Monday, June 30, 2008

Half Way

As I write these words, I am half way through my solitary retreat. I have not been in complete silence. I considered it. It is not what has been called for. Each day, I've had the opportunity to share a few brief words with someone passing or with the nuns here at Nada. Yesterday, I paused for a few minutes in the garden to pick arugula and shared a few inspiring moments with Father Eric. It doesn’t make sense to follow someone else’s rules in life. I have found, through this silence and inner direction, that each soul knows what is in its highest good.

Yesterday I went to Mass for the first time and to a communal breakfast after mass. I said I wouldn’t talk too much. Naaah.. Not my reality.

I met a friend who was at the recent ISSSEEM conference and we shared a few moments together. I ran into another beautiful soul who stopped by to bring me green smoothie from the ashram. And then, breakfast. The conversation turned to work, radio interviews and those who’ve inspired me. I was inclined, from within, to converse and to share. We were 6 at the table. It was a lovely breakfast and we each came away having been enriched. I am so grateful that I was able to share. There is great joy in giving and receiving.

I am now back in solitude and will be for 3 full days. Maybe another beautiful Buck will cross my path and I’ll rejoice out loud with an,” Oh my goodness,” or maybe I will offer to assist someone carrying food back to their hermitage. I am open to the possibilities as they unfold.

I will bear witness to each situation and be free to enter into exchange -- or not -- however the moment moves this being ... to be.

What I have learned in the past 24 hours:

Refrigerators can be very loud in the silence.

Letter writing is cathartic for the soul.

We can be asleep when awake – and awake when asleep.

Fresh picked chamomile smells like buttery honey.

Mothers’ bring magic to the family system.

Big powerful desert storms -- resolve with a rainbow.

Getting sand in your socks means you’ve walked a new path.

Listen to your heart before setting out on any new journey.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Going and Growing

This is it. I’m heading into the mountains and will not be out for a month. I will have no cell service and limited online access. I will be keeping an accounting of my observations. I will share those with you at the appropriate time.

I’d like to offer a summary of the four days I experienced at ISSSEEM, The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine.

I learned about a field called Energy Psychology. Learn more at ACEP. The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology. They are about 10 years old, in their pre-pubescent stage, seeking to integrate into the adult world of standards and measurements. Like any new organization, they have been met with resistance, judgment and limitations; some imposed from within and others from without.

This seems to reflect the process of emergence for us, as individuals, and for our world today as we birth a new consciousness. What I learned from this experience is what many of us are experiencing.

It is more important that we unify within before we attempt to define and present ourselves to others. This requires many visits to the internal caverns – many encounters with the fire in the belly -- and a deep inner resolve as the shedding of tightly bound skin, exposes the most vulnerable and raw aspects of the inner self.

I met with Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman from 70’s fame. She has found a beautiful inner balance and resides in a loving, open and inviting space. She warmly opened her heart to me as we sat on her hotel room bed and connected deeply for 3 hours. She offered me the oneness blessing which is also known as deeksha.

The entire session was videotaped and audio recorded and you will be privy to that in the future. Suffice to say, love brings up the opposite of itself and I met aspects of myself that were less than love. Having so much positive energy circling my auric field, the two mingled and I find myself today, embracing, in a deeper way than I have ever known, the whole of who I AM.

May this blog be an invitation for you to loose yourself into the beauty that abounds: Rest your attention upon nature for a moment in the next week and know our oneness --- our connection – first within ourselves and then --- with each other.

Love from my heart to yours! Liz

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What We Fear

About 10 days before leaving on retreat, I developed sensitivity in a lower right bicuspid. I watched it for a few days, but it got worse so I made an appointment to go to the dentist, just four days before leaving town.

I knew I was getting more stressed about leaving and I knew I had started grinding my teeth in my sleep, but the sensitivity was to heat and I was concerned about the health of the tooth.

I’ve always had dental issues. As a child, I once had a severe earache for days that progressively overtook my consciousness to the point where I was unable to function – the result of an infected tooth. So teeth – dentists and pain – don’t enliven me.

And one of my greatest fears is getting caught somewhere without a dentist. You can imagine – in my mind, I created the entire scenario – I am in Crestone – alone on retreat and I need a dentist – of which – in my imagination – there are none available. And this scenario ran through my mind a couple of hundred times during my last week of preparation.

My visit to the dentist proved fruitful. A quick analysis produced the diagnosis of Stressed to the max – grinding of teeth and a high bicuspid that had shifted my bite. A couple of grinds and viola´ – it was done!

Fast forward to yesterday – I am at the ISSSEEM conference and I run into a friend from Boca. He is sitting with a couple on the patio along Boulder Creek enjoying a light evening meal. “Oh” my friend says, “I just was talking about your trip t Crestone for retreat. I’d like to introduce you to John, he is from Crestone.” John and I exchange hellos – and just as he was preparing to leave he offered me his card. “Call on me when you are in Crestone for anything you need,” he says. “I live within minutes from where you will be.”

I glance at his card and note: John Short, DDS. I met, the only dentist who lives and works in Crestone. Law of Attraction…?

And speaking of fear…

Fear rises up. It is the flame of the fire.
A cool steady breath tames this fire.

Trust comes from the deepest source
that transcends time, thought and action.

Faith resides within one’s own being,
within you -- within me.

Digging is no longer a requirement to find the way.
Only the gentle loving moving away of the debris,
that covers truth.

Truth – is as solid as stone, unmoving, sharp-edged
and rounded at the same time.

Like the whispering pines,
it moves with the wind and yet,
is always rooted in the soil that is fertilized with
the suns warm rays, with the light of love.

It’s an ordered world.
Actions are expressions of truth,
that shows its maturation.

Dig deep into being observant,
into acute awareness and then,
Chuckle—because it is all a mysterious puzzle
that has ten thousand outcomes.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Larry Dossey broke his back two years ago when he was thrown from a horse. He and I had a riveting conversation yesterday.

Within 24 hours of the accident, all his friends offered the reasons why. They used Louise Hay - Intentions - Law of Attraction,Deepak Chopra and every other model conceivable to offer a clear, neat explanation of what he needed to learn.

"You know Liz," he drawled in his still present Texas accent -- mingled with a mature confidence, "Everyone wants to tie things up in neat packages so they can move on to the next conquest. Figuring out the cause of an illness, accident, or other unexpected event, gives an unnatural sense of power and control. "

"Randomness is still active in our universe. The truth is -- waiting , patience, allowing the experience to unfold will offer much more insight than a quick wrap up. Don't try to get it so fast -- let it show itself to you."

I was not surprised when Larry told me that his very good friend and neighbor is Roshi Joan Halifax, they both live in Santa Fe. I could hear the Zen influence. Roshi fell in her bathroom and broke her hip. She is in the hospital right now. Given that Larry is the author of Prayer is Good Medicine, maybe you can take a moment and send healing words to Roshi.

And speaking of sending things.-- Emma Wheeler Wilcox said, "Thought are things endowed with wings." Larry and I spoke about this at length. " Every thought registers. And everyone is influencing everyone else. He no longer allows himself to indulge excessively negative thoughts about our government -- or the war, rather, he realizes, there is a great unfolding."

May the highest good prevail is his new mantra. Watch those negative thoughts. They have as much power as the positive. And we are living as testimony to a collective unconscious. Everyone and everything -- in the non-local sense -- is influencing everything else.

Become aware... become accountable ... become responsible....NOW!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Right Action - Right Speech

Just before I left town, I went for a pedicure. My manicurist, a Buddhist, offered his advise for how to best use the 40 days in the desert.

Right Action -- Right Speech is one of the path factors of The Noble Eightfold Path in Buddhism.

" We have all done things we know are wrong," he offered while meticulously removing my purple nail polish. "Use this time to purify yourself. Begin anew. Let the heat of the desert bake off any residual aspects of your personality that do not reflect who you are today. "

This is a good thing, I thought. Yes, I will cleanse myself and become more conscious of my thoughts and actions. Right Action -- Right Speech. A worthy and noble goal for the retreat.

Here's how I learned my first retreat lesson:

The airlines are now very strict with baggage weight limits. I was allotted 50 pounds. I weighed my bag at home and it was 53 pounds so I took a few pair of shoes out of my suitcase and put them in my backpack.

After checking in, my suitcase just under 50 pounds, the porter walked away to get my boarding pass. I quickly took my shoes out of my backpack and stuffed them into the suitcase. What he doesn't know won't hurt him, I sung to myself as I was Pullling the Wool Over His Eyes. Yeah, Yeah Yeah...

Guess what, I got caught. And thank goodness I did. In my mind I juxtaposed the conversation I had with with my nail technician with my actions at the airport. This long term behavior has been with me since childhood.

Seeking to right wrongs, exact fairness in situations where I felt misunderstood and in general, allowing entitlement to direct my course of action, will no longer work for me.

The events in the airport were so glaring, it burned through maya. Although these beliefs have been an integral part of my life for four centuries, yesterday served as my very own tipping point.

A brief conversation with my friend Doug, as he picked me up from the airport, was sobering indeed. " I will no longer take a pen that doesn't belong to me," he said. "I know it is not mine." Trying to get away with something leaves you knowing, even if the other person doesn't know. This is who you must become accountable to, Liz. Yourself."

Now... I know, even if no one knows, I do. I give thanks for Lesson #1 --
Right Action - Right Speech.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Solstice

On the spring Exquinox, while traveling with a friend in Colorado, inspiration found its way into words that emanated from my mouth in the form of a short sentence. "Take a 40 day retreat," I heard, first in my head, and then in a statement that was overheard by my friend. Go to back to the desert, I queried, my head cocking to one side like a puppy who's heard an unfamiliar noise. How could this be?

Somewhat alarmed by my own reaction to hearing these words project from my vocal chords, my traveling companion Doug Fisichella, son of my late teacher Tony Fisichella, laughed. " Oh Liz, you are so dramatic. 40 days and 40 nights.... why don't you sit with it for a while and see what happens" And so I did.

Doug and I were leaving Crestone Colorado where I had just completed a three day whirlwind interview marathon with ten spiritual leaders from various walks of life including Shintoism, Hinduism, Native American traditions and an exceptional visit to a Carmelite Monastery. I was truly taken with the Carmelites. Susie and Connie at Nada Hermitage got under my skin with their beautiful , peaceful, centered honest hearts. I was moved by the sense of depth the nuns exuded. My soul knew what I needed to do. And after a few short weeks, where mountains were moved in my life to make this possibility a reality, I e-mailed Nada and requested a week-long stay from June 26 - July 2, 2008. The dates were available and clearly, I was on my way to the 40 day.

Goethe once said, "...the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

Needless to say, many events transpired that opened the avenues of possibility. My business of 12 years folded, an invitation to interview leaders in the field of Energy Medicine in Boulder was presented and all this came at a time when the words Summer Solstice was reverberating in my head.

So I am off to an adventure and onto the plane in just a few hours. The journey begins at the ISSSEEM Conference from Friday, June 20th -- Summer Solstice until Monday, June, 23.

Doug will travel with me to Crestone on Tuesday, about 4 hours from Denver, and I will be at the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram until the 26th when I enter into silent retreat for a week. This kid hasn't been silent for one full day since I was a fetus. Heck, I was probably yakking it up in the womb. So this will surely be a feat --- or better yet --- a feast!

I will return for three weeks to the ashram, after the silent retreat, culminating on the holy day of Guru Purnima, the day you honor your Guru. Not having any one guru, I have been advised to honor the guru within.

My good friend and numerologist, Michael Brill will collect me in Crestone on the 20th of July and we will travel to his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am planning to interview Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center during the few days I am visiting.

A rental car will bring me back to Denver and Doug, who by the way is a great musician, will bring me into the recording studio. Somethings coming --- certainly an audio book --- the title --- Summer Solstice.

I fly home on July 29th. It all seemed to happen, through Providence .