Hello Beauties, It has been too long and I have so much to share. I can’t wait to tell you all the good news.Especially about feeling good, Hashimoto’s and my Joovv, a whole body infrared and red light device for … Continue reading
I needed to take some quiet time at the end of last week and over the weekend to grieve for the loss of my mother, and of her most personal jewelry, especially her wedding ring which “went missing,” at some point after her death.
It wasn’t there when we went to her house to collect her photo albums, art works and other personal items, even though my grandmother’s jewelry, which was far more expensive, was left behind.
While I am very grateful to have those pieces, which also hold history, it doesn’t make up for what was taken and what is gone. Those pieces, worth only a fraction of what was left behind, meant more to me than money can buy or replace.
My parents truly loved each other. They started with little more than their smarts, worked hard, lived by the golden rule, had good luck and bad, and stayed together through thick and thin for 57 years until my father’s death in 2012. Together they lived and redefined the American dream, helping many people along the way. My mother’s ring symbolized all that for me.
Grief, I have come to learn has its own terms and doesn’t take No for an answer. At times, it felt as if I were a branch being bent to the point of snapping. At others, I cried like a child and felt lonelier than I thought it was possible to feel and still survive.
(“Life is as beautiful as it is painful. And you can’t have one without the other.”)
Staying present with the feelings and allowing them felt both impossible to do and to not do. Art journaling helped and when I didn’t think I could go on, I found this poem by Hermann Hesse. I hope it speaks to your heart, as it did mine. I am feeling stronger now that the grief is receding, and I am starting to feel like myself again. Next Monday I begin attending a grief support group at Our House, here in Southern California. I’ll let you know how it goes. xoS
Now and Then
Now and then everything feels wrong and desolate,
and sprawling in pain, weak and exhausted,
every effort reverts to grief,
every joy collapses with broken wings
And our longing listens for distant summons,
aching to receive news filled with joy.
But we still miss bliss,
fortunate fates elude from afar.
Now is the time to listen within,
tend our inner garden mindfully
until new flowers, new blessings can blossom.
No, I’m not home in Hawaii. But I am nostalgic, and super excited because Hawaii’s poet laureate, the MIT graduate and modern myth maker, Kealoha Wong, is coming to town!
Kealoha is coming to work with me on a mindfulness and poetry program for the kids at Five Acres, the Los Angeles based 125-year-old foster home and school, in preparation for their fund-raising “Friend Raiser.” I am beyond honored to work with this multi-talented master of modern myth making and am looking forward to getting to know the man behind the performer as well. One of the sweet synchronicities of working together is that Kealoha awarded my daughter a Star Poet’s Prize at the Windward Community College on Oahu in 2007 when she was in 4th grade.
This is the first time in my new role as Creative Director of Engaging the Senses Foundation that I have a chance to use so many of my talents and skills. It is thrilling and fulfilling to put into practice what we stand for and share. I am awed, excited, and ready to work hard and enjoy every minute. Lucky, lucky, me!
Five Acres’ Friend Raiser is now in its 2nd year and is spearheaded by the amazing Matt Lillard. You may know him as the cute blond guy the wife has an affair with in the film The Descendants, which is one of my fav films. More recently, Matt’s been in Twin Peaks and Good Girls. The aim of the poetry and mindfulness program is to give kids a voice, a way to tell their stories and to hear other people’s stories. This builds empathy and understanding of self and others.
Adding sense-based mindfulness to the mix is the icing on the cake. We think of it as giving the kids “super hero powers.” What are these? Well, attention, intention, focus, and acceptance, to name a few. With these, kids can recognize, discern and seek uplifting sources of nourishment for their senses, their selves, and their imaginations. Instead of standing around like extras waiting on the sidelines, they can become fully engaged-directors of their own lives and destiny.
So, get ready to be moved when you hear them own their power and perform their own poems at the star-studded gathering on April 21st, 2018!
Until then, I am very much here in this blue and burned “City of Angels,” in the thick of dealing with the same crazy White House turned nut house as the rest of us. Like you, I am at times overwhelmed by the vitriol and tragedy and risk. Like you, I am learning to dwell in the new uncertainty. It’s not like life was ever a sure thing. It’s just now every single day makes us question our values and direction as a people and a country. There are so many areas of concern, so many competing needs. It feels like there is a rip in our safety net that is continuing to tear. If feels as if the country, possibly the whole world, is in danger.
It can be overwhelming if we let it be, if we believe we have to fix the whole thing, or really any part of it. Because fixing is a daunting, unachievable task. Offering, on the other hand, is a way of changing the focus from trying to fix what’s outside our control to mending the part of the world that is within our reach.
One thing that has become clear lately is that charity and kindness really do begin at home. Gone are the days of running on adrenalin and nerves. To be and to give our best selves and the beauty we love, proper care and feeding of body-mind-soul is required. Sometimes nothing less than a complete focus on this is necessary in order to recharge.
This past year, each of us here at Engaging the Senses Foundation has faced challenges that meant that our health and the quality of our lives depended on paying kind attention to and taking proper care of ourselves. Don’t be confused: this kindness is not weakness. It is a strong discipline of choosing the highest good at any given moment. It is a way of relating to life that allows for magic, poetry, beauty and other good things to easily come into being. Because Mindfulness (kind attention) and Poetry (art) are some of the best tools we can offer for the healing that our world so deeply needs.
To that end, in between preparing for Kealoha’s visit, physical therapy, and dreaming up short sensory based body scans, I have been expressing myself through drawing and art journaling.
I hope you enjoy and share my latest page in progress. I am looking forward to meeting here again in the days and months ahead and sharing this amazing journey in service to Poetry, Truth, Beauty Justice with you.
Hello again Lovely Reader,
Sabrina here from engaging the senses foundation. I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post and had time to open the treasure chest at the foundation’s website.
I wasn’t planning on posting again till next week but a friend from NYC turned me on to this conversation between the great Nikki Giovanni’s and younger poet, Kwame Alexander and it was too good not to share.
Best of all I thought this excerpt from Pablo Neruda’s poem
“I Explain A Few Things.”
You are going to ask – and where are the lilacs? And the poppy-petalled metaphysics? And the rain repeatedly spattering its words and drilling them full of apertures and birds?
I’ll tell you all the news.
Look at broken Spain.
From every house burning metal flows instead of flowers, from every socket of Spain, Spain emerges and from every dead child a rifle with eyes, and from every crime bullets are born which will one day find the bull’s-eye of your hearts.
And you’ll ask – why doesn’t his poetry speak of dreams and leaves and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets. Come and see, the blood in the streets. Come and see the blood, in the streets.
You can listen to whole 7 minute audio go to https://www.npr.org/player/embed/578105649/578106368
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Happy 2018!!! Time to Celebrate the Return of the Light, which began on Dec 21st with the winter Solstice and has been building ever since. Yes, much of the country is deep in snow and the temperature outside is cold however deep down we know the worst is over. The best is yet to come. That’s what matters – along with now. No time like the present to Engage and feed your intuition and your senses through appreciating and wishing on the full moon. By paying attention to and Staying in tune with the cycles of the moon we open a gate to our own deeply held hopes, dreams and needs!
Simple practices like this one connect us to ourselves and to the Mystery and this helps to ground and place us in the whirling swirling storms of life.
You can make this practice as simple or sumptuous as you please.
If the latter sounds engaging try writing your wishes on a piece of beautiful paper that you have scented with your favorite essential oil (I love lavender and ylang-ylang).
Be sure to use a pen that feels good in your hand and add some color by using purple, blue or green ink.
Then go outside and spend a few minutes breathing in silence and gazing (keep your eyes soft) at the full moon as you reflect on your wishes and drink in the power and beauty of the silvery moon.
I am a true moon child. (I have three planets in the sign of cancer which is ruled by the moon. And my own moon is in Pisces.) Long before ‘Forestbathing’ became the hot new thing, I was spending cool summer nights under the Santa Fe sky, making heartfelt and fierce wishes on the luminescent crescent each time it appeared new in the dark blue sky. At more than seven thousand feet above the sea the stars feel close enough to touch.
So with the Eclipse behind us and the new moon (getting rounder everyday) shines invitingly in the twilight sky, I am inviting you to try my ‘Two minutes to Bliss’ Engaging in Moonbathing practice so that you can experience for yourself the magic of the Moon and of your own true nature.
Staying in touch with the cycles of nature, as well as my own changing cycles of creativity, energy and emotion is one of the ways I take care of myself. For instance when the Moon is waning or dark, I am reminded that waiting is part of creating. This makes it easier to wait patiently and trust those times when ideas and poems are germinating and haven’t yet taken the shape of words.
With the world as we knew it turning upside down, Gazing at and appreciating the Moon each month is a simple way to stay grounded and in touch with the universe. When the news brings us more and more ungliness, we can balance its effect on our systems through meditative and relfective practices like Moonbathing and gazing.
As long as there is a sky above you and the ability to check your local ephemeris, or farmer’s almanac you have everything you need to begin experiencing moon-magic for yourself.
Practiced with sincerity, Moonbathing is a kind of poetry. A poetry that brings with it a glimpse into the true nature of reality and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the Mystery and of the Moon. Close but distant, appearing and disappearing, ever-changing, and always the same. A perpetual reminder of “That which Is Always There” whether visible or not..
By choosing to engage your senses in the experience of Moonbathing you take back your power from all those who seek to distract and attract your attention without giving anything back.
Still wondering if moon bathing and or gazing will work for you? It may seem too easy. Where is the pain for your gain? How can gazing at the moon as you stay with (and not try to change or dismiss) the sensations you experience in your body make a difference for the better?
To that I respond by asking you – where your suffering is when you are not aware of or thinking about it?
Want proof? Pay attention to the sensations in your body, especially your stomach, throat and chest when you are hearing or seeing disturbing news, or rerunning disturbing scenarios in your head.
Now practice the opposite. Imagine or replay pleasant and enjoyable scenario’s and sense the way your stomach, heart and throat relax and respond. Ahhh. That’s better.
Who knew it was this simple? The Wise women and men past and present that’s who. So learn your limits and stick to them.
I’ll be thinking of you when the Moon is full and again when the Moon is new. Together we can align our hearts and souls with its cycle of endless surrender and renewal by symbolically offering up to it our worst fears and habits and asking to be supported in creating new patterns of behavior that support our deepest most heart-felt wishes!
These wishes for love,safety,health,happiness,joy,and peace of mind and heart are universal. In wishing on the moon for them, you join your wishes with the wishes of all humanity. Talk about a powerful way to reshape your experience of reality here and now.
Two Minutes to Bliss Engaging in Moonbathing Meditative Practice
When -At or near the full Moon. Within the first 3 days after the new moon is visible.
Where – Anywhere that is safe when the moon is visible. Your back or front yard. A local park. A quiet city or suburban street.
What to wear – I recommend soft comfortable clothes that keep you warm enough and allow you to expose some of your skin. cold shoulder tops are a good choice, as are button down shirts or if it is warm enough shorts or short sleeves. Keep in mind that this bath is symbolic hence without water and with clothes on.
What to do – All you need to do is spend a short time 5 or ten minutes walking, siting or lying down under the moon appreciating its beauty and luxuriating in the percieved sense of its light pale blue light touching your skin.
What to do next – As you walk, sit or lie bring all your attention into your body and become aware of your breathing while continuing to stay aware of the moon. Imagine the light of the moon is purifying you as you continue to breathe gently in and out through your nose. Continuing breathing in and out as you scan your awareness through your whole body. Pay special attention to sensations and feelings especially in your solar plexus area, stomach, and throat, and what messages the moonlight might be revealing inside of you. When you feel complete return your awareness to the present moment reflecting on what you discovered. Maybe even writing it down in a moon-journal you can keep just for this purpose.
Another option – according to an article in Yoga Journal you can “take your moon bathing to the next level by making it an all-night event. If it’s warm enough, take a sleeping bag or blanket and set it up under the canopy of sparkling stars and the glowing full moon. Take time to just bask in the light; you can meditate or pray, but just be sure to let the peace and beauty of the moon soak into your body and soul while you sleep. You’ll wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.”
Happy Full Moon Beautiful Soul,
We made it. Here we are on the other side of the Solstice. Christmas too depending on your geographical location and when you are reading this. The darkest days are behind us and Spring is a seed in a Trumpet flower’s dream.
This rare Christmas full moon offers us an opportunity to let go of something that no longer serves us. It might be a pattern of thought, or way of speaking to yourself, or others..it could have something to do with letting go of anything that is inhibiting our individuality, freedom, independence, or spiritual aspirations.
So now that all the rushing and wrapping is over it is time to celebrate the rebirth of the Light by engaging your senses in a deep guided relaxation. This simple act of loving kindness is the best possible gift you can give to your post holiday over stimulated and exhausted senses.
No need to stand on ceremony. This doesn’t have to be fancy or formal. Just come as you are. Unless you know something I don’t, I guarantee that the world will not come to an end. Nor will anyone be hurt if you simply steal away for 10 or 15 minutes to your own cozy bed. Once there make yourself as comfortable as you can, breath deeply, close your eyes and gather yourself in the blanket of pure presence as you let go of all the accumulated tension your body and mind are carrying. Ahhhhh
Staying in touch with the cycles of the moon is one of the simplest ways to nourish your senses. When I look up at the sky I remember myself as a part of something larger, beautiful grand and mysterious. That we are made of the same stuff as the stars and our activities are guided by the same universal rules.* As with wishing on the New Moon, it is within the first 24 hours after the moon is full that initiating letting go is most effective.
Big Hug and Happy New Year and new Lighter You!
*astronomer Harlow Shapley, director of Harvard College Observatory, 1929
Hello Beautiful Reader,
I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is over, Hanukkah has begun, and the Winter Solstice and Christmas are only weeks away. Tara Brach’s guided meditation “Coming Home to Presence” (13-min) is my favorite way to relax my body and mind before sleep during this busy time of year. It is also a perfect, super easy, ‘pick-me-up’ anytime I feel the need to relax, or recharge and return to myself! You might want to try it instead of another cup of coffee or tea or other “energy” drink the next time you are feeling frazzled, or like you are starting to unravel. So as the days grow shorter and busier, get in the Spirit of the season by unwrapping this present of Presence and pleasure, and putting it under your own tree of Life!!🌲