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Making second nature first

Second things first

“It’s become so automatic, I don’t even think about it when I’m doing it.”

“It is so ‘second nature,’ I could do it in my sleep.”

What if we put our second nature first? What if our second nature became our first nature?

When we say something becomes second nature, we mean that it’s not something we’re consciously aware of when we’re doing it. For example, once you learn how to drive a car, you’re not consciously aware of all the movements you’re making to drive the car, and to navigate from point A to point B.

It could also be something that we say we do by instinct — again, without really thinking about it.

“I don’t know how I reached out and kept that child from falling over the railing, it was just a knee-jerk reflex.”

In other words, it’s living from your subconscious. I wouldn’t say it is unconscious — it’s anything but that. Rather, it’s consciously living from what is there all along. Instead of relying on thinking to make it happen — we let the thinking take a back seat, and elevate the subconscious up to the surface.

We can invite it up and out to play all the time! Radical idea? Maybe. Worth it? Absolutely.

Is thinking overrated?

“I never gave it another thought.”

“I just did it without thinking.”

We say things like the above statements as if thinking is the central benchmark, the kingpin, the main yardstick by which to gauge our actions and experiences. Why have we given thinking such an elevated status?

Of course, in any given moment your brain never truly shuts off. It doesn’t completely disengage from your bodily functions any more than your lungs keep from expanding and contracting, or your heart stops beating.

It’s merely a part of you, and yet it’s not all of you. When your second nature kicks in — during any emergency for example — you bring your awareness into keen focus. You are bringing a blending in of all of you into and to that moment. You are one with the situation, each person in that moment, and truly one with all of creation. There are no boundaries real or perceived. I know this may seem trippy, and I assure you this is not a drug-induced blog post, if that’s what you’re thinking. What you’re thinking, see what I mean? We are a thinking-obsessed so called modern society.

For your consideration:

What if we allowed our thinking to fade into the mix of our lived experiences, almost as if we swirled our thinking into a can of paint, using a wooden dowel, and letting the thinking disappear into the whole of the paint? Would we miss it ? Or, would we simply allow it to swirl into the mixture that becomes the fully blended vibrant paint color? Did the prior paint in the can cease to exist, or did the new paint that was added in — did that no longer exist, once we mixed it all in together? Nope. It stayed. It melded. It only seemed to disappear.

We can step out of our thinking brain and experience all of creation in a 360-degree (up down, all-around) way. We can live life in a way that I would deem to be spherical.

I contend that our lives would take on a, pardon the pun, whole new dimension. I’ve been living this way the past few weeks, and it’s been wild as heck and soooo nice to give my brain a rest. I’ve been putting my brain on an ongoing moment-by-moment ‘time out,’ and it’s been wondrous. And, in living this way you’re never alone, because you are living from a place of being one with everyone and everything.

Okay, your turn:

Does this idea of living from what I am calling a place of spherical awareness — living wholly and completely from outside the thinking mind — does that appeal to you? Are you willing to give it a go?

I invite you to share your feelings and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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Deconstructing what we construct

Structures

What does it mean to have a structure?

It is a framework

A template

Something that holds something together?

 

To deconstruct–

Is that to destroy?

To “unbuild” what was built?

 

What then is instruction?

To in-build

as in to build-in

a set of instructions

to follow

To create

something consisting

of parts

of lessons

that make up a

curriculum?

 

What is the source?

Who is the source
of these courses

 

And who are they built for?

Who does the creating

Who does the teaching

Who does the learning


Is it a symbiotic

relationship

 

Is it a giving

and a taking

an exchange

 

of value

of sorts?

 

For the purpose of mutual benefit?


Does it stem from or flourish from

A foundation of mutual recognition?

If not, should it?

 

Are we one with each other

With nature

with the planet

with the sun, the moon, and the galaxies

 

Learning and weaving together

as separate parts of one whole

Of one organism, truly?

 

Comity

Not comedy

Awe-ness

Not aww-ness

 

Yes.

 

Please

and

thank you.

  

For your consideration:

When we hear (or say) that we are destroying our planet, are we not indeed acknowledging that we are destroying ourselves? Does not nature (and we are nature) come with its own divine structure?  When we build up artificial structures, only to dismantle and destroy them, what value remains, if any?  When you hear the word infrastructure, what does that connote for you?

Okay, your turn:

Do these lines of inquiry present any new awareness for you?  Would you rather not pay them any mind?  Is there a risk in doing so?  How about in not doing so?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

 © 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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April showers

April Showers

Showering me with

 

Raindrops on noses

and young sisters with kittens

 

Freshly washed sheets

and soft white flowing linens

 

Hung on the clothes line

out in the Spring air

 

With hopes that warm breezes

soon will be there

 

These are a few of life’s

wondrous blessings

 

so simple

so basic

and

yet

so

satisfying

 

For your consideration:

During the pandemic, do you find yourself all the more appreciating the simple pleasures?  I do. I have. I will continue, I hope.  I love hearing the birdsongs each morning, gently awakening me from my slumber.  The city din of rush hour traffic that is no longer rushing has given way to a clarity of chirping, instead.

Okay, your turn:

What about for you?  What are some of the simple pleasures you find along the way, during your day-to-day? I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

 P.S. Poetry inspired ‘with a wordsmith’s twist’ by My Favorite Things and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

 © 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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All things being equal

All things being equal

 

 

All things being equal

EQUINOX

Equal days and nights

Welcoming in with delight

and a bit of fright

the insight

that comes with the rotation of the planet

the turning of the seasons

All amongst the haze

And daze of shortened days’

light

 

Not unlike fallowed farmland

we allow room to rest and restore

and

root down

to stabilize

as the harsher winds

of Winter will be

approaching

 

Leaving behind

the lazy dazy

daisy

days

of Summer

 

Autumn brings harvest

 

Thankful for the harvest

(did you know Thanksgiving used to be observed during early October and not late November as it is now in the United States?)

 

Yes, thankful even this year

2020

and its

harvest

of

stillness

reflection

eye opening

tears inducing

heart opening

heart closing

heart wrenching

heart healing

 

Awareness

and the time and space

to embrace

thoughtfulness

consideration

discerning

what’s

true

and real

and real(ly) important

For your consideration:

Notice, without jumping to quick conclusions, what this unusually strange and often unsettling year has brought up for you.  What are you harvesting?  Not from the surface-social-media-finger-pointing-mud-slinging level, but at the level of deep rootedness…feeling into what your heart knows to be true?

For me, among other things, I find myself doing an ongoing life review of sorts. I’m viewing my earlier experiences in a new (dare I say “novel” as in a novel virus) way. This time affords me an opportunity to be not only reflective but more inventive, more innovative, more imaginative, more creative.

Maybe Plato* was on to something!

(*Reference to his dialogue, the Republic and the idea that from necessity comes invention.  More on that perhaps in a future blog post!)

Okay, your turn:

What’s been coming up for you during these turbulent times? Are you feeling less rooted? Are you nervous that you’ll be blown over by the winds of change? Will you join me in my pledge to stay rooted throughout it all?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Messages from above

Messages from above

When birds circle

tightly in the sky

and lower

than usual

 

They are providing a message

to all who will notice

Wisdom

from above

 

Their circling is nature’s way

of bringing news

of a change

a mighty change

in weather

 

In physical terms, it’s their inner ear sensing

a change in barometric pressure

 

They don’t “see” the change

They sense it

They feel it

 

Their ease of flight

depends on it

They are uniquely sensitive

to anticipating the storms

and adjusting midflight

 

Whether or not

we pay attention

is up to each of us

 

Nature gives us signals

every day

 

Does it take a once-in-a-century

pandemic

to get us to pay attention

to the signals

that a mighty change

is on its way?

 

Will we adjust midflight

and circle up together

or fly in separate directions

missing the flow

missing the ease

the grace

the beauty

the natural

ability

to listen

from within?

 

Okay, your turn:

What does easing into a major change mean for you?  When have you benefited from paying attention to the signals and adjusting midflight? Where have you suffered from making no adjustments along the way, and instead struggled forcefully against the wind?

 

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Forced oneness

Forced Oneness

COVID-19 doesn’t care where you’re from

It doesn’t check for your passport

Or your citizenship

Or your next of kin

 

It doesn’t ask whether you have the new state-issued “Real ID”

With the special star symbol on it

 

COVID-19 doesn’t care how great you were

Or claim to be

Or whether you will be great again

 

From everything we know so far

It doesn’t attack plants

Or rocks

Or dogs

Or cats

 

It doesn’t go after

The winged ones

Or the finned ones

Or the creepy crawlers

 

COVID-19 attacks us as a species

It seeps into us as a human

It takes over our respiration

(Maybe it’s time for a re-SPIR-ration).

 

It forces each of us to come to terms with the fact

that

we are truly all in this one together.

 

So, to whom do you turn as your trusted news source?

Yourself

Your mind

Your discernment

Your wise judgment

Your body

Your heart

Your spirit

Your inner knowing

 

If it sounds like a duck

Walks like a duck

It is well, you know,

A duck

 

And so it is.

We’re all in this together.

Don’t lose heart

Or common sense

Which seemingly is not so common

Right now

After all

 

For your consideration:

Despite the challenges, and even because of them, this pandemic provides an opportunity for each of us to take a humility break.  Let us be sensitive to what unites us rather than divides us. It’s what first responders do. Take heed. Let’s all be first responders. As humans. Let’s reSPIRate.

During this time of the stay-at-home directive in California, I’ve found myself giving the flowers and plants in my garden a little extra attention and tender loving care. And, the rainbow this morning appearing as a semicircle of rays of light above the roofline during the early mist reminds me that not all things beyond our control are unwelcomed.  Even in the most trying of situations, there can be much beauty to behold.

Okay, your turn:

What does the phrase “forced oneness” mean to you? Is it an opportunity, or a curse?  Or, is it something else altogether?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Inner, outer, and back again

Inner, outer, and back again

In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, as we approach the thinning of the veils and autumn turns more and more toward winter, it’s a good time to go into our inner world, reflect upon the year so far, and survey what is ready to bring in from our fields, both physically and spiritually.

An ongoing cycle

Taking care of the insides tends to take care of the outsides. Conversely, of course, neglecting the insides can mean adversely affecting what materializes on the outside.

It’s an ongoing cycle of bringing in, nourishing, replenishing, renewing, and out and back again.

This is true in nature and even with person-made machines like bicycles, automobiles, and lawnmowers, for example. The list could go on; you get the picture.

It’s about taking care, having an awareness, and taking stock so to speak, so as to ensure everything is running smoothly. I was thinking about this when I took my car in for an oil change. The mechanic and I discussed synthetic oils, nonsynthetic oils, and synthetic blends. We discussed the longevity of the vehicle (mine is 24 years young, and still going!), and what we put in it helps the engine run at peak performance and what’s best for the short term versus the longterm.

I like to take care of things. I like things to last. In case you’re wondering, I know, too, when it’s time to let go. This is true of people, and animals, too. I don’t keep things just to keep them, and prolong the suffering, so to speak, just so I can live with it a little longer.

That is, as long as I remember to pay attention.  And, I do. Mostly (smile). Meditation helps. It’s in those quiet moments that I hear what I need to hear. It’s in those quiet moments that I hear what my chatterbox mind has been drowning out. Sometimes it’s what my inner knowing is intending to tell me. Sometimes I hear what the ancestors, and loved ones who have passed on from this lifetime, have to say.

The end of October into early November is an ideal time to access that clear channel with those who have passed onto the other side. It’s a great time of year to watch (or for me, re-watch as I’ve seen it several times), the movie City of Angels. For you film purists out there, yes, it’s a Hollywood stylized and more mainstream remake of the 1980s black and white film Wings of Desire. I like both versions of the movie, and Wings of Desire is a hauntingly beautiful film. The Meg Ryan/Nicolas Cage version is more relatable to me personally because it takes place in California and the Meg Ryan over-achiever character is relatable to me as well. I hope you enjoy either version of the film you decide to watch, and be on the look-out for the spiritual themes.

For your consideration:

The next few days, like nature, go inward. Take careful stock of what you’re “putting into” things you care about: like your relationships, your body, your creativity, your work, your schedule. What you put in the inside makes a difference on the outside.

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life have you been taking care of what you’ve been putting into it? Where could you make improvements? What are you committed to doing differently, and why?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Why so mercurial?

Mercury got you down?

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of a triple header. At the time of this writing, we’re entering into a new moon cycle and are leaving behind Mercury in retrograde. Oh, and there’s the first harvest (known in the Celtic tradition as Lammas).

It’s also a super moon, meaning the moon is at the point in its orbit that is nearest to the Earth; that means the high tides are higher, and the low tides are lower right now.

As our bodies are nearly two-thirds water, the motion and greater intensity of the moon’s impact on the tides means we are subject to that much more gravitational “pull.” It’s not your imagination – it’s science.  So, if you’ve been feeling especially off balance and maybe a little more wobbly than usual, allow yourself to lean into rather than resist all the movement. Welcome in less topsy turvyiness, and more easeful floating. It’s a time to focus on anything or anyone in your life that is stable right now.

In this edition of Soul Notes, as the planet Mercury seemingly (although not actually) reverses its course, let’s explore what it means to be “mercurial.” Mercurial is defined as fickle, volatile, ever-changing, and unpredictable. It can leave each of us and those around us feeling a little, or a lot, anxious.

Mercury, the chemical, is named after the fastest moving planet in our solar system, and if ingested can cause among other things damage to our nervous system. It is no coincidence that many believe that Mercury in retrograde can be rather disruptive. It happens at those three or so times a year when the planet Mercury is moving slower than is the Earth, creating the illusion that it’s moving backward. That can be disconcerting indeed.

Our medicine cabinet in the kids’ bathroom when I was growing up always had in it a small bottle of something called Mercurochrome. Containing a trace amount of mercury and not having been subject to FDA scrutiny or approval, it  has since been taken off store shelves in the United States.

Whenever I ran back into the house after having fallen and scraped one or both my knees, mom would pull out the bottle of Mercurochrome, take a stopper full of the liquid silver and sploosh a mighty squirt of the stuff right onto my skin. I winced and felt the burn and nearly held my breath as I would watch a brownish reddish amber amoeba stain of goo form on my skin. Fully awakened by the new pain out-paining the original one, I nonetheless scampered back out again to play, and probably fall again, and likely later to have to pull out a few nettles and foxtails from my socks and hair.

While “at play,” what I like best is that my mind gets to take a rest. Gemini is my sun sign, and according to astrology, Mercury is my ‘ruling planet.’ Mercury is said to rule communication and the mind. So during Mercury’s retrograde periods, I get to enjoy a double-uptick in challenges.  I get to practice calming down my already otherwise nervous, highly mutable energy. I get to be so extra…you know, mercurial! 

For your consideration

How about for you? Are you coming off a super-charged few days or weeks of intensity in your life?  If so, consider seeking out ways to stabilize and ground yourself.  Yes, ground yourself, as in hold a stone in your hand, sit on a rock, or put your bare feet on the actual ground. Take a slow, long, calming look out at a mountain peak or at a set of large trees in your area, if you can. And, if you’re at all like me, even standing in mountain pose in your living room, and breathing deeply and slowly for 8-11 breaths will likely do you wonders.

Okay, your turn:

In what ways are you coming out of an especially wobbly week or two, and in what ways are you transitioning along with the natural world into a more stabilized phase?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Leaving something better than you found it

Restoring a place to its original habitat

On a recent Saturday morning, I joined a group of about 50 volunteers to help restore the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa del Rey, California.  Our mission was to clear an area about the size of a football field of overgrown foliage and remove the nonnative plants.  This in turn, as our group leaders advised us, would serve to restore the area to its original ecological balance and to retain ecosystemic harmony in the region.

During the introductory talk, the representatives from the Reserve explained to us that the thousands of bird species who migrate from North to South each year have lost many of their natural water and food sources, due to humankind’s disruption of the native plants and the injection of nonnative plants from lands far and wide.  This has also adversely affected the living patterns of butterflies, caterpillars, snails, lizards, and a range of insects who would otherwise be contributing their ecological benefits in a more thriving way to this area.

Making an impact: visible and lasting results

By thinning out the overcrowding of plants, and removing stem by stem the nonnative ones, we created breathing room for the native plants to catch some air. Throughout the course of a few short hours, it became more and more readily apparent that we were truly making an impact. I could see as well as feel the difference we were making, moment by moment. As I looked out across the patch of wetlands we were assigned to help restore to its natural beauty, the plants seemed to look happier and it was if I could hear them saying: Thank You.

I was also struck by how much the same could be said about us as humans, too. We seem to be a species rarely content to enjoy the breathing room, with the ever increasing “crowding” of our days filled with back to back scheduling and activities.  We don’t seem to have a switch that tells us automatically to “leave well enough alone.”  If humans over the centuries hadn’t disrupted the natural ecosystem, there would be nothing to restore in the first place.  Yes, we volunteers that day were leaving this area “better than we found it,” but that was only because the humans years before us had left it worse than they found it, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It takes a certain level of conscious awareness to be good stewards of our land and surroundings.

For your consideration:

Each of us, individually and in groups, can make a positive impact by volunteering even a few hours of our time to improving the land and space near and around us.  Take a few moments to write down a list of volunteer organizations or events in your area – select something between now and Solstice.  Maybe you will visit someone in a hospital or other care facility?  How about volunteering at an animal rescue organization?  One time I felt the urge to clean up a local public park, and called up a friend to come with me – it was rather impromptu – all we needed to bring were a few garbage bags and away we went!

Let me know what you select to do.  I look forward to hearing all about it and witnessing the impact you’re making.

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life or community have you left your mark in a tangible way, that has created viable improvements?  Would you like to make more of an impact?  Are you committed to doing so?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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Planting seeds now and for well into the future

Planting seeds and envisioning orchards

In elementary school, our teacher often told the folkloric tale of Johnny Appleseed (whom I researched recently to find out was a real person named John Chapman — an early American colonist and missionary —  who was a member of the New Church of Christianity).

While details of his life and legacy are the stuff of legend mixed in with documented history, John Chapman (“Johnny Appleseed”) was known to travel throughout New England and into the Midwest, spreading apple seeds for others to grow apple trees on their land. It has been reported that he was quite the businessman and enterprising in that he followed the then law that prescribed that a person with 50 apple trees or more could stake claim to a plot of land as part of the early homesteading rules and regulations.

And his religious beliefs, stemming largely from the New Church’s forbidding doing harm to any of God’s creation, informed many of his day-to-day activities. He is believed to have built fences around apple trees to keep out livestock and other animals. It has been reported that he even helped heal an injured wolf and a hobbled horse.

Johnny Appleseed also was someone who made it his mission to spread apple seeds in a way that allowed apple trees to grow and the fruit to propagate naturally. He disfavored the intervention through the then and now common practice of “grafting” from one tree to another. Apples intrinsically have a wide variety of genetic variability. As such, not unlike a box of chocolates (an appreciative nod to the movie Forrest Gump), you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Without grafting, apple seeds are allowed to sprout into an array of unpredictable varieties.  That lends to them being hardier and more able to adapt to and incorporate their ever changing surroundings.  While less ‘standardized’ and less ‘consistent’ in their outcomes, non-grafted apples allow for the element of surprise and naturally occurring complexities to emerge from the mystery and manifest into form.

So, what’s the spiritual lesson in this, you may be asking?  I’d say it’s this:

Plant the seeds and let go.  Provide them water, soil and sunshine, sure; but otherwise, let them be.  Allow specific outcomes to remain uncertain. Resist the temptation to impose person-made alterations that prevent nature from enjoying its full expression and dare I say potentially quirky “imperfections.”  So, too, may it be with regard to your own dreams and aspirations.

With your desires, envision them coming into form.  And, then let them go.  Allow them to run their natural course. Don’t allow your over-thinking and over-manipulating to “graft” onto your dreams and drain the life out of them.  Don’t try artificially to “contain” the fruit of your dreams.  Allow them to adapt and blend into the naturally shifting conditions and environment.  That, to me, is what we mean when we say “to be in the flow.”

The analogies between personal development and spiritual growth, and growth in nature, are abundant. When I started to envision the topic for this particular edition of SOUL NOTES, I didn’t anticipate that it would lead me to the tale of Johnny Appleseed.  Alas, here we are.  There’s more to his story, as I know there is more to yours as well. Tales to be told, and shaped, reshaped, and retold.

The longterm impact and leaving a legacy

Johnny Appleseed also exemplifies that planting seeds in the short term can reap dividends in the long term. As each of us continues to grow in our own spiritual development, the world stands to gain from that growth.  As each of us plants our seeds of intentions, desires, and heartfelt aspirations now for the betterment of all, we help to provide for generations to come.  In doing so, we indeed stand to leave an important and loving legacy.

For your consideration:

Feel into your dream theme for this year, and determine what seeds you’re planting now so that they may continue to grow throughout the year into a strong and vibrant orchard, for you and for others to enjoy. You are the steward of that legacy. You are the gardener.

Okay, your turn:

What are you planting now, in the ground, in your life, in your relationships, and how you show up in the world?  Are there any seeds you’ve been keeping tucked away deep in your pocket so to speak, that it’s time to plant into the ground and to allow to grow out into the light? If so, what is it exactly that you are waiting for? The season is now.

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.