A Mountaintop Moment


She was not allowed to hurt anymore today.

 

 

 

 
Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, is a recipient of the Heritage/Soulword Magazine Award in poetry, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.  Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.

 

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A Peace & Goodwill Practice

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Try this.  It takes nothing away from you.  And, in fact, will actually add something quite substantial.

Get still.  Get quiet.  Breathe deeply.  Slowly.  Fully.  Inhale to the very end of possibility.  Exhale till there’s nothing left.  Pay attention to the breath.

As you inhale, envision filling every organ and muscle with life-giving oxygen. And as you exhale, envision letting go of that which no longer serves.

And repeat.

Now take the next several minutes, this carved time of focused silence, to hold sacred space for peace and goodwill.  And this is most important:  With each prompt, take your time to live in silence with it, before moving on to the next one.  Be with your internal rhythm.

First begin by wishing peace and goodwill on our most sacred of servants: Our teachers. Our mentors. Our gurus & spiritual guides. Our wayshowers.

And now, wish peace & goodwill on your family, your friends, your loved ones. You may think of them as a collective whole of your great body of love.  Or if, in this instant, they are coming to you one by one, if they are floating through your consciousness in this way, take this moment to call their names out loud.

Next, wish peace and goodwill on your acquaintances.  Your colleagues.  Those whom you genuinely hold in regard and respect.

Wish peace & goodwill on those you may know by face, but not by name. The ones we run across in the neighborhood, weekly, daily. We may not know their story, but what we know for sure is that they experience the same struggles and joys that we do.

Wish peace and goodwill on every stranger who has passed your way.  The ones you may never think of again after that initial encounter.   Again, who knows what their paths and histories hold, or what private battles they may be waging?

Wish peace and goodwill on those you have never met.  Those whom you have only read about in newspapers, who may live in a world so radically different from your own, who may very well operate under a different set of ethical rules and belief systems, who may seem so remote from your own everyday experiences that they are a bit of theoretical abstract in your mind.  And then remind yourself that no human being is an abstract … unless we all are.

Next, wish peace & goodwill on those you might be inclined to label “enemy.” It’s a word full of hyperbole, and yet stunning how often we actually use it in daily language.  I refer to those whose towards you sits heavy on your heart, and those toward whom you hold animosity.  Those you feel you cannot trust, those who have harmed you in some way.

Next, wish peace and goodwill on those to whom you have caused harm.   The ability to do this requires the stripping away of ego enough to be able to own your part.  That can be a tough one.  But the lure, the appeal, the reward is that it’s also the most liberating one.

Wish peace and goodwill on all living creatures.  The two- and four-legged ones.  The ones who fly.   The ones who swim.  The ones who crawl or slither on the ground.   The ones so tiny we don’t even think of them as sentient beings.  And then ponder how tiny we are in the scope of the infinite celestial constellations.

Wish peace and goodwill on our planet.  The earth gives us life and sustenance.  And all that is asked of us, in return, is that we treat her with reverence, keep her alive and thriving, and crucially shift our consciousness from living ON the Earth to living WITH her.

And lastly, wish peace & goodwill on YOU. Every one of us in this room honors and practices in our lives some measure of compassion and mindfulness within us. Let us never waver from our resolve to daily renew our agreement with the universe to BE that in the world.

We also hold within us injuries, blocks and stumbles, our particular baggage and dysfunctions that we all try our daily best to heal, and to forgive … at this time, wish those Internal Agitations … peace & goodwill.

Do not banish them to a corner for being less than mindful.  Invite those agitations to a dialogue.  Ask them to reveal to you what need they are feeding.

And then … listen.

 

With all that is going on in our world these days, it becomes clear that we have been severed from each other …  even severed from ourselves.  More than ever before, we need to raise the vibration by holding an eternal space of peace & goodwill for all of humanity.

Let us BE that Highest Vibrational Frequency.  Let us be a trillion souls, clasping hands and forming a great net of souls* in order to hold an eternal, cradling space of peace & goodwill for all of humanity.

 

The writer Anne Lamott once said: “Grace always bats last. But finally, when all is said and done, and the dust settles, which it does, Love is sovereign here.”                    

 

Namaste.

 

 

 

* This powerful bit of sacred imagery is from the writer Tony Kushner.

Photo credit: Gregory Colbert

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.   Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.

Day 4 (of Juice Fasting & Meditation)

Fasting and Prayer

Hard day.   But weirdly, not all of it.   The emotions are bouncing around like tennis balls.  Still.

There definitely is something about privation that really does bring every emotion to the surface, and opens every wound.   So that whatever it is that’s surfacing can either be squashed and denied, tucked way, or welcomed to a conversation, a squaring off.   Which is the whole reason for doing this.

My meditation (and my juicing, too, for that matter) didn’t happen first thing in the morning today, as it has for the past 3 days.  I got up uncharacteristically early, and while the dawn hours would’ve made for the absolute loveliest meditation, instead I was antsy to get on the computer.  Check email, check social media, work on a graphic design client’s project for a bit.  And before I knew it, the day was going by, and I needed to get out of the house and do SOME kind of exercise, as I haven’t yet since the fast started.

I walked a new trail today in my neighborhood.  O’Melveny Park.   Gorgeous trail/park.  Lots of families out with picnics.  And just the nicest weather.  My hike wasn’t long, because I wasn’t fueled.  But I took it gently, and enjoyed myself, nonetheless.   It was on the drive back from there, to the store to get my day’s veggies, that I had a kind of meltdown.  Just everything that is stressful in my life right now bubbled right to the top, and behind the wheel of my car I went into full-on crying mode.  And I talk a lot when I cry.  Usually asking God, or the Universe, or whomever or whatever usually receives the rantings of crazy people, “What’s the freakin’ deal!”  I suddenly felt overwhelmed by my life, under-motivated by my life, and stuck in the chasm.   I even walked into the produce store crying.

(Tip:  when buying massive amounts of vegetables and fruit for any length of time, definitely stay away from the standard fare Vons’ and Ralphs’, etc.   Find your local Asian markets, Persian markets, and Israeli markets.   Great produce, stuff you wouldn’t find at Vons or Ralphs, and FAR cheaper.)

Okay, back to my strange day.  By the time I got home with my veggies, it was close to 5pm, and I needed badly to meditate before doing anything else.   I still hadn’t put anything in my stomach except water and a morning mint tea while on the computer.  And while the privation was definitely setting my system on edge and drudging up all that emotional stuff, I wasn’t actually experiencing hunger.   That phenomenon fascinated me to no end, considering how austere my diet has been for the past 4 days.   So, since my stomach wasn’t growling or making me picture dancing ice cream cones, juicing would have to wait until I could get in lotus position and battle out whatever was making me near-hysterical.

The meditation was wonderful.   Well, when I say wonderful, it was actually one of those difficult, cathartic ones.  But I consider that the testament of a wonderful meditation.   I was ultimately soothed, but first I had to visit some uncomfortable realities in my life.  Yesterday, Mindfulness is what surfaced during my sit.  Today it was the Coward.  Here’s what I know about me, the stuff I’m trying to fix, and it all came up with my eyes closed and my hands in gyan mudra.  I am afraid of everything.  Taking risks, being bold, speaking my mind.  I’m afraid for fear of ridicule, loss of opportunity, loss of acceptance and validation.  I often back down from challenges that appear to overwhelm me by their size and shape and scope.  Rather than to assert that I can rise to the occasion with a little ingenuity and some hard work. To compensate, I often have the instinct to be impatient with those that I can smell are even more afraid than me.  And the bossy comes out.  It is my way of climbing on top, of finding my own security.  I am bullied by my own inner fears, and fear that I might be a bully.  There are David & Goliath parables that have been thematic in my life ever since childhood.  I used to take on bullies for the sake of my little brother.  And on rare occasions I would flip out and “turn” whenever I was the target of longtime bullying.  But mostly I just cowered.  As a result, even as an adult, I just don’t leap the way others leap, take crazy chances, go for broke.  And that is a great pain body for me (to use an excellent coined phrase of Eckhart Tolle’s).  Today that pain body came to the surface.  But I battled it out and I “ohm”ed it out.  And when I was done, I felt lifted and unburdened.  Resolved to leap a bit more, take a few of those chances.  Because here’s what I came away with.  What could possibly be the consequence of going for broke that could ruin me?   Nothing!   It may seem like a big “duh” to you, but I’ve never asked that question of myself ever before.  Never thought to frame the dilemma in that way.  And the dawning of that ridiculously simple answer just unloosed something in me. Meditation is so freakin’ cool.  Have I said that lately?

When I was done, I went to the kitchen to finally juice up my veggies and have a meal.   I also finally bought stuff that gave me a whole other set of flavors today.   I still used apple, lemon, and ginger to cut the bitterness of the leafy greens.   But today, instead of spinach or kale, which have been my staples so far, I used dandelion, chard, and celery.   I have never eaten dandelion or chard before, at least that I know of, so this was kind of exciting for me.  I finally got a meal consumed.  And honestly I doubt I’m interested in too much more tonight, which means I’ll actually have a batch already made up and ready for me tomorrow morning, for the first time on this fast.

Got a little cranky on Facebook today.  I knew the crankies were coming.  I posted the below paragraph, which I think has a tongue-in-cheek-ness to it when the post actually involves the fast.

“Doctor yesterday told me I have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which is similar to Carpel Tunnel, except it affects the pinkie and ring finger, instead of the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. Two different nerves conduct each set of fingers. So, I’ve got the OTHER one, the one that’s not as common among musicians. It’s probably from sitting at a desk chair a LOT, and leaning my elbow on the seat arm. Anyway, the numbness and tingling in my left fingers got me all panicked that I was having a heart attack, and I was thinking ‘Damn you, juice fast!’ At this point, on Day 4, I’m pretty much blaming the fast for everything. LOL!”

I don’t know.  Doesn’t the LOL kind of give it away that I’m not suffering?

I got a lot of folks actually responding to my news about the CTS, and some very helpful tips on what to do about it.   Then I got a few responses addressing the fast.  Maybe from folks who don’t know about this, and aren’t following my blog, or maybe they do.   Comments that basically translated to “why are you doing this?”   “Enjoy life, not suffer by it,”  etc.

To which I responded:

“Hey everyone, thanks so much for the CTS info. Truly. Very helpful. On the other topic in this post, for any of you out there who don’t understand why I’m doing a juice fast, you don’t need to, unless you’re truly interested, and then I’m happy to have a conversation with you about it. Otherwise, please don’t speak out of turn. You’re also welcomed to read my blog about the experience and why I’m doing it.  Your respect will be greatly appreciated.”

Was that cranky?  I’m not sure.   I tried to word my response as respectfully as possible, but maybe what would’ve been best was not to address it at all?   Let people have their (usually unsolicited) opinions about YOUR life.   Oops, I think I’m still cranky.   It is, after all, Day 4, and I did have an emotional meltdown earlier.

Oh well.   It could get better from here.   Or it could get worse before it gets better.   Stay tuned.

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Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.   Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.

A November Thought

Gratitude Flower

i live in gratitude

i live in gratiude

i live in gratitude

every day that i awaken and breathe

i am grateful

every day that i think a thought

and feel my heart’s stirring

i am grateful

every day that i am upright and whole

i am grateful

every day that a creative idea becomes solid matter

i am grateful

every day that i face that thing of which i am most afraid

i am grateful

every day that i am given awareness of the smallest of beauties

the most unsung of treasures

i am grateful

every day that i am enlightened

given insight

have an epiphany

i am grateful

every day that i exercise compassion

understanding

patience

i am grateful

every day that i encounter another living creature and engage

i am grateful

every day that i am hugged

kissed

loved

i am grateful

every day that i laugh

or make someone laugh

i am grateful

every day that my family is healthy and happy

i am grateful

every day that my friends do well in the world

i am grateful

every day that i change someone’s life

or someone changes mine

i am grateful

every day that love is evident in my life

i am grateful

every day that i act out of anger

impatience

frustration

a broken heart

i am grateful

for each affliction offers an opportunity

to learn about myself and my fellow man

every day that brings me a challenge that tests my spirit

i am grateful

every day that i am humbled by a mistake

i am grateful

why else do our mistakes exist?

every day that i am faced with seemingly unbearable odds

i am grateful

for the lessons learned

and the spirit toughened and strengthened by it

are more valuable to me than if i were living an effortless life

every day that i try

i am grateful

every day that i try again

i am grateful

every day that i can have some time to myself

for quiet and reflection

i am grateful

and when they ask me what’s new?

i will answer every single day

because every single day that arrives

brings a sun

a moon

a breath

a surprise

a blessing

a song

whether sung or heard

and the ear to hear it

a world of love at our fingertips

a capacity for hope

a reason to smile

and a heart full of gratitude

so when they ask me what’s new?

i will answer everything

at every single moment

and for that

i am grateful

 

 

Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.