Tag: laurel ley
Posted by: Angela Coulter | on May 30, 2017
I love gardens; always have. To me, there’s something so fundamental to my own core being … so breath-inducing …. so beautiful …. so alive. I always feel closer to myself, closer to inspiration, closer to All, connected to All.
To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a structured English-style garden …. Hakone Gardens which is near where I grew up and is one of the oldest Japanese-style residential garden in the Western Hemisphere …. The Tuileries and Carrousel Gardens which is part of the Louvre in Paris …. Filoli Gardens, also near where I grew up …. my dad’s extensive vegetable, fruit, and flower garden …. fields of fresh growing produce which can be found across this amazing United States …. a personal garden in a backyard …. or even a bunch of pots with plants grouped together.
I could spend hours just enjoying the presence of the living vegetation as well as the other living beings such as dragonflies, butterflies, bees, etc. Even as I type this, thinking of gardens I’ve enjoyed, my psyche begins to get all energized and I feel uplifted.
I begin to take deeper, more fulfilling breaths.
Still, something was missing for me.
My parents always had amazing green thumbs; I did not inherit this; or hadn’t until ……
….. bing … a lightbulb went off. I came to realize I had yet to experience creating and maintaining my own garden …. versus just enjoying others’ creations.
From this awareness, I realized there was a metaphor for me … meaning, “my garden” represented the relationship to myself. Am I, or to what degree am I, actively engaged in my own life?
Last fall, with some guidance from a neighbor who is my “garden muse,” I started planting in various places in my small front and back yards as well as in lots of pots. I’ve found one of my most inspiring and insightful choices is to purchase plants from the clearance area at my local Lowe’s stores. It used to be that if the plant didn’t survive, I wouldn’t feel as bad that I wasted money.
This habit of purchasing the clearance plants now has a completely different lesson and insight for me. I have found such reward and personal validation when a plant that was barely living is now thriving.
The more I develop the relationship with my plants, the more I develop the relationship with myself. It starts in a simple, literal sense … My connection/meditation time for the day includes going out daily to check on my plants, water them, move around the ones in pots which don’t seem to be doing so well in their current location. Often, I’m joined in my outside time by a bee who frequents the front yard, a dragonfly who is partial to the plants in the side yard, and most recently in the backyard, a new swallowtail butterfly which was fluttering all over one day showing me what it could do with its lovely wings.
As I connect with my plants and their insect friends, it reminds me to connect to myself …. “Am I watering myself (enough) daily?” “What am I feeding myself?” “How am I doing in my current location?” “Do I need more sunshine, more shade?” “Who am I connecting with, or not connecting with?” “Am I taking time for myself to just breathe?” “Am I enjoying moments of just being?”
The other thing about having “my own garden” to enjoy versus watching or enjoying others’ gardens, is that my focus in life is now on ME. I no longer look for someone to take care of my garden, nor am I off taking care of someone else’s garden. I’ve found that …..
I am joyfully and gratefully responsible for creating and maintaining my own thriving garden.
P.S.. Both photos are from my garden. In the top photo, the pink flower in the large pot in back is a “Guara.” This winter all that showed of the plant was a bit of the woody stem; it wasn’t looking good. Some people may have even thrown it out.
I heard to give it time, water, and love …. and voila, look how gorgeous it is! This too has been my experience with myself. When I accept myself as I am, and provide time, water, and love … I too have blossomed. What a beautiful blossom I am.
Posted by: Angela Coulter | on December 28, 2016
Recently, I was walking my two male Dachshunds as I do most days. I had already walked my Border Collie and two female Dachshunds. Courtney, the senior girl and self-proclaimed “Queen”, was riding in her “moveable throne or carriage”, otherwise known as a dog stroller. Since the dogs have access to the backyard via a dog door, the walks are for fun and connection as they often will see neighbors and get some attention, such as pets or kisses; if they’re lucky, they’ll get treats as well.
The walks had gone and were going just about “normal” … lots of start and stops … sniff sniff, pee … sniff, roll in the grass, etc. Celt, the Border Collie who came from Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina,, is not seeing nor hearing so well, plus he has arthritis in his back hips. Acupuncture helps, to a degree. None of that seems to interfere with his pursuit of finding something to forage from in our walk, whether dropped food or Canadian Goose or cat poop. Then, he slows down at the second part of the walk while my youngest Dachshund girl, Missy (aka Miss America) is pulling to go faster.
So, here I am …. pushing the throne, lifting Queen Courtney up and down throughout the walk as she demands … keeping Celt from eating whatever, waiting for him to finish his socializing with neighbors … helping Missy to slow down and enjoy the walk … sometimes standing with Missy 16 feet forward pulling me that way, Celt 16 feet behind me, me trying to not pull him … and reminding myself that we’re all out here for “FUN”.
~whew~ I survive the first walk, and start the second after a short break. I don’t usually have this attitude about walking but I really wasn’t feeling well; yet I was “determined” to take them.
The boys were doing their “usual” … each often walking at their own pace which is usually way behind or way ahead of the pace I was at; and often one was walking way behind and one way ahead, with me again in the middle. Camo will run way ahead … and Scoo will start barking at neighbors, other animals, completely enjoying themselves …. and sometimes contributing to “mommy” feeling a bit stressed and crazy.
…. And then in a moment, IT ALL SHIFTED ….
The boys and I were walking down one long stretch, there was a bit of a wind blowing, the temperature was wonderfully in the mid-70s ….
I found myself fully in the present … enjoying the boys enjoying their walk with mommy …. the wind …
At that time, I realized “Today is blissful” …. period.
It didn’t matter that I had a long to-do list, or I hadn’t been physically been feeling very well and earlier had felt like I could just crawl onto the couch and stay there for a while … or that Courtney had just been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and the medication was making her sick … or I had unexpectedly been in the ER and then the hospital a couple of weeks earlier ….. or, that I have long-term bills to pay off ….. … or that my elderly mom (don’t tell her I used that term) has been having health issues and I live 3,000 miles away, etc.
All that mattered ….. all that matters … is that in each and every moment, I can choose bliss.
It really is that simple. Breathe in bliss …. breathe out bliss. Live in and from bliss.
Posted by: Admin | on February 3, 2016
Ever felt as if you were just going through the motions? Found yourself frowning more than smiling in life? Wondering if this is all life has to offer? Counting the days, hours, and/or minutes to the next moment you might feel some pleasure, regardless of the source or of how little it might last? Find yourself doing things which are out of integrity for who you’d like to be in life in order to just feel good about something? Hesitant to look too closely at your past choices and actions for fear of being overwhelmed by too much emotion, possibly regret?
If so, you’re not alone. I had felt that way for a good majority of my life, and wasn’t even aware of it. I was born in 1960 and raised Catholic… including 18 years of Catholic school. In that era, there seemed to be an overriding life philosophy of sacrifice and suffering and just not having “too much” fun. Or, if you did, you were “bucking the system.” This still seems to be a perception in society, at least in the United States. Otherwise, if you’re having “too much fun,” which usually means enjoying all aspects of life … then you must be “up to something” or “getting away with something”. I mean, surely we’re not supposed to be enjoying life when others might judge we need to be “upset” or “concerned.”
Yep, I am “up to” enjoying life … I am “getting away” with enjoying all aspects of my life! Nowadays, I look at most aspects of life as fascinating.
Life can be so much more than just plodding through. Not only is it possible … it’s possible for YOU, AND it doesn’t have to take years or lots of money. For me, it’s merely taken the willingness to change how I viewed life.
So, if you’re ready to experience the inner shifting of how you view life … If you’re ready to fully experience life including one regularly filled with fun, joy, bliss, happiness, laughter … and most of all, PEACE … then keep on reading.
Regardless of the day-to-day things that can pull at us and our peace, this is within your reach. It’s okay if your health, boss, job, relationship, finances, living situation, anything that has issues – and some seem insurmountable – is not how you want to live in this moment. I found that once I came to look at life fully – when I came to ACCEPT what had happened, what choices I had made and especially what actions I took – the peace started to come.
So what happened? What changed my inner perspective?
Around 2009, it’s as if a light switch went on. I realized I just didn’t want to continue to live my life feeling unfulfilled, feeling as if I was subject to the whims of life. It wasn’t necessarily one thing that turned on the light; it was the accumulation of a series of things. I think I finally got to the point of being “sick and tired” of being miserable and hoping for more. I became willing to shift and live more. In retrospect, the things which at the time I labeled “not fair”, “negative”, “bad things” are the ones for which I am now most grateful,
Initially, the peace came in small spurts … then in waves … ebbing and receding …. until one day I realized that it wasn’t the waves which reflected the peace …. it was experiencing the whole of the ocean, whether calm or storms … which reflected the entirety of the tapestry of my life and was key to my inner peace. When I fully looked into some of the seemingly more painful aspects of my life, I realized I wouldn’t be where I am now without each of those incidents occurring. I thought of the many people whose lives I touched in the simplest of ways, a “hello,” a smile … I wouldn’t be there in that moment unless everything had unfolded in my life how it had! Was I willing to risk changing my history, not knowing the effect on others? Instead of longing to have experienced a different history, a different series of pasts … I realized what I could do is change how I viewed it all.
In one of my favorite and enlightening resources of all time – which I was introduced to in 2012 – an article in Sun Magazine titled “The Prayer for the Body,” Stephen Schwartz says:
This work is an exercise in nonviolence toward oneself — approaching everything we’ve called an enemy with absolute, undeviating love. It is an exercise in personal nonviolence, in treating oneself with the most unbelievable compassion. ….
There are people who would try to bring nonviolence into the world, even though they can’t approach their own loneliness with complete nonviolence. How could they deal with somebody else in a nonviolent way? To know nonviolence means that you have no enemies inside yourself; that your loneliness, your grief, your anger are not your enemies.
A couple of years later (during which time was the beginning of deep self-work) I was introduced to Trinity Energy Progression, and my life began to change in exponential ways. All the pieces snapped into place. I took responsibility for creating the life I want to live NOW, and moving forward.
Across all of the experiences I had, all that I studied, I began to be grateful for everything, every pain, every heartache, and every sadness. I started to love myself, and my entire life. I began to embrace those aspects which were scary. Most importantly to me, I became willing to release my attachment to all of these situations, to looking at life only through a grey lens. I took out my kaleidoscope, literally, and made a decision to view life through that lens; through multiple reflections.
It was when my relationship with life changed and I have been on an active path to learn to be “grateful” for everything and I mean EVERYTHING ….. to learn to look at every single thing as a mirror for me to have an opportunity to shift how I view life ….. to accept myself, all of my choices and all of my actions … and to have peace about it all. My attitude, NONE of my attitude has anything to do with anyone else.
Some might think I had an “easier” life then they did and this shift isn’t possible for you with how your life has been … I guarantee you …. IT IS POSSIBLE. It’s the divine right of each of us to live a life of peace.
The specifics of my path aren’t necessarily relevant as each path is different AND you do NOT have to go through a long, complex process … The interesting paradox is in coming to a place of loving everything about yourself and your life, especially my “past” freed me up to live life in the present.
So, here’s what I suggest you consider doing:
- Love yourself; embrace all aspects of yourself;
- Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” …. If there are some things you can’t yet be grateful for, then start at becoming willing to be grateful for those situations and people;
- Stop judging anything and everything, including yourself and your life;
- Put the focus of YOUR life on YOU ….. no matter what, look at every situation as a reflection of something you are choosing to experience … you CAN do this, it may take practice;
- Look at any resistance, any reaction to anyone or any situation as the road map for your inner work …
When you start living your life realizing that YOU can change how you react to anything, you will begin to experience inner peace and a new freedom you could only dream of. Continue on that path, and it will become your reality.
As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl of “Man’s Search for Meaning” says,
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Come on, get out your kaleidoscope and let’s play! Want to know more? Feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to connect, and to play!
With gratitude for my life,
Posted by: Admin | on August 30, 2015
I have no companion but Love, no beginning, no end, no dawn. The Soul calls from within me: “You, ignorant of the way of Love, set Me free.” ~ Rumi
She looked and looked
She ran to and fro
She wailed and laughed
She looked and looked into the reflections
…. and then she breathed.
It was the breath of knowing;
The breath of trust;
The breath of life.
She accepted the reflection of …
the sales clerks
the ones she thought she hated
the ones who left
the customer service reps
the ones who said “no”
It was then she found the home she had been looking for, praying for, asking for ….
The one her Soul longed for
It was then that the love affair began.
“Everything we do is in service of our needs. When this one concept is applied to our view of others, we’ll see that we have no real enemies, that what others do to us is the best possible thing they know to do to get their needs met.” ~ Marshall Rosenberg
Choose connection and living with bliss.