Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Journal

Morning Glory Intuition

Morning Glory Intuition

This morning, I walked by three morning glories on my way back into the house. They looked a bit wrinkled – not as smooth, plump, and vibrant as the morning glories that were in full bloom during the warmer weather. But good for them for blooming anyway! As I passed one of the morning glories, I heard, “Better late than never!” as if the flower had transmitted those words directly into my mind. Or at any rate, that’s what the image of the morning glory awakened in me on this chilly, mid-October morning. And it really resonates.

IMG_0154f

Since returning from retreat two weeks ago, my energy has been strong and flowing and seems to be on a higher frequency than I’ve ever experienced before. It feels like all kinds of new energy is available to me now – energy I have blocked all my life but am finally open and receptive to. (It feels like new neural pathways have opened up!) And along with that comes the need to resist the urge to kick myself for having lived my life as I did until now. All those years when I could have incorporated this energy of greater freedom and abundance that seemed off-limits to me! But thoughts like that don’t serve a constructive purpose, and my speculation is that a few decades isn’t even a drop in the bucket in the lifetime of a soul.

That morning glory inspired me with the message: Don’t die without blooming! Make sure you bloom in this life, while you can. Don’t die with all your colors closed inside you.

The flowers I saw this morning have had the opportunity to open completely, share their colors, and experience both the sun shining on them and a person being inspired by them – and probably the act of pollination, as well. As I write these words, they are experiencing what happens when their colors interact with sunlight and glisten, pearlescent. They are finally experiencing the magic they were made for! They didn’t give up, believing it’s too late in the year and that they missed the boat so to speak, so why bother blooming at this point? They went ahead and did it anyway because there was something inside them that needed to be expressed.

But there’s more.

I came back inside, took off my shoes, and contemplated how perfectly that morning glory message speaks to me. And then my intuition kicked in. It guided me to go back outside and see if there are any morning glories blooming near the Buddha statue in the back yard. That’s another place where they have been coming up this year, but I haven’t paid much attention or been in that area of the yard in a while. And it was chilly outside! I didn’t really feel like putting my shoes back on and going outside again just yet. I wanted to get warm.

But then I felt that nudge again: Go outside and take a look! So I put my shoes back on and went outside. And I found one morning glory – just one – blooming right at the Buddha’s heart center!

IMG_0186f

There’s a message living in that image, too (perhaps pertaining to the opening of the heart?) for I filled with awe and satisfaction upon seeing it. And there were no other morning glories anywhere. This was the only one in the entire back yard!

I could stop writing here and go outside and enjoy this beautiful, fall day…but I’d like to say a little more about intuition.

I have been practicing following my intuition lately and have learned that I tend to receive gifts and blessings when I go where intuition pulls me and my energy wants to flow. A few examples from yesterday come to mind.

Yesterday morning, I was outside photographing the misty sunrise on the river and suddenly felt compelled to drive to a park down the road. I didn’t know why but sensed something was there for me. So I went to the park and didn’t find much in the way of scenery calling to me. But when I walked back to my car, an acquaintance greeted me. After some brief small chat, he asked me if I lost a lens cap. Well, I have lost a few lens caps over the past several months, and I was about to buy a new one. For quite some time, I’ve had one fewer lens caps than lenses and have been using a UV filter as a makeshift cap. And then, out of nowhere, this man produced a lens cap that fit my camera like Cinderella’s slipper fit her foot.

Later in the day, I was drawn to the Holistic Healing and Spiritual Arts Expo in town. I was interested in the keynote presentation and resolved to make it to the expo in time for that. Turns out I misremembered the time and missed the presentation, but many gifts were in store at the expo. For instance, a woman gave me a pure light blessing that raised my energy vibration in ways I can’t describe in words, other than to say that it felt like I was glowing like a sun and was a completely open, unobstructed channel for the life energy flowing through me. (And I’m still experiencing it!)

In this open state, I had an amazing conversation with a hypnotherapist and felt so inspired by and connected to her. Our stories were similar, for she left a career in nursing to pursue an entrepreneurial path as a healer. She understood where I’m at, for she had been there herself. As I spoke with her, I felt completely uninhibited about sharing my story and what I have been learning along the way. Conversations like that are healing in and of themselves – and a great source of inspiration.

There were nearly 30 vendor booths, and I perused items for sale with appreciation for the artistry but without any intention of making a purchase. Then I came to one table that featured crystals, rocks, and gemstones and couldn’t walk away, for a small tray of opalized ammonite fossils (ammolites) called to me. I had never seen anything like them before and was completely transfixed by them – and one in particular. (Was it the spiral pattern? The iridescence? The energy?)

IMG_0228f

When I picked it up, it felt right in my hand – again, like Cinderella’s slipper – and I couldn’t put it down! After about 10 minutes, I decided that it belonged with me. When I got home, I researched ammonite/ammolite and learned it has strong, transformational properties as a result of going through so much transformation and absorbing so much earth energy over eons. Common uses of ammonite include: activating life path energies, attracting prosperity and success, and building a new business from small beginnings. No wonder I felt so drawn to it!

As I mentioned above, originally I intended to keep this short and only write about the morning glory. But intuition is part of the greater story that the morning glory is part of, and it is at the forefront of my awareness and practice at this time. My working theory is that when we force our energy to flow to places that aren’t a good fit for us, we miss out on the incredible power of intuition and shut ourselves off from a tremendous amount of energy that is available when we follow intuition. This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes, from Thoreau: “Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”

And so the experiment continues!

IMG_0217f

© 2015 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

Yesterday was the first nice weather day all week, and I was given permission to pick apples at a small, private orchard where the apples aren’t sprayed. They just grow. They aren’t as pretty as apples you would buy in a store. They might be a little misshapen or have small holes in them, and their skin is splotchy. But the fruit inside is just fine.

These apples have character. They are not perfect.

One apple in particular caught my eye.

IMG_0440af

It ended up being the image of the day – the one I was most intrigued by. It commanded my attention. And when that happens, I have to ask myself why. How does this image speak to me?

There were two directions I could go with this one – two captions I could give it. One is “The Apple of All Colors,” for it contains every color an apple can be. But the one I’m going with is “Perfectly Imperfect.” It’s the imperfection of this apple that I really connect with. Its exquisite imperfection.

It reminds me of Pema Chodron’s teachings on Getting Unstuck regarding not beating ourselves up when we fall short. When we are imperfect (like everyone else). Pema Chodron encourages us to cultivate a response of “sheer delight” upon noticing we are hooked or feeling we have failed in some way. We can rejoice that we have the wisdom to recognize we’re not living up to our potential. Yay for us because we want to do better and have the intention to do so! Intention is a first step toward liberation from our unhealthy habits and patterns.

After intention comes awareness. When we can recognize that we did it again, double yay! because then we can exercise choice to either continue doing the thing that diminishes us and ultimately causes us to suffer or we can take a deep, conscious breath and make a healthier choice.

With intention and awareness, we can cultivate discipline. But if, in our quest for discipline, we catch ourselves falling short of our intention to do better and then feel badly about ourselves, we end up making the whole job more complicated. It doesn’t help anything to add self-loathing to the mix. It just makes it harder and takes us further away from connecting with our wisdom and acting in accordance with it. Embracing our imperfection is a way of empowering us to deal with “failure” rather than become overwhelmed by it. Instead of focusing on our perceived failure and getting down on ourselves, we can delight in acknowledging we have both the intention to improve and the wisdom to notice.

Of course, the apple image and the advice above could also speak to the way we feel about our physical appearance and our efforts to care for our body by eating well, exercising, etc. And with regard to our body, we can celebrate that we have one to begin with, especially if we can move around without pain. How many people in this world would give anything this moment to have a body that is pain-free? Having a human body is a precious opportunity for experiencing and experimenting with the physical world. It’s our vehicle for doing the work we’re here for.

The image of the mottled, multi-colored apple reminded me that we’re not supposed to be perfect. We’re supposed to be authentic and work with our unique qualities and challenges. Smile at our delicious imperfection, and regard it as our teacher, our path to freedom, and our raw material for practicing  personal alchemy.

© 2015 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

Healing on the Hill

Healing on the Hill

Ahhh… I just returned from a four-day retreat at Light on the Hill retreat center in Van Etten, New York. It is where I go when I need to remove myself from all distractions and journey deep into inner space to work with what arises and get a sense of direction. It felt as if I’d set up camp at the biggest crossroads I’ve ever come to in my life, and it was time to get a move on! I intuitively knew that going on retreat would help to set me in motion.

My underlying intention for going on retreat was to release what doesn’t serve me ( just as a backpacker would want to lighten her load for more efficient traveling), which really means letting go of the attachments and perceptions that don’t serve me. I wanted to purge, from the inside out, what is no longer beneficial and establish “right relationship” with anything I have developed an unhealthy attachment to. I sensed there was some kind of inner blockage preventing me from moving forward in many areas of my life, and I wanted to get in touch with that blockage and dissolve it. Fall is a natural time for letting go, and the fall equinox seemed like a perfect time to be on solitary retreat and make (surrender to? pray for?) such shifts so I could proceed with clearer energy that would attract what is in alignment with my highest self.

Through talking with my guide, Alice, I decided to do a healing retreat, which I had never done before. This kind of retreat involved meeting with her each day for a 90-minute counseling and healing session and doing simple practices and activities in between sessions to integrate the healing work.

I stayed in the Meadow Cottage, as I usually do. When I first walked through the door, the familiar space embraced me as though I’d never left.

DownstairsCottage2

Like the other retreat cottages and huts, the Meadow Cottage has no electricity, which helps me return to a more natural rhythm and fall asleep earlier at night. The view from the sleeping loft is a joy to awaken to.

MorningViewFromLoft

And the mist in the valley was irresistible each morning.

MistMorning1

MistMorning2

But I was there to do some deep work, and it was a revelatory journey. Drawing upon dreams, emotions, memories, and a whole lot of s*** that surfaced (much of which I thought was long buried and forgotten), I got in touch with the blockage in me and discovered a fantastic story that was living in my solar plexus region. Under Alice’s masterful guidance, I worked with that story, some related dream material, and an understanding of my personality patterns and managed to shift into a healthier, new paradigm for perceiving and interacting with the world. I won’t go into detail because it was an intense and deeply personal process that probably would be lost in translation. But I experienced a profound shift – possibly the shift of a lifetime. At first, the amount of s*** that came up was nearly overwhelming. But bringing it into the light was necessary for releasing and transforming it. It no longer bubbles beneath the surface.

The weather couldn’t have been more spectacular, and I spent a lot of time walking and writing. Twice a day, I walked either of the two labyrinths on the property.

StillpointLabyrinth

Both are based on the 11-circuit Chartres Cathedral model, and the path itself served as an allegory for my journey. After walking in the labyrinth for quite some time, I ended up on the outermost circuit, feeling farther away from the center than ever (much like the part of my retreat when I was dealing with all of the junk of a lifetime coming to the surface). However, after just a few more turns, I was at the center. So when I felt the farthest away, I was actually almost there. What a hopeful metaphor!

LabyrinthSun

An Extra Day

By the time my healing retreat had ended, I didn’t feel ready to return home. I decided to stay an extra day, to make sure the shift I experienced was solid enough to really take hold.

I didn’t spend the day meditating. I mostly walked around Light on the Hill with my camera and did some writing.

SunlitFieldf

As the sun set, I headed back to my cottage – a different cottage than I had stayed in for the healing retreat.

PathlightSunset

The sunset was dazzling!

Sunset

Before going to bed, I realized I left my toothbrush in the car and had to walk all the way to the parking lot to get it. On the way back, the lighted path leading back to my cottage was so lovely that I was tempted to take my camera out and photograph it – but I knew better and opted for sleep! However, it made me realize how exquisitely beautiful everything here is. Every building, the land itself, the view – every single detail.

Alice has been my teacher and guide for the past 29 years, before Light on the Hill even existed. During the past 29 years, I have witnessed an incredible story unfold. I remember each step of the process, including when she moved out of her house in Ithaca and onto the hill and married her husband, Larry, who had recently bought the first parcel of land. I remember the various obstacles she and Larry ran into in the course of manifesting their shared vision of building a retreat center. At times, it seemed the universe required them to prove they really wanted it. I remember going on my first retreat in what is now the healing hut, which at the time was the only structure on the land besides Alice and Larry’s house. And now there are two cottages, two huts, a meditation chapel, two 11-circuit Chartres labyrinths, and a huge lodge (for group work) that hosts: 22 dorm rooms, a commercial kitchen, a dining room, several cozy and inspired meeting spaces, and a great room with a fabulous view and a 32-foot high, tipi-like ceiling that comes to an apex with a pyramid-shaped skylight.

LodgeBack

Every detail at Light on the Hill is intentional and uncompromised, from the environmentally conscious products and the comfort of the spaces, to the inspired art work and the architecture and placement of the buildings.

When I woke up during the night with the light of the nearly full moon shining through the windows, it occurred to me that the reason I stayed an extra day was to really experience my connection to the land and to absorb its story. To experience the spiritual, nurturing, protective energy that’s built up here over the past 24 years and to which I’ve retreated whenever I was at a crossroads, sought answers or healing, or simply wanted to deepen my spiritual life. I’ve come here since the very beginning, with the exception of a few years when my children were very small, and I couldn’t leave them. It is where my second wedding and a couple other very personal ceremonies took place. I am so grateful for Light on the Hill.

The work, patience, and persistence that went into making Light on the Hill what it is today is beyond inspiring. Alice has modeled to me that getting over your issues with money and not being afraid to ask for what you’re worth is part of the process. The story of Light on the Hill has been an incredible lesson for me. Without knowing, I stayed the extra day in order for this lesson to really sink in. Here, I have a model for living larger and not compromising the vision you hold in your heart, even when you encounter obstacles.

I felt so grateful for Alice’s presence in my life as my teacher and guide for the past 29 years. She has unfailingly pointed me inward to the source of my own wisdom and helped me deal with the repercussions when my unconscious programming took me to places I might have avoided had I been more mindful. Having known me for 29 years, she is able to point out my dysfunctional patterns and assist me in healing them. Her message has always been one of empowerment, strength, and love, and she has supported me no matter what I brought to the table. I wish everyone on this planet could experience this kind of steadfast, healing presence and have someone so conscious, wise, and honest in their lives. I am truly grateful for everything she has modeled to me in the context of our relationship and for all she has awakened in me.

Takeaways

In addition to the dynamic shifts and integration I experienced, I had some major takeaways from my retreat that centered around energy. For instance…

My work is to keep reclaiming my energy and attention when they wander outside of myself. It’s kind of like retrieving a kitten that keeps wandering out of the basket. When my energy wanders outward, it dissipates. And when that happens? Close your eyes, get still, and feel the inner body – the energy and light in it. Really experience it, and remember that I am that light. Doing so brings me back to the place where I know what is most important and will find everything I need for this journey. It is the most wondrous sanctuary, the most beautiful homecoming to enter my own heart, which is a vast universe of love. It is where I find guidance. Although I’m a human being who needs to do work in this world, my work can be fueled by this source of supreme love and wholeness. When I step through the threshold into this inner chamber, it’s like entering a different frequency, dimension, or channel. Heaven truly is in my heart. And daily meditation and “checking in” is essential to remain centered, experience my inner light, and bring my awareness back when I start to wander.

In addition to realizing the importance of daily meditation, I also realized how vital sleep and movement are to the quality of my energy. I can’t accomplish much when I’m sleep deprived, and I have been in this state for quite some time, almost as if I’ve been operating on a brownout. And it’s such a simple fix that just requires discipline! Adequate, restful sleep is the foundation for getting my mind in the best shape it can be in for the work I need to do and needs to be a priority. After five nights, it’s already making a huge difference! And movement and exercise are fundamental to getting the energy circulating and channeling it outward so it won’t get stuck. Tune in and feel where the energy wants to go, and take movement/exercise breaks as needed.

I also learned not to get attached to the content of my emotions because they are often signals that my energy is out of balance. For instance, what manifests as sadness and depression is probably exhaustion and signals a need for sleep. And when I’m feeling panicked, agitated, anxious, or blocked, these feelings are signals that I need exercise or movement. There’s an excess of energy that needs to be released, so go for a walk or do some yoga! Rather than buy into the storyline, “I’m sad, and this is why” and become dramatic about it, focus on the level of energy and ask what my energetic needs are this moment – and be disciplined about fulfilling them.

It seems to be about working with energy and patterns, not a fixed or stationary self. And that is both empowering and hopeful! It takes courage to see and accept your patterns in the first place, but if you can go to that scary place and not get hooked into self-loathing or self-pity (which also can be patterns!), you can begin to transform them with discipline, patience, and self-love. And even when having a hard time struggling with something, remember that I am light. I am more than this problem. I am a spiritual being having a temporary existence in this human body.

During one of my healing sessions when I expressed lingering resentment, Alice brought me back by telling me exactly what I needed to hear: “I have known you for 30 years, and your life has been a series of mistakes, and the common denominator is you.” (There have been some good choices, too, but we were focusing on what gets in the way of my inner peace and areas for healing.) This message is at the same time humbling and hopeful. I got me into all these messes, and I can change the patterns and get back out!

As I walked the labyrinth for the last time before going home, I reflected on how I wish I took more risks throughout my life, especially related to formal education. There was another time that felt like a huge crossroads, in the early 90s. If I had it to do over again, I’d have left my safety zone and gone to either Boulder, CO or Cambridge, MA to study at Naropa University or Lesley College or followed through with attending either Harvard Divinity School or Union Theological Seminary. Instead, I became involved with my future husband and father of my children and went with him to Syracuse where I pursued an MSW degree part-time while working at Syracuse University full-time. I regret playing it so safe and small – and being steered by a relationship – because doing so prevented me from following my own path/calling/wisdom in so many ways. Even later in life, after getting a master’s degree in education from a progressive college, I took the “safe” route and worked in public education. Early in life, I didn’t have any models for thinking bigger and making more authentic choices. But now I do. And my life isn’t over yet. It’s not too late!

And so, fueled with hope and a planner filled with ideas and deadlines, I left the hill and brought the light with me, ready to pack up camp and start moving. I don’t know how anything will turn out, but as Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, said about the willingness to get going and follow your heart: “It is taking you forward, and you are leaving the nest [safety zone]. And that never can be a mistake.”

Road

© 2015 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

There's so much I want to share with you! Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. And don't worry: I won't spam you or share your info with anyone!

You have Successfully Subscribed!