Category Archives: thoughts

home!

My family is home, with power on in both locations. Perhaps the worst is over–for us. It’s clear others are still at risk, and I pray for their safety and their animals as well. I am deeply thankful to the firefighters who risk their lives protecting ours and our property.

Remaining wholly in the present made it possible to move through this time without debilitating anxiety. I only suffered those first minutes after the evacuation order came, waking me from uneasy sleep. Then I pulled out my metaphorical toolbox and put it to use.

Concern, of course. Planning, of course. We need the mind to navigate life. Distress is different–it takes an already difficult situation and makes it unbearable. Anxiety of that kind haunted me for decades until this understanding took root: emotional suffering is optional. It is not necessary when we embody where to take our stand, as the pure awareness that we are.

2 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Awakening, memoir, Musings, thoughts

wildfire

4 a.m. I stand in our home, quivering, awakened from restless sleep. Nixle text: mandatory evacuation order. Power has been off for six hours. Our go-bags wait by the door, including the one for our dog, Bodhi.

Time to go. If we lose our home, what can I bring that fits in the car to help a new place feel familiar? I grab ten pieces of art from the walls–the gorgeous color-pencil drawings our friend Suzette did of our dogs, and two others. My laptop, so I can write. Coats. I check for device chargers.

This is the new reality. Brain adjusts, body resists, then gets in gear. Destination: friends in Petaluma, seventeen miles away. We take both vehicles and enter the parking lot of evacuees. An hour later, we’ve gone two miles.

Drivers are remarkably generous, letting others into the creeping auto stream from side roads. I see no road rage and am grateful. The updated Nixle notice comes in–my son, who doesn’t drive, must evacuate as well. My husband peels off to Santa Rosa to snag him and his go-bag.

It only takes me three hours to travel the seventeen miles. Charge the iPhone on the way. I’m welcomed with a sweet hug from our dear friend. Power has been cut to Petaluma as well, but the gas stove works. Warm tea! Five hours later, husband, son, and dog finally make it.

There is no complaining, only attention to what must be done–keep devices charged, eat food before it spoils, send love and best wishes for the well-being of people and creatures closer to the fire than we. Await Nixle updates. Breathe. Count blessings. Be present.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders, memoir, Musings, thoughts

one small thing – unedited free write

[We were given the prompt, “one small thing.”]

one small thing
just look slantwise
for a moment
it can happen that fast–
without warning,
the apparent world turns inside out
a Mobius strip
and no thing remains the same

one small shift
a spiral in fate
unforeseen and blindsiding
yet asked for, too
all known falls away
concepts, beliefs, assurity,
all gone,
never to return

one small twist
and, what now? how shall you live?
can you welcome no meaning
and love what comes?
wild paradox lacks any frame
when you think about it, too vast to hold
so don’t. don’t think about it,
you’ve gone down that torturous trail ten thousand times

one small turn
invited, yet unexpected
sought after, yet surprised
and the world erupts as a one-song-uni-verse

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2016

7 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Awakening, Poetry, thoughts

mind game – update

Ripple-EffectLast evening, Caverly Morgan and I talked about anxiety and self-love. She is an introspective, thoughtful woman with a Zen monastic background, and works with teens in the Portland, Oregon schools. Check out her website onehouseofpeace.org. She had some suggestions about working with the overactive nighttime mind which I decided to try out, along with the self-reminders I posted yesterday.

When I went to bed and relaxed my body, as usual, the mind fired up. I worked with sensing the feelings that underlie and precipitate thought, and while doing this, noticed just how strident the mind was. With curiosity, I queried, “Why are you so loud?” The answer: “I don’t feel heard.”

One of my companions over the last nine years has been a volume of daily readings called The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. In one entry, he describes how Aboriginal Australian people pay their respects when they come upon each other in the bush. Their greeting is, “I see you.” In this vein of deep love, understanding, and union, I responded to the mind by saying, “I hear you.” I repeated this, with love, a number of times. The mind chatter volume immediately dropped. Now I could rest in being, aware of, but not engaged with, the ongoing commentary.

I went on to sense the feelings beneath the chatter, and then, prior even to feelings, bodily sensations, which I invited to soften, and permeated with knowing presence. At some point, filled with gratitude, I dropped off to sleep.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

 

2 Comments

Filed under Daily reminders, insomnia, mind, Musings, thoughts

mind game reminder

funny-crazy-mind-bunnies-clipartToday, surrounded by loving, awake friends, I was reminded of other ways to address the nattering nighttime mind.

The thoughts are precipitated by feelings. Sink into those. Welcome them, even if they are uncomfortable. Most likely, they are familiar friends who have been with me most of my life.

The feelings, when I place my attention on them, reveal themselves as simple bodily sensations. Notice these.

Allow pure awareness to seep into them, expanding and dissolving the remnants. Or invite them to soften and gradually disperse.

Rest in beingness.

Repeat again, again, again. Again.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

3 Comments

Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts

mind game

untamed mindLife is busy. I take moments during the day and rest in the truth of what I am. But the most available time is when I go to bed, and don’t go to sleep–aging insomnia—so I hang out simply being.

For a few blessed moments, quiet.

Then the mind starts rambling, babbling, screaming. The thoughts are annoying, repetitive, and without meaning. Obnoxious. At first I was sure the mind was getting louder. It dawned on me it has always been this loud, but as my appreciation and attraction to being grows, the noisy mind becomes more obvious.

The teaching says, “Leave thoughts alone. Don’t touch them.” Supposedly, if one leaves them alone enough, they lose strength. This is not my experience. They natter, natter, natter on. I do my best not to fiddle with them.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

1 Comment

Filed under Daily reminders, mind, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts

hot tub epiphany

hot tub surround 5050 Fox Hollow croppedI’ve waited to write about this hot tub epiphany for a few weeks–I wanted to make sure that what I saw held up under life’s pressures.

One of my main patterns has been tormenting thoughts–the creation of nightmare scenarios that might possibly come to pass. Best to be prepared, thought says, in a confident, insinuating tone.

Rather than follow thought-trains, I’ve learned to inquire into them. This particular evening–as I soaked and stared at the stars, and as usual, worried about this and that–the question arose, why would thought torture a body-mind? The answer came immediately, like a typewriter print out: so the imaginary sense of separation can perpetuate itself. This thought had never occurred to me before, and I knew it spoke the truth. The implications are immense–once seen, truth like this cannot be un-seen.

The next nightmare thought that arose was met with NO! I will not bolster your fictitious self-importance by believing, or even following, this train. Instead, I returned light attention to the current sensations of hot water and cool evening air, and the thought died its own natural death.

This is the new pattern: I can’t control thoughts arising, but I can welcome and immediately discredit them. And come back home to right now, the safest place of all.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
(my photo)

7 Comments

Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts