Saturday, July 31, 2010
We are familiar with the terms "in the closet" or "having skeleton's in the closet." These terms have come to represent the shame felt in being in alignment with our own beliefs or the shame felt by the effects of someone else forcing their will upon us. We have closet smokers, closet gays, closet pedophiles.
Over the years, I have been known to hide money, love letters and odd gifts in my closet. As a child, I used to hide things that I stole from the mall or corner store. In our physical closets, we hide physical things. In our spiritual closets, we hide our hearts.
When I was in college, I came home from work one summer night to find my dear brother delusional and hiding in my parent's closet. He was experiencing a bad acid trip. I never had that experience, but I could see he was trembling in fear and totally terrified, curled up like an abandoned baby. Somehow, I managed to get him comforted and he started to spill all sorts of irrational fears that he had been carrying around like lead balloons for years. His bad acid trip was just an up close and personal look at his fears and shame.
Shame is considered one of the lowest available frequencies at which, we as humans can resonate. It is no coincidence that it is in the closet where we go to select the wardrobe we want to show the world on any given day. It is in the closet that we put on the illusion of protection. We carefully select an outfit that we think will cover up any shame and insecurities before we venture out.
Recently, my tireless spiritual journey has led me to a Buddhist chanting practice. At one time, this would be something that I would be told to keep to myself or 'in the closet' for fear that others would find me peculiar. I am not quite certain if I have found affinity within a cult, but so far, no one has asked me to bring my checkbook or recruit new members, only to open my heart and receive all the happiness the universe has to give.
After a couple of weeks of this practice, a lovely woman, Elizabeth asked me what I think. Almost braggingly, I said, "I feel a lot happier. I have been chanting in my closet everyday."
As a 24-year practitioner, she inquired as to why I was in the closet. In a flash, I realized I was hiding in there. Was a I ashamed of my own practice? She blurted out for the whole house to hear, "RANDI, IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET!"
The funny thing was, I was standing right next to a friend and former client of mine, who recently came out of the closet as a lesbian. We laughed. Elizabeth, the kind woman, just removed another layer of my imaginary shell and explained that in order to truly experience happiness, it is important to go through life with an open heart. Chant with an open heart. Bring who you are into your own living room. If you can't be who you are in your own living room, how can you expect to go out into the world with the confidence to be you?
Can you imagine? Feeling like you have to hide in your own house? Then upon further reflection, I realized that most of us live in huge lies. If your physical house represents your whole life, the closet truly does represent the percentage of time that most people spend in Truth, aligned in spirit or being your true authentic self. Imagine, all the time, effort and money that you spend keeping your lies polished and shiny for the comfort of others.
I have since taken my morning and evening chanting into the living room. I have come out of the closet. I chant for Happiness. I chant for Courage. Do you have the courage to come out of the closet? Turn your shame into love and joy!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Lake doesn't move the Mountain.
There is something about a name tag that invites humility, a derivative of humiliation.
Recently, I took a job at a local golf course to bridge the gap between my last business and my next big endeavor. The last time I had a uniform and name tag, I was 15 and worked at Albertson's. This experience has been phenomenal. Priceless.
On my first day of training, I was so excited to drive the cart and sell drinks to the golfers. Much to my surprise, I found myself outside the restaurant at 5:45a wiping bird droppings off the tables and chairs and sanitizing the furniture. Somehow I was overcome with the most peaceful sensation of tranquility as I listened to the birds chirp and could see the beautiful moon was still slightly visible in the western sky.
For some reason I had chosen to be here. This week I understand why, I have been blessed with this opportunity to grow. The Lake Doesn't Move the Mountain is an Eastern philosophy, I have been exposed to for past 14 years. Only this week, did it become clear. According to the I-Ching, ancient Book of Changes, The image counsels that the mind should be humble and free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up counseling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else. The weak is considered above and the strong below. The lake is any kind of distraction, good or bad. It is amazing how often the kind or ignorant word of a stranger can take us from our path. The mountain is still, solid and unmoving. Learning not to be shifted by the mind will bring you peace.
Earlier this week, I was on the course when I had approached two women. One saw my name tag and asked if Randi was my real name. I smiled and said that it was. The other then mumbled to her, "That's what I figured. Her parents weren't sure." Then they drove off and continued their business as usual. I was slightly stunned, but overcome by compassion.
Shortly thereafter, upon offering an older gentleman an icy mango towel on an extremely hot day, much to the utter chagrin of his party, he blurted out, "Randi, will this make my penis shrink?"
Without any judgement, I was speechless. much like in the movie Trading Places, it is amazing how, we as people, are judged by our uniform. I often hear stories about how doctors and lawyers are abusive spouses or unwind with drugs and alcohol, but a few letters behind their name earns them some kind of VIP status. Wearing a name tag and choosing to be in service of others seems to be an invitation for abuse.
That day, I realized that I finally understand what it means to respond and not to react. I understand what it means to have Restriction. To take a deep breath and truly see that most people are hurting inside and hurt people hurt people.
The irony is that when I made my next round, the two women just handed me money and said, "We don't want anything. Just keep it." The older gentleman gave me a nice tip and as he looked at the ground, he said, "Here. This is for putting up with me."
Sometimes, not responding elicits great change in others. Reacting only creates a distraction. When I got back to the club house, the woman who hired me made my day. Before I even told her about my colorful experience on the course, she gave me a wonderful compliment. She said, "Randi, hiring you was a great decision. You have had a calming effect on the whole department."
Learn to rest in stillness. Just as the flap of a butterflies wings in Chicago affects the weather in South Africa, you never know how far your inner peace will travel. Be the mountain.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
My mother always planted a flower garden. Today I understand she was growing more than flowers. She was growing happiness.
There is a wonderful story about a homeless man, who did manual labor all day only to earn two dimes. On his way back to his resting place, he stopped and bought a loaf of bread for 10 cents. His next stop was to buy a flower with the other 10 cents. Although, the flower vendor was perplexed and felt bad taking his money, the homeless man grinned from ear to ear. His belly was full and his heart was content. In that flower, he found beauty and joy.
I took a lesson from this man and put in into action. For the price of a cup of coffee, I have filled my floating vase with 10 magnificent orange poppies. I smile at them and they smile at me. They remind me that when any seed reaches its potential it radiates victory. Nurture your own seeds, by nurturing your thoughts. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit means knowing the small things that bring you happiness.
We are each responsible for our own happiness. Start by knowing what makes you happy. Last time I checked $4.99 buys a whole bouquet of happiness!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Transformation Requires Completely Letting Go!
Wouldn't it be great if we could crawl inside a dark, safe place when we want to elevate our consciousness and just relax and avoid until we decide to emerge an icon of perfection? Although this sounds magical, innately we know it must be slightly askew.
I have always been wildly attracted to the magic of butterflies. Flitting about delicately and free. Brilliant colors reflecting hope and lightness. In understanding and teaching others, I have often called upon the analogy of transformation, the process of metamorphosis using the caterpillar and the butterfly as a tangible example.
Only recently did I come to learn what really goes on behind the closed doors of the transformational cocoon. It is no coincidence that I acquired this knowledge from a book by Best-Selling Author and Life Coach Martha Beck.
Contrary to my earlier belief that like a snake sheds its skin, a caterpillar doesn't shed into a butterfly. It transforms. It literally must dissolve completely changing its consistency entirely into a glob of goop. Before it can elevate into a free-flying icon of perfection, it must be willing to dissolve itself completely. There is no turning back, no reversal of flow. From the goop, transcends the butterfly, but first it must push, push and push some more to leave the safe cocoon behind. The process of which is understood to be incredibly painful journey. The butterfly must pull itself out of the cocoon. Any seemingly altruistic help will ensure a rapid death. The truth is: the longer it struggles to be free, the stronger it will be and the longer it will live.
To follow in the flight of a butterfly means to ascend in consciousness and elevate your frequency from very low to soaring heights. Clearly the process won't be easy, but is anything worth having and keeping easily acquired? Like the fully formed butterfly that needs that last bit of courage to shed its cocoon, find comfort in knowing that it always gets worse before it gets perfect.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
On the way to the airport on Thursday morning, I saw a magnificent rainbow. I knew the pot of gold was near. Real riches come in helping others.
Line after line of business travelers and summer travelers was beginning to test my patience. After 45 minutes in the security line a woman calmly frantic approached me from the side. She recognized me from yoga and had her two children trailing behind her. She whispered that her flight left in 20 minutes and wanted to cut in line. For a fleeting moment I thought of the hundreds of others waiting behind me. Then I realized that the only thing that would stop me from being helpful was my own ego. Fear of being judged by strangers and a potential uproar almost influenced me.
Leaders lead. In a flash, I saw in her eyes a heart of gold. We exchanged a huge hug and I said, "I'm so glad you made it! Perfect timing!"
We went in together like sisters. I knew I was helping her and created a situation where the people behind us felt like they were helping us to be together. I could feel the gratitude as she blew me a kiss and went on to Boston and I to Columbus.
As I sat on my plane for 4 hours, my heart was so fulfilled. I had found gold. You may not always see the pot gold at the end of the rainbow. Sometimes you just have to trust that it is there. On the days that you see only rain, create your own rainbow by helping someone else. That rainbow is a bridge from the rain to pots of gold or lasting fulfillment.
Becoming conscious or aware of others is the best way to raise your own level of consciousness. The best confirmation of this basic truth came on my return flight to Phoenix. On the way out, I was on the ground looking up at a rainbow. On the way back, I looked out the window and there was another rainbow, this time at eye level.
Helping others means helping them when they need help. This isn't always selective or convenient. The universe is abundant. Often times you are standing just 3 feet from gold. Open your heart and you will see. You can be as rich as you want to be.
Monday, July 19, 2010
My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.
If you desire to understand the universal laws that govern the universe, talk to a farmer. Farmers truly understand that infinite patience produces immediate results, that nature doesn't lie, an abundant harvest requires constant attention and the only thing you can really control is making the decision to be conscious of your own actions.
The harvest is a result. It is the effect of every response from manifestation to fruition. The harvest is the gauge.
We have been trained to show our best side to the world. This is true with a farmer as well. Of course if you want to create a customer you have to attract him. However, if you want a customer for life you better deliver the truth. You better live up to your press clippings- if you are going to show up with the biggest potatoes, they had better be solid.
This brings up the example of the hollow potato. What is a hollow potato? This is the phenomena that occurs when a potato grows too fast. Maybe it was gluttonous and took on too much sunlight or too much water. The result is one amazingly impressive-looking tuber without any substance. Scientifically it is known as a "hollow heart." Literally it is unfulfilled.
The idea of the hollow potato shows up everywhere. A desired external result without the internal discipline, patience and willingness to do the work.
- Taking a job you hate solely for the paycheck and prestige.
- Buying a car you cannot afford to validate your position in your "cool" friend circle.
- A marriage without love for the illusion of security.
- Wearing an expensive watch and bouncing checks.
- Snorting lines of cocaine for short term pleasure over happiness.
- Investing in cosmetic surgery to improve your exterior.
When it comes to potatoes, a hollow heart is considered a physiological disorder. Once a potato has manifested itself as hollow, it doesn't get a second chance. A person, however, who is acting like a hollow potato can make a conscious decision to be a solid potato. Cultivate fulfillment through self acceptance, compassion, love, joy and peace. Work on your inside. Fulfill your heart.
Fast results will be fleeting. When your desired outcome seems to be taking too long, trust that you are just enjoying the trials and tribulations necessary to appreciate the abundant harvest on its way.
A farmer must learn to appreciate the sun and the rain. Sometimes we all have to put on the proverbial raincoat and weather the storm. Enjoy the process of manifesting your dreams. Live in truth. Understand that sometimes it gets worse before it gets perfect, but a hollow potato has nothing to give. Be who you were born to be. Experience Heaven on Earth. Be a solid potato.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Inside each one of us is a divine spark known as life. When our soul and spirit are in harmony that spark is an inferno shining so bright and vibrant, it can be enjoyed by millions of others. When we are out of alignment, it may seem as if there is no light or life at all.
Recently, I was renewing my CPR certification and so much attention was drawn to the heart. At first, I thought wow this guy has a story for everything, but then I realized that although we are seemingly fragile, we are incredibly resilient and often times lives could be saved if we weren't afraid and paralyzed by that fear. The heart pumps blood and joy, love and life.
It was the tourniquet that really got me thinking. A tourniquet is anything that can be wrapped so tightly around a limb that it shuts off blood flow to a punctured or ruptured artery. In a split second someone must make the decision to save a life by cutting off the flow of blood. Within 20 seconds the limb no longer receiving blood has become infected and will inevitably be amputated as soon as possible to save the rest of the body.
This picture has stayed with me for over a week as I wonder how often someone else makes the decision to put a tourniquet on our dreams. Or, we do it to ourselves. Parents or friends trying to save their loved ones from 'heartbreak' or failure by guiding them toward the safe avenue. Cutting us off from our potential, applying a tourniquet of fear. More than losing a limb due to infection, we lose our life purpose and are filled with infection- fear.
Where have you applied a tourniquet to your own dreams? Was is it in love? In Business? In Dancing, Singing, Acting, Painting?
If it really is an artery that needed to have the blood flow cut off, you are never getting back that limb. If it's a dream that you cut off, you get a second chance. Your dream is waiting for you to turn the connection back on from your heart to your desire. The only blockage is fear.
When you take the path of least resistance, you have sacrificed more than a limb. You have sacrificed your soul. Fear is the path of least resistance. Release this tourniquet and let your heart pump the love it was meant to. Flush the infection. Flush the fear. Reconnect with your spark. Ignite your Spirit.