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Journal

Touching the Veil

Touching the Veil

This week, I did a photo shoot with my very pregnant daughter, whose baby girl is due on February 2. I envisioned photographing her in front of my dad’s living room windows with the afternoon sun shining through the sheer drapes. We stopped by his house after her midwife appointment, and he wasn’t home. So I transformed the living room into a photography studio, and we created some feminine magic. My dad returned home just as we were leaving, which made it feel like the photo shoot was timed perfectly and meant to be – just the two of us in our own private, sacred space.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from our session:

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I envisioned all the images being black and white, but I loved how golden this one looked, so I left it in color (although it looks great in grayscale, as well):

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Isn’t she beautiful? A twenty-something vision of hopeful, glowing anticipation.

While the two photos above are my favorites, I found a third one compelling for different reasons.

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I love how one of her hands is touching her belly, and the other is touching the sheer curtain. It makes me think of a veil between our human world of physical form and the mysterious realm(s) beyond our understanding. Her daughter is less than three weeks away from passing through that veil, and when she is in labor, I plan to be (as she puts it) her doula, photographer, and mom.

About a year and a half ago, my mother passed through the veil as she slipped out of our world, and I assisted her, too – although she exited in the middle of the night when I was resting in another room. I think of how difficult it has been to adjust to life without her physical presence and how painful the grieving process has been. But the universe doesn’t just take away. It also gives back. And now we are awaiting the arrival of a baby! A new ray of light making its way to Earth. For the past year and a half, I have grieved the loss of my mother’s loving, nurturing presence in my life, and now it is time for me, the new family matriarch, to love and nurture a brand new generation. Rather than seeking love, I am undergoing an amazing process of becoming love as I prepare for this new role and imagine my mother and grandmother (who died six years ago) standing invisibly behind me.

The image of my daughter touching the sheer curtain that allows the light to pass through reminds me of an image I captured when my mother was less than three weeks away from slipping through the veil.

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This image was photographed in the same room as my daughter’s pregnancy photos, and I love how the light shines through so brightly. It is an image of my daughter playing “Hallelujah” on the piano for my mother on Mother’s Day. At the time, we didn’t know how much longer she would remain with us, but we knew it wouldn’t be long.

Similarly, I took the pictures of my daughter, not knowing how long it will be until she gives birth. But it won’t be long. veilcollage

There’s another element in the images that is worth contemplating: They both take place in the living room, which is the room (in my house) in which my most vivid dreams of my mother take place. I had one such dream last week, although I’m not sure it’s accurate to call it a dream because it took place within 15 minutes of getting into bed, and I don’t think I had fallen asleep yet but had drifted into a dreamy, in-between state. All of a sudden, I was downstairs in the living room and heard a knock on the window. It was nighttime. I looked out the window, and my mom was right outside. Her face was close to the window, and she looked just like she did when she was still healthy. I moved closer to the window and realized I could hear her voice. She was trying to tell me something. Then I noticed the window wasn’t all the way closed. It was open several inches so only the screen was between us, which made it easier to hear her. I leaned close to the window and asked, “Do you have a message for me?” At that point, it seemed she faded out, and I couldn’t hear her anymore. Then I woke up, feeling exhilarated because it seemed she really did just visit me.

Perhaps my mom doesn’t speak to me in dreams because I can hear her when I’m awake – but first she needed to get my attention when I was in a receptive state. I sensed that was the purpose of this dreamy visit, and I got up, intuitively knew what to do, sat quietly, and tuned in to hear what she had to say.

Whenever I’ve “dreamed” of my mom lately, it’s taken place in the living room. And there’s always some kind of barrier that she’s either on the other side of or passes through for a brief time before returning to wherever she came from. So the living room and the window that separates the living room from the world beyond is something I’m really drawn to in the images above. To see them together strikes me as greater than the sum of the parts. I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

© 2016 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. 

The Best of 2015: A Tea Meditation

The Best of 2015: A Tea Meditation

Barely a week and a half into the New Year, I’m feeling a sense of hopeful momentum supported by unprecedented planning, organization, and support. This year, I’m taking life up a notch. I want to play with possibility and see what kind of magic I can tap into that I’ve been shutting out until now. I intend to break the mold, and it’s exciting.

Part of being intentional about planning for the new year is reflecting on the previous year. I’ve been taking inventory of what did and didn’t work, lessons I’ve learned, how I was transformed, what I discovered about myself, etc. At the top of my list of 2015 successes is what I call my “tea meditation,” and I want to share it with you.

The tea meditation is inspired by Michelle Martin Dobbins’ Daily Alchemy blog post on Making “Love Tea” and a breath practice that my spiritual director recommended when I went  on retreat in the fall. It’s really simple and is a meditation that I actually look forward to every day because it feels amazing and is a remedy for when you experience a sense of emptiness or lack or if you simply want to cultivate a certain inner quality or energy.

What is it that you long for? That you feel you lack and might try to acquire in unhealthy or unproductive (and perhaps unconscious) ways? In this mediation, you will focus on that – on really feeling it and then (literally) drinking it in. I focused on love/nurturing, and as a result of doing this meditation regularly for three months, the grief and emptiness I felt stuck in last year has transformed into a sense of wholeness and completeness – a feeling of being tapped into an eternal Source of Love from which I can radiate and source love for others. In other words, I have gone from seeking love to being love and am so grateful for this miraculous shift! Now I am focusing more on abundance (which is my sacred word for the year). But if I feel shaky about love and experience myself seeking or longing for it, I’ll return to it.

You can perform this meditation with tea, water, juice, or any beverage that feels truly nourishing to you. I like to use tea because when the tea bag is steeping in the hot water, it helps me to imagine that the quality or feeling I want to develop is infusing the water.

You might want to dedicate a special mug for this ritual. I chose one that felt right to me, and then my daughter gifted me a mug that she decorated by hand and which therefore means a lot to me, so now I have two. (If you’re looking for a special mug, check out what my talented cousin, Chris, has to offer! )

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Here’s how you do it: While the tea is steeping, hold the mug in your hands, and imagine that whatever you long for most and feel is lacking in your life is being put into it. (Since I focus on abundance, I’ll use that as an example.) See the word itself going into the water, and concentrate on generating a feeling of (abundance). This might involve visualizing yourself manifesting a certain goal, recalling a memory in which you felt a sense of abundance, or imagining how someone who embodies abundance might feel. Put all that good stuff in your cup! Become attuned to the frequency of abundance while the tea is steeping, for at least five minutes. Focus as completely as possible. Really feel it. (It feels quite amazing!)

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When your beverage has cooled down or you feel ready, start sipping it, and imagine that the vibration of abundance (for example) is going into you and becoming part of you. Feel the warm liquid entering you and spreading through your body. Allow what you seek to fill you!

When I experience the vibration of abundance during this meditation, I often have insights about what attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors support or restrict the flow of abundance in my life. Sometimes it simply feels wonderful and empowering and raises my vibration. When I’m in that state, whatever is not in harmony with that vibration falls away. It doesn’t resonate. And sometimes I receive encouraging signs.

For example, one morning I was feeling very much attuned to the vibrational frequency of abundance and was really feeling it. Then, in the middle of the meditation, I heard a cha-ching! notification from my Etsy shop that I made a sale! When I heard the sound, I glanced at my phone and saw that it was 11:11 – a time that holds special meaning for me! It felt quite magical and validated that I’m on the right vibrational frequency to attract abundance.

In a recent blog post, I shared instructions for making “spirit lanterns” to illuminate aspirations and intentions for the upcoming year. If you made one, your tea meditation could focus on one of the words on your lantern – whichever one feels most relevant and essential to cultivate at this time. Focus on that word for a month, and see if anything shifts or changes. Focus in depth on the quality you feel you’re lacking. Totally focus on it. Experience it. In other words (borrowing from my previous post): Feel transformed. When you do, you’ll find that you’re not lacking anymore!

I truly look forward to sitting on my cushion and doing my tea meditation. It feels so good to get in the vibrational state of actually feeling and radiating the quality that I want to attract or cultivate – to feel that I already have it. To really drink it in and feel whole, complete…and transformed.

© 2016 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. 

 

A Magical Walk in the Park

A Magical Walk in the Park

Today I want to share an intriguing snippet from a truly magical (yet utterly ordinary) day.

The magic moment happened when I was taking an afternoon walk after filling up a few water jugs at a spring in the park. As I waited for the jugs to fill, I sat in my car and read a few pages from a book I’ve been working my way through for the past few weeks. The passage was about the importance of being receptive to, rather than blocking, the well-being that flows in our direction and the role of emotions in gauging whether we are allowing or restricting that flow. It’s an idea I’ve really been focusing on and experimenting with lately.

It was cold outside, and I had been planning to exercise at the gym. However, something told me to take a walk in the park instead – and to strap on my camera gear. And for some reason, I found myself walking in the opposite direction from my usual route. As I walked, I thought about how amazing it is that, at this dark time of year, I feel so light! I felt wonderful and contemplated the importance of feeling what we desire as if it already were actualized. Regardless of what happens in the future, feeling good is a reward in and of itself and is well worth cultivating!

I gravitated toward the Gideon Putnam Hotel, where I captured a few images that had commanded my attention. Then my intuition nudged me to turn around and look behind me because there might be something even more incredible there that I’d miss with my back turned to it.

So I did, and here’s what greeted me:

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Feel transformed. Those two words summarized as succinctly as possible exactly what I was experiencing and contemplating! The message felt unambiguously like a nod from the Universe confirming that I’m on the right track. I was dazzled! What are the chances of that happening – receiving such a clear “sign”?

I walked some more, energized and inspired by what had just happened. And eventually I felt compelled to write a love note in the snow about magical moments. The shadows make it a little hard to read the words in the photo below, but I wrote: “PAY ATTENTION. You might stumble upon Magic!”

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Before I finished writing the word magic, a woman came along and read what I’d written so far and asked me what “you might stumble upon.” I told her, and then she wanted to know what it meant, so I explained it. It seemed like we were both open and receptive channels of communication at that moment and formed an instant connection. It turns out that we had several things in common. Like me, she recently had left a job that was very unhealthy for her and was looking for new work opportunities. We went on to talk about a book we both love, and she shared with me a simple, holistic remedy for an ailment familiar to both of us. I found it interesting that the remedy was something I intuitively have been practicing for several months now, but with an extra step that just might make a difference. From talking with her, I also was reminded to explore a healing modality that I had been curious about but hadn’t yet tapped into.

By the end of my walk, I felt so uplifted from receiving a sign, expressing love (which in turn might be a sign for someone else to discover), and what I imagine was a mutually beneficial interaction between this woman and me.

That’s what it feels like to be open to the flow of well-being. When you’re open and allowing it (and following intuition seems to be part of the equation), magic moments tend to arise! Or maybe they are constantly happening, but we don’t notice when we have our heads down or are otherwise impeding the flow.

The magical snippet I described above happened within the context of an absolutely magical 24-hour period of ordinary moments supercharged by what felt like being aligned with a higher vibrational frequency. That alignment seems to happen when I feel good and rested and walk around radiating love, feeling grateful for what I have, and envisioning hopeful dreams for the future. In that mind-space, the chance meetings, signs, inspirations, and possibilities that take shape leave me expecting life to be juicy and abundant. I feel connected to and supported by the universe, and such feelings enhance the present moment and shape the future. The bottom line is: It feels good! So when these moments come along, I drop everything and write about them, to remember what they feel like. And I share them, to remind you, too, of how extraordinary life can be when you engage the magic!

© 2016 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. 

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