?
You are not who your mother says you are.
You are not who your best friend says you are.
You are not your own descriptions of yourself.
Drop all the labels, titles, designations, descriptions, accomplishments and even failures.
Below the labels, beneath the layers, on the most subtle level...
What do you feel?
What is left?
What is there?
Who are you?
If you are not what you do.
If you are not what others say you are,
If you are not a set of descriptions,
Who are you?
Lets move a little deeper.
You are not defined or confined by the limits of your physical body.
You are not your beating heart, your are not your breath.
You are not your mind, emotions or thoughts.
If you are not all these "things" ...
Who are you?
A better question may be not who you are, but what are you?
take a deep breath into every cell of your being. As you exhale release all the labels, all the descriptors, titles, both outer and self created. Bask in this space.
What are you?
Close your eyes and feel your way into it. Don't define it, don't put it into words, but feel it completely.
Do you feel a sense of spaciousness, of limitlessness, of infinite potential?
If you are not all or any of these things, if you can not be defined or put into words, but only felt.
What are you?
Remember who, or better yet, what you really are.
Remember your potential, remember your limitless possibility.
Remember that you can not be defined, by self or other.
Remember what you are, where you come from and why you are here.
Remember your knowingness, your awareness, remember your truth.
What are you?
You are the awareness of all these things.
You are embedded deep within yet extend far beyond.
You are the driving force of all these things.
You are both the wave and the ocean.
You are both the dance and the dancer.
You are both the creator and the container.
You are me as I am you.
I chanced upon this inquiry and insight yesterday while cleaning. This used to hang on my bedroom wall next to my mirror. At first, the words made me feel small and without identity. Then the truth unfolded--
I am you as you are me and You are me as I am you.
We are infinite beings of light and love and nature.
Nothing short of absolute radiance.
You are not alone. Sometimes my writing serves as a reminder to my Self. The words coming to life on the screen as I type, reminding me of the truth that I share with you. How can it be, that anyone is ever alone? Regardless of your religious beliefs, where perhaps you do not believe in a higher power, you are not alone.
So, even if you do not (believe in a higher power) - take a deep breath in now. Hold it, feel it. Now, let it go - exhaling fully. We breathe shared air. You breathe in air that another has exhaled back out into the world. The plants around us, breathing in and out into the universe, as well. The air that gives us life, is shared - so you are never alone. I am with you as you are with me.
Now, look up. Today, here in Massachusetts the air is crisp and the sweet smell of autumn is upon us. The rainbow that spans the sky after a rain storm is now painted upon the leaves, as they begin to make their descent towards the ground below. The sun shining bright, its warmth not felt as strongly today as days before, but so it is with the transition of seasons. Looking up, what do you see?
That which is beyond us, greater than than us - we share it. The sun I see - it is the one above you too. Perhaps, it is covered by clouds today or perhaps you are looking up to the vastness of the night sky... And then there do you see it?! - The moon. We share that too. It effects the waters' tides here as it does where you are. It transitions through the phases, allowing more stars to become visible or not to the human eye. And it reminds us that we are not alone -- You are not alone.
Time spent alone with one Self is just what is needed sometimes though. A breath away from the rush of everyday life, from the chaotic heartbeat of society. Even in this space though, the Love that you are - that we all are in our truest essence, surrounds you and is with you. In this way, yet again you are not truly alone. For you are loved and you are Love.
Earlier this week, I went for a hike alone. I brought no one along with me and aside from a few other hikers that I passed along the way, I was walking the trail alone. I needed this, time to myself, time to be with my own thoughts and more importantly, time to connect again with the words of my heart and teachings of my Soul. I go to nature for this. It is in nature, that even if I do not move through a traditional yoga asana practice that I can effortlessly connect with my yoga.
You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state - Sharon Gannon.
You see, the depth of the yoga practice extends far beyond the yoga mat or the yoga studio, as it is a practice that resides within you. It is you. In nature with the only sounds around being that of my feet upon the Earth, the animals scurrying through the fallen leaves, the wind rustling the branches of the trees, and my breath - carrying me on my way - I am immediately brought to my yoga. And so there I walk, I hike, alone and yet with all. My mind calms its chatter and my heart begins to lead the way. As my breath deepens, my Soul shines brighter and I surrender to the beauty within me and the beauty I know to be within each of us. I trust that with the Universe residing within me - I am capable and worthy of all that is to come. I find myself humbled, in awe of all that is around me - true natural beauty, that which unfolds without concern or judgement. I am reminded of the words of Lao Tzu here:
Nature does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished.
And I take another step forward. Wherever I am in my journey is where I am meant to be. There is something here for me to experience and to learn. I am not alone. With that, I take another breath in and another step forward. I smile and my heart shines, as I delight in the truth that we are connected, as beings of Love, spiritual beings on a physical journey, together. What a miracle it is, to be alive; to be in the here and now. Moving forward, standing still, resting, running, breathing all along. On a journey, all our own and yet connected just the same.
As always, thank you for reading. With peace, love and light - namaste.
This is how it is in this world, the oceans "divide" the continents... the separation providing opportunity for great difference in society to arise. What if this is an illusion?!... The oceans connect the continents and us, one to another. The water provides, that which we are, (as we are made of water) -- the ocean is in each of us. Our attention has been focusing on the difference among us, individuality made to be the goal. Imagine how peaceful it would be if we changed that? If our attention focused on the similarity among us. What if? ...
What if we are not actually that different?
What if I am you and you are me?
We breathe the same air.
You are a radiant being of light.
And you also have a shadow.
I am a radiant being of light.
I too have a shadow.
We laugh, we cry, we struggle to understand hate.
We have been wounded.
And we have been the cause of others wounds.
We wish to be loved.
We are more similar than different.
In fact -- We are One.
Look into the eyes of another and see your reflection.
The beauty that resides within you, resides within the other.
I am you and you are me.
The universe is within you and it is within me.
We are more physically connected now than ever before... on Tuesday morning, I woke up in Germany and on that very same night, I fell asleep in Massachusetts, USA. Oceans apart, how can it be? Travel and focusing on difference would make that appear so. But when I close my eyes: I feel my heart beat and the heart beat of all those I hold dear, I hear the laughter of my friend's son who I met in Berlin, Germany during my travels, I feel his loving kiss on my cheek, I hear the energized conversation moving around me as my family and I sit down to a Saturday breakfast, many conversations taking place at one time and I am too tired to focus well enough on any one to understand what is being said, so I understand a word here and there, as my mind is translating all the words I can pick up: German to English, English to German. More alike than different. I can smell the sweet autumn rain as it tickles the ground upon which I stand. Keeping my eyes closed, I am brought right back to the club: the beat of the music pulsing through my veins, I am too tired to keep dancing the night, now turned morning away, but the music holds me, moves me and I am swept away in the dance. I feel the loving embrace of my cousin as I hug them goodbye, wishing already that I could see them again sooner than able - knowing too that I can, I just need to close my eyes, to listen to my heartbeat, to take a deep breath and remember they are doing the same.
I close my eyes and I am back where I just came from, the ocean no longer separating me from another land, instead the ocean connects me - like the water that flows through my body, helping to keep all connected.
I carry all my travels with me and am not separate, but connected to all, as the energy of those I love resides within me and my love for them may be experienced with a breath or a pause - by remembering that my love is within them.
The physical distance of my journey speaks to me now, as my body is very tired, still thinking that it is six hours ahead of where I am now... so, perhaps tonight's musing was a bit discombobulated, but just remember the next time you feel alone - take a deep breath in, you are breathing in the energy of another, the loving energy that is the heartbeat of the Earth. You are not alone. We are on this journey together.
Peace, love and light, always.
A spiritual being on a physical journey, striving to make a positive impact on this world through my actions and loving intention. I believe that we are all capable of greatness, it is how we channel this great energy that matters... I choose to express it in the name of -- peace and love.