The Loud Sound of Quiet

There’s a quiet, which happens when the end of something comes. I heard it before and while my dog died. I heard it again a few nights ago. For once, the silence was louder than all the noise outside.

Louder than the traffic noise from the highway. Than helicopters buzzing in the skies. Dogs barking. The yellow utility fan blowing cold air inside the house. A week of homeschooling (child in house all day). Chatter in my head about money. All taking a muted back seat to the silence within.

This doesn’t happen very often. Usually I have to escape the noise and find an external quiet spot to get quiet and even then the internal noise is still too loud. But something is shifting, and I’m listening. In the silence of that moment, I heard the soul whisper, It’s over. The time of so much change and so little abundance. The time of so much pressure and so little peace. So much restriciton and so little freedom. The time of squeezing. It’s over. 

You might say (or truer yet, my Sergeant Williamson says), Nikki there is always abundance. There is always peace. There is always freedom. You just have to choose them. I could defend this, but I am going to let it be. No need. We go through what we must. Handle it as we do. And in time come through to another side.

On the other side of pressure. Restriction. Lack. Worry- is a space of silence and knowing, which whispers, It’s over. Not the kind of over that mimics former president Bush’s sign, ‘Mission Accomplished’ as he boasted an end of a war that was far from over, but more of an over where spring turns into summer and summer turns into fall and fall into winter. Where once summer occurs, spring can no longer be seen. Sometimes not even remembered, until of course it arrives again.

As we try to concrete our experiences here, we forget our life is cyclical. Our movement rhythmical. The darkest times carrying with them pressure and suffering seem to never want to leave. The brighter days, where are souls are happy and free we think will always last, or at least we want them to. During my dark days, I forgot what it felt like to love. I didn’t realize this until I got a text from my daughter- the same moment I was listening to the silence.

Earlier I was at Target, arriving much too late to look at my favorite designer Missoni, and their new wares. All that was left- a pair of black suede pumps. I don’t even wear pumps, but thought I might charge them. I sent my daughter a text with a picture of them, asking for her opinion. I didn’t buy the shoes and her reply came several hours later.

Unless you love them, I wouldn’t get them. 

When I had money, I was open to finding things I loved because if I loved it I felt I could buy it. Living within my meager means of the past several years, I’ve turned that openness off. Yes, I speak only of materialistic means- shoes, clothes, etc but little did I know I turned off my love valve everywhere else as well. I stopped loving my job as homemaker/parent. I forgot I loved to write. I stopped loving clothes because mine were ripping and sadly out of date. I stopped loving my hair that was falling out. I stopped loving the small things, like curling up with a good book or taking a hot, lavender scented bath. I stopped loving going out and participating. I stopped loving life, and then life sort of stopped. Or ran increasingly stale. This has been the cycle of the past several years.

The whisper says, It’s over…

So what does over look like? At present there isn’t a DJ playing Celebration outside of my window. I have yet to see a fat lady sing, unless I start. There is no amount of cash in my mailbox…yet. But spring usually doesn’t start with hot sunshine and cookouts on the beach either. It starts with the appearance of the first robin. A small sliver of grass. Wet patches of water and ice on the sidewalks, that were once mounds of snow.

Here are my signs: I laugh more. A man at 7-11 with a foreign tongue said to me while using a full circle hand gesture, I appreciate you like this. I am finally dealing with my 11-year old daughter- sitting down with her every weekday morning to help her learn the basics of life and school that she hasn’t received. I remembered I LOVE writing. I bought two Missoni items online that I do love. And I am learning Italian, the language of love. But the truest sign, is the silent sound within my soul, the truest companion I know, whispering to me, It’s over.

To hear the silence on the inside is the gift given when we survive being squeezed from the pressure of our dark days. To have the silence override the surface chaos is what it means to live from the inside out, and to do so in a conscious, direct way. To hear the silence on the inside means we no longer get as twisted and turned about by the winds of change, and S P A C E proceeds again for what we love. We hear the silence. We sense the rhythms. We know when one way ends and another begins. We grieve and we celebrate within the two, and we do it all while saying non mi dispiace (Italian for, I don’t mind).

Off to Big Bear for some (more) peace and quiet- and laughter. I will report again next week.


The Soul Reporter

>Got Grit?: Harnessing the Hunger


I watched part of the Oprah interview with Whitney Houston. Unfortunately I missed the first one. I have my own opinions about what I think of Whitney’s “comeback.” I am not sure she is through the woods, as if any of us really are, but here is what I resonated with, and some of what I will be writing about in this blog.
During the “dark” times of Ms. Houston, when she was in an abusive marriage and in addictive patterns, Oprah asked her- to paraphrase- “Did you ever think- this is it. That this life you were living was just the way it was going to be?”
Whitney said- again to paraprhase- “No, I have too much spirit.”
Where Oprah followed with, “So, you knew there was more.”
This is the simple, yet profound answer- why some of us move through our confinements toward our greatness, and others seem to stand still, caught up in the same pain and drama, moving in a circle of more of the same pain and drama- those of us who change, know there is more.
I was in a conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago. As I was speaking about wanting to move out of the confining energy of my current environment, the word gritty came out of my mouth. Prior to this, I had never used this word, and when I spoke it, the energy of it fit what I knew I needed to get out of the confinement. GRIT.
In the dictionary grit or gritty means: courage and resolve; strength of character. To be quite honest I had no idea what the word even meant until I just looked it up. This often happens when I write. A word will come through I never use in my everyday speaking, and the definition always fits perfectly. Anyway, for me, and I would imagine for many of us, IT IS TIME TO GET GRITTY.
My last post, I investigated time. I said the next one would be on energy, and I think grittiness ties in well. In that post I said that energy, not time, is our most precious resource. So if we feel we lack energy, like we often feel like we lack time, what is clogging up our energy? What is making us stuck and confined? In terms of just pure energy, without going into our confining beliefs and mental patterns, it is inertia. Inertia is: a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Isn’t that the perfect word?
There can be many reasons why inertia takes hold. We may be tied up in seeking approval, and having expectations. If our expectations aren’t met, we will be disappointed. If disappointment is allowed to reign in our brain, we will become bitter. And bitterness will lead to lethargy- and then you have inertia- and no more change for you (at least until you change your mind).
We may have low self-esteem as I did as a young girl. Because of this I created a pattern of not showing up for school, and flunking all of my classes. I did go onto to night school so I could graduate, and then to college (because I wanted more). However, the low self-esteem lingered and caused 12+ years of inertia on many writing projects, that are just now getting on their way.
The pattern of inertia is easy, and dangerous to slip into, and often hell to get out of. For example, as I watched The Biggest Loser the other night, all I could think of was how much effort it is going to take for these 400+ people to climb out of their tomb of inertia, which is being represented by their bodies. The good news is, climbing out is possible. The momentum of lethargy can be beaten by the energy of grit. When we break out of this pattern, we enter into the energy of a higher intention, where there is more flow and enthusiasm.
Which leads me to a question, I have often asked myself- what drives us? Is it this higher intention, or fear, or is it a mixture with no separation at all? Let’s investigate….
Some people, like Madonna and Oprah, for example, seem to have energy for decades. I wonder, what drives them? What drives me? I used to be obsessed with my boyfriend, who is now my husband. As I followed him to work, or sat in my car by his house, or wrote him letters, or stayed up waiting for his car to come into the driveway, I’d wonder: what if I put this energy into something more worthwhile? Imagine how I might make a difference? Which brings me back to what drives us- and whatever it is, will it sustain us?
I can tell you insecurity, and fear of abandonment is what fueled my obsessive pursuit of my husband. I don’t know for certain what fuels Madonna, or Oprah. Is it insecurity? Fear of failing? Fear of slowing down to face some pain or loss? Or is it soul purpose? Passion? Intention to serve others? Or a mixture of all of these?
Being driven by selfish desires, may seem to get us where and what we want, but whatever “windfalls” we might have will be lost. I had a desire for a safe and secure home, and family life. This desire was fueled by a scared, and insecure little girl who did not have those things. The desire was both pure and innocent, and full of fear and lack. And when the dream to become more authentic and real became stronger, the house with the white picked fence and the family inside, crumbled so that a new reality could come forward.
So, if we are being driven by fear, how can we focus on something with the same kind of passion and energy but without the drama- to be driven only by the higher intentions, rather than the human insecurities of lack and fear and selfish desires? My human insecurity wants it all to happen instantly, and of course perfectly. But my spiritual perspective says, it is a process, an often messy, yet orderly one, which will eventually lead us to a place where we will come to trust the force driving us is for good, and not evil, and we are free to move from this place.
I think of little Mattie Stepanek, a boy I trust moved from the pure place of his highest intention. He was the little boy who befriended Oprah (and yes, not the other way around). He had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, and died at age 13. In 13 years, Mattie participated more fully in life, than most of us do that are here a lot longer. He not only found his heart song, he shared it with us all. He is the perfect example of a life well lived, even with such a debilitating illness.
The way we use our energy in life reminds me of the story of the Three Little Bears. As we know, Papa bear’s chair was too hard. Mama bear’s chair was too soft. But baby bear’s chair was just right. Some of us live too hard. We use our energy, especially in our youth to drink, go out, get obsessed in relationships, then jobs and more addictions. These pursuits will slowly and eventually take our energy. My mother lived this way, and now she is tired, and almost depleted at age 67.
Then there are others who like mama bear live too soft. They sit in their comfortable, soft chairs, which are draped in fear and insecurity. They are so comfortable, they don’t think they need change, and don’t want to upset the apple cart. But deeper than this they are afraid to change. Because of this fear, They have all of this unused energy inside of them, that overtime will stale, and eventually dissipate.
And then there is baby bear, like Mattie, who live just right. These people, on some deep level understand their true nature. They live by a spiritual perspective, and do not worry about how much time they have on the planet. They just give, and receive in each moment. I have a feeling these souls are rare, however I trust we are all working toward such rarity.
My prayer since working toward this rarity is, God, use me up. I don’t want to leave here until I am all used up. I want to be a vessel, which stands in her truth and soulful desires, and I want to be used for my messages and my gifts. I want to live life and experience fully. I don’t want to miss a thing. I have no desire to satisfy temporary urges like I once did because those petty desires are giving way to a larger desire to satisfy my longing of true and real life.
As I end this post, I encourage us to be thoughtful of our most precious resource. Keeping in mind, if we live too hard by getting caught up in our own desires and needs, our own cravings and indulgences, which serve no one but ourselves, if we run through life to avoid pain, chasing this and that, then our life force will leave us too soon. If we are afraid to live, for fear we are unworthy, or we will lose ourselves, or for fear of attachments, we will lose our life force too soon. Look at Michael Jackson. Such talent and gifts he did give, however he also gave that energy to medicating his pain. Gone too soon.
And when we do wake up and realize this about our most precious resource and we want to make a change to either get grounded and stabilize our energy if we’ve lived too hard, or to expand and use our energy if we’ve lived too soft, trust we will have the energy to make these changes. I truly believe once we commit to change, and ground into our higher intentions, energy will come, and the potential for new life will near. We don’t need a near death experience or tragic event for this, which often happens. We can choose it right now. And I know some of us, will hold onto our fears, and bitterness until the very end never waking up to what could have been.
If you feel the fire inside. If you hunger for something more, don’t deny it or feed it more chips and cookies(like I have done for 30+ years). Instead, harness that hunger. See it for what it is, a true longing for life, and get gritty about living it. It’s time to do it, and be it. Because when we are inspired (in-spirit) our energy renews.
The -Energetic- Soul Reporter
Oh, and I know this is a long post, but I want to leave it with this- a poem from Mattie, called:

Faces of Faith

I wish that the people who have
Anger and hatred and sadness
Will remember about their Heartsongs,
And get them back.
Everyone is born with a Heartsong,
But as we grow up,
Sometimes we forget about it,
Because we don’t listen to it enough.
And the people of war, well,
They really need to get them back.
Their Heartsongs really need to live,
Because when we die,
They are what rise up.
I want that to happen to me.
I want my Heartsong to rise up, and
I am trying my best down here on earth.
You really can go to Heaven.
Everyone can.
But sometimes,
You have to sit in ThinkTime
When you lose your Heartsong.

>Be Alive in Two-Thousand and Nine

>I have been watching Oprah’s new shows about Living your Best Life. Her trainer Bob Greene was on, and for homework had us ask what we are really hungry for- obviously as it pertains to emotional eating.  I asked myself this question and the immediate answer I got: to be alive.  I am hungry to feel alive.

When I eat a piece of chocolate, as I was when Bob was asking this question, the smoothness and silkiness of the chocolate gives me a feeling of being alive.  When I was having a sugar low from not eating any the other day, when a basket of M&M cookies appeared, I ate one and instantly woke up.
I am trying to get my husband to make me feel alive by giving me attention and talking to me.  I used to go shopping to feel alive.  A spiritual teacher on Oprah said, “Give me drama so I feel alive.”  Could it be everything we do is so we can feel alive?  
We are alive, aren’t we? But why don’t we feel it?  
So here is my intention for 2009- to ask myself this question and begin living the answers:
What behaviors can I begin NOW to make me feel more alive?  (Just so you know, writing this blog was one of those behaviors- instead of the chocolate, which I still may have.)
What’s crucial here is what behaviors can I begin because it isn’t up to someone else to make me feel alive.  Or some substance or addictive behavior.  It is up to me bring out what is within me, which I know will make me feel more alive.  It is false to believe an M&M cookie can really make me feel alive, at least in the long term. In the long term my sugar consumption will cause me diabetes, cancer and who knows what else.  Am I alive then?  
What behaviors can you begin in 2009 to make you feel more alive?  Further, what behaviors are you doing presently that you think are making you feel alive?  Are they really making you feel more alive, or are they zapping vital energy from you; such as the cookies, the shopping, the co-dependent relationships.  
What does being truly alive mean to you? What would it feel like?  What would it look like? What patterns and behaviors are obstructing your true Self; a self which is alive, vibrant and full of energy?
Let’s make 2009 be the year we let go of what is false and dampens us, and realize what truly fuels and feed us- the awakening energy of our souls.

>The Next Level

>The other day I noticed a woman walking by my house carrying the book, Simple Abundance. 

Recently a woman I know told me she has begun reading this same book. 
Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach came into my life in 1997. I was 25.  I read it everyday, bringing it with me to Maui on a three week vacation.  I would get up- read my daily page and feeling comfort and joy I went on my morning jog/walk along the beach, and then stopped at the farmer’s market for fruit.  These were perfect days.
Yesterday morning, while walking through the farmer’s market, which is not in Maui, I overheard two women speaking. One was talking about living in the moment- “I take a step back,” she said, “breathe, and remind myself to be in the moment.”
It seems women are waking up everywhere, and it makes me smile.  
Some of you may have noticed I’ve revamped my blog site. On a personal level, it has taken a few days to make this transition. Past readers may recall many deeply personal and honest posts about my current experience of living with my mother, issues within my relationship, and other intimate writings based on the state of my world.  
Although risky, I enjoy being honest and open with others about who I am in any given moment.  It is one way I connect with others, and hopefully through my honesty, touch a place deep within another to inspire new thought, new direction or just commonality, which is so important in an increasingly perceived ‘isolated’ world, where many of us feel alone and unsettled within ourselves.  Perhaps this is why so many reach out to the blogs.  We are curious about others. We long for connection.
For those who are accustomed to my personal posts, trust that woman is present, still here living and processing much in the same way.  However, now, I consciously choose to use this blog in a different way, and I hope you will continue to visit and share your comments with me. I thank you for holding the space while I processed some of my deepest energies out loud.  
So….back to the women I noticed this week.  It’s time for us, for many of us, to take ourselves to the next step on the evolutionary ladder.  For some of us it might mean reading a book such as Simple Abundance to help us remember to take care of ourselves, see the beauty in all things and be grateful.  For others it is time to delve into the shadows, where we don’t often like to go- to experience and learn from those things inside of us we’ve either ignored or denied, but need to go into in order to grow.  And others, it is time to let go of our stories a little bit more and become the teachers and healers we are.  
If we are to thrive, and for some survive, we are going to have to step it up- and this is a good thing.  
What does the next level feel like?  Here, there is more energy and more flow; less restriction and more expansion; less weight and more light.  Our digestion may be off- we may feel a need to change our diet.  Here is where the higher energies can move down into the physical and manifestations can occur.  
Let us now take the time to wonder where we have been in our life:
What season are you in, in your life? Have you hit a plateau?  Do you trust there is more?  Do you desire more? What is the foundation you have set, and is it sturdy enough for you to move forward?  Who do you want to become? How do you want to become?  
Let us use our imaginations.  Let us become curious about our own natures, and pay attention to the subtleties within us and around us.  Let us, as it has been said, “follow our bliss” and our curiosities.