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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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Dream Theme 2019: Guiding you as your North Star

Using a dream theme as your north star

A star, a star, shining in the night…will bring us goodness and light. At holiday time, we hear songs that highlight the stars in the sky and how they lead us in holy directions and toward holy destinations.  They light our path, and lead us ‘home.’

Following your North Star is unique to you and an opportunity to create a year centered around what you feel most inspired by and for and by which you and your soul desire to be guided.

Around this same time last year, as you may recall, in Soul Notes we introduced the idea of a Dream Theme.  Did you select one for 2018?  If so, in what ways did it serve you?  Would you like to create one for this year?  I invite you to do so!

Just as the other stars in the northern sky of our galaxy rotate around the North Star, I invite you to allow a dream theme to help you by being your guidepost throughout the year.

You know how compasses work?  Compasses are designed so that the needle points toward the Earth’s magnetic North Pole.  The compass lets you know where you are, at any given moment, in relation to all points North. Technically, there are variations in the movement of true north on our planet, but you get the point. While the exact true North is somewhat fluid and always in motion, a compass remains a reliable tool to orient you when you are not sure where you are or where you may be headed.

Similarly, your dream theme can do that for you as well. It can serve as a guidepost.  When in doubt or uncertain about your next move in your career, your relationships, your health or hearth and home, you can always refer back to your dream theme for insights.

For 2018, I grounded into and made union my ultimate choice for the year’s dream theme.  The theme can be a word or a phrase.  It can be a noun (union or unity), or a verb (to unite) or a feeling (of united).

For 2019, I’m feeling into connection as my dream theme.  Accordingly, my year will be guided by my connection to the divine, and to myself, to my loved ones, to my community, and to my values and convictions. Yes, I’ll also come up with focus points and lists of what I desire to bring into form throughout the year.  And, I’ll likely have a list (or several) of action items for various parts of my life.  Those will be anchored, though, if you will, and stem from, my dream theme.  Whenever I feel off track, I’ll make the appropriate course corrections by consulting with my dream theme.

For your consideration:

Feel into what one or two or three dream themes are coming up for you, and allow the one that’s most strongly resonating for you to come to the surface.  If more than one seem ‘fitting,’ and you can’t quite decide, consider running them each through this short list of inquiries or ‘filters’:

If you were to select that particular one as the theme for your year:

What would it mean for you in terms of how you conduct your daily practice, your interactions with your loved ones, your clients, and your business or law practice? How well does it match up with where you’d like to see yourself headed this year?

Okay, your turn:

What dream theme are you considering to make your North Star for 2019?

Need help in coming up with your dream theme, or need someone to help keep you on track and moving forward consistently toward your own North Star?  Do you sometimes find yourself starting off on the right track, only to lose focus and then find yourself veering mightily off course?

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.
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Emerging from a slumber: Lessons from nature this time of year

Emerging from a slumber

As we approach Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere – I honor that it is a time when nature nears its completion of its turn toward what we experience as the “shortest” days of the year.  The days are not actually shorter; we simply experience them as shorter because we “see” less daytime, and observe more evening time during a 24-hour period.

As Winter Solstice comes and goes, we tend to say that the light returns. May we all remember that the light never truly goes away.  It’s always there. It’s only that during certain portions of our planet’s orbit around the sun, we experience fewer hours of daylight.  Physically, on the earth, the more north we are, the more extreme the disparity between the total hours of lightness and of darkness.

Not unlike the planet, we, too, as humans are turning and rotating through the seasons…through the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives.

What is it about slowing down, lying dormant, by nature’s design, only to be later awakened from our slumber – that sometimes seemingly troubles us? Why is it that in modern day society, we tend to choose overindulgences over what is more meaningful and is more apt to sustain us? Typically, we tend to go for the immediate gratification. Silly humans!

We can take a lesson from the great grizzlies who “den” in the wintertime, seeking refuge from the severe weather conditions. Hibernation affords them an opportunity to preserve their bodies and life force energy when the natural resources on the outside are less readily available and more difficult to come by. It’s a time when the wind picks up, and the temperature drops. The grizzlies forage and bulk up during the weeks preceding their hibernation; they re-emerge leaner and yet just as strong as when they entered.

How does this parallel our own lives as spiritual seekers? Does this open up an opportunity for us each year, to “go inside” and take refuge from the outside forces?  For me, that means surrendering into the natural rhythm of the seasonal shifts, rather than fighting against them.  I used to express disdain for the wintertime.  I saw it as an inconvenience to drive home from work in the dark, and to have fewer hours of sunshine to enjoy the beach and other outdoor activities.

While I’m still practicing my surrendering into the darker times of the year, each trip around the sun I get a little closer to full acceptance. Turning inward, this time of year, I make an even more concerted effort to slow down and tap into my own inner light, my own soulful center.  We all have one.  And, yes, like the sun, it’s always there, too.  Sometimes it’s a flicker; other times, it’s a full glow. It may appear dark and stark from time to time.  I remind myself that it only appears that way. The source of the light remains the same: constant, steadfast, reliable, and true. I have much to receive from it, much to sustain me.  I appreciate it now.  I’m thankful for all that it offers.  And, for you?

For your consideration:

As individuals and as a society, have we been slumbering too long?  Or, to mix metaphors:  Have we been asleep at the wheel?

From a spiritual standpoint: Are we now emerging from our slumber and stepping into a higher level of consciousness?  I would say yes, for many, this is indeed the case.  That’s what’s been the challenge as well as the opportunity…for growth, for a remembrance of what’s pure and true, and for paving a renewed path: a path that honors us, our sacred institutions, and our precious planet and all those who inhabit it.

For me, the recent political landscape in the United States has served as a powerfully potent catalyst that has reawakened me from my own slumber and reactivated my political and legal activism. The misuse of power across many sectors of our federal government, coupled with the blatant disregard for the United States Constitution hurts my heart.  And, at the same time, it fuels my passion. If you’re a regular reader of Soul Notes, then you’ll recall some of my chronicles of such matters the past two years.  I’m feeling into what that means for me, heading into 2019.

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life would you like to take temporary refuge, and regroup, so that later you may re-emerge lean and strong?  What needs shedding or letting go?   What lessons can be found in the darkness?

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

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Protection from untoward forces affords access to the deeper wisdom: aad guray nameh

The power of sound and word

Mantra is a form of sound current meditation, and as such serves to clear the mind, and balance the brain hemispheres.  For millennia, yogis have chanted mantras for a variety of purposes.  All of them provide an effective way of controlling and directing the mind’s thoughts and a beneficial set of focus points.

One of the most powerful mantras in kundalini yoga (and one that is often chanted right after an initial tuning in with a chanting of ong namo), is the aad guray nameh mantra.

The mantra of protection

Aad guray nameh (I bow to the primal wisdom) is known as the “mantra of protection.”

By chanting this mantra, you bring about a field of white light of protection surrounding you. It also stimulates your mind and sharpens your alertness to avoid crashes, collisions, and other physical mishaps.  It has been said that by chanting this mantra three times before embarking on a mode of transportation, it brings nine seconds of time, and nine feet of protection around you and your vehicle.

Gurmukhi:

Aad Guray Nameh
Jugaad Guray Nameh
Sat Guray Nameh
Siri Gurdayvay Nameh

Translation:

I bow to the primal wisdom

I bow to the wisdom that has existed throughout the ages.
I bow to the true wisdom.
I bow to the great, divine wisdom

What do we mean by protection?  It’s energetic in nature, and can have direct positive effects in the material world.  Some think of a protective field as a “shield.”  I like to think of it more as a screen rather than a shield.  While a full-on shield tends to be hard and impenetrable, a screen has permeability.  By design, a screen lets in some things, while keeping out other things.  Envision a screen on a door or a window, or a screened-in porch. These house screens allow in light, while at the same time keep the bugs out. They are a filter.

By design, we too, have the ability to invoke a screen that protects us from what may harm us, while allowing in what helps us.  We may exercise our right to choose at any time.  We may open the door, or close the door, as well as put up or remove a screen, at any time.  Mantra simply helps us get centered and into a place of focus and access to our deeper wisdom and to a place of precise decision-making.

Affords access to the deeper wisdom

In the specific case of aad guray nameh, we are ensuring the screen of white light is in place. Once protected, we are able to feel into and hear the deeper messages we are meant to hear.

May we each draw from the divine wisdom held deeply within each of us, so that we may bring our best selves and our greatest gifts out into the world, from a place of higher consciousness and with humility and grace.  And, may it be in service to our planet and to all of humanity.  The times such as these require it.  The time is now.

For your consideration:

Before engaging in any meditation (and again, mantra itself is a form of meditation) – decide for yourself:  what type of ‘screen’ am I invoking and putting on the door to my heart, mind and soul?  Is it one of protection?  If so, then honor and appreciate that, and act upon it accordingly. It’s a matter of intention, and awareness.

And, as we turn the corner and head toward the September equinox in the next two weeks, it’s an ideal time to “check your screens.”  Just as you would with home maintenance and repairs – take a look at your energetic screens and see which if any need adjusting.  Equinox is the time, twice each year, when the hours of light and dark are nearly equal, and it’s a time of balance.

As you take a look at your life and your current state of affairs, ask yourself:  What’s in balance?  What’s out of balance?  Are your protective screens strong and steadfast?  Or, are they flimsy and weak, tattered, or threadbare?  What’s getting into your energetic field that you’d rather keep out?  Conversely, what’s currently missing from your energetic field that you’d consciously like to invite in?

For me, I’m inviting in more love and support, while screening out distractions and feelings of heaviness and doubt.

Okay, your turn

What in your life right now is calling for your attention and intention?  What is it that would most benefit from a white light of protection?

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

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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The power of remaining calm

Calm among the chaos

As details continue to surface surrounding the rescue of the 12 young soccer players and their coach from miles deep within a set of interlocking waterways flowing between the jagged rocks of sea caves, we are learning that among other amazing aspects of this story, meditation likely played a key role in their more-than-a-fortnight’s survival under what were extremely perilous and life-threatening conditions.

This group having found themselves trapped miles away from their original entrance into the caves, it would be more than a week before anyone would locate them and provide food.  And it would be another several days before the first of three sets of rescues could be made, eventually bringing all the boys and their coach to safety — out from the deep darkness and into the light above.

The cave divers and the meditating monk

The flood waters and threat of the impending monsoon season had kept them held captive as a group, huddled atop a small ledge above the water line, with little air and little food or other basic life-sustaining necessities.  What they did have, was their Buddhist monk-trained coach who, it has been reported, led them through an ongoing practice of meditation. Meditation helped to calm their nervous systems and likely served to focus them on the possibilities of sustaining life rather than on the dread of extreme suffering or even possible death.  It allowed them to reserve and extend their precious, seemingly limited resources.

They had each other.  They had meditation.  And they had an unending access to a depth of another kind – that of spiritual sustenance.

None of this is to say, of course, that without the unparalleled coordination and carefully orchestrated efforts of the expert cave divers and other rescue volunteers and medical personnel, this group would have made it out safely.  All the individuals involved with their rescue (including one former Thai navy Seal who lost his life) are due a profound debt of gratitude, respect, and honor.  It’s beautiful to see all this humanity working together.  It is also, however, to acknowledge that more than physics, technology, and biology were at work here.  As the monk’s training and meditation exemplify, it was heart, mind and soul over matter. And it all mattered.

Hearing their story reminded me of the quotation from Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. In describing the importance of maintaining a strong inner strength while being held captive in the concentration camps during World War II, he said that in spite of the severe, primitive conditions, those who survived the best were the ones who “were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom.” (Page 36, emphasis added).

Thankful for inner calm

One time while swimming in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California as a teenager, I found myself facing a near-death experience.  Thankfully, the experience was quick and I emerged without any dire consequences. But, after swimming out in the ocean away from the beach, I was suddenly wrapped up in a set of cross-currents, and was being pummeled around under water pretty forcefully.  I recall thinking that eventually I was going to run out of air, and saying to myself:  “If it’s my time to die, this may be it.”

I thank in part my ability to remain calm and clear-headed.  Instinctively, I (or my body, rather?) knew to preserve my breath and my strength while submerged in open water. I was fairly confident in that moment, that I could probably make it back to shore, if I could only determine which way was “up.” I released any resistance to the oncoming series of waves, and surrendered as eventually a big curling wave scooped me up and carried me up to the surface. If I had allowed myself to panic, at best I risked flailing around wasting precious breath; and at worst, I risked swimming in the completely wrong direction, going deeper and away from the surface rather than popping back up to the top and catching a fresh breath of air.

My experience, although potentially dangerous, was nonetheless brief. The extended period of time that the young soccer players and their coach faced deep within that set of sea caves, however, and their ability to remain that calm for that long, is nothing less than awe inspiring.  It will be so illuminating to learn more about them as they fully recover in the days and weeks to come.

For your consideration:

If and when our conditions are suddenly such that we are stripped down to the barest of elements and a matter of basic survival, priorities become abundantly apparent.  Choices to be made are brought into sharp focus.  In those moments, it helps, I would say, to have a deeply contemplative practice already in place.

Okay, your turn:

When have you found yourself in a turbulent situation, and one where maintaining a sense of calm ended up serving you well?  Has there been any other time you didn’t remain calm and wish that you had?

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

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Reclaiming our Six Minutes: Infusing Time with Moments of Joy and Sessions of Solace

Six-Minute Increments: Redefined

Recently, I was doing a little spring cleaning and decided to dive into a filing cabinet that I hadn’t opened in years. One of the first several file folders I pulled out contained a copy of one of my daily time sheets from my first year as an associate at a 100-person law firm in Los Angeles. Also in that file folder was a print-out of the year-end time tally sheet from my full first year at that firm. In defense practice (aka, “big law”), as is typical, my time was measured in terms of one-tenths of an hour — you know, those seemingly endless strings of six-minute increments. There they were – every billable and non-billable time segment all tracked and tallied.

In big law, no matter how many hours one puts in during a given day or evening (and there are often many), it is back to tabula rasa the next morning. Without or even sometimes with a strong center, that tends to do a number on your psyche and your overall sense of well-being. It can take a noticeable toll on your physical health as well.

Reclaiming Our Time

So, what to do about it? While I realize it’s naïve to think that billable hours will suddenly disappear altogether as a common metric, it is definitely within each attorney’s control to “reclaim their time” (to borrow a now-gone-viral phrase used by Rep. Waters during a congressional hearing last year) in ways that are more sustaining and rejuvenating, and from a place of strength and empowerment.
Now I can hear you asking: “But if I’m already packing in so many hours on cases, building a book of business, and attending continuing legal education seminars, how could I possibly squeeze in any other time for myself or any other more life-sustaining activities?” To that, I say, consider this: a lot can be experienced in six minutes or less. Ask any downhill skier or 1,500 meter runner (or person looking to catch the last remaining flight)!

You’re already capably putting in time well spent on behalf of the best interests of your firm and your clients, so why not do so for yourself? Without getting into the metaphysics of how to bend time (although that is definitely a fun topic to discuss with a friend or colleague over a glass of your favorite beverage) – let’s explore creative ways to “take back time,” and make it yours, at least once in a while.

Alternative Ways to Use Time

You can weave a number of short activities into your work day, throughout the week, or on the weekends. Here is a list to keep handy, of some examples to try, that are easy to do up to six minutes at a time:

  • Deep breathing in and out, slowly and deliberately
  • Looking out a window and focusing on an object in the distance such as a tree or the horizon
  • Standing quietly in a comfortable yet grounding and centering yoga position (such as mountain pose or archer pose)
  • Tapping your feet or dancing to an upbeat song (such as “One Love” or “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, or “Say Hey” by Michael Franti & Spearhead – heck these songs are only 3-minutes each, so in six minutes you can listen to any of them twice!)

These won’t transform your world or your law practice in an instant.  They will, however, likely shake you loose from any overthinking, fuzzy thinking, frazzled nerves, or just plain fatigue and burn-out…if even but for a little while.

What’s to be gained

The benefits to be gleaned from these brief and empowering uses of time are many, and include:

  • Giving your mind a rest
  • Giving your body an opportunity to move and change positions
  • Allowing your breath to slow down and become more even, and less erratic
  • Granting yourself the gift of returning to your law practice more refreshed and less strained
  • Seeing your case strategies from a fresh angle or perspective
  • Gaining clarity around a perceived roadblock in a particular case or cases
  • Ultimately effectuating more creative, surprising strategies and potential outcomes for your clients

A Respite from the Frenzy: Six-Minute Saturdays

To help get you started, I’m creating a series of short videos that I’m calling “Six-Minute Saturdays” (SMS).  Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to be among the first to receive notifications of these videos as they are released on…yes, you guessed it: Saturdays.  You can view them of course whenever it’s convenient for you.  (I figure this way, you’ll be encouraged to devote at least one six-minute time segment a week completely,100%, to you!) The kick-off video for SMS is available for viewing now: To watch it, go here.

For your consideration:

What will you do for six minutes that are “all your own,” devoted solely (and soulfully) to your own well-being, starting today?  Pick one from the list above, or come up with one of your own, and let me know how it goes!  As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present.

Okay, your turn:

When you find yourself feeling stressed and unable to focus, what do you tend to do?  What’s your default ‘coping’ mechanism?  Does that help…in the short run or the long run? If that hasn’t been working well for you, what would you like to choose to do, instead, if even for a brief six minutes?

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

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Savasana and the power of sweet surrender

Restore and Replenish

Ultimately, this practice helps “ready and steady” you for success as you return to the world refreshed and more available to handle its opportunities, challenges and stresses.

During this time of year, as nature slows down and takes a quiet breather to restore and replenish, it’s a good time to revisit our daily practices and employ simple yet effective ways to follow mother nature’s wisdom.   As nature turns inward, I invite us to do the same.

Heading into the holiday season as well, this can be a time of year that may heighten our nerves and trigger deep emotions.  This too makes it an ideal time to implement consistent daily practices to ground ourselves,  and help us “settle everything down”.

In this moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we explore the ancient practice of savasana, and a technique called 4-7-8 breathing.

Turning Inward

So often in our fast-paced world, we seemingly forget to relax! Even low-level activities which we may be thinking are ways to relax often serve more as a mental distraction, and aren’t truly relaxing at all (watching television news, anyone?)

What if we were to allow ourselves to drop into a state of quiet neutrality, where all of our hurried, harried, frazzled parts can come back together and rest?

Savasana, or “final resting pose”: This asana (posture) is typically reserved for the end of a yoga practice.

After a revving up of the body, nervous system, organs, muscles and blood flow during yoga exercises, savasana serves many blissful purposes, including:  reintegration, restoration, and a letting go of any mental chatter, agitation, or “gripping.”  It’s an easing into the floor or ground upon which your body is placed – on your back, with legs comfortably apart, arms opened, palms facing upward.  Eyes are closed.  Breathing is calm, slow, and deep. Savasana is typically done for 5-10 minutes, and may even be done for up to 30 minutes at a time.

By engaging in savasana, you more easily become aware of your breath and your mind state.   Ultimately, this practice helps “ready and steady” you for success as you return to the world and all its many challenges, opportunities, and stresses.

Another way to “turn inward” and combat the day to day stresses we all face, is to combine savasana with a 4-7-8-count breathing technique made popular by Dr. Andrew Weil. As with other yogic breathing, it’s best done with your tongue placed up and against the inside of your upper front teeth.  1. Take a slow deep breath in, for a count of four.  2. Hold the breath for a count of seven.  3. Release the breath out for a count of eight.  In one session, repeat this 4-7-8 breath cycle four times, to complete “one round”.

Start out breathing at a counting pace that’s comfortable for you, and over time you’ll find yourself being able to slow down your breathing and elongating each count.  The sequence, however, remains the same:  4-7-8. In total, a round of four breath cycles takes no more than two minutes, tops!

It will help you relax any time of day.  And, it will help you fall asleep.  Train yourself to do this to help you get centered, grounded and calm before you react to any stressful situation.

Although savasana is usually done at the end of a full yoga set, I’m inviting us all to try it on its own, as part of our daily practice, especially between now and the end of the year. Both savasana and the 4-7-8 technique have compounding positive effects when done consistently and over the course of several weeks and months.

Savasana and the 4-7-8 breathing technique — each of these practices are whole and complete on their own, and need not be done together.  You actually don’t usually see them done in conjunction with one another. I’m suggesting, though, that they make for a powerful combo pack!  I invite you to try them together, at least once a day.  Do a ten-minute savasana, followed by a four-cycle round of the 4-7-8 breathing.

Sweet Surrender

Both of these practices serve as forms of physical and energetic surrender, in all the best ways.  It’s a conscious and powerful choice to grant ourselves devoted time to recharge and receive the bliss that comes with sweet surrender.  Look at the image of the child above, so pure, so relaxed…so open to all of life’s joys, triumphs, and love!

For your consideration and “extra credit”:

In addition to doing one savasana daily*:

Several times throughout the day — and especially right before going to sleep – do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Remember this practice takes only a minute or two to complete.  You will serve you and your overall health and well-being tremendously by doing so!

*For a refresher on daily practices, go here.

Okay, your turn:

What daily practices, if any, have you been doing throughout the course of this year? Have you tried any new ones?  Are you open to doing something a little differently throughout the holiday season?

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.

 

 

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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.)

Give 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.

 

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Be the lighthouse

Be the Lighthouse

In this edition of Soul Notes, we examine what it means to be a lighthouse; and as always, we do so by invoking and evoking ancient wisdom and principles where they may be of service to each of us living in today’s world, and particularly during this time of an evolving (albeit often challenging!) degree of consciousness.

Immersed in all that is, and all that changes, we seem to be facing extremely turbulent times.  As individuals, and as a collective, we are navigating through massively swirling, deeply unsettled waters.  Political, economic and societal systems are shifting, breaking loose in large chunks, and leaving behind for all of us thick layers of debris.

Some may say these are “dark times.”  Others may contend that we are increasingly reaching the outer ridge of a precipice…teetering precariously close to the edge, as we peek over with hope, steadfast faith, and eagerness toward what may actually be a portal into a new age of even greater light and elevated consciousness.  During the darkness of the new moon, as I write this, we each have an opportunity to slow down to take in these contrasts.  And, we have a choice to make.  The choice that we may make, and the one that I invite you to consider, is this:  Be The Lighthouse.   

To paraphrase Master Yogi Bhajan:

Sane is the person who deals with insanity and still keeps smiling;

Brave is the person who feels cowardice and still moves forward;

Rich is the person who faces poverty and still maintains a higher consciousness;  and

Spiritual is the person who against all “devilish darkness” keeps the light burning.

Our job is to light the way – no more, no less

Lighthouses illuminate the land mass, the shoreline, to warn approaching ships and mariners. As with ships out at sea, navigating the ever shifting waters and weather conditions, each person of course still needs to steer her or his own ship.  All of us are Captains on our own high spiritual seas.

Your serving as a beacon of light for another, beaming a light, holding a lantern, allows them to see what they may not otherwise see.  Indeed. It does not, however, abdicate them from responsibility for charting their own path, traveling their own journey, navigating their own waters, and riding their own waves. (Oh my, watch out, we are getting awfully nautical here on the blog!)

Be on the look-out.  Keep a watchful eye: 

And, it remains all the more critical, and all the more needed —  the more severe the weather, the stronger the storm!

The light beaming from the lighthouse is needed most during the nighttime and even during daytime storms, when the visibility is diminished.  An enlightened lighthouse illuminates the darkness.  It’s not really needed when the land upon which it stands is visible to all who may be approaching from offshore.

“There are times when the ocean is not the ocean– not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most.”  

— M.L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

lighthouse keeperKeeper of the light(house)

In the early days, lighthouse keepers were critical in keeping the lighthouses functioning properly.  Keepers trimmed wicks, replenished fuel, wound clockworks by hand, and cleaned lenses and windows.

As with other evolving areas of technology, recent “advances” (a qualitative term, admittedly) have meant that human keepers have more recently been replaced with automated processes, for the most part. The human element has been reduced, although not eradicated entirely.

You may be familiar with the term “light workers.”  Or the well-heeled phrase: Be the light. Suffice it to say that it is no coincidence that LIGHT appears in so many contexts and various spheres when it comes to consciousness and spirituality.

As with the lighthouse, the electricity is housed within, and shines from within, outward and out-toward those all around it.  “The body electric” (a phrase later made popular by Walt Whitman, and even later in a song in the musical “Fame” — a term that originally dates back to a research paper by Dr. Le Monnier during 1746) — comes from the world of medicine.  Our own bodies are in fact electric.   We have the light within us!  I realize I’m mixing metaphors here.  I ask that you stay with me on this, as I weave together these concepts, and bring forward their relevance to today’s world.

For anyone who feels called, being a spiritual lighthouse requires each person to be sure to take care to maintain her or his own lighthouse —  To be her or his own keeper of the light.  Especially during dark, turbulent, stormy times – our lighthouses are required.  We are needed now more than ever.

If you’ve been a reader for awhile (or feel free to scan the archives available on this page), you’ll notice that throughout most of the editions of Soul Notes, we have explored ways to be and serve as lighthouses in a sometimes seemingly dark world.

And, may I offer here a gentle reminder for each of us to tend to our own lighthouses, so that we can continue to be of service to those around us.

Some ways to do that, you may ask?

  • Take solace in nature.
  • Attune yourself to nature’s rhythms.
  • Get yourself close to or immersed in a body of water.

With great solemn appreciation, I make frequent trips to the Pacific Ocean, a few short miles from where I live.  It refreshes my soul, and gives it a re-set.  I take cleansing breaths as I sink my bare feet into the sand.  I allow my eyes to take in the panorama, from the sea to the hillsides and back again.  I look for sunsets and moonrises.  I sit for long stretches and watch quietly as dozens of tiny sandpipers high-step in unison quickly back and forth in precise rhythm with the tide.  You can, too.  If not at the ocean, in some other way out in nature, in a way and form that is facile for you.

Not unlike how the old-style lighthouse keepers would with the intricate mechanisms of the clockworks, each of us can do our best to keep the lighthouse finely tuned, and well calibrated.

For your consideration:

As we close, I leave you with these words, from Yogi Bhajan:

You are a lighthouse, so nobody else can wreck near you. That is the one thing in life you have to do. Spread the light. Be the lighthouse.”

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life, in your relations, in your community, are you beaming your light, and serving as the lighthouse?  How much care are you devoting to maintaining yourself in tip-top shape as a lighthouse?  In what ways are you being a good steward?

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.
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Trust what you hear when you listen

“Trust what you hear when you listen.”

— This is a line repeated in the Japji (Song of the Soul), as translated from the original Sanskrit.

What does it mean to truly listen? And, to trust what you hear? In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, we dig into this spiritual concept and practice.

Truly Listening

Truly listening — to the sounds of your soul, and to the souls of others – is what allows trust to develop.  It cuts through the egoic, often times camouflaged or staged fronts that come from the mind.  It’s a matter instead of tuning into the heart.

“Trust what you hear when you listen.” – Japji

Trusting what you hear when you listen means listening for and trusting your intuition:  Your inner truth will sound beautiful, satisfying, and fulfilling – you know, “the nodding your head, ‘uh-huh’ ” kind of truth.  It will ring true – it will be harmonic and resonant.  With practice, you’ll notice and KNOW the difference.

When you’re truly listening, your truth will be recognizable by its purity. It will sound and feel loving and expansive.  In contrast, your inner untruth will sound false, faulty, and anything but resonant.  You’ll feel yourself contracting or worse yet fleeing from your peaceful, respite place.  It will seem as if someone suddenly changed the serenity channel to something that grates on your nerves, throws you off-balance, and disrupts your inner harmony.  That, dear one, is the critical mind calling – don’t pick up that call!  Let it go to your spiritual trash bin to be discarded and composted away.  There’s no space for it in your inner sacred harmonic energy field.  Say to it, “No Thank You — There’s no room for you at THIS inn”!

Or, it may not sound critical per se – yet, it may nonetheless still sound or feel “off,” meaning that it’s not the sound of your own voice calling, but that of someone else.  What you’re hearing may be their truth, but not what’s true for YOU.  This takes discernment.  With practice also comes discernment.

As with most things worth your devotion and attention, trusting what you hear when you listen takes consistent, ongoing practice.  Fine tuning your listening skills and hearing what your intuition has to say — to reveal, and to divulge to you from your innermost being – that wisest part of you —  gets stronger and stronger over time and with frequent repetition.  Accordingly, leaving it alone too long between sessions, without engagement, results in it becoming out of tune just like a piano, guitar or violin. So, keep at it!  It’s worth it.

The benefits and ways to get started:

To be able to trust fully in what you hear when you listen, it helps to get quiet, still, and free from distractions if at all possible.  Dedicating even a few minutes a day to this practice will engender worthy results.  Bring your full presence to the moment at hand.  Engage your mind, body (your heart) and soul.  Tune into the silence, and be open to hear what comes through the quiet solitude.  Treat this as your own soul session, your own meditation, just for you! Listen for the voice of the DIVINE WITHIN yourself!

Allow words, images, symbols, or even just a ‘hunch’ or a ‘gut feeling’ to come through.  Some messages will gain further meaning afterwards, maybe even hours or days later.  What’s important is setting the scene so that you truly hear the messages.  You can decipher them over time.  There’s no rush, only devotion, dedication, to spirit, and the messages and meanings that are intended for you.

Feel free to journal what comes through – or draw, or compose a poem or sing a song…whatever feels best for you to express what you heard.

Listening this way is what truly allows divine messages to come through.  Deep understanding results.  Then, you can take action from THAT place, and not from a place of disruptive self-flagellation, and nasty untruths.  Inspired action feels enlivening, and uplifting, and not disheartening.  Heart engaged?  Check!  All soul systems go!  Use THAT as your energetic and spiritual launching pad.  That is: Divine Lift-Off.

Your soul and the divine are available to you “24-7” – you just need to connect via the proverbial wi-fi.  It’s one of the special, beautiful technologies uniquely available to us as human, spiritual beings.  It’s already encoded within you.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.  Welcome it in all its glory.

Given any situation you may be contemplating, or for which you seek clarity: Surrender yourself to the experience.  And, be prepared to and do, take inspired action based on your new, finely tuned, receptivity. As from a stone skipping across a pond, circles of understanding will continue to ripple outward from within.

For your consideration:

I leave with you these words, from the Japji:

 “Trust what you hear

When you listen,

And bring all your loved ones

Along.

Trust what you hear

When you listen,

You will swim across

All difficulties

And your very presence

Will carry others

Across as well.”

Okay, your turn:

In what ways have you been tuning in and listening for your own truth?  What do you notice when you get still, quiet, and really listen?

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

© 2016 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.