, , , , , , , , ,

There are messages in the water

What about the water?

Varying to some degree only by age and gender, our human bodies are approximately 70 percent water. Water is the primary building block of human cells. And, water covers nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.  It’s vitally important to our existence, as individuals and as a species. And yet, or perhaps precisely because of its prevalence in our world, we tend to take it for granted.  You’d think it would be difficult for us to ignore, but somehow we do?

What if we pay more close attention to the water?  What can we learn from the water?  And, what can the water learn from us?  What impact, if any, do we have on each other?  Is it unidirectional or bidirectional?   In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s dig a little deeper, and dive beneath the surface, if you will!

The truth is in the water

“There are messages in the water.”

During a quiet, self-reflective meditation session not too long ago, I distinctly heard these words:  “There are messages in the water.”  I didn’t know what that meant.  What I did know, however, is that I would be looking to the water, in all its many forms, for clues.

And, as I sat down to outline this blog post, I was reminded of the set of water crystal experiments conducted by Dr. Masaru Emoto.  I decided to look up his written works, and smiled as I discovered that one of his volumes is entitled, “The Hidden Messages in Water.”  Not one to overlook a good cosmic coincidence, I quickly ordered a copy of the book and devoured it before sitting back down to finish writing this article.  The book is replete with high-speed photographic images of frozen water crystals, observed and amplified under a variety of conditions.

The Emoto experiments

By putting bottles of water on a table, and then freezing them while exposing them to a number of pre-set conditions, and then taking high-speed photographs of the resulting crystal formations, Dr. Emoto was able to test for certain variables such as: exposure to chlorine in the water (common in some communities’ tap water); exposure to music, including Beethoven and Mozart’s symphonies; and exposure to written words such as “Thank you” compared to “Fool”.   Each resulted in specific shapes and formations, some beautifully complete, and others blurred, ill-shapened, or even completely fragmented.

From these experiments, Dr. Emoto concluded that our thoughts can influence water and that words have spirit. Water definitely responds!  We can impact the very structure of water – to our betterment and to our detriment.  That goes for each of us, and for the planet as a whole.

So, what does that mean, if and when we hear the universe whispering to us that “there are messages in the water?” What if the opposite is also true?  Can the water influence our thoughts?  Can the water affect our mind, body, and soul?  What about its potential to impact our joie de vivre, our very experience of life?  Or, how about its effect on our next course of action?  Maybe it’s not only what we say, but what we hear? I would suggest that both propositions are possible.  It’s a magical, mystical dance in which we, with consciousness, shall benefit from being willing participants.

(For a refresher on the importance of listening, click here for the previous edition of Soul Notes, entitled, Trust what you hear when you listen. In the Jap Ji, the 8th stanza translates in part as: “All my pain departs listening to my heart.”  Your heart in the physical sense also benefits from water, as it is a major component of what flows through the blood in your veins and arteries.  Blood is 92 percent water by weight.  Water is our life blood.)

“I have no doubt that water crystals will become a common focal point for people all over the world who are trying to make sense of chaos.” 

— Dr. Masaru Emoto

The truth is in the water.  It is such a fundamental element of our existence, how can there not be wisdom in it? I say we pay attention to it.  Why?  Because as Dr. Emoto posits:  It, like many aspects of the natural world, is a way for us to make sense of the chaos in our human existence.

The self-organizing nature of nature

In its natural form, water when frozen forms into hexagonal (six-sided) shaped ice crystals.  The details within the outlying formation do vary (you may have heard the expression “no two snowflakes are exactly alike”) – but what remains constant in nature is the self-organizing pattern of six-sided frozen water crystals.  There’s lots to explore with regard to sacred geometry (beyond the scope of this blog post), many aspects of which have been observed and studied over the past many centuries. It’s not merely a coincidence that many parts of nature, left to their own (divine?) devices, fall into recurring patterns.   It’s the intervention of humankind that threatens to, and often does, however, disturb these naturally occurring patterns – as the Emoto experiments demonstrate.

So, the invitation is to observe the water, and to listen for its messages, as well as reflect on ways we can enhance the experience of those around us – by the ways we interact with one another.  As everyone is comprised mostly of water, think of the impact we have on each other, physically and spiritually?

What have I heard?  I’m still listening.  And, listening.  I listen in my morning and evening practices.  I listen in the ocean.  I listen in the shower.  I listen in the bath.  I listen in the rain.  I listen in the garden. One thing I heard clearly was this:  “Make water the next topic to be explored in Soul Notes.”  And, so it is.  Welcome to the conversation!

For your consideration:

We tend to bless our food.  How about we remember to bless our water, too?  We each have that choice, and we have good reasons for making that choice.

Okay, your turn:

What lessons are there for you in the water?  Is it time to start paying attention?  Is it time to start paying more attention?  To what end?

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

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Special moments in time

Now is all we have, and it’s a lot!

One oh so enchanting evening

In this edition of Soul Notes we explore what it means to capture those special moments in time. 

Sitting in front of my casita, from atop the cliffs high above the smooth sea, along the central coastline of Mexico:  I am joined by two other caring souls as we look out at the nearly black night sky snuggling the horizon and the calm ocean waters a few hundred feet below.  Directly centered in front of us, along with a canopy of stars above, we see the moon slowly setting over the water.

As the moon descends, its reflection of sunlight forming a crescent shape, it turns with solemn power from a bright white to a warm and welcoming golden hue.  After several magnificent minutes, without even a whisper, the moon’s silhouette slips behind the horizon line and out of view.

We gaze out at the ocean in awe as we humbly appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this moment. We are reverent witnesses to nature and the cosmos, and to all that is.

Okay, so I may wax poetically like this from time to time.  How can I not?  Moments such as these beg for quiet reflection and invited rapture.

As posed by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

To be human is to live with a certain level of consciousness, awareness and appreciation for all that our senses, well…sense.  Our human experience is indeed a sensual one.

In the film “City of Angels” starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, there is a scene in which Seth (Cage’s character, who comes to Earth as an angel), yearns to know the taste of a pear. He asks Maggie (Ryan’s character) to describe it for him.  A bit perplexed by the question, Maggie takes a minute to find the words to convey how the pear tastes to her. Seth later in the movie experiences for the first time, the bodily sensations of hot water hitting his skin while taking a shower.

Simple moments perhaps.  Things we often take for granted.  And, yet they can be profoundly beautiful as well.   This is when our hearts and bodies serve our minds, and not the other way around.

“Where words fall short, experiences stand tall.” –Lori A. Noonan

As a writer, I’m quite fond of words.  Heck, right now you’re reading a blog article, I do realize (grin).

With words, we do our best to capture what our senses innately feel.  We have sensory-based phrases such as:

“In my mind’s eye”

“Touching moments”

“Hot blooded”

“Cold hearted”

“I hear you”

“I see you”

“I feel you”

“Tastes like freedom”

The senses – sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, and even a “sixth sense” of intuition and innate knowing -– all provide us an opportunity, in so many ways, to experience life in all its richness and supreme depth.  It’s up to us to tune in and be all that it means to be human.

Our lives are a string of special moments in time.  Let’s be aware of what makes them special; and: feel them, cherish them, and share them with others.  That is my wish for you today, and always.

Okay, your turn:

What examples come to mind or heart when you remember a beautiful moment in time?  Where were you?  What made it beautiful?  Did you take any pictures?  In what other ways did you memorialize that moment?

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

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , , , , , , , , , ,

What does it mean to live and lead from the feminine?

Marching to the beat of a resurging drummer

This edition of Soul Notes is devoted to the seemingly ever-emerging resurrection of feminine leadership.  By this, I mean not only the women (and men) who are stepping into leadership positions where they embody feminine principles (creation, co-creation, cooperation, and the like); by this I am also suggesting that each person has the opportunity to “lead with” and from a foundation of feminine principles in their own lives, in their families, and in their communities.

Allow me to clarify that this is not in any way intended to discredit the masculine.  It’s merely an observation that the time has arrived where we’re seeing an uprising toward “tipping the scales” back a bit more toward symbiosis.  The yin yang symbol itself, for example, represents this well, in my opinion.  It’s a swirl of two mirror image shapes of the same size, embracing each other within the one circle.  They complement rather than compete with one another.  They hold each other in balance and securely in place.

So this is what leading from the feminine looks and feels like

As I joined hundreds of thousands of other marchers in Los Angeles on January 21st, it struck me how much this experience represented for me what leading from the feminine looks and feels like.  I found myself coining my own phrase for it – what came to me was:  power humanified.

Power humanified

Although I anticipated that discord and perhaps even violence may erupt on the day of the March, especially in a large urban center, and during such a highly charged political climate right now – I was filled with a reassuring contrast, from start to finish throughout the day.

I found myself immersed in a completely peaceful, collaborative, supportive, and nonviolent expanse of humanity.  From the trains to the roadways to the downtown street crossings, to security officers to the marchers, to the weather even (!), all seemed to be cooperating.  Now, I wouldn’t say that this type of energy is at all limited to one particular gender.  And, I realize that this day may have been an isolated occurrence whose energy and peaceful activism may not last in the coming weeks and months.  Regardless, I can say that at least it is possible; I was there; I witnessed it; I experienced it.  It happened.

It was striking to notice, too, that the men who attended seemed to feel ‘free to let down their shield’ so to speak – the stereotype of men having to be forceful, stoic, and nonexpressive, truly seemed to fall to the wayside.  I watched as the men among us enjoyed being supportive and feeling supportive and supported themselves.  They were welcomed into the fold, and walked side by side, not charging ahead or showing dominance in any way.  This was equal footing.

And let me say a few words about American privilege, whether you are a man or a woman.  Yes, I am an American, born and raised.  I’ve traveled to other countries and other continents, and yet I do not presume to understand fully the experience of women (or men) who have been raised outside the United States.  I do recognize that I’ve been able to travel by way of means and access not readily available to women in many countries. What I find a bit difficult to accept, though, is the suggestion posited by some that because women in some non-American countries suffer unimaginable violence and abuse, that this somehow diminishes the need to increase awareness of the injustices and inequities in our own land.

While twenty-two countries from Argentina, to Chile, to Croatia, to Denmark, to Germany, to Jamaica, to Norway, for example, have had women leaders in recent years as their head of state (Presidents or Prime Ministers), America still has had none.  For a century and a half after the nation’s founding, the women in the United States had no legally recognized right to vote.

Is it about ensuring that any  woman attain the highest office in the land?  No.  Unequivocally, I say no.  I would suggest, though, that a woman who brings abundantly more experience and depth of knowledge than the other frontrunner (man or woman) running, then yes.  I say yes.

Words, and symbols hold power in them

In response to the proliferation of pink hats worn during the marches, a friend of mine posed the following question:  “Isn’t that merely perpetuating gender stereotyping?” My response to his question is this:  When you’re a member of the stereotyped group, there’s power in taking back the words or symbols that have been misappropriated by those who are not members of that group.  There’s strength in reclaiming those words or symbols that have for generations been used to demean, belittle, or make dismissible the members of that group.  So, to that end, I say yes, pink is ours…you can have it, too, thank you kindly, if you would please do so with honor and reverence, and not with arrogance, disgust, or power-over.

Many women, and some men, each have their examples of being “put down” for their gender.  I’ll share one here.  As a civil litigator working for a defense firm in Los Angeles, I was a young associate and member of a three-attorney trial team (myself, and two male partners).  We had just returned from a successful day in court.  I was pleased that we advocated well for our clients, and had emerged victorious.

As the three of us rode back up the elevator together from the underground parking lot to our firm’s office suite, after returning from our day in court, this transpired:  The managing partner, in front of the other male partner, turns to me and says:  “You did a nice job in there today…for…a girl.”  A few minutes later, the two partners then took off to have a celebratory dinner on their own, leaving me to stay at the office to continue working that evening.

Women are “girls.”  And, men are well, men (or ‘dudes’ when leaning toward the more casual).  And, they’re held to different standards of what’s acceptable.  [There’s a case in Northern California, for example, where the judge has issued sanctions against the male attorney who made accusations that the female opposing counsel had purportedly displayed “unlady-like” behaviors during a deposition.]

Even the word “guys” has been blurred to include men and women in ‘mixed company,’ because, well, its true counterpart “gals” doesn’t seem to stand on equal footing, either.

Often men are referred by their last names, while women are referred by their first names.  Women themselves often perpetuate this disparity in usage.  Many have come to accept it simply as commonplace.  A way too subtle, picky difference over which to make a fuss, you may say?  Maybe.  It’s the very subtlety of it, though, that makes it that much more able to escape scrutiny.  It’s not as blatant as “bitch” or “chick” (both of which are animal references, and as such are used as a way to dehumanize).   So, it’s sometimes easier to let slide.

Nonetheless, this pervasive belittling, whether overt or covert, brings with it a price.  That price is the ability of all people to embrace and exhibit all of who they are, with authenticity and dare I say even wild abandon.  Society as a whole suffers.  Repression costs us all.

Vibrating resonance

Despite what some may contend, I vote for the continuation of the conversations that have come to the forefront during this recent election cycle, and its aftermath.  I’m suggesting that the marches worldwide on January 21st were not an isolated moment in time.  Although a powerful day on its own, I’d say it started a “reverb” like no other, at least since perhaps the Civil Rights movement.  As with strumming a guitar, the sound continues its vibration well after the first chord or note is struck.  January 21st was a strong strum heard ‘round the world.

May we continue strumming.  And may we lead from the feminine.

Oh, and remind me to share the story sometime – the one about when I showed up on the lot at Paramount Studios to be an extra in a movie, and ended up playing a suffragette who marched in the streets during a President Wilson campaign rally.

Yep, that happened.  And, so did the marches this past weekend, millions of people strong, worldwide.

Power humanified.

Okay, your turn:

What, if anything, did you take away from the recent marches around the globe?  To what extent do you feel there’s a resurrection of the feminine?  Is this merely spiritual mumbo jumbo, or evidence of a real shift, rooted in practical reality?  What would you like to see more fully emerging in our world going forward?

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

© 2017 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , , , , , , ,

Forgive a little, forgo a lot

Forgiveness:  For the past, or for the now? 

Close on the heels of Thanksgiving in the United States, I’ve been reflecting on the idea of what it may mean to give thanks for forgiveness – giving forgiveness, that is.  (Although receiving it, too, has its advantages, I suppose. I’ll leave that for another blog post, another new moon.)

forgivenessGive thanks for forgiveness, you say? Oh, that sounds kind of like the celebrating of giving in – giving in to another’s (perceived or actual) transgression upon us, you may be thinking. In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s take a closer look:

Forgiveness may mean letting go of something that occurred recently, or long ago.  Either way, however, it’s not about the past.  Not really, anyway.  It’s about the present. And the future.  Yours.

There’s healing to be gained. And, a lightness of being to be enjoyed.

There’s the removal of the sting, the dropping of the hurt that lingers until you let it go.

Giving up any corresponding resentment, too, sets you free.  It’s liberating as well as empowering.

To carry the burden of nonforgiveness is a heavy weight to bear indeed.  Working through the ‘transgression’ and out the other side allows you to move forward with greater facility and with a lighter spirit.

Make the choice.  Decide.  Honor the hurt feelings, feel them, and then allow them to dissolve as if dropping a capsule into a glass of water.  It’s not an abrupt excising.  Rather, it’s a settling of the sediment, so that it may be sifted down and removed away from the present moment, and from your ongoing experiences.

Hidden Opportunities

There are opportunities, too, hidden in forgiveness.  What possible opportunity could such transgressions afford us, you may be asking?  Through the act of forgiveness, a transgression or the so-called ‘offense’ no longer holds any power over us.  We retain our sovereignty.   Conversely, allowing the offense to remain in our system (our body, our psyche, our spirit) grants it permission to maintain control over us.   We in effect trade in our sovereignty for suffering.

Forgiveness, I would venture to say, is not a “one-and-done.” It’s an ongoing commitment that each of has the good fortune to invoke on a regular basis.  As with other scenarios we’ve explored here on the blog, we now have yet another opportunity to engage in a daily practice!  Try it out:  Start with the “little” offenses you wish to forgive, and work your way up to the “big” ones.  As with any practice, it gets easier through consistency and repetition.

As I’ve shared before in Soul Notes, I lost my dearest brother to suicide.  It’s been quite a few years now since he took his own life; and yet, of course, new reminders continue to pop up from time to time, even all these years later.  My brother’s suicide has afforded me lots of opportunities to  practice forgiveness.  I’ve forgiven him for leaving me and the rest of our family to continue on without him.  I’ve forgiven him for what sometimes has felt to me like his having “taken the easy way out” – of our dysfunctional family, of a morass of financial struggles, and of deep emotional pain and suffering.  I’ve forgiven myself for even feeling that way about him, about the one person I felt really close to within my immediate family.  I’ve forgiven myself for “survivor’s remorse,” and have allowed myself to feel joy again (that was a big one for me, and one that only within the past year or two have I truly come to terms with).

Whether it be the loss of a loved one through illness or death, or the loss of a current relationship, or of simply unmet expectations, there’s a time for grieving.  Truly grieving.  That, too, is a topic that could fill up several editions of Soul Notes.  For now, though, on this new moon, I invite you to welcome in all the ways in which you can also take those losses and transmute them into instances of forgiveness.   Allow yourself the opportunity to forgive the other person or persons, and yourself.

To forgive, forgo

To forgive is to forgo:

Forgo the lingering.

Forgo the suffering.

Forgo the entanglement.

Forgo and let go.


For your consideration:

What if instead of hanging onto hurts and resentments, we each made an ongoing commitment to hand them over to and for forgiveness?

Okay, your turn:

What are you ready to forgive and forgo?  For you, is forgiveness a one-time only event, or rather an ongoing state of being?  What is your commitment?  What stand are you taking, in this moment? I would love to hear what comes up for you around this topic.

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every time a bell rings

At this time of year when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is at its thinnest and most transparent, I’m struck by the emergence of seemingly non-coincidental coincidences.  In this edition of Soul Notes, allow me to share a story of what happened a couple weeks ago.

Fanciful Financials

This year for me has been one of self empowerment – in my outlook on life, my relationships, and in my money matters. Among other things, I’ve been taking a more active role in creating and stewarding my wealth.  Along those lines, in reviewing my credit card statements this month, I discovered multiple charges on one of my accounts, that I did not authorize.

If you’re anything like me, calling an 800 number and working through a myriad of voice prompts and being put on hold for great lengths of time is not high on your joy list.  Even lower on the list is calling a credit card company to challenge hundreds of dollars in charges.  So, I took charge (pun intended!) of the situation by allowing the experience to be a lot more pleasant and perhaps even fanciful.  Fanciful financials, why that would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

I set the intention that, instead of taking on my usual dread of calling a credit card company, I would first make a call of a different kind.  I took a deep breath, got quiet, and called in the angels.  Not any ol’ angels mind you – I called in angelic helpers of a certain variety, namely those looking for a specific type of assignment.

My spiritual call went something like this:

 “Hello…any fanciful financial angels available in this moment?  Especially ones who are good at facilitating the resolution of billing disputes, so that I may remain calm and patient throughout, and get this resolved smoothly, today, if possible?”

Okay, if you’re thinking that this blog post is getting way too hocus pocus for your taste, stay with me.  My wish is that this lil’ story serves as a heartwarming respite from the otherwise heavy news you may be reading elsewhere today.

Wonderful Wonders

Remember the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”?  Originally released during the 1940s, it’s now considered to be an all-time favorite holiday classic.

Jimmy Stewart plays the protagonist George Bailey who at the beginning of the film, we find out,  considers himself to be a failure.  He wishes that he had never been born.  The film continues to weave between two “realities” – one where George’s life and the lives of those around him take a certain course; in the other, without George, those same events transpire in an entirely different way.

It is through the intervention of a visitor in town, a messenger named Clarence, that we and George see the true value of George’s life, and the vivid impact his life has had on everyone around him.

Near the end of the movie, George is seen standing next to his wife in front of a Christmas tree, with his daughter in his arms.  George looks down to find a book gifted to him by his friend Clarence, inscribed with prophetic words, and ending in: “Thanks for the wings!”

At that moment, a jingle-jangle is heard, and the camera zooms in on a small bell hanging on the Christmas tree.

christmas-bellsThe daughter points to it, and says:

“Look Daddy!

Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

George says to her, in response:

“That’s right.  That’s right.”

Looking up and winking, George says:

  “Attaboy, Clarence!”

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Now, back to my credit card story.  After I had invoked the fanciful-financial-spirit-helpers-on-assignment, I took another deep breath, and dialed up Bank of America on their customer service line.  With renewed faith and an uncommon-for-me dose of patience, I followed the multiple recorded voice prompts, and then waited calmly on hold, when eventually a person came on the line.

“Hello,” she says.

“This is Angel.”

What the what?  Come on, you’re kidding me, right?  I say this to myself, and then smile as I realize what’s happening…Well, of course her name is Angel.

I feel a gush of glee and satisfaction, and think to myself:  Well, this truly is fanciful financials!

Angel couldn’t have been more helpful.  She carefully reviewed my account and the disputed charges, and assured me that she would do what she could to get the charges removed.  To do that, she said, she would need to call the merchant.

Rather than hanging up with me – or giving me the usual “we will look into it and you may or may not see any changes reflected on your next statement” – Angel did something that in my experience was a first:  she offered to call the merchant while I was still on the phone, so that we could get everything taken care of in one fell swoop.

A Three-Way Call

Here’s how the next part of the conversation went:

Angel:  “I have the merchant’s representative on the line, Lori.”

Lori:  “Angel, will you stay on the line, too, or are you transferring?”

Angel:  “Yes, I’ll stay on the call with you.  Here he is…”

I listen for his voice, and he says:

“Hello, this is Clarence.”

We worked it out, and all disputed charges were removed.




For your consideration:

Now is an ideal time to invite in clear communication and assistance from behind the veil. So, I leave you with these words from Train’s “Calling All Angels”:

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear

… And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels”

Okay, your turn:

What messages are coming through for you in your life?  Are you calling in any angels?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , , , , ,

A rising tide lifts all boats: Shall we rise?

“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression:  “A rising tide lifts all boats”?  It comes up in a number of contexts, from religious, to spiritual, to economic. In this edition of Soul Notes, we take heed in the idea that what serves one, serves all.


The phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” is one made famous in a speech by John F. Kennedy.  He didn’t coin the phrase, although it is sometimes attributed to him.  There are various accounts of it being earlier adopted and used as a motto by a number of organizations dating as far back as the early 1900s.  Most notably, it is believed to have its true origins among fishermen who likely handed it down as folklore throughout the United States’ northeastern seaboard.

In political spheres, the phrase often pertains to economic proposals designed to serve the greater good of all. It’s reminiscent of Alexandre Dumas’ clarion call in his now-classic The Three Musketeers: “All for one and one for all; united we stand divided we fall.”   Interestingly enough, both phrases, while putting the emphasis on the rising, also suggest the falling.

Steeped in a particularly polarizing presidential election cycle in the United States, I find myself as I write this, drawn into deep reflection with regard to both sides of this equation.

It’s almost as if we as voters are on a cantilever, with all of us subject to sliding right off!

What struck me as swiftly as a ray of light was this:

~ What serves one, serves all.

And with equal veracity…


~ What disserves one, disserves all.

I realize it’s not entirely that simple. There are indeed levels of gradation between and among persons, politics, economics and policies – in theory, and more importantly, in action and in how those actions play themselves out.  There are ripple effects from the middle as well as from along the sides.  It is at the extremes, however, where we find the starkest contrast and I would suggest, the opportunity to see with the most focused clarity. Perhaps that is what this election affords us.  It may be its most saving grace.

Rising with the tide, not against it

I’ve stood on many a shoreline, getting in boats, and getting out of boats. The water is in motion, as are the boats as they float and bob, hither and thither, as we attempt to provide a steady hand to the boat and each other.  Gently timed with the ever changing tide, I’ve coordinated with others to ensure the tide lifts the boat and us along with it.  It helps to work synergistically with each other, and all the while honoring and respecting the natural flow of the tides.  Doing it that way facilitates the embarking on our voyage as we head off and away from land’s end.  Equally as beautifully, oneness and unity helps get us back onto terra firma in much the same fashion.

Shall we rise?

Rising with the tide in our daily lives:  What does that mean for each of us?  It starts with awareness, followed by concerted action.  Together, in harmony with each other and with nature, we rise more effortlessly and for the benefit of all.  Perhaps an election year blesses us with that opportunity:  to bring that awareness to the forefront and into our hearts.  It highlights an opportunity to make heartfelt decisions from a place of a greater appreciation for all.  May we make our choices from that place.

United we stand; united we fall.

Musings for an election cycle, and

on this new moon.

For your consideration:

As a gentle reminder, I leave you with these words, from Yogi Bhajan:

“If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”

Okay, your turn:

What does rising (or falling) together, all at the same time, mean to you? Is it valuable to us as individuals?  As a collective?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, ,

In support of support!

Let’s hear it for support!

All hail, support!  Let’s look at support:  Lending it, and receiving it.  Are there different types of support?  If so, do they provide different functions?  Does it matter?

In this edition of Soul Notes, we examine what support means, how it may show up in our lives, and to what desired end or ends.

In Support Of Support

We’ve all heard the phrases:  Supportive family; supportive friend; supportive spouse.  There’s spousal support and child support.  Many businesses offer customer support.  Slogans and strong sentiments abound, such as:  Support Our Troops.  In hospitals, we have life support.  My grandmother wore something called support hose (grin).

No matter how self-sufficient, self-sustaining, or self-supportive each of us may be, I’d venture to say that no one is without the need for support.  To paraphrase John Donne: No man or woman is an island.

Support may take the form of: financial, emotional, spiritual, inspirational, motivational, or by way of role modeling.  It may even be literal, physical support.  Ever have someone hold and steady a ladder for you, as you teeter on the top rung?  It’s pretty darn helpful to have a second person there!

Similarly, we may welcome another’s offer to lend a compassionate ear, or to provide earnest witnessing, or simple reflection.  Often we simply cannot see what someone else may see, figuratively and literally.  In a glass mirror, we see in effect the opposite of what someone else sees when they look at us.  It’s an illusion of sorts. (Take a moment and you’ll see what I mean.  When you look into a mirror – does your left eye appear to be on the left?  Look at your face as if you were looking at another person standing in front of you. Your left eye actually appears to be where the ‘other’ person’s right eye would be.)

Just as with reinforced siding on a house, support from other human beings may also help you to “weather the storm.”  It lightens the load.  It helps distribute the weight.  It provides stability and sustainability.

As with a physical house or building, structural supports serve as reinforcements.  Ever watch any of those home remodeling shows?  Ever notice how often they talk about whether the renovation would require altering or removing a “load-bearing wall”?  It’s actually pretty darn important.

While structural supports help sustain the weight of what’s above them, and make the overall structure stronger and more sustainable, these supports fit together by design with other parts of the building.  It’s an integrated system, working together.

The support does not stand on its own, so to speak.  It provides a foundation, nothing more, nothing less.  It still requires something on top of it to provide its own function and strength.  The supports do not overtake, nor replace what they’re holding up. They do, however, allow what’s being held to “last longer.”

As another example, let’s say that you’re holding a pitcher of water.  Water is heavy and quickly feels even heavier the longer you hold the pitcher of water.  Let’s say, now, though, that you rest your elbow on the side of a table, and continue holding the pitcher of water.  Now that table serves as your support, and you are able to hold the pitcher much longer, more steadily, and with less exertion of brute strength, energy, and effort.

Okay, so enough with the physics.  The point is this:  It’s okay to seek out support.  In fact, it’s just plain smart and awfully wise to do so. It’s as equally grand to serve as the source of support as it is to seek out support when needed.  Sometimes you’re the water bearer; sometimes you’re the table!

Be on the look-out for both types of opportunities.  They abound for each of us, in our daily lives, and throughout our lives.

Back Support

Okay, we’re not talking here about supporting your lumbar with an ergonomic chair, although I suppose we could! We’ve all heard the phrase, “I’ve got your back.” Or: “The universe has your back.”

To provide a little historical perspective:  One explanation for this phrase is that it dates back to the army in ancient Greece, where soldiers would pair up on the battle field, and sit literally back-to-back.  The idea was that each soldier that way would be able to cover what the other could not see.  It was the ultimate buddy system.

What this allowed them to do, and that which symbolically holds true today, is this:

Having support helps you stay focused on the challenges in front of you.  It facilitates your ability to attain results in a more effective way than you may ever attain purely on your own.  It provides reassurance and comfort when you feel wobbly, or you tend to waver, or you feel like completely giving up.  As on the literal battle field, of course, as with our figurative battles, you want that person who has your back, who’s got you covered, to be someone upon whom you can place your deep trust.  Someone who’s cool under pressure helps, too.

One of the best compliments I remember receiving came during my early days as a sales rep, after leaving a million dollar pricing negotiation with a CFO at a major law firm.  My sales manager came with me to the appointment.  I knew we were prepared (she provided strong support to me beforehand, as we worked together in reviewing the account, the pricing history, and our goals going into the meeting), and that my years as a litigator would serve us well when we entered the conference room.

The CFO was tough and to the point.  He surely wasn’t open to small talk.  I could tell he made my boss a little uneasy. Straight away, he challenged us on some of the pricing numbers, and I uncovered a (most likely inadvertent, yet nonetheless) miscalculation in one of his spreadsheets.  In that moment, I saw that I had earned his respect, and we proceeded to reach an amicable resolution, and walked out of the meeting with a solid, satisfying deal for both sides.

As we got back to the office, my boss smiled and shared with the sales team:  “In case you ever need someone, Lori is a really good person to have with you in a foxhole.”   We worked well together on that account. I had her back; she had mine.  Ultimately, we were supporting our sales department and our company, too, in securing that deal and in not losing a big account.

The benefits and ways to get started:

So, what are some ways to offer and to show support?


I remember learning, as a budding young reporter, about the importance of asking the right questions during an interview with a news source – the cardinal “five Ws and an H.”  Anyone else remember those?  Or, in consultative sales, we were taught to ask open ended questions, designed to allow people to open up and share issues or concerns, or to clear up any potential misunderstanding.

Such approaches also facilitate the building of trust.

Accordingly, to offer support, it may be as simple as starting with: “What, if anything, do you need?”  And then allowing the other person to answer as fully as they feel comfortable with in that moment.

Group support:

Out socializing, a friend recently shared with me the benefits of a group fitness program, where she participates daily on her own at her own pace, combined with what she said was the big benefit of group support by way of daily participant check-ins, social media posts for inspiration, and the like.  Knowing that others are going through the same exercises and sharing their wins as well as their challenges, has been hugely beneficial, she said.  It has been what has kept her moving forward and seeing greater results than she would have reached otherwise.

For your consideration:

So, support – seeking it and providing it.  Is it worth it?  Is it necessary?  As we draw this line of inquiry to a close, I leave you with this:

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Okay, your turn:

What does support mean to you?  In what ways or situations do you seek it?  When do you offer it?  How well is it received?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.


, , , ,

What does it mean to make the world a better place?

What does it mean to be of service? To whom? For whom?  And, to what desired end?  In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we explore this topic.

Authentic service:  spiritual growth

service - sevaMany spiritual seekers, including many of you I gather, have felt the desire to be “of service,” and to leave the world a bit better than we may have found it.  So, what does this mean exactly, and how do we do it?

Service (or seva which in Sanskrit means “selfless service”) is to be offered from your heart and soul, and not for any egoic purposes. To be of selfless service means to do so from a place of well-meaning intention, without expectation of reward or acknowledgment.

“Service is not what serves you; it is when you enrich another person.” – Yogi Bhajan

Seva is infinite, not finite, giving.  It’s a way to make a difference, in your personal sphere, in your community, and the world.

Ultimately, it’s all in service to the Divine.

The idea and the practice of service is a spiritual one.  As you uplift others, from a place of service, Spirit steps in and uplifts you as well.  As you serve, Spirit in turns serves you.  You are held in love by the Divine.  It’s part of your own spiritual growth.

 Who benefits?

Accordingly, acts of service benefit those you serve, and yourself.  All “good works” have positive, impactful ripple effects. All gestures great and small – they all count!

Ways to get started:

Don’t be afraid to start “too small.”  Leave a room, a person, a situation better than you found it.  Raise the vibration to a level higher than when you first arrived.  Approach it from a place of free will, and with a spacious heart.  May your service come from an intention that’s pure, and not from any sense of “obligation.”

In this edition of Soul Notes, I thought it may be helpful to share some examples of ways I’ve chosen to be of service.  I share these examples for illustrative purposes (lest I give the impression that I am listing them here for my own edification, or to be acknowledged for them in some way.  That, of course, would pretty much fly in the face of the very essence of seva).  I sought out these opportunities, and volunteered my time and devotion to them, from what I hope was and always will be, a pure heart.   My intention here is to provide some ideas.  And, I look forward to hearing from you and for you to share yours as well!  Please provide your own examples in the Comments section, below. Doing so, in itself, may be a seva of sorts – in that someone may read your list, and get some inspired ideas for their own acts of seva.  The ripple effects continue!


  • Prepare and serve meals to the homeless

I have done this on more than one occasion, for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States.

  • Clean up the environment

With an organization called Heal the Bay in Southern California, I have been trained and have served as a “Beach Captain,” to help clean up trash at local beaches, and educate members of the community on the dangers of clogging up the city storm drains.

With another group, I planted a garden at a nearby elementary school.

  • Build and provide shelter for families in need

With Habitat for Humanity, I joined a work crew to put up drywall for a family’s new home in a town near Los Angeles.

With another organization, I helped build a home from the ground up in a rural area outside of Tijuana, Mexico.

  • Enhance and help beautify physical structures

I have helped paint murals on the outside of school buildings, as well as painting a child-friendly mural inside a children’s waiting room at a local courthouse.

  • Tutor or teach or facilitate workshops

Through a program sponsored by a local public library, I tutored a young single mom to learn English as a second language.

I have volunteered with a nonprofit dedicated to helping abuse survivors heal through art programs.

  • Coach an individual or a team

With the Special Olympics, I have coached a local sports team.

Over the years, I have had several friends and colleagues too who have engaged in any number of acts of service.  They have placed their full hearts and souls into these activities.  They have generously contributed their time, energy, talents and good will to these endeavors, all to help uplift those they’ve served.

For you, it may be something completely different that draws you in to being of service? It may not be any of these listed above.  These are some examples, though, to get your “seva juices flowing.”

Again, acts of service need not be part of any organized activity at all, either, of course.  Sometimes, the every-day acts of kindness and service provide the most immediate impact. Perhaps you offer to help someone to cross the street.  Or, offer to help carry someone’s packages.  Or, maybe it’s alerting someone in a grocery store that they are unknowingly about to walk into a slippery section on the floor.  Someone did this for me just last week.  I was grateful and touched that a stranger would offer that to me, with such genuine thoughtfulness and care for my wellbeing. I felt an instant albeit quick, loving connection – human to human.  This is seva.

When it helps to “pitch in”

Whenever the need arises, perhaps you can offer to “pitch in” at a get-together with friends or at an event that needs helpers or volunteers.  Offer to set-up beforehand or to clean-up afterwards.  Offer to do the dishes!

Offer to prepare or share a meal:

In India, within the Sikh tradition, preparing and sharing food for and with others is referred to as langar (or “free kitchen”). Everyone is welcomed to share the Langar.  No one is turned away, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, or political or religious affiliation.  Additionally, it’s egalitarian — in theory and in practice.  No one is considered higher than or “above” (in stature) anyone else.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this:

“[M]ay your blessings be for all, may your happiness be shared, and may your smiles give hope to others.” – Yogi Bhajan

Each of us is a divine channel, through which we serve, and by which everyone in turn is served.


For your consideration:

Are you feeling the call to serve?  If so, go ahead.  Today. One small gesture renders great impact.  It all counts.  As do you.

It does require taking action – no matter how seemingly small (at first). Acts of service compound, like interest!

Open your heart.

Extend a hand.

Step up to serve.


And, serve


Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been of service?  Can you recall a time when you were the recipient of someone else’s act of service?  In those instances, what did you notice?  Today, what will you do to “make a difference” in someone’s life?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , , ,

Ready to VOICE it?

“What’s the matter, the cat got your tongue?”

“Don’t you have something to say?”

These questions may sound familiar.  Do you recall a time when you were asked to speak up, and you didn’t?  Or, perhaps you felt the urge to voice your opinion, and you refrained from doing so?  Or, how about those times when you started to speak, and then you held yourself back in some way? Often, we may have lots to say, but we withdraw, for fear of being misunderstood, disrespected, or not even truly heard at all.

Have you been feeling stuck in one or more areas of your life?  Shutting down your self-expression may be a big reason why. In this edition of Soul Notes, let’s dive into the need to express ourselves, and the consequences for not doing so.  We’ll explore some ways to open up the channels, too, so that you are feeling free to express yourself, open, balanced, and unencumbered.

The body and our energy centers give clues

Within the chakra system, the fifth chakra (“vishuddha”) is the throat chakra, and represents the embodiment of communication.  It’s the Messenger, the Grand Communicator of the chakras.  Up the chakra “ladder,” it is considered the first of the three higher or spiritual chakras.  What’s the significance, you may be asking?  The higher the messages, the higher the creativity, and the higher the impact! Strength of our personal will — this also comes from the throat chakra.

It’s important to note that the throat chakra serves as a transmitter and as a receiver.  The messages may be internal as well as external. When out of balance, this chakra shows up in such tell-tale signs as a sore throat, a pinched nerve in your shoulders, or yes even as a real “pain in the neck”!  Alternatively, a balanced throat chakra opens you up to psychic insights, and higher guidance and wisdom.  When we are listening to “that voice of reason,” our throat chakra is clear, and receptive to what our intuition is telling us.  Correspondingly, it is the throat chakra that is most associated with our dream state.   A balanced throat chakra sets the stage for powerful and informative dreams.

Authentic expression

The throat chakra is also the truth center.  Speak your truth! Say what needs to be said, without harsh judgment, without malice.  Speak up for yourself and what you desire to express.

Say you what you mean, and mean what you say.  The more you invoke this process, the more your fifth chakra will open.  You’ll notice the tension in your neck, if any, will lessen, and your body (and overall demeanor) will feel more free, clear, fluid, and in the flow.

Conversely, deceit violates our body and our spirit.  Insincere communication thwarts our divinity.  Equally as damaging as keeping quiet and suppressing our truth is being overly critical, bitingly caustic, or engaging in gossip or idle chit-chat. It is important to speak our choices with our authentic voices! Expressing from our spiritual essence means exuding kindness, understanding, and compassion.

Listening and being heard

Accordingly, as mentioned above, listening (receiving) can be as important as expressing (transmitting). Like breathing, it’s an exchange of going inward as well as expressing outward.

Effective communication often begins with hearing, with listening – in the physical sense as well as the metaphysical. As with speaking from a place of compassion and understanding, so, too, it is with hearing and listening – to ourselves and to others.  We all have a basic need to be heard.  (For more on this topic, go here).  To fully listen means to devote your undivided attention.  If you’re not 100% focused on listening, then you’re not truly hearing the messages.  Accordingly, you’re not in alignment: you’re off-centered, off-track, and likely leaning toward that place of  being “stuck” and “blocked”.  Plain and simple!

Ways to open up the communication channels

When feeling blocked, or unable to express yourself, here are a few effective, tried and true ways to open up your fifth chakra:  Engage in reading aloud, singing, chanting, and humming (in fact, not-so-coincidentally, the mantra sound for this chakra is ‘hum’!)  For a particularly restorative experience, you may wish to try sound healing.  At yoga centers and other gathering places in your area, for example, you may check their calendars for upcoming sessions where gongs, drums or singing bowls are used.

Listen to what your intuition has to say, open up to receiving divine messages, and speak your mind (and from your heart and soul) with compassion and understanding.  From a loving place, express yourself and share your truth and wisdom with others throughout your day, your week, your lifetime.  Now, I’d say that’s effective communication!

For your consideration:

Take the bold inspired step to ask yourself this soul searching question:  How honest am I being in my communication – with myself, and with others?

Okay, your turn:

In what situations do you find yourself holding back from fully expressing yourself?  What are you open to doing differently next time?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
, , , ,

It’s the journey, not the destination. Or, is it?

las vegasI’ve joined a writer’s circle that meets on Monday nights in Santa Monica, California. At the end of the evening, we break into small groups. Last week, we were given the following question to answer and to share. We went around the table, and each of us spoke. The question posed was this: Would you rather drive or fly to Las Vegas? Santa Monica is approximately 280 miles from Las Vegas. It typically takes several hours by car and about 45 minutes in the air by commercial airline.

Among the eight of us seated around the table in our small group, there really wasn’t a consensus. A few were able to say, “it depends” (on whom I am traveling with, mostly!) Even among the definitely drive or definitely fly “camps,” there were nonetheless differences of opinion as to why one mode surpasses another.

As with most topics on the blog, with this edition of Soul Notes, let’s explore the literal as well as the figurative–this time, with regard to journeys and destinations.

Often times, we hear this adage, or some derivation thereof: “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.” In other words, it’s the path taken, and not the end state, that holds the real value or “merit.” If that were always true, however, then why select any particular destination?

What may be equally as beneficial is this: getting yourself as efficiently as possible to a particular destination, precisely because it IS the destination that provides what you’re most desiring. In the example above, the person may wish to fly directly to Las Vegas to get right to the business at hand – that is, soaking up the full Vegas experience. “Viva Las Vegas,” as Elvis would say! Sometimes, you simply want to get there.

Do you enjoy car rides? How about air travel? Either way, for children, for example, it’s often what seems like a never-ending journey from one location to another. Incessant pleas include: “How much farther?” and “How much longer?” Or, simply, again it’s all about this: “When are we going to get there?” Once you get there, that’s when you can enjoy all that the location has to offer. (I realize that, as an intended destination, Las Vegas may not even be on your wish list. If so, of course, feel free to insert your own destination of choice!) For you, it may be any number of places. And, for children, it may include Disneyland or Magic Mountain, or some other world of wonderment.

So, what’s the common thread here? The EXPERIENCE.

Sometimes it’s the destination itself that holds the key to your best experience.  What you’re seeking is “housed” in the location, to be enjoyed once you arrive. Other times, it’s the “getting there” — the journey itself – that provides all the good juice.

Road trip! Getting our kicks on Route 66

route 66Several years back, a friend of mine and I headed out from the Santa Monica pier, and along Route 66 (or what’s left of it), driving my convertible, often with the top down on the car.   For us, it was definitely the journey rather than the destination which mattered most. We agreed that we would cover about 850 miles of the Route’s 2300 miles (the full length of Route 66 runs between Los Angeles and Chicago) – and traveled out to Santa Fe, New Mexico and back.

We selected a destination based on the number of days we desired to set aside for the trip, and to have a place to aim the car. For this trip, though, for us, the genesis and primary focus and intention was to experience Route 66 itself – the “Mother Road” – “America’s Highway.”

We took our time and made many stops along the way. Part of the adventure was seeing which sections of Route 66 remained. There really isn’t any clear “route” per se anymore. There are road signs in various places, indicating that you’re on Route 66; but, the route starts and stops, and veers off and back again in no particular pattern or with any discernible logic.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” –Helen Keller

As a kid, on my bedroom wall I had a poster with this saying on it. It served as a wonderful visual reminder and provided me many an inspiration!

As with many road trips, it was the dappling of tiny towns, and roadside attractions, and people we met along the route that provided the real essence of the journey. We stopped for coffee at the Bagdad Café (where they filmed the movie of the same name), chatting at length with the waitress there. And we toured the location where a giant meteor created a huge hole in the desert. There are many other experiences from that trip, too, of course, perhaps to be shared at another time. Here’s one more:

In Oatman, Arizona, we slowed the car down to a crawl. As we pulled up to this two-block town, we were greeted by a band of burros. History has it that these animals are part of a long lineage of pack mules dating back to the town’s gold mining days. And, yes, giant tumble weeds did come tumbling through as our car kicked up puffs of desert dust. I couldn’t get the theme song from that Clint Eastwood movie, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” out of my head. A man in a leather vest and cowboy hat tossed open the swinging wooden doors from the local saloon on our right as we drove past. He stopped short of the street, looked out at us, and maintained his gaze from left to right, as we continued driving on through the town and off on the next leg of our journey.

As with our own spiritual journeys as well, it helps to slow down. The experiences and the lessons come from the journey. Indeed. Take time to savor the moments, partake in the experiences, and cherish the making of memories. It’s the “roadside attractions” that provide some of life’s richest moments. Let’s not miss them by flying through!

With that, I’ll close with these words from a great master:

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” -Confucius

Okay, your turn:

What matters most to you, the destination or the journey? Upon what factors do your choices depend?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.