Sunday, December 29, 2013

Touching Together

 As we move deeper into cold and a flu season, I find myself thinking about the word contagion. It comes to us from the Latin con, meaning “together with,” and tangere, meaning “to touch.” So contagion means, quite beautifully, “a touching together.”

It feels, therefore, a bit unfair to this word’s etymological roots to use it most often to talk about contamination. Sure, we can become infected with cold germs, but touching together can have positive effects as well. Dis-ease may be contagious, but so is ease, a word from the Old French, meaning “comfort, pleasure, well-being.”

All of us have had the experience of being brought down by another’s negativity. We have also been buoyed by a joy freely shared. A necessary step on the path of spiritual growth is becoming aware of this energetic level of interaction and living from it.           

We begin to notice how certain people and activities affect us. We recognize, for example, that hours of mindless TV feel bad, and that gossiping leaves us somewhat sullied ourselves.

We also become more sensitive to the effect we have on others. No longer satisfied with merely not behaving badly, we begin to intentionally work with subtler energies.

We notice what’s emanating from us in any interaction, what we’re adding to the mix. And we learn to shift it when necessary, with our allegiance firmly placed with the highest good.

In an online course, meditation teacher and breath worker Julia Mikk, describes this as “becoming a force field of good will.” Reminding us that we “cannot solve anything by making it wrong,” she encourages us to recognize instead that a “vibration of unconditional love can touch what you see and inform it of possibilities of wholeness and completeness.”

Imagine, for example, a tense moment with some fellow humans, a disagreement perhaps. First, you notice. Voices are strained, your breathing constricts, muscles tighten a bit.

Then, with all you’ve gained from spiritual practice, you begin to alter the flow, first in yourself. You breathe fully, relax your shoulders, ask for guidance. You welcome the vibration of harmony into the situation, and then engage in whatever way feels appropriate, doing your part to bend dis-ease toward ease. 

Will everything magically change? Perhaps not. But then again, maybe so. Julia suggests that relating in this way can awaken the "inherent divinity” present within each moment and any interaction, no matter how tense or difficult.

Ultimately, though, the outcome is really not your concern. Your task is only to be a force for love, choosing it over all else.

The Christ whose birth we’re celebrating this week was, by all accounts, supremely adept at doing this. His very presence was vivifying, and those who touched together with him were lifted out of turmoil and pain.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if, in the coming year, we enacted the deeper message within the Christmas story by allowing the love in the manger of our own souls to flourish? As that love is set free, we will be offering our essence to a contagion, both precious and powerful.

Contagious love, a touching together that touches us all together. Hallelujah, and have a blessed New Year!


Loanne Marie

Here's a link to Julia's online course, Sacred Self~Mastery. I've just finished this 10~week walk and found the weekly didactic material combined with daily guided meditations and journalling to be quite effective in incorporating spiritual principles more deeply into my life. If your journey has you stepping off the mainstream western path~~and I assume it does if you read this blog!~~you might find this delightful course to be of benefit. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Healing Happens

Imagine the following~~
A smile slowly spreads across the face of a woman whose abuse began as a toddler as she realizes, at last, that she is precious.
Two individuals, followers of religions with conflicting creeds, each find release into a similar experience of peace or ecstatic union.
An atheist contemplates a color-composite image of the NGC 300 galaxy, seven million light years from Earth, and is spontaneously lifted from a depression that had convinced him of life’s futility.
A young mother, rushing through a chaotic morning, stops at a red light. The silhouette of an old cottonwood backlit by the morning sun breaks through her agitation and peace fills her.
These are only a few examples of a phenomenon that most of us have experienced. One moment, life is struggle. The next we are liberated and, even if it lasts for only a moment, we are changed.
As a psychotherapist, I’ve long been fascinated by the question of how such healing occurs. When I was new to this work, I thought it took great effort and studied my craft hard, believing the lion’s share of change was up to me. Now, 30~plus years later, I know otherwise. I have learned, quite simply, that healing happens. 

Whether it’s recovering from trauma or our human proclivity to become bogged down in the particulars of our lives, grace is always here, waiting to assist us. The same force that set the NGC 300 galaxy into motion pulses through every molecule of these stardust bodies of ours and fuels each action we take. It is ever present, always available, so close that it often breaks through on its own, suddenly, gloriously. Other times, we must clear a path.
When someone comes to me for therapy, the way has already been opened. Grace has been welcomed in and is free to move. Our task is to not impede the flow, opening again and again as we allow healing to unfold and marvel as layers fall away.
Life is often painful, with wounds coming in various flavors and from many sources. Self~protection is a normal response. But shields developed for protection become thicker with each subsequent hurt, until they, too, do us harm by preventing a full experience of living. Or perhaps our wound is of the rushing too fast to notice variety, and busyness itself is our shield. There seem any number of ways we can restrict the flow. Regardless of the particulars, life’s luster is diminished or seems always just beyond our reach.
There is another choice. We can open to grace and allow it to move through us, letting it dissolve our world~hardened edges. We can willingly place ourselves into hands larger and more capable than our own,  trusting the guidance and the pacing of the healing that will come. We can, in a word, surrender.
We are like infinitesimally small icy particles enveloped by a warm and luminous sea. Our task is to allow both the buoying currents and the crashing waves to melt us. Then we will know that luminosity is all.
Yes, healing happens. And on a weekend dedicated to the celebration of gratitude, that’s something to be thankful for.

So let us be thankful, my friends. And while we're at it, let's melt a bit more, too!

Love and gratitude for your presence in this world,

Loanne Marie

And for a view of the NGC 300, click here.