What Can a Grasshopper Teach You About Life?


Moving through a milestone birthday sparks introspection, analysis and hopefully, forgiveness of yourself and others. The stories you created about past events and the people involved shaped your idea of self. These are the stories through which you filter reality.

When you step back and look at these shaping stories from a different perspective, you suddenly realize that they are no longer true. You have grown past the limiting stories from your childhood or young adulthood, and you didn’t even realize it!

That is the wonder of a milestone birthday. You assess the past to curate the present to create a different future.

What About the Grasshopper?

tobias-knauer-739430-unsplashYou may be wondering when I am going to explain the title of this article. Stay with me and it will become crystal clear.

One way I continue to experience the growth of my self is to read inspirational stories, books or poems in the morning. A poem by Mary Oliver that landed in my inbox this morning is what prompted me to write this post:Grasshopper

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

What a great question to ask at any age, but especially when moving through a milestone birthday!  My answer: to stay awake and aware of the wonder and majesty of everything around me, to allow God’s love to flow through me into the world, and to grab hold of inspired action and see where it takes me.

What’s your answer to that question??? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

No Matter Where You Are


The experience of being human is an adventure, no matter where you happen to be in the world. Cultures place different values on the experience, but there are certain values that remain the same, no matter where you are.

Family. Friends. Belief in a higher power.

In my travels this year, I have noticed one difference. How people use their cell phones.

A cell phone is a wonderful invention that connects, informs and directs, all from the palm of your hand. With the swipe of a finger, you can learn the history of anything or discover the answer to the most obscure question.

But this tool can also isolate and separate people.

When I was in Hong Kong and Sydney this year, I noticed that most people used their phones as a shield against the world. It was a sign that clearly said, “Don’t bother me.”

This is not a comment on either city, just an observation.

In Paris, however, it is a different story. The Parisians may come across as rude or indifferent to tourists, but when they are with friends, they are intense, engaged and attentive.

Yesterday, for example, we had lunch at a sidewalk cafe. To our right was a group of three men who were engaged in a spirit discussion. Different voices made emphatic points, to which the others responded. All of this communicated over food.

To our left were two women, also engaged in a deep conversation. Each looked into the other’s eyes, listening attentively.

No one had their cell phone out. It was not in sight and was never used during either of these conversations.

I didn’t think much about this until we took a stroll last evening along the Seine. Notre Dame rose in the sunset as small groups of people enjoyed the cooler air. Food and wine were part of every gathering…and not a cell phone in sight.

We are humans, wired to be connected to each other. Why don’t we pledge to leave our phones out of sight and intend to listen. When we connect to others, we also connect more deeply to ourselves.

Viva la humans!

Live Like A Wrinkle in Time


Have you ever wondered where time came from? It seems real enough, until you start playing with it. Then, time becomes malleable, pliable and totally manipulatable.

Time is an illusion of the mind.

Don’t believe me? Remember your first kiss with someone important to you. Did it happen in the snap of your fingers, or was it slow motion, just like in the movies? Either way, the same amount of seconds (or minutes) ticked off the clock, but your perception of the event was completely your own.

Why am I writing about time? I just finished watching “A Wrinkle in Time,” based on the childhood classic book by Margaret L’Engle. The story is about how powerful we are, based on the thoughts we think. When thoughts are combined with emotion, they can shift our reality. Love or darkness fuels these changes. It is always our choice which one we use to create our world.

What does this have to do with time? The movie has a science fiction element, because the main characters jump into a different dimension, outside of time and space. They carried love with them and evolved into more powerful creators as events unfolded.

I feel as if I have jumped out of time and space.

I forgot to share that I am traveling at 551 mph at 39,003 feet as we fly more than 8,400 miles from Sydney, Australia to Dallas, Texas. While these data points provide a solid context, it’s what happens to time that fascinates me.

We left Sydney at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 28, 2018. Traveling east means that we gain time. We will land in Dallas, Texas at 1:31 p.m…on May 28! Basically, we live the same day over!

Doesn’t that blow your mind? I feel like I have stepped into a wrinkle in time.

After I stepped through the sliding doors at DFW Airport and into the arms of my family, I knew exactly how I would spend the extra hours that traveling around the world gifted me.

In love. Being love and loved. Grateful for this life of love.

We step out of time when we love. Time is a mental construct that holds our experience in our minds. Love is a heart activity that is infinite and outside of time.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

The Illusion of Life: Balinese Style


“We are energetic beings with consciousness.”

The first time I heard that sentence was at a women’s retreat in Bali. Eleven women on a spiritual journey to find their own truth. Eleven women who traveled great distances to share a brief space of time to learn, connect and evolve.

Our group was diverse in age (the youngest was 34; the oldest, including me, were in their late 50s). Each one of us carried the deep desire to shed old beliefs, dissolve our limiting stories and become more authentic.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my shedding began when I sat in the car on the way to the hotel from the airport. Chaotic traffic, hundreds of scooters and cars vying for the same spot on the pavement, all at the speed of life.

My fear of crashing was triggered immediately. My body tightened, my breath became shallow and I became my fear.

Until I looked at our driver, Nengah, and noticed how calm he was in the middle of chaos. His hands were gently resting on the steering wheel, his shoulders were relaxed and his focus was complete. He never reacted as a scooter zoomed past us, between our car and oncoming traffic. He never became angry or upset at anything that was happening on the other side of the windshield.

He was present, mindful and aware.

It was my first lesson on the illusion of Bali. I brought my Western awareness to this place and judged it based on my perception. But I failed to see that I was looking at the illusion, not the underlying reality.

“We are energetic beings with consciousness.”

The Balinese know this as a fact and they live from this place. They may describe it differently, but their presence in the present becomes obvious as you spend more time with them.

During the retreat, I also learned that we are conscious creators of our reality. Our reality begins and ends with our internal eyesight. What we see in our mind’s eye is what we will see when light is refracted off our eyeballs.

As creators, we change our reality when we change our internal vision. Meditation, visualization and gratitude are ways to stay centered. As you emerge into the world from these practices, your energy goes before you, almost like a magic carpet. You invite the same energy into your reality that you radiate.

Life becomes a beautiful dance.

It’s so simple but many of us have forgotten our own power to create our reality. We see the physical and interpret its meaning, based on our perception in that moment. The illusion becomes our reality, because we are on the inside of it.

We have forgotten that we are energetic beings with consciousness.

The Balinese live this way. They wake in the morning and give thanks. They create offerings and place them in the doorways, at the base of the shrines, and at the foot of waterfalls. Anywhere they see God’s signature on the world, they celebrate with gratitude.

My intention is to see beyond the illusion of the physical, to the energetic life force that supports and connects everything. To first clean up my own energy before interacting with others. And to consciously allow the essence of life to flow through me as loving energy.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

I Touched Bali’s Heart Today


As I was absorbing the vertical farming of the Balinese rice fields, I heard a small voice behind me.

“Will you buy some postcards? It is for my school.”

The tone of the question drew me in. Plaintive, victimized and small, her voice called out for all the compassion I held. But I knew that this child, still dressed in her school uniform, was not a victim. Or small. Or needy.

You could see it in her eyes. Balinese embody the knowledge that they are worthy and loved. They stay in touch with the wisdom to see the truth of life.

We are all expressions of the Divine.

I gently said no to her and shook my head. Her voice followed me down the steps, trying to connect to my tourist spirit. As soon as my head dropped out of sight, I heard her voice return to normal, strong and confident.

As we continued down the stairs and descended into the valley, the terraced rice fields rose above us. Green, vibrant and active, farmers walked along the top of each level tending to their fields. Calm, centered and focused, they moved with the same pace, creating a mindful dance.

The tourists stood out among the farmers. People made their way along the terraces, but their energy was totally different. Hurried, determined and already thinking about the next stop, they took their pictures and asked, “What’s next?”

The farmers kept going, unfazed by the attention they received from foreigners. They were present, aware and awake. Nothing from the outside would disturb their centeredness.

We stopped at a small landing to rest for a moment. Two young girls were waiting to sell their postcards. I listened to their pleading voice and said no gently. Something promoted me to say what was in my heart.

I leaned down to their level and spoke to each one individually. I waited a moment for them to settle, then looked into their lovely, dark brown eyes. We connected. I felt it in my body and my heart opened in appreciation.

“You are beautiful,” I said spontaneously. I kept repeating it. “You are beautiful.” We continued to stay connected and the words flowed out of my heart.

“You are beautiful.”

Suddenly, instead to saying it to these lovely girls, I was saying it to myself.

“You are beautiful.”

Tears came to my eyes as I drank in that message. These beautiful souls reflected that message back to me and I saw it in the depths of their eyes. Time stood still in acknowledgment and I felt whole, healed and complete.

I put my hands in prayer position and bowed to them. They graced me with their beautiful smiles and I felt as if I had touched the heart of Bali.

We finished the climb down and admired the fields. On the way back up, following a line of tourists, I turned the corner and saw them again. They were working the crowd, but when they saw me, the charade immediately dissolved and they became themselves.

“You are beautiful!” Their high voices rang out across the valley as I celebrated with them. “You are beautiful!” Smiling and laughing, we shared the secret of
Bali.

Every person is a beautiful expression of God. When that knowing becomes your anchor and foundation, your life transforms. You return to your center and your heart opens to the beauty and majesty of life.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

The Wisdom Path


The Heart Sutra is a treasured text revered by Confucius, Buddhists and Taoist. It forms the basis for the Wisdom Path that lies above the Po Lin Monastery.

During a trip to China in 1980, Professor Jso Tsing fell in love with the simplicity of the Heart Sutra. He was inspired to write it in calligraphy and dedicated it to the people of Hong Kong in the same year. His work is now transcribed in large scale wooden beams that form the Wisdom Path.

Each log is positioned to reflect the topography. When seen from above, the overall design is a sideways figure 8, the Infiniti sign.

The plaque which describes the Heart Sutra is at the beginning of the path.

It is a ten minute walk to the start of the Wisdom Path. I followed a group of students who were going to the hostel located further up the hillside. Their youthful energy was contagious and I felt young and free.

Walking the path, a sense of peacefulness and serenity washed over me. After my experiences at the Monastery, I felt removed from my self. I cannot claim to understand the Heart Sutra; I just know that I felt the space between my small self and the connection to something much greater expand.

Another Path

If there is another trail that beckons, I can’t resist its calling. At the base of the Wisdom Path was the trail to the top of the peak. Guarded by a rooster, it was a trail I had to explore.

The path quickly became step, rough and long. The humidity of the day seemed to fall on me like a blanket. No one was going my way; the cautionary voice inside my head started singing out what could happen if…

I took a deep breath and kept going. And was rewarded by this view of the Wisdom Path.

You can almost make out the infinity sign, can’t you?

The path beckoned upward. I must have been an explorer in another life. It’s the only explanation that explains this desire to see around the next bend.

And then I discovered why I took this way. I was integrating my experience at the Monastery and on the Wisdom Path. Forced to pay attention to this moment, careful where I placed each foot, I was meditating in a waking state. No thoughts or judgments; no plans for the future or regrets about the past.

Just breathing (and sweating) in the here and now.

I paused on a flat part of the trail and took a sip of water. My emotions were calm and my thoughts silent. And then I turned and saw the confirmation of my experience.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Everyone Has a Backstory


Dear Back Story Human:

No one knows the other person’s backstory 100%. And most of the time, we never know the details of that person’s perspective or how they perceive the present moment.

Dogs don’t have this problem because we see the best in the person and don’t worry about their past. Humans hang onto their past and don’t see the person, as they are in the present moment.

That is why forgiveness is so important. You never forgive because the other person deserves it. You forgive because it releases you from the past and allows you to be present, right here. When you don’t forgive, you remain anchored to that painful event, and you miss all of the beauty and grandeur of the present moment.

Humans have been called “meaning making machines.” When something happens, you will create a story about that event. A story is the meaning that you assign to a situation, person or event about what it means to you. That story becomes the filter for the next moment.

Dogs love unconditionally, in the here and now. Dogs don’t know forgiveness, because to a dog, there is nothing to forgive. To a human, everything is a call to forgiveness.

Dogs stepped into the light of the campfire all those centuries ago to remind humans of a grander vision of life. We know how to live in bliss, happiness, and joy. Humans have forgotten, but with our help, you can remember and join us in the Heart Dance.

I know

You can be the person your dog thinks you are.

Love you tons,

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P.S.  If you have never started or been able to practice a daily meditation and journal ritual, I may have the solution. Click over to 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge and join their email list. You will receive a daily email with a short lesson, a meditation, journaling prompts and intention setting tools. It could be the start of a life-long journey!