A Tale of two orchids

I have no particular talent with plants. Sometimes I’m lucky. Other times not. But  I’ve developed a love for having orchids in my home. It started with Cymbidiums, those tall long leafed showy bursts of longitudinal color, that a friend turned me on to 20 years ago. Currently it’s the common strain of orchid I find at Whole Foods that fills the need. Generally they bloom for several weeks, and then go by. But over the past ten months or so, there’s been one that keeps on strutting its stuff, while its sister plant, which I got at exactly the same time and place, stands beside it, budless and bloomless. An orphan orchid. Barren. Sad. Alone.

Sisters

With nothing to lose,  I decided to experiment. I moved them closer together so their branches were touching. I told them they were sister plants, and encouraged the bloomer to teach the non bloomer its tricks. I spoke to them about loving each other and sharing their gifts (the non bloomer had beautiful unblemished deep green foliage) as I moved my hands around them — the way my mother used to do with the shabbas candles on Friday nights— and advised them to bloom in tandem. A week later, I noticed tiny buds forming where none had gone before. And lo! I now see five new buds, growing larger each day

No Expectations

Encouraging this relationship took little effort, and the results have been amazing. I expected nothing. My only intention was to give them a chance, to see what would happen. And voila! Rebirth. Resurrection. And so forth.

Heaven knows why we’re so self-centered as to believe that this is it. That we’re the alpha and omega. The peak of the mountain. The star on the tree. With our logical minds leading the way, we play the game of life, only by by our limited rules. But suddenly, here’s living proof that the invisible world exists. That there’s stuff going on unaccounted for. Beyond our ken.

Imagine

For, imagine, how it might be if we could rebud and rebloom like these orchids in whatever way we needed.. Perhaps we can. Perhaps all we need is someone to speak to us in loving tones, To remind us that we have the power, the gift, to repair and revive ourselves,—  to burst forth with new vitality. New life. Over and over again. And that this gifted magician is us. You and Me. Reclaiming ourselves in one endless loop of life.

* See my Face book page for photos

Here’s an image you may enjoy using to this end.

Close your eyes and breathe out one time. Imagine yourself as the gifted magician. See and sense your power  to co-create new life, know this power is sparked by loving words and grateful thoughts. See what needs revitalizing, both in yourself and others. Speak words of loving encouragement, and express the gratitude that is called for.  See these words and thoughts manifest as light that emanates from your heart. Notice what happens. Then breathe out and open your eyes.

Smoke Screen

Last week, a train stopped dead, 800 feet outside the L’enfant Plaza Metro station in DC. As passengers dealt with the darkness and the conductor’s conflicting narratives, smoke began filling the cars. They were told to get down low. To stay where they were. Not to open the doors, or to get out of the train. Some panicked. Some lost consciousness. Some prayed and tried to comfort each other. Some closed their eyes and remained calm. Eighty-four wound up at area hospitals. One woman died. And two people chose not to obey orders.

Just Following Orders

I’ve always been, unnerved by machines that stop, get stuck, go dark. Whether they be elevators, cars, trains, whatever. I’ve been tested and have failed miserably several times. I don’t quite panic, but I don’t stay calm. Yet there’s one thing I know for certain: my fear of being locked in and my terror of not being able to breathe, trump my fear of the dark and the unknown. As for following orders, I stopped doing that by the time was six.

Had I been unfortunate enough to be on this train,  I would have stuck with the former navy guy who labeled it “a situation,” then opened the doors, and offered to lead people out. Yes, there was the third rail to worry about, but if you’ve ever found yourself unable to breathe you get the picture. There were several who followed this man, as he walked away from the smoke toward the light. But by the time he got to the grating that led to the street there was only one person behind him. The others had all turned back.  

Become Your Own Authority

The voices of authority are easily enamored of themselves. They love to give orders. They tell you what to do and how to do it. As Rudy Giuliani walked the streets of New York after 9/11, taking up his role as “Leader” of the city’s millions of terrified pehple, he neglected to disclose that he’d approved the decision to put the emergency command center on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center. It must have slipped his mind.

Dan Baumbach, a software engineer from Merrick, was stunned to find that building officials in One World Trade Center were telling workers not to evacuate, even after the first jet struck. “You can try it, but it’s at your own risk,” he quoted one official as warning a hundred people on the 75th floor. Many went with his advice; Baumbach continued his descent and survived.

“The reason we got out,” Brumbach said,  ”was because we didn’t listen.

Imagine yourself on a smoke filled train, or in a high rise that has just been hit by a jet. Imagine how you’d feel. Imagine what you would do. How about choosing to Become your own authority.To listen to your first voice. For me, that’s the voice that says: What are you waiting for? Take your chances. Do it! Go. Get out! 

Yes. It’s that simple. There are no guarantees. No one knows any better than you do what may happen.So don’t analyze your choices. Just make them and move on.

Here’s an image to empower you to do this:  

Choose You Can’t Lose

 This is best done by having someone read it to you. Make your choices quickly. And go from the gut.

Close your eyes, breathe out and Choose:

 

Left or Right.

Day or Night.

Dark or Light.

Fast or Slow.

High or Low.

Yes or No.

Stay or Go.

 

 

 

 

Nice People

I used to think that “nice people” were people to avoid. For me, nice meant ordinary, boring, even phony, I was, without exception, a snob about niceness. More precisely about not being nice. At least in the ways that haunted the memories of my childhood, where niceness was the gold standard, and I lived at poverty level while trying to fool most of the people most of the time.

But only a fool doesn’t change its mind. So after making a move from Manhattan to Maryland, I’ve chosen to change mine. From this to that.  From nice meaning phony, second rate, fools’ gold. To nice meaning calm, kind, peaceful, even healing — the nice I’ve been encountering right here, right now, where the checkout woman at Trader Joe’s asks me what I’m planning for this beautiful afternoon, going beyond the standard “Did you find everything you need?”  And the woman next to me at the salad bar in Whole Foods, struggles to unseat one of their flimsy cardboard boxes, then offers it to me as I stand by, a bit embarrassed by her generous presence, and my own delayed reaction.

“I’m from New York” I tell her. “I’m not used to this kind of graciousness.”

“I’m from New York too,” she says.  ”I left a long time ago and I don’t regret it.”

When I tell folks down here that I’ve recently moved, their next question is “From where?” When I say, Manhattan, they seem blown away. “Why would you do that,” they say.  But “Why not?”  For despite my home town’s sexy cachet, and perhaps because of it, it suffers from having been hypnotized by the eleventh commandment: “Thou shalt seek always more, different and better,” thus making it difficult to cultivate the kindness gene, that root source of niceness, that gets so easily derailed in the face of vanity and greed.

Enough about New York.  Of course there are nice and wonderful people there. But here’s where I am now. No four year olds careening down the street on scooters making it unsafe to walk. People who talk to each other, instead of chatting incessantly on cell phones. Folks in stores conducting business without attitude. Checkout people who speak to me as though they want to help me out instead of hurrying me along.  People who, when I smile and say hello, smile back, instead of looking past me or away.

Perhaps my gratitude and awareness will wear off quickly, and in a month or two the window in my brain may close and I’ll be back in the dark. I hope not. I was there too long. I shall pay attention. I shall work on it. And, if I’m lucky, one day, in the not too far off future, I will own this quality of genuine “niceness,” and make sure to return it in kind, from whence it cometh, and even from whence it doth not.

To cultivate and honor kindness and civility, (aka  ”niceness”) in yourself and others, use this imagery exercise for 21 days and see what happens.b:

The Face of Kindness

 Close your eyes and exhale one ime through your mouth.

See before you, around you, and within you, the face of kindness.

Become one with this face. Feel and live how every cell of your body fills with its warmth and light.

Smile.

Then breathe out and open your eyes.

 

 

 

Party Girl: A True Life Story

I am not a party girl.  I tried for a while, but it wasn’t my thing. Now I avoid them whenever I can, and am happier for it.

I’m no good at party talk. At working the room. At speaking with strangers about stuff that doesn’t matter to me, and when it does, I get too serious and scare people off. They want to have fun. To forget about serious. I don’t blame them.

For those who like to eat, drink and be merry, in groups, large and small, I defer. I wish I could do it. But I can’t. It weighs me down. Makes me wonder: What am I doing here? I could be at home reading The Goldfinch,” on the phone with a friend, or writing my blog.

I went to a party last night. An anniversary party for my building, the one into which I just moved. It opened for business a year ago. The building is beautiful. The apartment airy and spacious. The people fine. The staff helpful. The location safe, and convenient.There are trees outside my window. I like it here quite a bit. But as I walked toward the “Party Room” I got my usual pre-party jitters, and flashed back to Marlo Thomas, in her 1966 series “That Girl,” where she played a young single, actress, living in New York, advised by her agent to get out there and meet people (to network, as we now call it). Marlo is not good at parties. She’s not sure of what to say. Of how to approach people already engaged in their own little groups. Of  how to “Work A Room.” She’s me, both then and now

The advice from her agent is to “Mingle.” She gets to the party and she gives it a try. She makes her way through the crowd and sidles up to the edge of each group while repeating the word “Mingle.” Not once, but as a kind of mantra. “Mingle, mingle, mingle. Mingle, mingle, mingle,” she mumbles as she works her way from one side of the room to the other. But she doesn’t get much traction, and is left, in the end, as she was In the beginning, pretty much alone. Solo. Single. Ignored. They key to this conundrum eluded Marlo, then, and continues to elude me, now. Of course she was fictional, while (as far as I know) I am not.

Yet, as I look back, it seems that my problem may be nothing more serious than confusion. For through the years, I’ve confused mingle with mumble. And it just doesn’t work. Mumbling is not even on the same planet as mingling. Mumbling is for sissies. So I must up my game. I must “Sing out Louise,” and forget about myself for a change. If there’s another way, a secret I have not yet uncovered, a gene I can have transplanted, please, tell me. Ready or not, it’s time for me to stop mumbling and start mingling! If not now, when?

Should you be interested in making a change in any belief or habitual behavior that prevents you from being at the party, whether yours or anyone else’s, try this imagery exercise:

 Out of the Shadows

Frequency: Do this exercise in the morning upon awakening and in the late afternoon (5:00–6:00 PM).

Intention: To make a transformation, and to live a new life in a new way

 Close your eyes. Breathe out three times slowly. See yourself hidden in the shadows. Breathe out one time slowly. See yourself now emerging from the shadows into the light.

What happens? What do you see, sense and feel? Then breathe out and open your eyes.

 

Sparks, Spirit, and Wealth

What if there were a completely new way to relate to wealth, a way that says it’s already yours, its already been given ─ that all you need do is be here with it and engage? No pressure. No worry. Just presence and gratitude, and living your life day by day, with meaning, purpose and respect.

The Ba’al ShemTov tells us:

Within each person’s possessions, wealth, and property lie divine spiritual ‘sparks’ that relate to the very root of his soul. These ‘sparks’ are the vitality that sustains each physical entity. And this entity [person, animal, plant, etc.] would not exist without the Divine energy within, which gives it its reason for being. Thus, everything that comes your way − your wealth, possessions, food, clothing and property – is a preordained indication that these sparks relate to, and signify your soul.

 In this way, right at the beginning, each of us is given an allotment of divine sparks, in order for us to elevate both these sparks and ourselves, and to channel this divine energy toward a higher purpose, so we can realize the mission of our soul.

Okay. Before you say too esoteric, too out there, too much for me to deal with, stop for a moment. Let’s assume that the Ba’al ShemTov (aka the Besht, the founder of the Hasidic movement) was playing with a full Deck. That he knew something we yearn to, but don’t. At least not yet. And what he knew went light years beyond money, power, and what you can get, have, hold onto, and keep. (i.e., “the Trappings” ─ the stuff you think you can’t live without, that the even the thought of losing makes you want to beat your breast and bemoan your fate). 

What the Besht knew, and wanted us to know too, is that it’s about going beyond the hard core material stuff, the baser metals of our nature, and elevating ourselves so we can connect with our divine energy. And that our connection to the sacred is real and relevant to our daily life — A life where we can actualize these sparks, and release this abundance of inner wealth and make it sing. And how once we do this our soul’s mission is “Realized!” * 

Should you choose to dive into this wondrous world and acknowledge it as a blessing already given, what would you be left with to worry about, to fear, resist, get depressed about or get sick over? How would it be to keep your heart open, let go of your doubt, and accept  divine wealth as a form of “what already is.” Of what’s already here.

Why not give it a try — Or a run for its money, should you be so inclined? You may be surprised and pleased at how the universe responds. What a kick. What a worthwhile investment, don’t ya think?

To create an exchange relationship with the divine sparks of prosperity, and to elevate them to their sacred place and purpose in your inner and outer worlds, practice the following image for the next 21 days.:

 Nurturing the Divine Sparks

Close your eyes and breathe out three times.

See and sense the divine sparks of prosperity that are born of the root of your soul.

Know and live your mission to nurture and elevate these sparks of spirit.

See and feel these sparks channeling their energy to fulfill their higher purpose. and to help you realize your soul’s dream.

See what happens and how you feel. Then return and open your eyes.

* * *

*Also: Most of us envision a spreadsheet of life where it all adds up; we get annoyed and frustrated when according to us it doesn’t. But it’s the great ones’ job to make us uncomfortable with our logical explanations and obvious stories. And it’s up to us to use this discomfort to nurture the sparks and to cultivate the hidden until becomes manifest.