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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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Things we rotate

Things we rotate

 

“Rotate your tires”

“Rotate your mattress”

“Rotate your crops”

 

 

Evenly distributed

wear and tear

 

threadbare

tattered

torn

 

instead

 

tread

tread lightly

 

leaving a gentle footprint

and an easeful sharing and carrying

of the load

 

For your consideration:

There is something to be said about consciously evening out the wear and tear on something as much as possible.  It keeps it refreshed. It prolongs its life. It prevents undue strain on any one area or facet.

Take a moment to reflect:

What in your life right now could benefit from a little rotating? Sure, it could be your mattress (ha!), but what about different parts of your lifestyle or your life’s journey? Is there a particular area of your life, or your thought patterns or beliefs, that’s been stuck way too long in the exact same position?  Has there been so much pressure consistently applied in a single place, that it’s worn out?  If not physically, then intellectually or emotionally?

You’re at choice to do something about it. Can you flip it? Rotate it? Turn it upside down? Inside out? Even simply envisioning doing this can create a magical revelation for you.  Try it!

Okay, your turn:

Did you try rotating something in your world?  If so, what did you notice?  If you haven’t tried rotating anything, will you soon? 

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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Wash away

Wash away

Wash away

With the tides

all that no longer holds us

in our victimhood

 

All that is too salty

too painful

in what was once upon a time

an open wound

 

No longer open

But now healed

and firmly held

in abundant love

and full forgiveness

 

No longer open for business

Closed for the winter

not to be reopened

not to be left gaping

or oozing

for attention

 

Smoothly soothed over

Encased in the promise

of an oh perhaps not always familiar 

sheath of protection

translucent and glorious

in the natural light.

For your consideration:

During these times of global as well as for many of us local, uncertainty — in both the physical and political realms — it begs the question for each of us to consider:

What does this mean for me emotionally and spiritually? Where in my own life have I been met with uncertainty and challenges that may trigger previous wounds?  Have those wounds been healed through my physical and spiritual growth?  Am I willing to accept that healing and embrace the current (and future, because there will always be more) uncertainties and challenges from a place of healing and not open wounds?  For me, the answer is yes.

Okay, your turn:

What does it mean to you to read words like these? What, if any, emotions arise for you?

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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Healing heart

Healing heart

On this the eve of a new moon and solstice and on this Juneteenth day as I post this, I bring you an image.  I painted it last week as I allowed what it was that needed to emerge.

 

I dedicate this edition of Soul Notes to all who have suffered injustice and as a sacred holding place for the possibility of:

What unites us

may

truly

unite us

 

~lori a. noonan

June 19, 2020*

—————————–

*One hundred and fifty-five years past June 19, 1865.  It would be months later on December 6, 1865 that the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, in an effort to abolish slavery, would be ratified and it became law.

 

© 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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The new normal and the value of patience

The new normal and the value of patience

 

The new normal

The old normal

What is normal, anyway?

 

Different styles

A unifying approach

To the pandemic guideline

To wear a face covering

When out in public

For essential life preserving tasks

Such as grocery shopping

 

On the sidewalk

Along the length of the parking lot

We stand dutifully

Six feet apart from one another

Prompted by orange plastic traffic cones

Marking our spots

As the sparsely populated parking lot

Is unusually quiet

And shopping carts are handed off from one person to another without

Touching each other

The shopping cart exchange looks like

A passing of a baton in a 400 relay race that we

Won’t be seeing in the 2020 Olympics

Until 2021

 

I watch this going on

As I step forward when prompted by the attentive

And helpful grocery store clerk who keeps order

Along the line of shoppers

Waiting their turn

 

Oddly scenes juxtapose for me

As they appear in my awareness

 

For example, as I step together, pause

Step together, pause

I remember the times entering a church

In a wedding procession

Or the times I waited my turn

In a congregant line to receive communion

 

I feel a deep sense of poignancy

And notice an even deeper sense

Of patience

Which is not normally a strongsuit

 

Normally…

Huh

 

What is normal

What is new about this new normal

I have time to consider this

As I stand in line

For my turn

To enter the grocery store

 

Mask on face

Heart on sleeve

 

Quiet

Reverent

 

In no rush

to enter

the store

 

And yet

happy

to

receive.

Okay, your turn:

What does the new normal mean to you?   What are you noticing?

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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Diving into the uncertainty

Diving into the uncertainty

Diving into the uncertainty

certainly is

uncertain.

 

Would we really desire

for it to be any other way,

really?

 

How boring

if everything

we set out to achieve

or receive

Came to us

with 100 percent

Certainty

and in the exact timing

we think we wish for it

to materialize.

 

It’s the human condition.

Whatever that is

exactly.

It’s also the human ill condition

to expect it to be otherwise.

 

Why are we

so at odds

with

what is?

 

I know I’m not the first one

I know I’ll not be the last

to make this observation

about the human condition

and how ill it is

and how ill we can be

made

by willing it

to be otherwise.

 

Otherwise, we wouldn’t

be

human

Would

we?

For your consideration:

Perhaps each of us gets in our own way, sitting and waiting for something to change by our sheer will. It’s not as simple as merely changing our thoughts, as so many may suggest. That’s a mind trick in the worst way. It’s more a matter of shifting our entire body and mind and energy systems and devoting them to changing course.  Even, though, of course, there are no 100 percent guarantees. Many things can and still do happen along the way.

To use traversing by sea in a sailboat as a metaphor:  You can’t simply “will” the boat to move in a certain direction. You can’t change your thoughts from “let’s go over here, instead of over there” and expect the boat to change directions solely based on your thoughts. You need to make the necessary adjustments to move the boat in the intended direction, taking into account all the elements including wind, water currents, and the seaworthiness of the craft. So, too, with your own vessel, in your own life.

Even then, there’s always uncertainty.  That’s the thrill of the ride.

Okay, your turn:

Where and when have you spent undue amounts of focus and energy “willing” something into being?  Would you say that it helped?  If so, in what way?  If not, what was it that kept you from letting it go and redirecting your life force in a way that was a more fully embodied commitment and ultimate shift?

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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The loftiness of law and public discourse

In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we take a look at public discourse and what it means to be a good citizen.

Why so lofty?

With our President scoffing at current climate crises, and declining to attend a climate discussion meeting at this year’s recent G7 summit (this within two years of having pulled the United States from the multilateral Paris Climate Accord) – and, in lieu of holding frequent press conferences, resorting instead to a constant flow of shall we say disrespectfully taunting tweets online (lessons in how not to play well with others), and with the overall rise in documented hate speech and hate crimes in our society, I ponder this:

Have we reached a low point in our collective public discourse? And where do we as citizens – and the legal system and the government as well – play a role in elevating the discussion?

Shall we be aiming higher? Not unlike having a set of golf clubs, we have at our disposal a range of “lofts” to choose from. By that I mean, depending on the degree of upward spiral we select, we aim by design to reach an intended end state. A golfer may select a high loft club (such as a sand wedge) to pop up the ball from the sand trap and onto the green, gently landing and running a short distance without the ball making a bee line well beyond the hole and off the green altogether and maybe even into a water hazard.

Sometimes we speak of “lofty ideals” and “lofty goals” as if they are far-off, unreachable, untenable, and unattainable. I’d say that when they are grounded in tolerance and compassion, they stand a good chance of longterm success, not only for us as individuals but as a collective. (For more on this, see the previous edition of Soul Notes, From Idealist to Lost in the Practice of Law, here.)

In Ancient Greece, the “agora” (translated as market square or gathering place), as captured by Christopher Phillips in his book entitled, Six Questions of Socrates:

“Those who converged centuries ago in this center of commercial and civic life didn’t just come to barter and sell a wide range of merchandise, but also to exchange and examine ideas and ideals.” (p.10).

In Ancient Athens, considered the center of polis (think politics) and the birthplace of democracy, towns people would come together to create coalitions and build upon a shared sense of morals and high conduct. There was an emphasis placed on being a good citizen. Public discourse was encouraged and carried the day. History tells us that Ancient Athens eventually unraveled due to increasing corruption and resulting cynicism. So, what can we learn from Athens’ later societal crumbling and decline?

Recently, I attended a town hall hosted by a Southern California member of Congress. The Congressional representative spoke for about twenty minutes from the stage and then opened up the forum for an hour of questions from the audience. I was struck by the thoughtfulness of the questions and the candor and specificity of the responses. There was an exchange of ideas and while passionate at times, all the while respectful in tone and temperament. I felt the genuine need for citizens to be heard was being honored. I felt the appreciation from the audience that they had an opportunity to share their admiration, ideas, as well as their pleas for improvements in Congress and what we can expect from our representatives on the national stage. There was a discussion of enacted and pending legislation. The rule of law and how we are governed was a running thread.

For your consideration:

In our own lives — in how we communicate in person and online — we have an opportunity to elevate rather than debase one another and the sharing of ideas.  It makes for a more tolerant and dare I say more learned society. And with that comes greater understanding and an increased ability to sustain our planet and each other.  Let’s commit to being good citizens, good friends, and good stewards.

Okay, your turn:

Where have you witnessed a rise in the sharing of ideals, wisdom, and collective calls to action that are a way of building up rather than tearing down?  Have you taken part in a public forum, such as a town hall?  If so, what did you notice?

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.