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How We Roll & Why We Kneel

 

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Actions speak louder than words…

Beauty of Witnessing

So I’ve come clean and have often prided myself upon being comfortable within the uncomfortable but lately I’ve been seeing that I’m not so patient just sitting with it for myself by myself about my self.

Pain, agitation, discomfort can be like a hot cinder on your lap that you immediately go to pat out and extinguish, perhaps its even a hot poker right on your arse.  I’d venture to say most people jump when they get burned or feel like something is on fire, right?
Well, what about your emotional self or more correctly, the egoic self?

fire-w-magnifying-glass-spacepleb1

When we bring our attention and witness the ego, the emotions, the tendency to react/fix/attack/not react we become the magnifying glass and the sun on an ant instead of the ant.  By witnessing, a little bit longer than we are used to, we move beyond the itch and scratch to something new.  When we magnify the watching instead of the acting (even if its well intended non-reacting) and we go beyond our pattern, that’s when we get the bigger picture perspective and take things less personally which allows grace, presence and peace to take hold.

I had a profound conversation with a friend this evening where they reflected how thick and dense my stories are, like most of us. Who doesn’t love a colorful background, character development and detailed setting when it comes to telling a good story, especially our own?  However if you come at life with a book full to the brim with no room to write or color in, there isn’t much room for creation, let alone participation.  And so my friend shared that their first reaction to my story back in the day was to relate, pity or take action to help.  Then it came to just listening and finally after setting that standard, we both felt ready to listen and I was able to hear that by being so in my story at times, so in the me of it, taking shit so personally and feeling everything I would dance between the all and nothing but never sitting long enough to see past that tango.

I didn’t stand still long enough to see the dance floor, I often only saw two steps forward and one step back.

two steps
And the thing about stopping to look at our feet while dancing is we often fall out of rhythm, it ain’t pretty and it’s more often than not, a smidge embarrassing.
Reality check- we’re in a human experience to learn and feel freer to be our true selves and that comes easier by witnessing that which isn’t.  Witnessing others, othering and then ultimately realizing that there is no other, is quite a trip to the moon and back.  We learn more by stopping instead of mindlessly to and fro-ing no?

To take my point here a little further- a star doesn’t know it is beauty or beautiful, it is the witness of that star that deems it so and therefore perspective gives us the freedom to define and expand our understanding of pretty much, well, everything.

 

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“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

By experiencing our Self separately we free ourselves and remember peace by being in that greater awareness.  The drug of humanity is connection and being “understood” so if we give it to ourselves, pulling our nose out long enough from our own autobiography we may just have enough to remember we can rewrite just about any trauma, woe or suffering.  Thank you K.S. for the listening.

In awe of beauty and feeling like listening to this song again (thank you time and space of 1997)…

Starlight, star bright,

Ella

Timing and Three Months Late Birthday Cake

clock
Falling in love with timing really lets you let up on life and let it treat you better than you’d imagine.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- expectations and attachment to the way things should be is a surefire start to a drop into the boo hoo blues.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to myself.

Bless the Rolling Stones forever for that sanity reminder.  But when DO you try and what does it look like to get what you need?

Friends, lovers, family this year have had their moments with me where they’ve wondered – where did Ella go?
We’ve all been somewhere we’ve not wanted to be out of sheer duty or obligation, right?  Well, if in the first ten minutes of arriving that doesn’t change ’tis a sign that something does need to do just that.  So I do my best to honor what feels right (not always comfortable) and check with what is ultimately in alignment with who I want to be. Sometimes I miss the mark, sometimes I disappoint folks by not being available but I do my best.
Case in point, sometimes what you want doesn’t happen when and how you want it to and this is actually a GOOD thing.

That brings us back to time being on our side and yet another favorite Rolling Stone’s song but I digress…

Sometimes what you need is birthday cake three months late.

As most of you may know, my family has been really going through it this year keeping their hopes up that the FDA will grant access to my stepmother so she has a chance at life.  Well, the week my dad and step-mom moved to Palm Desert and her brain tumor symptoms became aggressive and severe was also my birthday time.  With all the shifts and concern, they forgot my birthday which was totally understandable and I canceled dinner and outing plans with friends to help my family at a crucial decision making time (to radiate or not to radiate, never a fun question).
I never said anything because my birthday at that point really wasn’t important.  In my mind, I’ve had a lot of celebrations over the years and what was more important was to be with them, take care of them and treat myself that way.  In my past, I’d always looked forward to birthdays so I could have a little extra cash and stay out of the red or get a new something.  Well, instead of needing a check or new iPhone, what I really needed was snuggles with my family which I got in spades.

sixteen-candles
It was a great feeling to not need and to really let go, putting what really mattered first and get over my Sixteen Candles self that I’d been in the past. I was in a place in my life that I could afford to treat them to every meal and take one less worry off their list.

Last week I went to see my parents for a little post-Thanksgiving family time and my stepmother had requested I stay out of the kitchen.  Her new “thing” is cooking since she’s now “retired”, has dietary restrictions to offset the tumor growth and the kitchen is small enough for her to weeble wobble out of without too much strain.  She asked me to patiently wait at the table for her to present her culinary efforts after a long day.

“It may take me awhile to set it up as I’m moving slow but don’t you open your eyes and ruin the surprise!”

When I was granted permission to take a peek at the table, I found a cake before me along with a whole bunch of birthday paraphernalia.

“Happy Birthday, oops we forgot” was sung and we cut into Liza’s first-ever homemade birthday cake.

I cried.

“We can’t believe we forgot you birthday and you never said a word. I’ve been celebrating you for half your life and I didn’t want to miss out this year.”

bday card

It was a strange experience to have a wave of joy and sorrow all at once.  I kept saying “I didn’t need you to remember, I don’t need anything.” And they just kept bringing out more stuff the more I said not to.  I’ve definitely said “no thank you” due to good manners but to fully receive at a time least expected was overwhelming.  It made me realize how much pressure we put on making certain days special when in fact, it’s the thought that counts and letting go of how or when we’re inspired to do things for each other, makes the gift ever sweeter.

So here’s to birthday cake at Christmas time and getting what we really need.

May your deepest wishes be granted by unexpected and timely deliveries.
Timing isn’t always appearing to be on our side but it will find a way to give us what we need when we most need it.

Love and birthday candle light,

Ella

 

P.S. To support my family’s efforts to save Liza’s life, check out the interview on CBS here and sign our petition.  Many blessings of good health and gratitude to you and yours.  <3

God, to me…

is Beauty.
Simply the moments where you are so struck by the awe of what you witness, feel, know that you are silenced into nothingness and everything joins you in that reverence. That is consciousness, that is God, Goddess, Divine.

As a child, I knew not what religion was.

My grandmother’s crucifix, that was my size, made me incredibly sad and my earliest memories were of wanting that bleeding man to not be so alone.
My solution? Undress all my Barbies, wrap them in toilet paper loin cloths to be fashionably on par and hang them up all over the wooden cross so this guy wouldn’t feel so lonely or awkward. I seriously wish I had a photo of that and my family’s face when they found my Buddy up Jesus project. Priceless!

Buddy Christ Motivator_by_Saint Jimmy (deviantart)

Buddy Christ Motivator_by_Saint Jimmy (deviantart)

As a pre-teen, I wanted so badly to be confirmed, for a ritual to take place that marked me as a valid something. I dreamed of having a bat mitzvah or quinceañera, a rain dance rite of passage and to get to wear a hooded cape in the mists of Avalon. I just had a Thanksgiving plate of mythology and tradition that I wanted to eat up and digest.

religion
I didn’t understand the practices but I loved the community of my friends’ religions except the whole sin bit and certain rules that seemed to exclude people- that didn’t make much sense to me.

I was taught to find my own way by my parents and when I started asking tougher questions beyond my Barbie years… my father gave me Siddhartha and my English teacher recommended the The Way of The Tao to read.

The places in life that caused me to pause were little and easy. I don’t know if I really saw religion as anything else but good story telling and at that point I wouldn’t have been able to have a conversation about spirituality.

I did know , however, what caused me to feel like I had insight, the keys of the universe- they were the little moments I felt sublime. Perhaps what some would call grace.

Falcor?  Ewok?

Falcor? Ewok?

The right song on the radio that “randomly” sang exactly what I needed to hear, dogs sticking their heads out of car windows, sunrises that found the details out of the darkness.

It took me 20 years but I no longer shudder at the words God, Lord, Holy, Spirit like I once did. I resisted these words as I didn’t understand them and saw they often made people shift their weight or stand weirdly erect. What helped was no longer having God be synonymous with religion, dogma and righteous separation.

I had the opportunity a few years ago when I lived in Sedona to reexamine what I experienced as sacred, spiritual, or God-ish. People who were visiting often asked me what the deal was with a vortex. Stay with me here…
These places all over town that were supposed to provide spiritual insight and be psychedelic in some fashion, vortexes or correctly, vortices (but no one ever called them that, it wasn’t Southwesty enough I suppose). It was in trying to explain it to someone who had no vocabulary regarding consciousness, yoga, metaphysics, etc. that I, too, was able to understand my own definition of the nameless.

sedona beauty

Sitting atop Cathedral Rock at sunset

“When you stand in witness of a view so potent with beauty, you can’t help but shut the hell up. There lies peace and in the face of it, you know what some call divinity.”

That’s how I saw it, spelled it out and it still holds water with me today.

Unity with beauty- be it with a conversation that blows your mind with possibility, a spring flower on it’s first opening, the vulnerability of a hand on the small of your back that makes your heart flutter, the breath the Earth horizon seems to breathe as the burst of red sunsets cast their warmth at sunset, tears on a kind face, the depth in a newborn’s eyes, a sky so clear that it kisses you and grants you wishes.

This is what I call God.

Being human allows you to forget how perfectly round this experience is and it’s the momentary returning to something greater and all together simpler that requires nothing, just to behold and be held. Behold, be held in, of and by beauty or just give a dog a belly rub. Dog/God. Meh, same thing, just spelled backwards. Coincidence, methinks not.