Right On Time

October 2nd, 2009

 

Flickr Photo
Flickr Photo

 

I’m 47 years young.  There.  I’ve just broken a really huge taboo and told everyone, everywhere my age.  So what?

 

Though it took me almost half a century, today I learned a really great lesson from a 24-year-old wise man.  Let’s call him Joe.  Joe led my meditation class and got me breathing, moving, twirling and vibrating energy very early on a Sunday morning.  (My Sunday mornings typically begin by sleeping in and then drinking coffee in bed while watching whatever sport is on the tube.)

 

Thanks to the wisdom of Joe and the generosity he showed us by sharing his gift, my Sunday has got off to an amazing start.  I thanked him after class, listened to more of his wise observations on meditation and reconnecting with spirit and told him that I wished I had been so wise at such a young age.

 

In his wisdom, Joe responded, “You’re right on time.” 

 

I instantly got it!  It all circles back to staying present and knowing that only by being in the present moment can you connect with Spirit.  Wishing you had done things differently in the past or worrying about getting it or getting there in the future is futile.

 

Apparently, I’m in the right place and time in my journey to make my connection with Spirit.  So are you.  Don’t worry that it’s too late or you’ve missed your chance.  Forget about your age, your background, your station in life.  Just be still and listen for the boarding instructions.  You are right on time to make that connection, and I know it’s going to be an amazing journey.

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

Friday Night Parenting

September 26th, 2009

 Friday Night Football

 

Friday night at the high school football game.  Lights are shining.  Score board lit up.  Mascots dancing.  Players running, tackling, throwing, kicking.  Coaches pacing the sidelines.  Cheerleaders cheering (mine is the pretty one with the pom-poms and the pony tail). 

 

Does this bring back any fond memories for those of you who are already celebrating high school reunions?  Now that my daughter is in high school, I find myself spending more Friday nights in the bleachers than I ever did when I was her age.  It’s fun.  It’s exciting.  It’s embarrassing!

 

Why the embarrassment?  Well, as teenagers, we’re given a bit of leeway to act less than mature.  But as adults, we’re supposed to be able to model the kind of behavior that we want our teens to grow into.  Not so at Friday night football, sad to say.

 

As Hillary Clinton’s book It Takes a Village reminded us, it is not just the responsibility of one adult to raise one child.  We are all responsible for the young people that we share the globe with.  We are role models every day, every minute of our lives.  And as such, we are not given carte blanche to get drunk and act like obnoxious fools just because we’re in the football stands (or in the hockey bleachers, or at little league…).

 

 bleacher kids

 

We all need to remember that the young people of today are looking to each and every one of us adults for cues on how to be cool adults.  (Not drunken fool cool, but rather I-want-to-be-like-him/her-when-I-grow-up cool.)  It may not be your flesh and blood child watching smirk-faced (LOL) and  open-mouthed (OMG) as you are escorted out of the stands by campus security, but it’s you’re community child, you’re village child, your global child.   And that child is always watching and learning. 

 

So be careful what you’re modeling from the Friday night bleachers.  The kids sitting near you may not be in class, but be assured that they are taking mental notes.

 

Life is good.  Life is precious.  Namaste.  –Lori

Spiritual Child’s Play

September 15th, 2009

 

“Stay present: every second, every minute, and every hour. Every day of your life is full of present moments of infinite value. You won’t find God yesterday or tomorrow–your Source is always only here, now.”

 

Wayne Dyer, Excuses Begone!

 

 

photo courtesy of Lynn Nagel
photo courtesy of Lynn Nagel

 

 

In his new book, Wayne Dyer talks about the value of staying present in the now as a tool for ridding ourselves of excuses that we may use for not leading our most fulfilling lives.  Staying present in the now, without judging it in any way, will assist us in not slipping into old excuse patterns of blaming the past, our past, someone else’s past, possible future failures or any other not-now-time event or person for who we are in the present moment.

 

Unfortunately, as we get older, getting into the now and staying constantly present is a huge challenge.  Turning off the constant distractions in our own head seems to require a special remote control that we’ve certainly misplaced (along with the TV remote, right?).  You know what distractions I’m talking about.  The constant judgements you place on yourself and others.  The little (and sometimes lengthy) conversations you have in your own head while standing in front of another person pretending to listen to them.  The all-day mental, physical and emotional multi-tasking we do without even noticing that we’re not fully attending to one darned thing.

 

When we do land in the present moment, it’s almost as if by accident.  And we often wonder how we got there and what’s the quickest route back to “reality” or the place we were before we were so rudely kidnapped by our awakened nowness.

 

Is it all doom and gloom for our scattered souls?  No way.  There’s most definitely hope for the everywhere-but-here-and-now human race.  I’ve seen it.  And it was packaged as a young child.  Made me realize that hitting the “distractions off” button on that elusive remote was not difficult in the least.  In fact, it was pure child’s play.

 

flickr photo
flickr photo

 

Think about it.  When you see a child at play–whether the child is entranced in the world of Barbies or constructing whole cities in the sandbox–are they fully alert to every little disturbance in the outside world?  (If they were, there’d never be a need to call them twice for dinner.)  They truly seem to be totally immersed in the present, fully absorbed in the moment, then the next moment, then the next.  You get the drift, right? 

 

As I was reading about this in Wayne Dyer’s Excuses Begone! book, I suddenly understood and instantly forgave the “thoughtless” (parental label, not mine) young Lori who often, as good girls do, instinctively agreed to parental requests and ten seconds later completely forgot them.  I can remember apologizing so much as a child because my mom had asked me to do something.  Wanting to please her, I said I would (and was sincere in my intention to do it “soon”).   I’d promptly go back to whatever I had been doing before she asked.  Ten minutes later, when asked why I hadn’t done what I promised to do, I would lamely offer, “I’m sorry.  I forgot.”  My poor frustrated mother couldn’t understand how I could have forgotten something I just promised to do a few minutes earlier.  Honestly, I was baffled at myself and lived with a fair share of guilt.

 

I now realize that in my child’s play, I was able to turn off the outside world of distractions (including parents), be in the present moment, partly remove myself from that moment in order to answer mom’s request, and then slip right back into the now.  The now of my imagination or playtime was where life was really happening.  Not the anticipation or anxiety of future tasks that were requested of me.  They weren’t in the now and could not distract me for long.  (Sorry mom, dad, teacher, babysitter, or anyone else I “forgot” to fulfill promises to.)

 

girl playing in sandbox

 

Total immersion in the present is something that children do so easily.  As easy as breathing or playing.  With a little effort, it’s also something we can do now to get into the now and stay in the now, moment by moment by moment.  Finding a quiet space inside yourself by focusing on your breathing (a wonderful moment by moment activity that I do during yoga practice) is one way to learn to be more present.  Meditating and allowing outter and inner distractions to flow through the now (without judging them) is another.  Repeating affirmations about staying fully present will also lead you to become that person that’s right here, right now, and still now, and still now….and one with the Universe.

 

Here’s a challenge for you:  Try staying present for part of your day, with the person you’re with, with just one thought, with what you are seeing, hearing or smelling right now.  If this is a bit overwhelming, just stay present with your breath for an extended period of time and see if you feel any different.  And one more thing.  If your mom asks you to do something, be fully present when you answer her or make her a promise.   I guarantee that she’ll be listening to your response with undivided attention.

 

Life is really good!  Namaste.  –Lori

Happy 9/11

September 11th, 2009

moment of remembrance

 

Wishing you all the happiness today, September 11th, 2009, that you deserve simply because you are you.  A child of God, a part of your Source, a piece of the Universe, a wonderful living, breathing being.

 

No, I’m not crazy.  Nor do I mean to be disrespectful, insensitive or thoughtless.  I am perfectly mindful of the events of September 11th, 2001 that affected so many lives in a tragic way.  However, I choose not to live in pain today.  Today, I choose to be mindful of all of the people and things in my life that show up as blessings.  I choose to connect with the peaceful Universe and be one with the spirit of love that embraces us all, no matter what nationality, religion, ethnicity or culture we associate with.

 

On this day, many people around the world actually take time out of their daily routines to remember, grieve, pray and pay tribute.  I invite you to join me today to offer gratitude for the gifts that have shown up in your life.  But today, our gratitude list will be humongous.  Today, let’s craft a list entitled “911 Things To Be Grateful For”.  Give it a shot.  I did and it wasn’t that hard. 

 

Start by listing all of the people that have passed in and out of your life and made you the person you are today.  Were they old classmates, former best friends, ex-boyfriends, current relatives, co-workers, neighbors, teammates?  Then add to the list all of the material comforts you have that make life easier for you (past and present stuff).  What about jobs you’ve held, clubs you’ve been in, books you’ve read, speakers you’ve heard in person or on TV?  Don’t forget nature, the plants and animals that add joy to your life.  The sunsets you’ve seen, the rain that’s watered your garden, the cat that sleeps at the end of your bed and keeps you from being lonely at night.

 

No doubt, you’ve got more than 911 things to put on your list, but let’s just keep it at that for today.  After all, this is a day of remembrance.  So give a moment of silence to remember sad, past 9/11 events.  Then look at your list and vow to remember the 911 reasons you have to be grateful for today.

 

Life is good!  Namaste. –Lori

Do The Thing Anyway

September 7th, 2009

holding hand of god

 

“When you have fear and do the thing anyway, you are holding on to the hand of God.”
(Edwene Gaines, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity)

 

 

Wouldn’t it be freeing to be completely fearless?  Never feel the fear of trying new things, taking on new challenges.  I think I’d settle for just feeling less fear.  I’m okay with feeling just enough fear to know that I’m attempting something important, but not enough to scare the you-know-what out of me.

 

In all reality, I think there are very few of us who feel no fear.  But I’m sure there are plenty of us who feel the fear and do it anyway, to paraphrase Edwene Gaines.  And what gets us to hold our breath, close our eyes, take the leap and hope for the best?  Faith.  Simple and pure.

 

on the edge

 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a faithful follower of any particular religion, I know that you have practiced holding the hand of some being greater than yourself.  Life requires it, lest we be held hostage under the covers of our bed 24/7.  Afterall, the news and the naysayers are always more than ready to remind us of the worst case scenario for any decision we are embarking upon.  What if this, that or the other calamity happens as a result of us taking the leap?

 

Do we know that when we buy our first car, it won’t be stolen or damaged?  Do we know for sure that it’s the perfectly right time to have a child and all the parenting skills we need will rise to the surface the minute we need them?  Do we know that the plane we are boarding will not crash in the ocean, the spouse we are marrying will not leave us, the new job we take will not disappoint us, and on and on and on.  Enough already!

  

It’s all too easy to let the fear stop us from playing big.  But you know that you can’t win

big if you don’t play big.  No Olympic athlete ever won the high dive competition by staying on the ground.  So how does one get to the edge of the 30-foot platform, on tippy toes (sometimes even the handstand thing…scares me just to watch them) and push off?  You got it…holding the hand of God or Spirit or Buddha or….you know what I mean…faith.

 

 fearless jump

 

There will never be a guarantee that feeling the fear and taking the leap anyway will result in the best case scenario, but for me staying stagnant and letting the fear keep me from living is my worst case scenario.  And just by working through the fear once, we have a basis for hoping for the best next time around.

 

Believe me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had let all of my fears keep me from living.  I wouldn’t speak Spanish if I hadn’t taken the leap and moved to South America for two years.  I wouldn’t have my lovely teenage daughter if I had waited for just the right time to have a baby.  I wouldn’t  have my funny, loving husband if I had let my previous divorce define me as a failure at marriage.  I wouldn’t work in my current career if I had been too afraid to go back to school at age 30.  I wouldn’t enjoy my home if I had been too afraid to invest in the real estate market.  (I did invest in the dot.com stock market in 2001 and lost it all…I survived).

 

 leap of faith

 

My point is that for every risk that doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped, you can probably find evidence of many that did.  Focus on those as your source of faith-building.  For every “what if it doesn’t work out?”, there’s a “what if it does?”  If given the choice of two possible outcomes, positive or negative, why not choose to focus on the positive possibilities?

 

I invite you make a list of risks you’ve taken in the past that required you working through some fear.  Did you survive them?  Did you learn something from them?  Have they made you who you are today?  Keep this list handy and refer to it the next time you are afraid to do something your heart is calling you to do.  You don’t have to be fearless to fear less. 

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

All-day Meditation

August 27th, 2009

deep meditation

 

I know you’re wondering if that title is correct?  Didn’t she mean “daily meditation”? 

Nope.  I meant to type “all-day meditation” because I’ve just discovered how to do it…and

like most good things, quite accidentally.

 

Honestly speaking, I don’t practice meditation every day.  I want to, intend to, try

to…and then I just do my best which averages about 4 times a week.  Not bad, but I feel so

darned good when I actually take 20 measly minutes out of my day (early morning is best for

me) to quiet the mind and soul and open myself up to unknown consciousness possibilities

that await.  Even if I don’t have a “deep” experience, I always feel better when I meditate,

even if just for part of the day.

 

Today, however, I just expanded my definition and practice of meditation.  You see, I had

done the crossed-leg, deep-breathing, quiet meditation thing in my home this morning before work, but then as I progressed through my day, I found that the peace of mind I had started with continued throughout my very regular day.

 

Morning — Daughter yelling: “Mom, we need to leave RIGHT NOW!”  Me: Ommmmmm……”Okay, let me get my shoes on.”

 

Lunchtime — Plan: Go to sandwich shop and eat in nice air conditioning while preparing

afternoon class.  Actuality:  All tables occupied in sandwich shop, line to order

sandwiches practically out the door.  Me: Ommmmmm…….wait patiently in line, start

reading materials for afternoon class, order sandwich, leave, drive to somewhere else to

enjoy sandwich.

 

Afternoon –  Yoga instructor Mic set the intention for us to lengthen those hamstrings (you

know, those muscles you feel when you stretch your legs out and try to bend over and touch

your toes without bending your knees…ouch).  So as I stretched those ever-tight hammies, Ommmmmm…… just kept my focus on my breath and keeping my eyes relaxed.   Before I knew it, I was touching those toes and actually enjoyed doing it!

 

Now I didn’t actually say “Om” outloud at any point in the day.  I don’t think I even said

it to myself.  But I can honestly attest that I felt for a brief few seconds or minutes, I

ommm

Flickr Photo

experienced the quiet solitude of deep meditation while moving through my day.  The best way

I can explain it is two-fold:  First, in a situation that would normally trigger my anxiety,

I was quickly able to flip a switch to peaceful acceptance.  Second, I also had that magical

feeling of time moving at its own pace, not mine.  I don’t know how long that sandwich line

took or how long I held that yoga stretch, but it felt like a millisecond.

 

If you’re reading this, I don’t think that I have to convince you that meditation is good stuff.  I invite you all to try it every day or all day.  Whatever works best for you.  Either sit quietly and set your intention for relaxation and renewal in a traditional way or stop for a few seconds on your evening walk and smell the night air, internalize it, let time pass of its own accord without you worrying that you need to be doing something.  Find snippets of time each day, all day to breathe in and Om your way through a regular day and into oneness with the Universe.

 

Life is good!  Namaste. –Lori

Practicing Courage

August 20th, 2009

hawkcourage

 

When was the last time you actively practiced courage?  Personally, I’m afraid that I can’t remember.   I mean, I try to be brave if the occasion requires it, but I actually don’t look to put myself into situations that will actively call for this.  Seriously, at my age, navigating the subway in Manhattan felt brave.

 

Well, I have just spent the week with my newly arrived international college students.  You see, by day I’m an English language teacher (by night, cool blogger).  This semester I have 17 students from 11 different countries.  I know what you’re thinking: “How awesome is that job.”  I agree.

 

At the beginning of each semester, I always enjoy the fresh blood and cultural diversity and am one of the lucky ones that looks forward to the start of school.  But I have to say that this week, I not only felt lucky, but inspired.

 

courage.chineseAfterall, when was the last time that any of us decided to leave our homeland, travel half-way around the world to an unfamiliar country and begin a college program in a language that we either didn’t know at all or could just get by in?  That’s what these amazing young people are all doing.  They’ve set these incredible linguistic and academic goals for themselves, left behind their familiar lives, paid their tuition and got on that plane. And no one told them they had to.  They just decided that they would take on this courageous adventure and see if they could mold a better future for themselves via this path.

 

Again, I ask you, I ask myself, when is the last time we/I not only stepped out of our comfort zone in any significant way, but flew out of it and landed in what probably seems like the twilight zone?  Okay, maybe such a life change is not for everyone, but I’m sure that there are challenges that call to each of us to step out of our comfort zones and act courageously.

 

I salute these students and find inspiration in their courage to actively seek their unknown future, to take on a new culture, new country, new language, new life path.   Practicing courage…what a great idea.   Again, a case of the students teaching the teacher.

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

Keeping An Open Mind

August 15th, 2009

central park merry go round

 

I can’t really think of an instance when keeping an open mind about something turned out to

be a bad thing.  Can you?  Even if someone or something disappointed me, having an open mind

kept the possibility of good results alive for a time and that time was good.

 

While I was not completely enthused about going to New York on vacation, I did try to plan

good activities and keep an open mind about my time there.  All plans turned out fine.  We

got to see two musicals, walk through Central Park, spend the afternoon in the Metropolitan

Museum of Art, eat sushi, see the city lights at night from atop the Empire State Building, eat gelato in Little Italy and cruise the fancy shops in Soho and Greenwich Village.

 

Unplanned, better-than-expected treats: being able to people watch and listen to at least ten different languages on a daily basis, the yummy and not-so-expensive French restaurant

near the off-Broadway theatre, meeting up with my parents at Grand Central Station, $10 for

a 15-minute massage in China Town, the two lovely locals that offered to help us with

directions as we stood at the top of the subway stairs with our map outstretched, walking so

much that I didn’t gain weight on vacation, and Daffy’s (shhh…don’t tell the other

tourists about this great department store that sells cool New York styles at bargain

prices).

 

So how was my vacation? Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve been converted to a big city girl, but I

did have a blast and am so glad I went…with an open mind. The whole family had fun, and now we have pictures and memories and stories to share for a lifetime.

 

Do you have a story of a time when you weren’t looking forward to something, but it turned out better than expected?  Please share it in the comments.

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

I’m not really a big city girl…

August 6th, 2009

 

NewYorkCity

 

I’m not really a big city girl, though you’d never know it.   I have managed to take up residence in big cities (Boston, Chicago, L.A.) most of my adult life.  I now find myself off to the “Big Apple” for vacation.  How did this happen?

 

Well, yes, I know technically how it happened.  My husband is attending a conference for business.  So it made sense to buy a couple of extra plane tickets and make a little family vacation out of it.  My 15-year-old is excited beyond belief.  I don’t know why.  We don’t actually have the money to buy anything in those fancy stores she sees featured in her teen magazines.

 

Personally, I’m hoping to spend time in the art museum, Central Park, and Little Italy.  I love Italian food.  Broadway shows are fun, too.  A little sushi before the show would be divine. 

 

I’m planning that it will be a good vacation, hoping for even better-than-planned results, and looking forward to next summer when I get to pick a greener destination.  No disrespect to NYC, but  as I’ve said, I’ve lived in big cities for many, many years.  Vacation for me suggests a change of scenery, a slower pace, a chance to recharge. 

 

New York City – we’re almost there.  Hawaii — see you next vacation.

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

Living Deeply

August 4th, 2009

Cape Cod Whale

[ photo by Lynn Nagel; poem by Lori Havrilla]

 

 

 

Living Deeply

 

Shall we live deeply
without drowning, without losing
ourselves in the dark, merky waters
of that which is our soul?

 

Shall we go to that place
which calls to each of us
when we take the time to close
our eyes, take a breath
and listen to the silence?

 

Do we dare to jump
off the cliff,
to dive, arms outstretched
heart forward, mind silent
and stilled, frozen in time?

 

Is it forward or backwards we go,
newly discovering or returning
to our destiny,
our hearts,
the depths of what we know
but have forgotten?

 

Does the depth have a bottom,
a net to catch us,
a hand to grab hold of,
or are we alone on this journey
of exploring the deep?

 

 Shall we live deeply
without drowning, without losing
ourselves in the dark, merky waters
of that which is our soul?

 

 

 

Note:  This poem was inspired by my good friend Lynn Nagel’s photo of a whale off the coast of Cape Cod.  While I’m not a photographer, I appreciate good pictures so very much.  Thanks for the inspiration soul sista.

 

Life is good!  Namaste.  –Lori

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