Nourishing Things: a simple practice for renewing yourself and your world

dreamstime_xs_11337147 bubbles on grass

When I was a child, everything spoke to me. I experienced my world with intense ecstasy, my body and senses absorbing the beauty of the natural world, its scents and sounds, tastes and textures, until they became part of me, streaming in my blood, singing in my bones. I blended with the jungles and mountains that surrounded our vacation home, and with the sea, crows, and sun-seared sky in the big city of Bombay, where I grew up.

Well into my teens, I was in ecstatic, loving relationship with everything around me. The natural world, yes — but also my bed and pencil-box, the statue of Saraswati in our living room, the chairs and couches I curled up in to read, the books I held in my hands, whose pages smelled of trees and ink, the clothes I wore to school.

When life got scary — when my family began to fall apart — the things around me offered comfort and consolation. They reminded me that I was safe, I was loved, I was blessed, and blessing.

Out of my heart-relationship with things, I developed a simple practice that remains part of my everyday life now, more than sixty years later.

Each time I encounter a thing or share a moment with it, I let it know how much I love and appreciate it. And, I feel its love and appreciation flowing back to me.

Each time I care for my body in any way — eat a meal, rub balm into my lips, take a shower, go for a walk — I extend my love and appreciation to whatever I am nourishing myself with. I bless the food, the lip balm, the shower water, the path beneath my feet.

Then, I ask it for its love and blessing. I ask the food to nourish and fill my body with joy and health, with sustenance & replenishment. I ask the shower to fill my body with love, with creative inspiration & delight. I ask the path to bless my body with grounding and support, with safety, beauty, provision.

I soften and let myself receive their love, take in their blessings, as fully as I can. I feel my deep, deep gratitude for them, for the love and tenderness they offer, for the beauty of their being. I feel my cells filling up with their blessings, with these qualities of soul so generously shared by everything in my world.

It only takes a moment, but when you do this with every activity, throughout your day, it changes you. It changes your body, your heart, and your relationship with the world.

Every breath becomes a reminder that you are in loving relationship with the very air you breathe. Every breath is an opportunity and a choice — to be in love, to take in love, to extend love. Each ordinary action of your day becomes a blessing, taking you deeper into relationship, deeper into incarnation.


You are cradled in infinite tenderness

You are cradled in infinite tenderness


Giving & receiving, offering & taking

Today’s gift for your birthday-week gift basket is an e-book: Stories Dance on the Rainbow Bridge.
To download the ebook, click here.

I trust the twelve (true) stories in this collection will serve you in some way.
Each of them first appeared on my blog.

Writing them brought me delight, clarity and comfort.

Dip into them to nourish those qualities you want to cultivate in your heart.

Stories are soul food.
Share them with your beloveds.
Share your own stories, too.

Love, Hiro

 

This week, I had a visit from a dear friend who is in pain because the relationships in her family are fraught with anger and fear.

Power plays and the bitter stench of blame have contracted her heart.

She has a vision of family as sanctuary and support, as a safe haven of love and acceptance.
For much of her life, she has struggled to reconcile this vision with the truth of her relationships with her parents and siblings.

When she arrived at my home this weekend, her neck was buried in her shoulders, her body anxiously alert for any sign of disapproval or rejection.

That stance colors her world bruise-blue.
When she’s feeling not-enough, everything sounds, feels and smells like criticism to her.

She cannot receive love and acceptance, even though she longs for them — even though they are freely given.
She cannot take in simple pleasures — delight in a meal, a friendship, a quiet moment reading in the sun.

Armored against the shame and blame she carries in her body, every offering feels like an assault.
She is afraid to be herself.

She is afraid to take what’s offered because she fears it will hurt her.
She is afraid to receive what’s given because it might destroy her peace.

This isn’t always my friend’s relationship with her world.
She’s a playful, funny, creative woman who delights in art and music.
She dances a wicked salsa; she enjoys a wide circle of friends.

But that fear of disapproval, that jagged chip buried in her heart, makes her both needy and unable to ask for or receive what she needs.
It shrivels her self-confidence.
The ground under her feet feels unreliable.

We’ve all been there.
In that place of shame, we lose our discernment–
the clarity with which we know what serves us and what doesn’t.

What to say Yes to — those offerings that truly nourish our hearts.
What to say No to — gifts that diminish us into a truncated version of ourselves.

It isn’t always easy to tell the difference.
Not when your own pain distorts or inflames your vision.

Truth doesn’t come bearing dessert and roses.
It is more muscular — more nourishing.

We are interdependent beings.
Communion — deep truth, deep love, deep connection — is our sacrament.

Giving and receiving are the threads in which the pattern of our relationships is woven–
the silk of offering, the gold of taking.

To know how to choose, and what, and when
to give, to receive — freely and fully
to offer without demand, to take without shame or obligation–

this is the wholeness we seek.
This is the wholeness we are.

The Birthday Week Giveaway # 1: Finger Painting – A Handful of Poems

To celebrate my birthday, I am offering a series of gifts on my blog this week.

Each one has been created with love, to remind you that you are a miracle.
That your business is a miracle too.
That you and the world belong together.
That you are a joyful blessing, and so very blessed.

Todays gift is a mini-ebook of five of my poems, titled Finger Painting: A Handful of Poems.

Click this link to download.

Save it to your computer, download it onto your e-reader, print a copy.

Share it freely with the people you love.

Love to you, and happy, happy birthday to all your creations!

Hiro

Notes from a velvet womb: In praise of rest

A little less than a month ago, I moved to my new home, which is lovely, and perfect for what I want to do in my life and my business right now.

The move happened easily–I had lots of help. Professional packers and movers did the heavy lifting.

And everywhere I look, I am surrounded by the love and labor of my son and my friends, who helped me unpack; who moved things around until they found their rightful place here.

It wasn’t until the last cushion rested gently in the crook of the last armchair that my body decided enough was enough. It let me know very clearly that there was no more labor to be had, no more juice to be squeezed from it.

For me, this translates as a deep fatigue-of body, mind and heart. I can’t think. Or write. Or do anything except stop. Enter into the womb of holy rest.

So I did what I always do, when I arrive at the borderlands of Depletion.

Through the magic of synchronicity, I had just two things I absolutely had to do this week.

So I booked the week off. Canceled all plans. Checked to make sure there was plenty of good, nourishing food in the house.

Then, I turned off the ringer on the phone. Turned up the heat in the fireplace. Snuggled into my favorite, silky blanket on the couch in the family room.

And watched movies. And ate. And napped.

I went to bed at eight each night, and read for a while before falling asleep. I woke early, as always, and stayed in bed until I was truly ready to be up.

The first couple of days, I felt emptied out-a shell whose occupant had moved away, leaving its fragile husk to the vagaries of sun and wind.

The first couple of days, I went for my usual morning walk. But my heart didn’t stutter with joy when the sun splashed its radiance on yellow forsythia, on creamy magnolia blossoms quivering in the wind.

So for the next couple of days, I surrendered entirely to my need to live in Flatland, to be horizontal rather than vertical.

Sleep. Eat. Read a little. Watch movies. Nap. Early to bed.

Slowly, the Devas returned. Or, I returned to the Wholeness which they never leave.

The Deva of Love, the Deva of Compassion.

Of Rest. Safety. Home. Belonging.

Surrender. Innocence. Faith.

Forgiveness.

Slowly, the empty shell of my body began filling with their presence, and with mine.

I’m not there yet.

Yesterday, I ventured out for a walk in my neighborhood. And my heart lifted in delight as the air around me shimmered with birdsong, crackled with the screeching of gulls.

The sweet breath of Spring on my cheek. The flush of early morning sunshine on my neck. O, this beautiful , beautiful world!

I had lunch with an old friend at my favorite restaurant downtown. And suddenly, I was exhausted again–a tired child who wanted nothing more than to lay my head down on my pillow and sleep.

So I’m still on mini-sabbatical. For as long as it takes. Or, until I teach my next class on Monday.

When I surrender to the sweetness of rest, it fills me. It nourishes my heart, restores my spirit, soothes my body, relaxes my mind. It restores me to myself.

This spaciousness, which meets me with such love, which requires nothing of me other than my own well-being, is deeply healing.

And the Deva of my business assures me that all is well-that my business is sturdy enough to do without me for a while. That my wonderful Alexandra has things in hand. That the systems and structures I’ve created cradle and hold my business while I sink into sacred rest.

One thing I know for sure: When I surrender to the flow, it carries me when I need to be carried. It carries my business too.

Eventually, this shell will fill up with all that I need. My body will be my sacred home again.

The time to act will come on the current of Divine Flow.

Until then, it’s time to be.

How about you? What do you need most, right now? How do you meet your own need?

Closing the Circle

My 95-year-old aunt died last night, peacefully, in my sister’s home, where she had lived these past few years. She was my mother’s older sister, and the last remaining member of her generation of our family.

She was also the mother that my own mother wasn’t able to be, for my sisters and me.

She was my first model of a truly sovereign woman. She took exquisite care of herself, and of the many people in her life whom she loved.

By any measure, she had a wonderfully successful career. One that didn’t make her rich, but that provided her with a life both independent and comfortable. And that offered daily opportunities to help people grow, learn and become themselves.

She never married, but she mothered thousands of children and young people in the boarding school she founded in the wilds of Western India when she was 21 years old and fresh out of university with a brand-new MEd degree.

She grew up in pre-Independence India, a woman–in many ways–visionary and at least a generation ahead of her time. She was cultured, a historian and lover of literature who read widely, and then traveled widely in her later years.

In a photo of her, taken when she was just 20 years old, she is beautiful–her warrior spirit evident in the fearless way she faced the camera, head-on, unsmiling, her brown eyes determined and bright with dreams.

We called her the Little General. She was less than five feet tall, and fierce, and funny, and very, very intelligent.

She loved gardening, beauty, and nature. She listened to music at deafening volumes, shattering the early morning silence with devotional music loud enough to wake the entire mountain village where she lived and worked.

Full of curiosity about the world around her, she was of the generation who believed in doing the right thing without making a fuss about it. She cared for her parents until they died, then for both of her sisters as well. And for various nephews and nieces, kids whose parents were in trouble, or who were trouble for their parents.

She did all this without a whiff of martyrdom or resentment.

She was demanding, impatient, imperious, and dictatorial. And she kept a stash of candy and goodies for the littlest ones-the kindergarten kids-who would flock into her room after school each afternoon for a snack, a hug and a visit. They adored her. So did my sisters and I.

She left the world more radiant for her passage through it.

I will miss her.

Her gifts to me were many–chief among them, the model of a life well-lived. A life in which caring for others was a natural extension of caring for herself.

Her giving flowed from a full, creative heart and an unwavering sense of inner freedom.

I wish this for all of us.

Who or what calls your name?

Continuing our week’s series of questions about Sovereignty, here’s one from Stephanie:

I am not someone who has a career (I’m a full time mom and wife). It’s always been my dream to have a creative way of helping support my family…. something that’s in spiritual alignment with myself and the greater good of the earth and humanity.

From the time I was a child I’ve wanted to know my calling, so I could know which direction to proceed. I know I have a gift to share with the world in there somewhere. Do you think you could help me find it? I just don’t even know where to begin….

Stephanie, your calling arises from the whole of yourself…from your gifts and talents, your love, your sense of rightness, from that which brings you joy.

Start with a spirit of exploration and curiosity, and look at your life as it is right now. What brings you into that feeling of rightness, of flow and love and joy? When do you feel most fully alive? What challenges you? What returns you to yourself?

You may want to make a list of the things you loved to do when you were a child, and build on that. Often, in childhood, we’re in closer touch with our inner beings, our genius. As grownups, we may find ourselves drifting away from center and then it’s more difficult to know whether what you do arises from love or responsibility or something else altogether.

Next, consider how your gifts and talents, your love and joy, intersect with the needs of the world. What do people need, that links you to them, and that lets you serve in a joyful, heart-full way? What can you offer, that you love to do, that would meet the needs in your world?

These are places to begin to explore what calls to you.

Consider, too, what matters most to you right now, what fits into the flow of your life. If you’ve always wanted to sing opera, and you have young children at home, you may not want to choose a career as an opera singer just yet. But you may choose to pursue that passion in other ways, until the timing is right for a fuller engagement with it.

Set a clear intention, and ask for what you want. Ask the Universe, or the Sacred, or whatever you call that spirit that holds all creation in wholeness, for insight and guidance about your calling. Then pay attention to whatever crosses your path, and consider all of it to be a response to your prayer.

Find ways to step into the flow of your creative genius each day. Through writing, art, dance, song, cooking, gardening, washing the dishes–whatever brings you to a state of presence, love, joy and grace.

Your calling lives in the same realm as these qualities, so invoking and cultivating them will take you to the heart of what you’re here to do.

 

If you’d like to learn more about sovereignty–what it is, and how to practice it–please join us for Sovereignty Kindergarten. Starting July 14th, we’ll spend six weeks together learning skills to help you discover your inner sovereignty and apply it in your daily life. Early bird discount of $100 until July 7th.

Who’s wearing your crown?

Continuing our series of questions about Sovereignty, here’s one from Amna Ahmad, of The Pragmatic Hybrid:

What do you suggest when someone is not at all sure of her grounds to assert her sovereignty? Like when the opposing forces are trying to trump her ace with the threat of hellfire and damnation? Maybe she mostly doesn’t believe in these things, but a tiny little bit of her thinks they might be possible, and so she is cowed?

Amna, to develop sovereignty you have to begin by knowing yourself. This means sorting through and clearing out the assumptions and beliefs you’ve inherited from your culture, your family, your religion, schools, media, society. And also sorting through and uncovering your own biases and unexamined points of view.

These assumptions and beliefs are forms of energy.

Once you’ve cleared them, you’re left with your own inner truth, which is the bedrock on which you can build a sustainable life.

Threats of hellfire and damnation are forms of energy intended to frighten you into obeying someone else’s rules, or buying into someone else’s version of reality. Fundamentalism is always prescriptive. It claims to know The Truth, and attempts to define reality for you. It does not honor your soul’s knowing or respect your sovereign right to choose your own path.

If you grew up in an environment that implanted such belief systems in you, the energy of those beliefs is still inside you. It’s not enough to know, intellectually, that they aren’t true. You have to actually remove that energetic implant, and replace it with your soul’s presence. With what your soul knows to be true.

There are a variety of ways to do this. When I’m working individually with clients, I look clairvoyantly at the beliefs and patterns that are embedded in their energy bodies, and use clairvoyant healing techniques to remove them. Then I help them fill up the spaces we’ve cleared out, with their own soul, and with the qualities that their soul brings.

 

If you’d like to learn more about sovereignty–what it is, and how to practice it–please join us for Sovereignty Kindergarten. Starting July 14th, we’ll spend six weeks together learning skills to help you discover your inner sovereignty and apply it in your daily life. Early bird discount of $100 until July 7th.

Fee-ee-lings

May has been a month of slippery emotions. For me, and for so many of my clients. Like spring weather: sunny one moment, then sudden thundershowers. Or hail. Sleet. Wind. More sunshine!

Confusing? Sometimes.

Yet learning to dress for emotional weather is an essential skill, both for understanding our selves and for being in right relationship with the world around us.

So why does it sometimes feel like you’re slogging through a rain forest without an umbrella? Why do we spend so much time obsessing about feelings, resisting them, or drowning in them?

Feelings are the language of your body. This is how your body tells you about how it experiences situations in your life, how it responds to the places and people you encounter, the choices you make. Feelings keep you connected with your body, when you listen to them, when you let yourself experience them fully.

All feelings are energy. Energy is vibration–in its natural state, it moves freely. When feelings are stifled or suppressed, or when you cling to them or make up stories in your head about them, you run into problems. (Emotions are feelings with a thought or thoughts attached.)

So let’s explore the world of feelings today.

Which feelings do you allow yourself to feel fully? (Start with the basic four: sad, mad, glad, and scared.)

Which feelings make you cringe? Which ones do you judge or push away?

Which feelings do you cling to? Which ones do you make up stories about?

Playing the Feelings Game

Ground and center yourself. Identify a feeling you’re feeling right now. You may experience it as a sensation, or as a feeling.

Close your eyes, and explore the cavity of your body, as though you were looking down inside it. Take your awareness inside your chest and belly, your back and buttocks, your hips and legs and feet.

Notice where this feeling is located, in your body. What is its texture? Its flavor or color, its density, its shape? Does it feel prickly or cold? Small, hard, lukewarm? Like a jelly bean? Is it sour or dry, juicy or squishy?

Notice the qualities of this feeling, meeting it with curiosity and openness, exploring it as though it were a life-form from another planet. Set aside, for now, your beliefs or stories about it and simply discover it as if for the first time.

All energy–including feeling energy–consists of vibrating particles. And the spaces between those particles are almost entirely empty. Even an atom is an energy eco-system of protons, neutrons and electrons held together by an electromagnetic force within mostly empty space.

Bring your awareness–your soul’s vibration–into the empty spaces inside the feeling in your body. Expand your consciousness into it.

Notice if any part of this feeling isn’t yours. The part that isn’t yours may feel dramatic or hysterical, over-the-top. Or you may experience it as a dullness or numbness–an inability to access your own feeling-vibration.

It may be someone else’s feeling that you’ve absorbed, or a larger energy field of feeling that’s floating around in the world.

Your body and your energy field are your personal space. No-one else belongs here, except by invitation.

Ask the feeling-energy that is not yours to leave right now. Move it all the way out beyond the boundary of your energy field, and release it there. You can also release it down your grounding and into the earth, asking the earth to take care of it.

Then tune in, once again, to the feeling itself. Invite it to move in any way that it wants to. Simply keep your awareness in the empty spaces inside the feeling-energy, and follow the trajectory of its movement with your attention and awareness.

Notice if the feeling wants to move upward or downward or sideways. Diagonally, or in a parabolic arc or in a spiral. Notice if it moves quickly through some areas of your body, if it slows down in other areas.

When the movement feels complete, check to see if there’s any more of that feeling-energy left in any other part of your body. Repeat the process described here.

If the energy gets stuck somewhere, and doesn’t move, breathe into the place where it’s stuck. Bring your consciousness into the empty spaces inside it.

Ask if the energy in this feeling is yours. If there’s any part of it that isn’t yours, move it outside the boundary of your energy field.

If the energy still remains immobile or stuck, talk with it. Ask it to tell you or to show you what it needs in order to flow naturally, to move in whatever way it wants to. Let the flow of the feeling itself dissolve any blocks to its free passage.

Feelings: The Musical

Feelings are like musical notes: each one has a unique tone and frequency to it. You can make more complex, interesting music when you use all of the notes in the musical scale. (Unless you’re Phillip Glass or John Cage, in which case, call me and we’ll talk!)

You’ll have a richer, more creative inner life when you allow yourself to feel the whole range of your feelings fully and freely.

Since feelings are energy, they are fluid; they change. Once you let them flow, and feel them fully–without hanging onto them or chasing them away or running from them–they change to some other form of energy.

So let’s play with the energy of feelings.

We

Slay the Ice-Cream Dragon: Healing Internet Hangover

Healing: the process of restoring to wholeness.

Healing Internet Hangover? Slaying the ice-cream dragon? Wha…?

Maybe you’re one of those folks who aren’t susceptible to ice-cream. Or dragons. Or the internet. If so, please click away. You don’t need to read the rest of this post.

For the rest of us, being on the internet can become an ice-cream slide down a slithery slope. Sweetly deadly, in a hundred flavors. Chocolate and chili; persimmon and praline.

It starts out innocently enough. Check email, Twitter, Google stats on your website. Read and comment on your favorite blogs.

Ignore the bitter breath of the ice-cream beast so deliciously cold on the back of your neck.

Or it starts out virtuously: Research for that article, for that blog post, for that presentation that’s due tomorrow. Not ice-cream! Spinach!

Next thing you know, the morning’s been swallowed whole. It’s lunch time. You’ve forgotten to eat. Or pee. Except for that giant bowl of ice-cream. You feel sick.

Your body is wa-a-ay down the-e-re somewhere; your head is swimming in clouds of sugar.

You’ve forgotten what you came here for. Or why you’ve been clicking links for the past hour. You’re a zombie looking for your ice-cream fix.

Your shoulders are hunched, your eyes squinty and glazed. You feel stunned stupid.

And…there goes the rest of the day.

You WANT to write that article, work on your book, create that genius product that’ll change your world.

But the folds of your brain have melted into a chocolate puddle. Any creative ideas you once had have long since slithered away.

You feel guilty, ashamed, weak of will. You swear to do better next time.

You promise yourself: No more ice-cream! At least, not until after dinner. Work first, then a visit to Ice-Cream InternetLand.

You vow to ice-cream in moderation: Just one cone, ten minutes, no more. You set a timer.

Your inner ice-cream freak rebels. Want. Ice-cream. Now!

You get in a fight with yourself. And emerge bowed, bloody, covered in creamy chocolate-chocolate-chip.

Is there another way? (I’ll whisper the answer to this in your ear…come closer…yes!)

Healing Internet Hangover: The Class.

May 12th, 19th, and June 2nd.

Early bird price of $48 ends Saturday.

Slay the ice-cream dragon! Discover your inner sugar-free superhero! Do join us. :-)

You’ll find details and registration here.

I’d love to hear your stories about those Internet Ice-Cream Hangovers. What gets you started down the ice-cream slope? How do you make your way back? What’s the worst ice-cream hangover you’ve ever had?

  • You are a sovereign being,
    a fractal of the Sacred,
    a fractal of Wholeness.
  • The flow of your life.
    The soul of your business.
  • Grow your business.
    Grow yourself.
  • Expand your life. Evolve your business.
  • The art of alignment. The miracle of action.
  • Trust in the power of your perfect unfolding.
  • Permission to grow, to flow, to know.
  • You learn about freedom by experiencing what it feels like to be bound.
  • Beyond your beliefs, beyond your drama — the truth of your life.
  • Success is becoming the person who can ask for hugs and holding when your own strength has deserted you.
  • Embrace the mystery at the heart of creation.
  • Your soul sends out tendrils of light and fragrance into the world.
  • You are the gift — and the giver.
    You are the Love, and the lover.
  • At the heart of all things — even limiting beliefs and painful programming — is wholeness.
  • Surrender is an act of will. It is aligning your will with the will of the Sacred.
  • You learn about sovereignty through the experience of being dethroned.
  • Love transforms.
  • Your soul's purpose is to participate in wholeness, to express wholeness.
  • True Desire is a messenger of your soul.
    It leads directly to your soul’s purposes.
  • Unfold the miracle of your life and business.
  • Business = Love in action.
  • Everything you need is already within you, waiting to unfold and express itself.
  • Your inner world shapes your outer world.
    Success is an inside job.
  • You are the story, and the story-maker.
    Your life is yours to shape.