Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Walking with the Sacred...

Anouk, my dog, had what I call an opinionated day.  She knew what she wanted and where she wanted to walk and would not have anything to do with my decisions.

I had to trick her by exciting her to see someone walking toward us to get her to go the direction I wanted to go.  It would work for a bit.  Then she would realize she was tricked, stop dead in her tracks, turn around or sit down and not budge!

It did not matter how much I tried to convince her that MY way was the best.  She would not budge.

So, I finally gave up.   I surrendered to my dog — the one thing dog owners are told not to do by trainers.  And the funniest thing happened.  We were walking back toward Anouk’s place when she turned down another path.  Then we walked on for a good 20 minutes having a pleasant and fun walk.

It got me thinking.  How do I walk with God?

Do I try to stubbornly force God to walk in my direction?  As I imagined God as Anouk, I could hear Spirit talking to me, “Sure, Jocelyn, knock yourself out walking down that path.  It’s not the right one, but go ahead.  Sooner or later you will realize you are going the wrong direction or you got sidetracked.”

Here I was stubbornly trying to lead my dog the way I wanted to walk.  When I surrendered, everything changed.  When I surrender to Spirit and allow Spirit to guide my steps, lead me down my life’s path, things seem to manifest right in front of me.  Life grows.  I laugh and enjoy myself.  I feel content.  I am happy.

How do you walk with the Sacred?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lessons from my dog...

Today is a gorgeous day.  The sun is shining.  The temperature is perfect for a walk with a coat and no hat.  So I headed out for a walk with my dog, Anouk.

She taught me again about enjoyment and living fully and vibrantly in the present moment.

We walked along and off she went into the snow.  Flop.  Rolling. Digging her head under the snow.  Rolling.  Romping.  Full delight.  Full focus.  Full presence.  No worrying about what is next.  

I was struck today by how important a lesson that is for us humans.  We worry about tomorrow, our to-do list, and a whole variety of things.  We live in our heads.  We think about our future, hoping for something to happen — living not in the present but rather in our hoped for future.  We remember the past, the ‘good times’ wishing they would come back — we live in our past.

What is it about the present moment that challenges us?  Why is it so difficult to live fully in the here and now — the present moment?

Here’s the thing:  when I do surrender to the present moment time slows down.  Spirit is tangible.  I notice beauty.  I experience peace and harmony.  I hear the call of my Heart.  I feel my breathe entraining to the breathe of God.  I know, at the core of my being, that I am not alone in my life; and that even in the midst of my most challenging moments I am loved. 

So why do not choose to live fully in the present moment more often?

For now, I thank Anouk for reminding me that the present moment is a grand place to live!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Confession time...

The past few weeks I have been in a funk.  I have eaten according to my mood — stuff I would not choose to eat.  I have watched more Netflix in the past two weeks than in the past year.  I am sleeping horribly.  I am in a funk!

Then it snowed.  Again.  For like the 15th time this winter and I was stuck inside.  My funk got worse and I yelled out the Spirit, “What is causing this funk?”  I do not know what I expected.  No voice yelled back at me.  There was silence.  I sat down on my couch defeated and closed my eyes.  I sat there in silence.

Then I realized I had not sat in silence before the Sacred in weeks.

Oh, I had not sat in silence in weeks. So, I opened my eyes, turned and picked a SoulCard.  I picked this woman who was standing in a prayer position.  Red strands were going from Her up to Heaven above.  Blue strands were flowing down from Heaven to Her, surrounding Her.

I do not think Spirit could have been clearer.  I have been neglecting my spiritual self-care.  My wellspring was dry.  Hence the funk.  That dialogue, that respect, that love, that grace, those blessings…all that I have experienced when I am connected to the Sacred was lacking.  I was not taking the time to notice Spirit’s movement in my life; to send my love and respect to Spirit.

So, I took a retreat in my own apartment.  I accepted the blessing of the snow days.  I went deep into prayer.  I sat in silence.  I painted my prayer.  I journaled.  I journeyed.  I reconnected!!

And guess what?  My funk is dissipating.  I have more energy.  I am writing again.  I am feeling like I want to care for myself better.  I am out and about more.  I am laughing and enjoying Spirit’s presence in my life.

It is important that we pay attention to our connection to the Sacred.  It makes a huge difference in my day.  I would guess in yours as well.

I invite you to be conscious of how you are connected to God.  Make a conscious choice.  Take the time YOU need to fill your wellspring.  Watch what happens inside you and around you as a result of consciously connecting to the Sacred.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

a mini Sabbath on Jones Beach

I have a dream to create a Spirituality Center.  I have named it the Sabbath Center. My hope is to offer a place where people can come and commune with the Sacred, deepen their connection to all that is Holy. 

And yet, many of us feel we are too busy to get away.  How can we take a week, or even a weekend, off when all these tasks need to be accomplished?  How can we take time away for ourselves when we really ought to be with family/friends/lovers?  It is important to feed ourselves; to take care of our Souls; of our relationship to the Sacred.

I believe we need to not just take chunks of time away, but carve out a moment each day to connect to the Sacred.  So I began to wonder, how can I offer mini-sabbaths?  What would a mini-sabbath look like?  Feel like?

Walking the beach the other day, I took a video.  Very short.  I watched it later in the week when life to extremely busy and stressful.  I noticed my breathe deepened, the worlds melted away, the Sacred stepped forward.  Me and the Sacred for barely one minute of video.  A mini-sabbath.  

I will offer you all mini-sabbaths from time to time.  Short video clips.  Maybe a photo/image to contemplate for a minute.  A portal into the world of the Sacred.

I pray and hope you feel Spirit moving in your soul; you feel your breathe deepen and slow; you feel the busyness of the world melt away.  I pray and hope for that one minute you stand before all that is Sacred in this Universe and breathe in that revitalizing healing energy.

Blessed be.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Setting My Intention

A friend of mine creates an image every year that she puts out into the world.  I have wished I could do that.  What would it be like to live with an image created by me for the year? 

Well, I woke up the other day and realized I do that.  I  have created an image each year for the past three years.  I paint my “Inner Goddess” each January/February.  My friend offers the class and I seem to be repeating it annually.  The first time it was a birthday present to myself.  The second time another birthday present.  This time it was the knowledge that the images I create in that class set forth intention for the year.  This time I came at it prayerfully asking my Intuitive Creative Self to place forth my Soul’s intention for this year.  I will live into the Intention; into that Image; into that prayer.

The first year I had not touch paint or paper before.  It was all new.  This beautiful image was created.  My dream of a spirituality center came forth.  The invitation to deep inner healing was received.

The second year I did not understand the invitation in the image.  It felt like closure from my previous year.  Yet, there was Snake.  Last year was an invitation to shed all those false unneeded layers of myself, to step into my Authentic self and to allow Her to bloom, to grow into the beautiful vibrant tree I painted.

This year, my Goddess Glowed!!!   When I am in Her midst, I feel Her Glow; Her vibrancy; Her power.  She will manifest in this world something amazing.  I look forward to what it will be.

Her name is Hineni (yes the name of my blog).  She has journeyed far and long to arrive here in my midst.  She is the Goddess of Rebirth.  She will teach me how to reverence the fullness of my being, how to live fully both Light and Shadow, how to be One with the Sacred.

She gave me a gift the evening after I painted Her.  A simple Haiku:

Reverence the Glow
Merging of Shadow and Light
Immersed in Blessing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Prayer Practice: Praying with Sacred Images

There is a contemplative prayer practice called Praying with Icons.  In this practice, one is invited to contemplate an Icon (a Sacred image), to sit in front of the Icon and allow it to become part of you.  You notice how it moves your spirit.  You notice what it says to you.  You notice how the Sacred moved from it to you.  The Icon/Image becomes a window or mystical portal through which you encounter the Sacred.

I have taken this prayer form in my own fashion.  I do not have official Icons around my house.  I have decks of Sacred cards: SoulCards, Healing Heart Cards, Goddess Cards, and Ocean Oracle Cards.  Each deck comes into my life on its own and I receive them.   Each deck contains images of the Sacred.  They are all beautiful and iconic.

I pray with them.  I shuffle the deck, images away from me.  I place them on a flat surface and spread out the deck, like you would a Tarot deck.  I allow my intuitive self and my heart to pick the card.  I grab the card I am most attracted to.  I meditate with that image for a time.  I live with that image for the week.

After reflecting upon desert spirituality, I picked up my SoulCards deck.  I choose my card.  I have never seen this card before, and I have been picking from this deck for years!  I even sometimes look through the images.  Never came across it.

When I looked at this beautiful woman my heart opened deeper to this invitation into the desert.  There she was, a Desert Amma, right in front of me!  I held Her and meditated with Her for quite a while.  Then I carried Her with me for the entire day.  I am still carrying Her with me.

I find myself glancing over to look at Her to absorb more of Her beauty; more of Her earthiness; more of Her glow; more of Her connection to the Sacred.

I want to be HER!  

I have not had this experience before.  I have prayed with my cards for years.  My heart is moved.  Healing happens.  I am cracked open more.  The cards speak to the depth of my Soul.  And I have let each card go at the end of the week.  I have moved on to the next image.

Not with this one.  She went on retreat with me.  She went to Spiritual Direction with me, my companion calling me to be courageous and gentle.  She was next to me as  I painted my inner goddess.  I want Her guidance as I dive deep into this invitation to “Get up and Go For it.”

So, I am carrying Her with me.  I will continue to carry Her iconic image in my heart, soul, mind. Her mystical portal has opened widely in my heart and I am diving through it.

I invite you to contemplate a Sacred Image for a period of time.  

What image captures your attention?  What image draws you to a deeper experience of the Sacred?  Were you able to feel your mind descend into your heart as you gazed lovingly at the image?  How did you encounter the Sacred through that particular mystical portal?

Spend some time contemplating and living with that image.  Carry it with you if you must….