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I was inspired by my 6-year-old niece’s poem above, to write this:

And yet
all things – every thing – must die.
Each “now” moment, like a courageous snowflake falling,
dies in the warmth of the glistening sun to become river,
lake,
food for trees,
nectar of all life,
cool oasis for the weary traveler.
Read the rest of this entry »

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There is a part of my soul

That is like a child

Learning to walk again

For the first time

Again and again.

Those are my words.

Imagine living your entire life in fear, only you don’t realize you’re living in fear, because your brain is so fast at learning that it has figured out exactly the behaviors you need to do in each moment to keep yourself safe. It’s not that good at protecting you from physical danger, but luckily you are also surrounded by other people who do everything in their power to keep you from doing anything that might involve physical movement.

Since fear is constant, and your brain is desperately seeking ways to keep you out of danger, the proxy for safety is people liking you, people praising you, people having nice things to say about you. It’s the next best thing your brain has latched onto because there is so little kindness, so little softness, so little trust in your environment that you have to go foraging for scraps of these things wherever you can find them. You’re like a bottom feeder in the fish tank of love.

Luckily you have a lot going for you in many ways. You have a nice smile, a body that found ways to move in non-dangerous physical ways, and a brain so skilled at adapting that you can become almost anything you need to be in order to please the people around you. This has made you appear “successful” in many systems of your society – school, in particular. Read the rest of this entry »

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend four days with your family of origin.” – Ram Dass

Lately I’ve been feeling pulled in many different directions. Before I blame this feeling on the imminent arrival of my parents to stay with me and observe my current life, I’m finally sitting down to write about (and perhaps discover with more clarity) why.

After a totally blissful July of following the music that was flowing from me – bringing with it new people, new places, new experiences, and new ways of being seen – I entered August with a renewed sense of awareness that I needed to be “working” on something. “My newfound sense of freedom and joy could not possibly be the truth of my life experience”, said an ancient part of my brain. “Life just can’t be that easy for you!”

I recognized those thoughts as ones I could choose to believe or not. I saw myself as an observer. I talked it out with my coaching buddy. She reminded me of how far I have indeed come on my path toward the Core of Peace I now know is my birthright and within me at all times.

And still, as I drive from one place to the next – from home to studio to the next place on my agenda – I can’t help but feel scattered. Like my energy is more diffuse than I would like it to be. I notice that my business card has four identities – musician, life coach, writer, and speaker. I now notice that this is symbolic of the fact that in my life I have never felt that it was enough for me to be just one thing – namely, me. I had compartments where I kept my identities and developed them diligently, but rarely did the boundaries of these containers spill into one another. Read the rest of this entry »

A video with my initial thoughts on a topic that I feel will become a vast area of exploration and focus in my work.

For part two of the video, visit this link.

And for a written expansion on the ideas in this video, see my blog post at this link.

1. What delights you and brings you alive?
2. What breaks your heart?
3. What does healing look like?
4. What one life-affirming action will you do beautifully and consistently, with love?

These four questions, conceived by my Real Speaking teacher Gail Larsen, powerfully and succinctly capture the process of life coaching and personal transformation. They go to the heart of our own truth, and call us to look with clear eyes at what is etched in our souls.

For most of us, there is at least one of these questions we’ve been avoiding for most of our lives. It could be any one of them. Perhaps we have not allowed ourselves to want what we want, to feel the joy of being fully alive. Or maybe we have masked ourselves with a facade of “perkiness” and images of “happiness” which belie the deep caverns of unexpressed pain in our hearts. Even if we have done the work of facing our deepest truths, we can get lost there if we never look beyond these current realities into a vision of what our lives could be. And finally, all the dreaming and scheming in the world is no substitute for taking actions which are aligned with the truths we have uncovered and pointed in the direction of our brightest visions. Read the rest of this entry »

“The quality of your life is directly proportional to the quality of your attention.”

My teacher, Silvia Nakkach, said this to us on several occasions throughout the past year at CIIS, during our journey of spiritual transformation through sound voice and music. It wasn’t until very recently that I started to appreciate the meaning behind these words, and how they applied not only to my life, but to every human being.

Have your ever stopped to consider, “What are you listening to?”

Today, two different coaching practice partners (yes, on the same day!) described to me their experience with noticing what they were listening to. I had sent a new tool several weeks ago to the first buddy – my Daily Sound Journal. The exercise was to choose a day in which you would decide to notice the sounds you hear, and to note your bodily reactions as well as thoughts that arise in response to the sounds.

I hadn’t gotten feedback from her until today, when she told me that as she consciously listened to the sounds she was hearing throughout a given day, she began to notice that there was very little silence in her days, and that she had very little choice over the sounds that she was listening to. This prompted her to make some immediate changes in her life that involved creating specific times of silence in each day, and being more proactive about choosing music to download for herself rather than accepting whatever was playing on the radio, for example. Read the rest of this entry »

Here was a Tweet from Martha Beck today, on her Sonoran STAR retreat: “Next time I need peace, remind me 2 head for the wilderness, close my pie-hole, and open my senses.”

This is the feeling I get whenever I descend into the place of deep listening. I do it each morning as my delicious wake-up ritual, and I do it in a richly connecting way each time I play improvised music. The differences between “learned” and improvised music are so vast that they are almost separate art forms in my mind. After a lifetime of learning to translate written notes into sounds on an instrument – or more like “maneuvers” in on an instrument – and training my eye-hand coordination by sight-reading in orchestras, I now play almost exclusively by ear. It’s not that I don’t value all that classical training. I’m just done with it for now. I’ve moved on to a different mode of playing, where I get to drop all notions of how things should be, stop thinking, and just listen. That’s my only job. My hands are trained sufficiently that I don’t have to think about where to go on my instrument. I can just play. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve started a new morning ritual that is working amazingly well so far. Instead of indulging in the idea of “winning the war” with my alarm clock, bargaining for a few extra minutes to myself before leaping out of bed to start chipping away at a “to do” list, I now look forward to getting out of bed for a totally different reason. I spend the very first part of my day connecting in to my body, my gratitude for the heavens, the earth, the beauty that surrounds me every day, and the nature of my true heart. I stretch gently, I breathe, I sit, I sound, and I take the time to notice where I am right now. I realize that where I am is not the story my mind is constantly constructing, saying “What if…?” or “Should I…?” or “Isn’t it…?” but right now is just this breath. When the next breath comes, a new “right now” has already been born. Read the rest of this entry »

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