It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog!
Expression through writing seems to come in waves, as does life. I am always writing in my journal, but that is usually for my eyes only. The endeavor of writing authentically when you know others will be reading is a different challenge!
Life is changing, as I’m sure you all are experiencing. I have been noticing, at least in my immediate circle of friends and family, that their lives seem to be calling them forth to something greater. Big changes are all around.
A little update about what’s been going on for me:
-Portland is great. I fall more in love every day. I moved to a new room on June 1st and have been enjoying creating a new sacred space! I am also grateful to my brother and his partner for putting me up that last little while. Speaking of my brother and Lyndi, as of a few days ago, they are engaged! I’m so blessed to be a witness to such Love. They will be officially “married” when the national laws about gay marriage change. Rock on to them :)
-I’m still working on-call at New Avenues For Youth and continue to enjoy it immensely. I have also just completed the necessary courses for my re-certification in Alcohol and Drug counseling as well. Sigh!
-I took an epic training on learning the art of council. I plan on pursuing further education in this area and can’t wait! Learning the art of co-leading community circles is what my soul has been waiting for; it felt as if I had come home. Check out the Ojai Foundation I’ll be doing most of my training in the beautiful Ojai, California :)
-I’m still playing music around town and finding the balance of work, play, music, and other things of life! I haven’t been recording as of late, but I trust that it will be effortless when the time is right. Music updates can always be found here: LillianSoderman.Com
-I was hired as an on-call worker at the beautiful Breitenbush Hot Springs in Eastern Oregon. To be paid to live in the woods, under the stars, with around the clock access to a fresh river, steam sauna, and the earth’s hot, nourishing waters…uh…yes please! I am grateful for this incredible healing opportunity. Check it out! Breitenbush Hot Springs
-I’ll be traveling a lot this summer and keeping it open to be flexible in my adventures. So far, California and New Brunswick, Canada are on the docket. I’ll most likely be auditioning for The Voice again, as it was an amazing challenge and a loud call to the universe that I plan on singing my voice!
I think that’s about it for the updates…
Onto food for the pondering heart.
This next piece was written while on day one of my Breitenbush interview. This place throws you into healing the dark shadow waters of the soul. This is what came out as I attempted to stay grounded with the flowing river.
I’ve heard it said that the spiritual path is not for the faint-hearted. Had I known it was going to be this hard, I probably would have reconsidered starting in the first place.
Blindly navigating through the muck of my pain and suffering, along with the pain and suffering of others, was definitely and still continues to challenge, but now that I am where I am, I retract that original thought.
Allowing joy, peace, abundance, beauty, and LOVE is by far the most challenged I have ever been. My mind is bringing out the big guns, trying all the tricks to get me to run away from everyone and everything that loves me, everything that makes me smile, that brings me joy, that supports me on this path. It takes all my strength to literally not start running away. Luckily, I have tapped into something that keeps me still and grounded, despite the terror that runs through my body–my sweats and shivers, heart-pounding body. I stay because there is nowhere to run! I cannot escape myself no matter how fast I run, or how many places I move, or how many countries I flee to. That is not to say that traveling is always an escape route. Many of my travels were intended to walk me straight back to myself and many, if not all, have done just that and more.
Nonetheless, I had no idea I had so much resistance to living fully. How do I bring down these walls of resistance? How do I surrender fully? How do I trust myself so deeply that the anxiety falls away and I can free myself to live, free myself to experience the river flowing, free myself to hear the birds teaching me their lessons, free myself to hear the hum of love all around me all the time, everywhere?
Every moment to moment to moment, I am required to recommit to this path. The temptations to stray and dull myself are so loud and invasive!
Every moment, another devotion to the moment in front of me. I call myself back home to my heart. This heart, where all the answers have resided for eternity. The place where every lesson of every lifetime lived, every tear, every pain, every happiness, every love, everything that ever was, all call home.
Trust. Love. Courage. Surrender. Allowance. Acceptance. Beauty. Creativity. Community. Faith.
I continue opening my eyes to see that I am Worthy of all of these and more. I am of God, Spirit, Light, Love. I am Life’s longing to be lived through me, as me. I am intended for greatness beyond imagination. If only I could stop interfering with the divine plan. If only I could step out of my way. Let go!
This intimacy with fear leaves me only with the capacity to hold compassion for others. If everyone is as deeply terrified as I am, it’s no wonder we act so crazy. I can see past the behavior to the fear that guides unconscious reactions. As I continue to see myself as enough, whole, as light and love, worthy of compassion and forgiveness, I can hold others in this same light. This is my intention. This is my commitment. I devote my life to Love in action.
Love is the only thing that won’t burn away because Love is the fire burning all that does not serve its path.
I commit to burning bright and mad-crazy with Love for myself and others.
I’m terrified that Grace won’t catch me, but my life is living proof that I have always been caught.
The time has come to willingly fall into Grace’s arms, to leave the nest and soar.
The funny thing is that many have come to accept the illusion that life is never not changing. Change is the only constant! We attempt to create stable lives i.e. same job, same friends, same relationships, same house, same environment, anything to create the illusion of non-change. This being said, I fully believe that we can engage in these behaviors without the element of attachment. When I look around, I remember nature as the great teacher of the changing universe. The wind is always blowing, the ocean is always moving, the plants are always growing or dying, as are we fragile humans.
Despite being able to articulate all of this, I too am not all that accepting of change within my life. I kick and scream until I realize that my only choice is to surrender.
It all comes back to what I discovered on the meditation retreat after being in stillness for what felt like endless hours.
All of the fearful thoughts stem from the deep rooted belief that “I am alone”.
As I have made myself more sensitive through various contemplative practices, the body sensations that accompany this deep rooted thought are showing up with full force.
I stay afloat when I remain steadfast in countering these thoughts and the belief from which they stem.
As a friend reminded me recently, I am OKAY. So long as there is breath in my body, I am OKAY. Even when the time comes when the breath should leave and I should leave this earthly existence, I will still be okay! There is peace in knowing, trusting, and accepting that my time will be my time. Besides, Peter Pan says it will be the greatest adventure of all!
The symptoms are definitely that of classic western anxiety panic attacks…cold sweats, shivering, body flushing, hot/cold rushing…INTENSE stuff, but that being said, I refuse to limit myself to those small definitions, nor will I make the experience any more negative with negative terms. Luckily, I have a therapist, for which I am grateful. It’s always nice to have a professional confirm your sanity (especially a professional that is knowledgeable of both Western and Eastern traditions, who won’t box you or immediately medicate you).
As I learned through practicing the Vipassana technique of meditation, I am trying to maintain that beautiful art of watching instead of getting caught up in the sensations or running like hell (which is my initial reaction). I can make a choice instead of blindly reacting!
It is also a matter of the classic psychological technique of “acting as if”. Even if the belief system hasn’t totally been eradicated, I will continue acting as if…
I AM NOT ALONE.
I AM LOVABLE.
I AM able to connect and make unconditionally loving relationships. I already have them and am continually making more!
I AM connected, always have been, and always will be.
I AM able to distinguish boundaries with individuals, engaging in healthy and safe exchanges.
I AM able to accept and to allow JOY, HAPPINESS, BEAUTY, CREATIVITY and LOVE into my life!
I AM trusting, trusting, trusting–deeply in myself and the higher powers that surround me.
I AM committed to this path of Love in action, even when it terrifies me.
Bridging these worlds is no easy task when surrounded by disorder, chaos, and an over-medicated society that does not embrace the sacred, nor create a space for individuals to embody their spirituality in all of its manifestations. I am trying to learn to dance in the in between, engaging my rational mind when necessary, while keeping my intuition engaged.
The heart-based consciousness of the heart warriors!
Warriors we are!
I am so grateful to be surrounded by fellow heart warriors.
It gives me hope on this path, though each our paths are diverse, we can be of support in our endeavors to wake up gently into another reality, one not based on the illusion of fear, but rather on the reality of Love and Love only.
I wish you all peace, happiness, and Love.
May you have the courage to break from your cocoon and spread your unique wings.
I will leave you with the supportive and always encouraging words of those that have gone before…
“There is nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” –The Beatles
“You cannot wander anywhere that will not aid you. Anything you touch–God brought it into the classroom of your mind.” –St Francis of Assisi
“A great helplessness I felt at times to even dress myself some days, so I prayed with all my heart, ‘Dear God, help me.’ It is not possible for Love to not hear us, and whatever happens the perfect teacher staged. What would a wise, powerful king allow a beloved child to see?” –St Catherine of Siena
“Face what’s in front of you. It is what it is. It is done and so it is. No blame.”
The five finger prayer:
“God (or whatever you choose to call it) is…
The truth is…
Thank you God…
Amen (So it is). Let it be, let it go, let good, let God.”
“Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation.” –Eckhart Tolle
“Tomorrow you’ll be brave, you say? Fool! Dive today
From the cliff of what you know into what you can’t know.
You fear the rocks? Better men than you have died on them;
Dying on Love’s rocks is nobler than a life of death.” –Rumi
“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep!” –Rumi
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty in the water, and the great heron feeds. I come in peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and I am free. “ –Wendell Berry
“I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax. My whole body calms down.” –Unknown
“This will enable them to help others in finding their
own true selves. But first they have to go through that process themselves.
This generally demands great determination and perseverance on the inner
level. Because society feeds them values and judgments which often go
against their own natural impulses, many lightworkers have gotten lost,
ending up in states of self-doubt, self-denial and even depression and
hopelessness. This is because they cannot fit into the established order of
things and they conclude there must be something terribly wrong with them.
What lightworkers have to do at this point is to stop looking for validation
from the outside – from parents, friends or society. At some point in time, you
who are reading this will have to take the momentous leap to true
empowerment, which means to really believe in yourself and to truly honor
and act upon your natural inclinations and your inner knowing.
These four steps mark the transition from ego based to heart based
1. Being unsatisfied by what ego based consciousness has to offer you,
longing for “something else:” the beginning of the end.
2. Becoming aware of your ties to ego based consciousness, recognizing and
releasing the emotions and thoughts that go with it: the middle of the end.
3. Letting the old ego based energies inside you die, throwing off the
cocoon, becoming your new self: the end of the end.
4. The awakening of a heart based consciousness within you, motivated by
love and freedom; helping others making the transition.
At this point the ego joyfully accepts the heart as its spiritual guide. The natural wholeness of the soul is restored.” –From a book that I’m reading and forgot the title… It has the word lightworkers in it :)
Baby goats at the LA farmer’s market!
Beautiful friends…beautiful heart warriors that remind me of my purpose here.
Heart warrior family…one of many!
What a beautiful evening of enchanting melodies. Music is the universal language of the world.
I am grounded when I am connected to the earth…and I love being muddy of course!
I’ve decided to embrace the change with red lipstick these days…and by hanging out with amazing friends too :)
I am connecting with my roots! Celebrate our mothers!
My new sacred nest is coming along :)
The beauty I am still learning to drink in :)
My sunset perch in the manzanita tree.
New tattoo…the wave, the crow, and the phoenix. A reminder to accept my spiritual reality.