Tag Archives: gratitude

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.

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Filed under Advaita, Awakening, memoir, Musings, thoughts

checking the news

Here’s a form of perseverating–I can’t stop the urge to check the news for fire and air quality updates. Even during retreat meetings I’m aware of the pull, which I resist. My phone is turned off during our gatherings.

Of course, when I do check at meal times, it’s frustrating because there is no new news, only rehashing what we already know, although air quality shifts rapidly when wind direction changes.

My job: remain centered here and now, notice when the mind wants to leap into a nonexistent future. There’s no way to know, and “what might happen” isn’t a healthy place for me to spend time.

I’m grateful to be with 170 like-hearted souls, exploring the margins of human understanding and noticing our direct experience.

 

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Filed under Advaita, Awakening, Daily reminders, memoir, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, spirituality

precious hearts

I am enfolded in the embrace of precious hearts now–some old friends, some I’m meeting for the first time. This is day one of my eleventh week-long retreat. Only once have I met a complaining, shut-down soul in this community. She frowned and fussed about the dinner which had been prepared for us with love and patience–including gluten-free choices for those with special dietary needs. I noticed her dedication to her special brand of misery and silently wished her well. I have not seen her since.

These friends have special qualities: curiosity, inclusive kindness, generosity, and open-heartedness; audacity to voice confusion in front of 135 people; willingness to drop beliefs that no longer serve, courage to sit in a state of not knowing. I would trust my life to any one of these folk. They are not related by blood, but they are my closest kin.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
the sunset heart photo can be freely shared

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, Love, Musings, nonduality, Rupert Spira

Be That

Be That

Be that
in which it all takes place

Let background
slip into foreground.

Rest there.

It’s available
Now and here
For you, for me.

 

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2016

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

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

 

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

my memoir has been published!

My book, Bound to Love: a memoir of grit and gratitude has been published! Both the paperback and Kindle versions can be found here, at Amazon. Other digital versions can be found at Smashwords.

Usually my posts here have a different flavor, exploring nondual understanding. The memoir chronicles the pressure cooker journey that drove me toward unwrapping this deeper truth. Perhaps, without my son Thom, I would not have. I am very grateful.

Front cover with white text justifiedThe memoir won first prize in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2005 contest under the name Blood Bond. That was a very bad time to market memoirs, I discovered, because of James Frey’s betrayal of the form in A Million Little Pieces when he exaggerated his personal story, and was exposed.

I let my manuscript molder on my computer for seven years, then pulled it out and walked it through two more critique groups.

Bound to Love is the true story of a single mother who encountered and navigated a complicated nightmare for any parent. My child, the only child I could ever bear, was born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect, and suffered a more brutal health diagnosis soon after. Walk with me as I birth the courage and grit to meet Thom’s compounding challenges.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015

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Filed under Awakening, memoir, Truth, writing

on friendship

infinity-signMy friend and I met forty years ago in December. We lived close to one another for eighteen years, then a shuttle and airplane flight apart, in the same town again, and now, about an hour and a quarter distance by car. We are not physically together very often, but carved out the opportunity to sit this afternoon at a table outside of Whole Foods in San Rafael.

When we are with each other, time vanishes and hearts merge. It is clear that one consciousness speaks as we share. Our perspectives are not identical, but meld in finely tuned comprehension. We have often said that our paths–although different–have traveled in close proximity. This kind of friendship, which soaks in the deepest love and understanding, is one of life’s precious jewels.

I have been fostered, encouraged, and sustained by my friend. We are aging now, and who knows? Any visit might be the last in these fragile, mysterious vehicles we call bodies, or we might enjoy a hundred more. Whatever we are given, I am grateful beyond measure.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit unknown

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Filed under Daily reminders, Musings, Non-duality