Open Hearted Musings

…on spiritual journeying


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Zero to Hero – Making New WP Friends

Today’s Assignment ( think.  I am still traveling):  Meet My Neighbors:  A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours. friendsclipart

I have been most fortunate to already meet many wonderful bloggers.  But today I found and commented on 3 new blogs I found through tags on Reader.

http://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/struggles-with-conflict/  a professional therapist shared insights on interpersonal communication

http://rediscoveringmeblog.com/2014/04/18/this-is-no-fun/  a blogger describes the challenges of living on an allergy-free diet and wishing for takeout.

Check them out; give them some love.

http://culturemonk.com/2014/04/14/shaving-with-the-homeless-really/   a blogger hangs out with homeless people in Madison WI, and shares insights about how much friendlier they were than the ruch white yuppies with their ears glued to theor smartphones (and who, incidentally, let them down when they got bored with OCCUPY.)

All together a profitable time online.  So much to read, so little time.  What a fabulous community this is!

 


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Zero to Hero Post Why am I Blogging?

First, I should mention I am on vacation, traveling, and have very spotty internet, so haven’t been able to keep up.vacation   Besides…vacation.

 

But I liked the questions YESTERDAY (I think)clarifying my thinking about why I blog and for whom, so….  I did the exercise.

 

 

 

  1. This blog is about...running whatever I am thinking about through an open heart, to bring greater love, peace, health and joy into my life and the life of others.
  2. It’s the only blog that…shares my personal, professional and spiritual insights on my journey home. I’m no one special, but I dare to think I have gathered some wisdom in my 72 years.
  3. I post when…I have time, usually two or three times a week.  I am a freelance writer and busy also with life.  I also have another blog, imagineyourselfhappy.wordpress.com , focused on recovery from deep depression.
  4. I try to interest the new or casual reader with…plenty of white space, images, subheadings – and I am working on better post titles.

Wish I had a little more time to devote, but these are great challenges.


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Why am I Blogging? Blogging101_1_ zero to hero

I have joined the blogging 101 challenge to understand WP better, and I’ll try to be true to the challenge though I am on vacation and it’s hard to get to the computer.

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I am a writer, writing is my craft.  I write for the joy of it. I write so I know what I am thinking - my fingers seem to know me better than  I know  myself.   I am a freelance writer, and blogging hones my writing chops. I write to connect with other people, since I no longer can drive and so am not out and about as I once was.

geravatarprofile_picI am 72 years old, and it is time to try to share what I have learned on my life journey, especially things I wish I had known years before I learned them.  Sometimes though, my blog, like everyone’s, is just a place to process “stuff.”  I have been blogging on various platforms for years, mostly social and political commentary, although I try to keep most of that out of my WP blogs.  I’d  like to think that some of my words would strike a chord with others, perhaps even uplift or comfort or teach in some way.

  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?

I write about life, about mystic spirituality and my spiritual growth and unfoldment, about the pleasures and losses in aging, about overcoming deep depression, as I have.  I write about peace and nonviolence. I write about writing and, there will undoubtedly be further polite social commentary. I am a big fan of facts-based discussions.

  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

I would love to connect with other nonfiction writers, since I am a newbie at writing for money, other than as a job - I was a technical writer for 7 years before reitring, writing educational manuals.  I have started a book, and have an almost published e-book that I wrote on commission for someone else, but am just learning the ropes of freelancing.  I am interested in meeting people who are spiritual without being religious, people in recovery from mood disorders as I am, and people who champion peace.

  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

I would hope to have a body of work that I am pleased with that might also help others.


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My Ocean Awakening

It’s a lazy Saturday morning, and I’m feeling relaxed and happy.  Looking out at a sunny day, and a fun excursion later today. I get to see my OCEAN.  Well, OK, it’s your ocean too.  But it is a very personally spiritual place for me.  Each of us get to have our own ocean, I think.  A place to realize that all life has ebbs and tides and waves and to be in complete acceptance of being a tiny part of eternity.

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The ocean is probably the most healing place on the planet for me. I feel completely connected to forever.

I can just enjoy breathing and smelling and listening and watching and feeling the breeze and the water… and the sand under my toes…completely in the NOW moment.   Of course, I do come from a seafaring family.

I love our Sonoran desert too, it has its own timeless beauty and plenty of beautiful mountains, gorgeous sunsets, plenty of wildlife, dramatic torrential thunderstorms, and big dark starry skies, but the ocean is HOME and I can’t wait to see be there later.

It was at the ocean that I came awake.  waking up

It was at the ocean that I first truly accepted that there had to be a forever “something” beyond me, a Higher Power of some sort, a Higher Order perhaps, and that I was part of this Higher Order.  I came to understand at the ocean that the experiences I always had there were part of my spiritual life and that I didn’t have to be religious in order to have a rich spiritual life.  I was in Al-Anon at the time, a twelve step program for families of alcoholics, but was having trouble getting on board because I was an avowed atheist after rejecting the lessons and stories and shaming of traditional religion.

What’s funny is that I then realized I had always had a rich spiritual life, plenty of experiences of oneness with nature and even other people, I just didn’t have language to attach it to, yikes, “GOD.”  I have always had a rich inner life, but when I tried religion, it just didn’t connect with that inner joy.

So I called the Ocean my Higher Power for years, just to remind myself where HOME could be located.  I have photographs and paintings of the oceans all around my office, even one I painted myself I feel quite happy about.  And my parents, who did not know they were spiritual either, had their ashes spread in the ocean outside the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, having spent many a spare weekend out there on their boat, fishing.

So, today I go to greet the ocean, where all life on this planet originated, and pay my respects to my HP.  And yes, I will undoubtedly do my breathing and smiling meditation there as I am enfolded by the salty ocean breezes.    Yippie!

 

 

 

 


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My Breathing and Smiling Meditation

Life is good, even when your body slows you down a little.  Who knew I wouldn’t always feel like I was 32? I still felt that way when I was 52.  Even 62.  Anyway, I have no complaints, life is very good.  And at 72, the “I” of me is just taking notes and enjoying the journey.  I have a favorite spiritual practice I want to share with you today.  I hope it blesses someone.  It’s called,

“Breathing and Smiling.”

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No, I am not putting on a brave face, pretending everything is OK when it isn’t, as I once did.  We depressives are very good at fooling folks…and then they are surprised when we disappear.  Those days are over – I might get twinges of sadness  or the occasional attack of anxiety,  but I can bring myself back to center pretty quickly.   At this point I just have to do nothing stupid to get rid of the feelings (chemicals in the body),  distract myself so as not to dwell on them too much (they are addictive you know) or try to find someone or something to blame - and allow them to gradually recede.

And turn my focus to the small joys.

I have learned to take CONSCIOUS JOY in small everyday things, to be happy and grateful hearing the birds sing (easier now that I have hearing aids, lol),  looking out at the mountains on a sunny day (in Tucson AZ that’s almost every day and the cloudy days are dramatic), and watching my veggies grow.  I am happy and grateful to be writing, to have this creative outlet, and so lucky and grateful to be sharing my life the past 18+ years with a wonderful man TDH (for Tall, Dark and Handsome), who is so funny and so loving and supportive and has such a beautiful voice.  He sings professionally, and I am the beneficiary every day.  Later we are going to a concert he is singing in.  Sometimes I even get to sing with him, and developing my voice has be a joy of my late 60′s. I am happy and grateful that all 4 of my (grown) boys are doing well.  I am happy and grateful to be a great grandma. Not everyone gets to meet their great grandchildren.

And then to the deeper joys.

 I find Peace and Joy and Love in my favorite spiritual practice, which can be summed up as “breathing and smiling.”  I love the quiet early mornings, when I can move into the stillness and find the Divine Light right here and now, flowing through me.

You see, I am something of a mystic, and I experience the the Mystical Something, the Loving, Creative, Peaceful Energy that sustains me, present within my own heart - and then moving out through me into the world.  That experience is joyous.  And it makes me smile, lifting my face to the heavens, opening my arms to accept the blessing.  In part though, I also  smile because of a teaching from a Buddhist monk who declares,

 

laughingbuddha
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  Thích Nhất Hạnh

   

It’s true.  It works.  It is a central part of my daily practice.  Mine goes something like this; of course it’s  different every day.

Breathing in, I see the beauty (any beauty).

Breathing out, I smile.

Perhaps I take an extra few breaths here, either repeating the mantra or just appreciating the beauty.

Breathing in, I am fully conscious of this Present Moment and all is well.

Breathing out, all else fades, as I smile.

Breathing in, I feel my heart beat.(anything physical in your body)

Breathing out I smile.

Breathing in, my heart is filled with Love (Peace, Beauty, Harmony, Health, Plenty).

Breathing out, I smile.

Breathing in, I bless my children (or anyone or everyone)

Breathing out, I smile

Breathing in, I give thanks, I am so blessed.

Breathing out, I smile.

And so it goes until I feel complete.  This is my very favorite meditation.  It is so simple.  No matter how distressed I am, it’s always there and so easy to do.  And I find that after having done this for some time, I only have to remembr the smile to move towards that peaceful meditative, centered space.

There are many forms of meditation and each have their benefit.  But I am a person prone to moods and if I am irritable or sorrowful or anxious, I can say,

“Breathing in, I acknowledge my sorrow (or anxiety etc).  Breathing out, I smile.”

Because sorrow or anxiety or irritation are fleeting states.  They do NOT define me.  They do NOT control me.  The “I” of me is witness to the sorrow, and also to the smile, for in THIS present moment, unless I am about to be eaten by a tiger, all is indeed well.

Breathing in on this Sunday morning, I send blessings of sunshine and smiles to each of  you.  And breathing out, I smile.

 

 


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Quintet of Radiance: Five Ennobling Blog Awards

Wow, so humbled and appreciative to receive these awards when I have only been seriously working on this blog for a few months. I only hope I can live up to the qualities embodied in them. So many thanks to Tela for nominating me.  She is an awesome friend who writes awesome and informative content about the chaotic life of someone involved in a close relationship with a (male or female) sociopath.  She, thankfully, is looking backward on that relationship.

versatileblogger11While I hope to be influentialinfluential  and versatile, after all there are a lot of experiences to relate from a 72 year old life, and I hope to wABCrite awesome content, the ones that make me tear up a bit are for “Inner PeaceImage Image  and “Sunshine.”  They embody the reason I write, aside from finding out from my fingers what I think, that is.  I want to add to someone’s inner peace and sunshine, as I have been graced with both in my later years and struggled with deep depression and panic during many earlier years of my life.

There are rules…first, I am to write the ABC’s of me: “Write a word about yourself for every letter of the English alphabet.”  This is  HARD. Sometimes I cheated and wrote a few.

A – Avid reader

B – Balance is poor, have to walk with a cane.

C – Caring

D – Desert-lover, Depression

E – Empathetic

F –  Fibromyalgia

G – Gorgeous (this is new for me, I thought I was ugly and I was wrong.) Gardener and Grateful

H – Happy, Hopeful

I – Imaginative

J - Jealous

K – Kind

L – Loveable (That one’s an affirmation!), Loving

M – Modest

N – Natural

O – Open

P – Peace-loving,

Q – Quality

R – Recovery

S – Sonoran Desert

T - Thankful

U – Unstoppable

V – Vegetarian

W – Womanly

X - Xerophilous  :)

Y – Youthful

Z – Zany

I nominate these following bloggers who speak to different aspects of my inner being.

The Mystical Path - Marc is a seeker of truth who shares his musings in many areas of life, especially meditation, mysticism and spirituality.  I share with him a teacher, Joel Goldsmith, whose writings resonated with me and facilitated my own spiritual growth and unfoldment.  I have just discovered his blog.

Despair to Deliverance -  Dr. Sharon is an insightful therapist who is documenting her own internal process as a human being trying to help someone with a severe mental illness, along with her patient Robin, who is now living a stable and fulfilling life. This is another blog I have just discovered, and am fascinated by.

Turkey Bone Heaven - A strong, articulate survivor of abuse, in 12 step recovery from substance abuse, writes compelling posts about what she has gone through and what she has learned on the path to recovery.

Radical Self-Love Project - Self-Love and spirituality.   These are really helpful posts for anyone who could use a little coaching on loving yourself better.  That includes anyone who breathes.

Writing Into The Light - This is a great blog by a seasoned blogger who shares delightful poetry and prose, chronicling her life experiences.  She has recently been told that her cancer is no longer in remission.  Go show her some love.

Here are the rules for this nomination.

1. Thank the person who gave you the nomination.

2. Write a word about yourself for every letter of the English alphabet

3. Nominate  other bloggers for this award.

4. Announce the nominations to the nominees

Many thanks again to dear Tela of Sociopathlife.com   for her support.  She keeps me motivated when I get a taste of the Blehs.

 


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Today’s a MUSING Kinda’ Day…

I’m a little stuck.

Have lost some zeal.

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Discovered writing for others for money is hard work and doesn’t pay much, except good experience.  But it has also left me drained of creativity for my own writing.  And the book is looking like such a HUGE mountain to climb.

I wonder what made me think anyone would read it anyway?  How would they ever find it?

I wonder if I really have as much valuable experience to share as I thought?

Is it just an ego trip to think I know something everyone else doesn’t?

Feeling tired…well, feeling SEVENTY TWO.  I wish I had gotten motivated to write the book ten years ago, but then, what would I have missed?  And would I have been ready?

When I first retired, I was active in everything – politics – the arts – nonprofits – blogging elsewhere – and my life was a flurry of meetings, making new friends, doing stuff I hadn’t had time for.  And we still had 2 teenagers at home – my grandson and TDH’s son, same age. They’re 23 and 24 now, so they were 13 and 14 then.  Um… lotsa, LOTSA teen drama, but happy I was home to keep an eye on things, and felt anything but serene much of the time.

Now I remember why I never thought to write then.  So, that’s the first 5 years of retirement.

After they left home, the last 5 years, I have focused on music, on acting, on regaining my health (fibromyalgia had me almost crippled when I retired), on travel, on learning how to grow food, on growing spiritually.  Who would want to have lived a life where there had never been time for that?  And no, I was still not writing with authority.  I was not ready.

I still take the first few hours every day for spiritual practice, and of course the gardens need tending every day…

Have I ever told you what a treat it is to eat fresh veggies you grew yourself?

Maybe this afternoon I’ll have some energy to get back to that..BOOK.  I’m ready now, I do have something to share that could help someone else.  I’m just a little fatigued.

I told you, a musing kind of a post.

 

 

 


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YOU have the POWER!

Originally posted on IMAGINE YOURSELF HAPPY:

“Your thoughts and beliefs of the past have created this moment, and all the moments up to this moment. What you are now choosing to believe and think and say will create the NEXT moment and the next day and the next month and the next year.”  ― Louise L. Hays
Image from Aimer La nature, facebook

Image from Aimer La nature, facebook

The last thing I imagined when I was in that deep hole, surrounded by that frigid grey fog, cold and blind and alone, was that I had any power at all whatsoever, over anything.  Well, maybe I could still move my limbs  (though, why?) and most days I could even go to work, although I could not think well enough to accomplish anything (see, I told you I am flawed), so I can imagine seeing this today and dismissing it out of hand.

“That’s just true for normal people.”

   “I’m not like…

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Writing an E-book on Gluten Intolerances

I have a new and interesting assignment, to write a 6,000 word mini e-book for someone else to publish.  Of course he will make much more money on it than I ever will, but it has opened up an entire new world of communication for me.  I intend to learn his secrets, so I learn how to publish e-books, and, he will list me as a co-writer, helping to build my portfolio.  Well, I am new back into the workplace and people don’t know my work.

image from Swarthmore Co-op
image from Swarthmore Co-op

More interesting to me though, is all I am learning from researching the e-book.  I have learned to distinguish between celiac disease and wheat allergies and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which had all run together in my head until now. I had thought of it a a continuum, which it is not.  I have the last one NCGS, which has similar symptoms but a different mode of action in the gut, and which seems to be related to a whole host of other diagnoses which all go into partial remission when you adopt a gluten-free diet.

Fibromyalgia has been a serious problem for me since 1998 or so, and I became almost a cripple, I used a wheelchair and a scooter, and I was in severe pain all the time, couldn’t sleep, developed gall bladder problems, balance problems, kept falling, much more.   A few years back, I had read that a gluten free diet would relieve my symptoms – I tried it and it has!

So, even though I had the proof in my own experience, I knew that a lot of people thought it was “all in my head.”  First the Fibromyalgia, which was diagnosed by 4 different doctors, finally became ‘real” to people, and now they are seeing how NCGS actually acts in the gut.

I put the second chapter, on celiac disease into my portfolio, and I will keep you posted as to other things I learn.  I am busy working against a deadline on the next chapter on NCGS, and don’t have much time to chat.


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My Upcoming Book, Imagine Yourself Happy

Photo from Beautiful Pictures of Nature, Facebook
Photo from Beautiful Pictures of Nature, Facebook

I am writing a book on overcoming depression. As I write this, I am a 72 year old freelance writer, retired therapist and minister AND I have overcome deep depression myself.  I have long pondered whether my experiences could help someone else.  I have also long pondered if I had the courage to be honest about what it was like then…and now… and what happened to make such a difference.

I have finally decided “yes” on both counts, and I am at the beginning phase of organizing my BOOK “Imagine Yourself Happy.”  The link is to my new blog of the same name. 

I do  have one  major request of you.  I would love to have a conversation, over there..

About depression.  About recovery.

And, a question:  If I were writing this book especially for you, or for someone you know who suffers from depression, what would you most hope I didn’t leave out???

Thanks,

Gerry

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