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What’s Your Umbrella? – Richard’s Commentary

June 19, 2014 Leave a comment

My “umbrella” has always been work. When I was in the corporate world I worked hard. I traveled a lot. I had responsibilities. I shouldered them well. As I look back on those 40 years I realize that I was often running away from the lessons, the real part of life I needed to learn.

Oh, sure, I needed to earn a living, keep the family secure, move ahead, up the corporate ladder – that’s what we do, right? But at what expense? How many of us escape into our work with these very rational motivations and miss why we are here in the first place, miss our real purpose?

I am retired now, still working hard, enjoying the work a great deal more and, yes, sometimes I still continue to use work as my umbrella. Why? Rosemary hits on one of the reasons:

All you have is NOW. The lessons don’t go away. The Universe wants you to have that success, satisfaction and fulfillment and puts lessons on your path so that you can clear the blocks and achieve your dreams. Why delay that?

It’s usually fear. But the rewards of doing the work, of learning the lessons, are so much greater than the pain of getting there that it’s worth it to start now.

Yes, it’s usually fear. I wrote about this in a post just last Friday, the 13th when I commented on the blocks we face:

I think the main one is fear – fear of letting go completely and relaxing into full awareness.

I believe my main purpose in this life is to become fully aware, to become enlightened. This is not an ego thing; I believe this is the main purpose of every human on the planet. I, at least on some unconscious level, have known this for a long time. And I have escaped from this, from the lessons that would bring me closer to enlightenment, and worked on all the other things humans do: job, family, earning corporate merits, duty, …

But the Universe wants me to have that “success, satisfaction and fulfillment…” The Universe wants us to become enlightened! The lessons are all there, strewn in our path to bring us into the light.

The ego doesn’t get this. The ego would rather escape into work and feed itself with the rewards of a job well done. So the Universe continues to offer the lessons. And I am beginning to listen. Sometimes the lessons are loud; we can only miss them if we continue to distract ourselves with our umbrellas. Sometimes the lessons are whispers. I’m learning to listen more closely.

I’m following the advice I wrote for myself in the June 13 post (link). And I am ready to “happily dance in the rain!”

ROSEMARY’S EXPLORATION: What’s Your Umbrella?

June 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Or, to look at it another way, what are you using to protect you from the storms of life?

As I look out at the heavy rains that are falling, I wonder how often we rush to our raincoats and umbrellas to make sure we don’t get rained on. Metaphorically, we do the same thing. We rush to protect ourselves from whatever is happening around us so that we don’t have to deal with the depths of the implications or meanings.

Sometimes this can be as simple as avoiding making a painful phone call or finding an excuse to procrastinate on handling something complicated. But I also find that it is easy to stay on the surface and avoid digging deeply into the personal growth work that is available to us in the midst of a storm of life.

For example, have you ever had the experience of being in the middle of turmoil in your life and you find yourself searching for the quick fix, the way out, the end to the pain instead of seeking the deeper meaning and the personal lesson that is hiding inside the situation? We’ve all done this, but as we move along our spiritual journey we learn to seek out the deeper lessons and to get those lessons learned before they return in a more insistent way.

That is what they do. The lessons are there for you to learn what you need to learn to grow into your highest self. They are presented in different guises so that you have plenty of opportunities to figure out how to grow from them. And they don’t go away until you really get what you need to learn.

So your choice is always to learn it now or learn it later.

May I give you a piece of advice, based on personal experience? Learn it now. When lessons return because we’ve been hiding out from them they usually come in a more powerful way so that they are sure to get our attention. I jokingly say that I am focused on finding the lessons and learning them when they are subtly appearing without waiting for them to turn into two by fours to the head!

In what ways you are avoiding the work that can advance you on your journey? Are you thinking about doing some journaling but can’t seem to find the time? Would you like to meditate but you don’t want to learn how just yet? Do you know that you are not being as successful, satisfied, fulfilled as you wish and yet you don’t feel ready to get the help that might bring you that success, satisfaction, fulfillment?

All you have is NOW. The lessons don’t go away. The Universe wants you to have that success, satisfaction and fulfillment and puts lessons on your path so that you can clear the blocks and achieve your dreams. Why delay that?

It’s usually fear. But the rewards of doing the work, of learning the lessons, are so much greater than the pain of getting there that it’s worth it to start now.

Get the help. Do the work. Learn the lessons.

And, when the next storm comes, you can happily dance in the rain!

Ro Pic Sig

ROSEMARY’S INSPIRATION: What is Your Umbrella?

June 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s “Two-Minute” Video for this Week: What is Your Umbrella?

MONDAY’S POEM: Fishing

June 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I wrote this yesterday, Fathers’ Day here in the US. I was thinking about my father and his father and our times together. Good times.

Fishing

Fishing with Grandfather
Requires a little boy’s
Patience.

Driving to the stream
Seems endless, boring.
Are we there yet?

Hiking to the hole
Is hot, insects biting.
Is this fun?

Casting a plastic lure
Requires skill, practice.
How’d it tangle?

Learning to be still
Is its own reward.
Was that a nibble?

Letting go of all desire
Is the source of joy.
Reel him in boy!

Fishing for small-mouth
In Otter Creek.
As good as it gets!

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

Blocked? – Part 2

June 13, 2014 Leave a comment

I know; it’s “poem Firday”. But this business of “blocks” is on my mind.

Yesterday I wrote here about being blocked: blocked from listening to my intuition, from changing my language to speak (and think) in positive terms. And I wrote about practice. After 10 years Tenno became a teacher of Zen; he was practiced. Then Nan-in demonstrated how he was not “fully aware.” So Tenno became his student and practiced another 10 years! And I concluded my post yesterday with …another nine years of practice and study and “lessons in lost sunglasses”!

But practice what? OK, I’ve got 9 more years, probably 10! But what am I to practice; what am I to learn; how do I break through the blocks?

Later yesterday I was in one of my practices: Artist Pages writing as prescribed by Julia Cameron. I am fairly disciplined in writing my “morning pages” (sometimes afternoon); and I really know when I skip that something isn’t quite right with my day. I wrote yesterday and came up with some answers to my blocks; not only what is blocking but how to respond; to break through. Here’s what I wrote:

“I wrote my blog post for Rosemary’s site this morning – on “Awareness” again although the title was about blocks. What are my blocks to “full awareness”?

“I think the main one is fear – fear of letting go completely and relaxing into full awareness. If I let go completely I might lose myself! I am not yet fully willing to let go of the ego – that little self that appears to be so important to me. I have no problem with this for moments – while sitting, while doing Qigong, while writing pages when I merge and let come whatever words flow. Practices like these are easy times to let go. But when I’m at a bank ATM my ego is busy in the forefront – considering a number of choices: what’s my balance, how much cash do I need, what do I want to buy at the market, how long will this nice weather last, on and on…

“The conscious mind, the ego, can only handle 7 to 9 bits of information at one time. The thought of the sunglasses on the shelf gets pushed aside. The ego can’t handle all the information. And I am not practicing standing at the ATM. Why not?

“What if I had stood at the ATM in a relaxed but present Qigong posture? What if I had softened my focus moving into peripheral vision? What if I had remembered to breathe deeply and slowly as when practicing Qigong or sitting on my cushion? Would I have seen the sunglasses and remembered?

“Practice can be constant. And there needs to be no fear in this. If we drop our attention and expand our awareness the ego doesn’t disappear, it simply recedes into the background of the 10-million bits of information being processed by the unconscious mind. It is there, aware, processing its 7 to 9 bits, and content to rest, yet ready to come alive as needed. The “full awareness” is in the unconscious mind lifted out of its obscurity through constant practice.

“Blocks are revealed, recognized and broken through by balancing conscious ego awareness with practiced unconscious access.

“Relax, let go, breathe deeply, sink, broaden, move fully into self and become fully aware of Self.”

I think I have my answers! Now to put them into practice…

Happy Full Moon. Have a good weekend!

Blocked? – Richard’s Commentary

June 12, 2014 Leave a comment

It was a bright, sunny day with low humidity and a light breeze – a lovely June day in Maryland. I stopped at the bank on the way home to get some cash for the farmers’ market the next day. Because it was a sunny, bright day I wore my new “reader sunglasses” – sunglasses with a bifocal area for magnification to aid these aging eyes when reading in bright light. I needed to take them off to see the ATM screen at the bank; I placed them on the handy ledge below the machine.

I was halfway home when I realized I wasn’t wearing my sunglasses – my route is shady and the light less bright. I quick search of my many-pocketed vest – my alternative to carrying a purse – turned up empty. Reverse, dash back to the bank – no sunglasses on the ledge. Inside the bank the teller I know by name is free – “did anyone turn in a pair of sunglasses in the last few minutes?” She looks at other tellers and in their lost-and-found area – “no, sorry.”

I am disappointed – mostly in myself. Why these lapses? And when will I listen to my unconscious mind, my intuition? You see, when I placed my sunglasses on that little ledge under the ATM I had a brief glimpse of forgetting them there – just a flash. And I may even have muttered to myself – “don’t forget your sunglasses there.”

If I listened to that voice my unconscious mind heard “forget your sunglasses there.” The unconscious mind does not process negatives. It only hears and processes positive statements – I learned this in hypnosis and NLP training when I went to a few classes with Rosemary when she was earning her certifications.

So, how am I blocked from listening to my intuition, changing my language used in “self-talk” to make only positive statement and become more fully aware, in every moment, of what is going on within me and all around me? And, what do I do about it?

Here’s what Rosemary writes in her post about this subject:

Be grateful for your unconscious mind. It keeps your heart pumping and your brain functioning and your lungs breathing and a whole lot of other processes operating in your life without your having to consciously make things happen. However, that same unconscious mind is operating in ways that can cause patterns and blocks that you might not know consciously, and might not have chosen if you did know, and you struggle with understanding why you can’t get things done or why you seem to be blocked from your successes.

Yes, that seems true for me and does explain the blockage to becoming fully aware so that sunglasses are not lost. Is there a solution to the blocks; a way to move into full awareness?

Rosemary writes: …if you are reading these words, then you are called to continue forward on your path. Take a step in the direction of your dreams. If you feel blocked, if you stumble, rejoice that you are growing. There are ways to see beyond what is holding you back. There are tools to help you and people to support you in your growth.

Another lesson, another growth opportunity. Is this what my lost sunglasses episode is telling me? Here you can imagine hearing a loud groan!

It was just about a year ago (June 28, 2013, as a matter of fact) that I wrote a similar post here titled “Awareness.” In that post I told the Zen tale of Nan-in and Tenno. The master, Nan-in, asked Tenno when he arrived on a rainy day to which side of the door he had placed his umbrella and clogs on entering Nan-in’s house. Tenno could not answer; he studied at the feet of Nan-in for 10 more years to become fully aware!

I guess this means I have another nine years to go, another nine years of practice and study and “lessons in lost sunglasses”!

ROSEMARY’S INSPIRATION: Ask “What’s Holding Me Back?”

June 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Rosemary’s “Two-Minute” Video for this Week: Ask “What’s Holding Me Back?”

PS: Did you get the word that Rosemary’s Possibilities Playshop has moved on the calendar? We have moved it to the Summer Solstice, June 21, 2014. Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM; place: Severna Park, Maryland. Early-bird registration here 

The Playshop is your opportunity to break through those blocks!

And if you are not in the Maryland/DC area watch for the opportunity to purchase the digital recordings.