Teleconference Tonight! 2 Spaces Left for India

TONIGHT:

SUNDAY JUNE 30TH, 2012

Scheduled Start Time: 07:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time
Scheduled End Time: 07:55 PM Mountain Daylight Time

Dial-in Number:1-857-232-0300
Participant Access Code: 2967631

polaroids

Do YOU feel the Yearning….in your Heart & Soul….to CHOOSE something Bigger for YOU?

Join us for this life transforming journey; we will explore some of the most exciting, potent and spiritual places in India.  This is a special opportunity to gather together in an intimate group of women.  There are 2 spaces left!!  Through meditation, yoga, and sharing stories, we will connect and open to the mystery and medicine that is India; a study in contrast of Death and Rebirth, Suffering and Joy.  Together, we will find and celebrate the gifts that come from the heart breaking open.  Many once-in-a-lifetime experiences await you!  Old Delhi, sunrise puja on the Ganges, exploring the Ghats of Varanasi, visiting with Varanasi’s children, classes with Indian yogis, sacred temples and holy sites in Rishikesh, satsang with living saints, honoring our loved ones that have passed, immersing in Mata Ganga for purification – all these are just a few events planned for you!

JOIN Nancy and I on a Conference Call tonight to LEARN MORE about our trip behind the veils.

October 12 – 22, 2013

To learn more about the trip and itinerary, go to our website:
http://highestunfolding.com/india/itinerary.html

Nancy returns from India!

NancyLake

Namaste and Assalamu Aleikom:

I have just returned from my three week journey to Kashmir and India.  I distinguish the two in deference to my Kashmiri family and friends that hold for an independent state.  Hindus and Moslems, Kashmir and India, Family Compounds and a Hamlet….my trip was one of deep contrasts.

KashmirSheep

As always, I am profoundly and deeply changed by my experience.  The themes for this trip emerged as Family and Commitment.  As Westerners we experience our families as “Roots and Wings”….a foundation from which to launch into the world…a place that rarely includes more than our immediate members…and our elders are more and more being placed into other’s care.  We even have a name for this:  Empty Nest Syndrome. Indian and Kashmiri families do not comprehend this Western notion of “family.”

I had the privilege to be accepted into a Moslem family of over 30 members.  We slept together, ate together, washed dishes & clothes, peeled vegetables, laughed, teared up, sang and danced together.  I witnessed three days of wedding ritual and ceremony on the groom’s side….a contract between two families that binds their ancestory forever.  I have never seen such devotion to welcoming a bride into the family.  The women opened their arms, sang their ancient songs, and their hearts were unconditional in their love for Subeena….a new sister/aunt/cousin/child….and wife of Tahir.

Henna

The landscape of Kashmir is more beautiful than can be described. It is often referred to as “Heaven on Earth.”  The mountains are dramatic…..filled with shepherds and gypsies and mosques that call everyone to prayer five times a day.  It was stunning as I trekked past the 8th century Naranag temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

KashmirGypsies

I then traveled to Dharamshala.  This is my second visit to McLeod Ganj-  the home of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government in exile.  Like the Kashmiris….the Tibetans hold for an independent state….and a maintenance of their cultural history.  Their commitment to independence is fierce with patience that comes from their loving and compassionate hearts.

I had the honor of being the first American EVER to be invited to live in the hamlet of Daloh…a 2 km walk up a mountain on a “goat trail”….to the home of my good friend, Aju…where there is only a “nature bathroom” and a sleeping mat on a roof to keep cool at night.  Dinner is prepared in a separate kitchen over a fire….by three sisters and a mother that work harder than anyone I have ever witnessed.  Every day….with no time off….year after year.  And yet, at sundown we gather at a simple altar….in the cow field….and chant…calling in Durga, Kali, Saraswati, and Shiva….clapping with joy….the tears rolling down my face in the dark as I feel so privileged to be there under the Indian stars, wisps of incense and manure, shoulder to shoulder with my family….and a heart that is wide open to the offering to the gods and goddesses.

Bowls

I feel that I am a seasoned India traveler….navigating this vast country filled with 1.2 billion beings.  I don’t feel alone or unseen.  I feel welcomed into the heart and generosity of it’s people…who have extended their hearts and homes to me….and included me as family.  We share stories and secrets….and I depart…knowing that my return is eagerly awaited.  They have no idea how eager I am to come home again. Their home.  My home.  India.

NancyMoto

Nancy West McGuire

Bittersweet Summer Time

I’m going to write this without agonizing over every word.  Writing is something I do because it stirs in me and wants to come out – not because it’s easy or even that enjoyable.  I actually do a lot of hand wringing about it.  I’m in Florida right now, just finishing a trade show with my husband, and flying back to Boulder tomorrow.  These are some thoughts I’ve been having about Summer and Boulder and especially my beloved neighborhood of rural North Boulder, where there are no sidewalks, lots of open space, and deer walk around like they own the place.

backyard
backyard

Summer is actually my favorite time of year and these next few weeks, as it reaches its zenith, are the days I savor the most.  I live for the light and celebrate the longest day of sunshine like the wildest of pagan queens – joy pulsing through my veins, all cells dancing an excited jig.  I wish every day could be the day before Summer Solstice – just like Groundhog’s Day, to be repeated over and over, that’d be fine by me.  I feel melancholy the day after solstice, as I know the days are getting “shorter.”  I’ve always loved the highs more than the lows…duh.

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for almost 10 years.  I’ve seen things change.  I’ve sold a house and moved twice since then – my husband and I living apart for 2 years, while staying married.  It was a new beginning and a gamble, and one that paid off in a stronger marriage, but it still had it’s scary moments.  Walking past our old house the other night, I stopped to look at the now very unkempt yard.  It makes me sad to go past the house because the “new” owners don’t water or take care of the plants we lovingly tended.  I saw our peony bushes popping with buds.  They have a short window in early summer where they bloom and emit the most heavenly scent.  I used to fill vases to overflowing and the whole house would be redolent in their perfume.  I stopped and stared at the buds, plotting a midnight raid to take some cuttings.  A wave of sadness washed over me as I realized these are not ‘my’ plants anymore.  That time is over.  I planted a peony of my own last summer in our new yard…it’s got 2 tiny buds…it’s going to take time to get established.

peonies
peonies from Redwood Ave

Old neighbors, a family I love, have decided to end their marriage and they have sold their house and divided up their belongings.  What’s left of their life is on the street, waiting for the garbage man to haul it away.  I see the kiddie toys and broken tools and paper sacks and I see a life that doesn’t exist anymore.  I honor them all in their new beginnings and I feel the sorrow too…in dreams that have ended.  That house will always be their house in my memory, no matter who moves in.  I keep walking.

Down the bike trail and turning left on to my street, I see the empty lot where Joe and Lisa used to live.  Their house razed along with the old cherry trees.  The clump of lilacs stand alone as if to say “what happened?” – nothing has been built there and now a herd of deer seem to be the only residents.

cherries
Joe and Lisa’s cherries

Down my driveway now and I see my neighbor’s house is for sale.  This happened fast.  While I was out of town.  Nobody asked me about this!   My beloved 94 year old neighbor will be moving away.   She lives with her daughter after her house was swept away in Hurricane Katrina, this woman no stranger to endings and beginnings.  Now she speaks cheerily about how I can visit her wherever she may land.  When asked how she has lived so long and stayed so healthy, Miss Kaye replies “I’ve always had a positive attitude.”  Amen.  So she has.  I need to be more like her.

photo 1-1
Miss Kaye’s blood red poppies

There has been a lot of flower appreciation going back and forth over the fence this past week.  My poppies are in full bloom and, like peonies, they too have a short bloom period and need to be appreciated every minute they are in their full glory.  Last summer my gardener mistakenly pulled out all my poppy plants thinking they were dandelions.  I was devastated to think they were gone.  I viscerally felt the loss.  As I read this, it sounds like I am some spoiled, rich gardening lady but what I’m trying to convey is I felt the pain for the plant…being killed.  And I felt a responsibility for allowing this to happen.  I felt like a murderer.  A landscaper friend consoled my by saying that perhaps the poppies had seeded before they were pulled, and if so, they might come back.  Guess what?  They did!  And how!  Better than ever and maybe even more beautiful.

beautiful poppies on Sumac Ave
beautiful poppies on Sumac Ave

The point of all this is…all things begin and all things end.  The days get longer, the days get shorter.  People marry, people divorce, people separate and try again.  Kids grow (darn it!) and move away (not yet!!) and I keep planting flowers wherever I go.  I feel each passing more deeply than I used to.  I cry more often.  I love more.  I give thanks for flowers and for bees and for children and a home with a garden, for good neighbors.  I embrace the mess and chaos  – the perfect imperfection – of being human and judge less (thank god/spirit/grace) and miss the faces I used to see and embrace the new ones.  I love and appreciate my husband for being on this wild ride with me for the past decade.  I’m grateful for seeds that come back from under the ground, even when everything above ground is telling me they’re goners – it’s all a metaphor, get it?

can you see the bee?
can you see the bee?



Aint Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang

Harlan G

Got your attention?  I’m talking about the ‘G’ word…Grief, not Gangsta.  I hope you don’t stop reading just because you found out this post is about grief.  I think people, and Western culture in particular, have an unease about the word grief.  “Ugh…so heavy…grief” my friend says when she hears that I’ve titled my trip to India ‘Transcending Grief’,  “I just think of a bunch of women sitting around crying” she adds.  I get it.  I changed the title to something lighter, more fun sounding…”Journey to India” and people responded postitively, they liked it better.  Phew, less heavy.

I find myself drawn to the word grief, not repelled.  Anytime I see a workshop, a book or something on the internet with the word ‘grief’ in the title, my pulse quickens and I get excited to see what it is.  I truly have a passion for grief!  Grief makes me appreciate life more…love more.  My heart has cracked open so more can get in.

“The wound is where the light enters you.”  -Rumi

I don’t know if it’s the word itself or if it’s the fear of the pain that we back away from.  I often notice people backing away from the word grief and changing it to something more palatable, like “loss” or “letting go.”  Grief packs a powerful punch.  Oomph right in the gut…or the heart.  Ask somebody who has lost a loved one and they’ll tell you they’re grieving.  Grief is the word that fits.  After a few years (or months!) our society wants people to be moving on and getting past the loss, i.e. Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Stephen Jenkinson says:  “Grief and the love of life are twins.”  Two halves that make a whole.  He goes on to say,  “From a young age we see around us that grief is mostly an affliction, a misery that intrudes into the life we deserve, a rupture of the natural order of things, a trauma that we need coping and management and five stages and twelve steps to get over.  Here’s the revolution:  What if grief is a skill, in the same way that love is a skill, something that must be learned and cultivated and taught?  What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway?”

If we’re truly living in the moment each day, we are grieving every day as well.  How so?  Well, if I am appreciating the beauty of this moment, with my dog snoring softly on the couch, my daughter sleeping peacefully upstairs, the sun shining through the green willow leaves, I am also aware of the temporal state of this moment.  Everything passes.  Everything dies.  The knowledge that each moment is finite fills me with an ecstatic pleasure as well as an ache to know it will never happen again.  I’m loving life anyway, in spite of loss, because of loss.  In this way, grief has been a life changing gift to me, by giving me a profound appreciation for each moment, knowing that this too shall pass, I will pass.

Summer Poppies come
Summer Poppies come

Often when we lose somebody or something dear to us, we feel compelled to search for the meaning behind the loss.   “What if meaning is not something to find?” Stephen asks.  “Meaning is made by the willingness to proceed.  Life has to continue, not YOU have to continue.  Life is not your life span or your children’s life span.  How about holding the fact that nothing you hold dear lasts.  How about holding that fact close to your bosom?  That’s making meaning of the end of life.”

and go...
and go…

June meditation group

Kwan Yin - Goddess of Compassion and Mercy
Kwan Yin – Goddess of Compassion and Mercy

I have a prayer.  My prayer is to be of service.  Time feels like it is speeding up.  The planet is experiencing huge shifts, people are stressed and technology bombards us with shocking facts daily.

If you have read my blog before, you know that one of my favorite quotes from Yogi Bhajan is that in the Aquarian Age, one third of the population will die, one third will go insane, and one third will be left to deal.  Pretty grim for a favorite quote, eh?  Some days I wonder which third of the population I qualify for (har har.)

But seriously…what I like about this quote is that it confirms what I’m feeling – that things are intensifying in the world – I’m not just imagining it.  It also reminds me that I have tools I can use to feel more grounded and supported.  I would love to share these tools with those of you that might like some extra support.

Lotus Mudra (for an open heart)
Lotus Mudra (for an open heart)

I am offering a drop-in meditation class every Monday evening in the month of June.  It will be at my house, from 7-8:30pm.  We will start on time and end on time.  There will be a time for sharing, and then we will do some gentle stretches and breathing exercises and practice Kundalini meditation together.  This group will be for men and women, and all levels of ability and experience.  The drop in fee is $10.  If you are intersted, please email me for my address.  I’d love to have you join us.

univ5Chaya

Please read what astrologer Eric Francis has to say about the media and this intense time we live in:

Our senses were never intended to extend this far, or to perceive from this point of view — especially for those who are empaths or sensitives. They are more practical, intended to provide information about our local surroundings and the people with us in any given moment. Now we’re subject to incursion by anything that happens anywhere, and most of the time what we hear about is painful.

-Eric Francis

What a difference a year makes

heaven

It’s kind of a personal story…one that is better told through smiles, gestures…tears.  Sitting with a cup of tea and a comfy cushion, a nice blanket to wrap up in, a sheepskin to lie down on…perhaps a few candles burning.  I would tell you this story on a perfect night like this, the wind whooshing through the cottonwood leaves, a dark sky threatening rain, contrasting with the early summer green.  Birds singing their twilight song.

On a cold afternoon on one of the first days of 2012, I lay in my bed daydreaming on the New Moon…making prayers for the new year.  Thinking about what I wanted to call in, to invite, to embrace for the year ahead.  I asked to open my mind to new thought, to higher consciousness, expansion.  I wanted to open my heart to larger love; ways of living, loving, thinking and acting that have been out of reach, beyond my abilities.  I wrote in my journal:  “I know I have called in something bigger than me – I have asked to be opened up and filled.”

Later that year I loved a man in the most intimate way.  It’s hard to describe accurately or to do it justice.  My friend’s husband was dying of a brain tumor.  She asked me to come over and give him Reiki.  I went over to their house and loved him.   That’s what I did.  I loved him the way a mother loves her child – unconditionally and purely.  I let cosmic love pour through me and into him.  I got out of the way.  I was a channel.  I felt filled with love.  I think he did too.  I know he did.  We shared a few intimate hours together over his last few weeks.  On the day he died, I held his hand while he transitioned from consciousness to coma.  I held his feet and felt his spirit take flight – a hawk soaring fast and free.  I lay with him hours after he had passed and stroked his forehead.  Alison and I spent the cool hours of the dark early morning with him – this unseasonably hot June, the June that would bring fire upon fire to our mountains.  We dozed on the bed with him, burned sage, laughed and cried together.  I wrote in my journal how humbled and grateful I was to spend those days with him.  I also wrote that I thought I had found my dharma and how grateful I was to Nancy and Lance for letting me in to their lives so I could share what was longing to be expressed in me – my desire to be of service and for my life to have deeper meaning and purpose.

footsteps

A few days ago, I got a call from my hospice supervisor letting me know a woman was transitioning.  They were asking for volunteers to take turns sitting with her during the day while her family members were at work.  It had been a few months since there had been an opportunity to sit vigil and I jumped at the chance.  First shift.  I’m there.  I have sat with 4 people since Lance died last year.  First I had to go through general training, then a special training to sit vigil.  When my supervisor told me of this new person, she mentioned that this woman was conscious.  This was new.  Something to ponder.  It’s one thing to sit with a stranger that’s dying and they’re unconscious.  But to walk into the room of somebody I’ve never met before, while they’re going through one of the most intimate (if not the most intimate) acts of their life and sit with them…well, this got me nervous.  I prayed as I drove.  I prayed to be of service, to connect with my heart, to just BE.

It’s hard to explain, again, words can’t do this justice.  From the minute I walked into this woman’s room and she locked her blue-gray eyes on me, there was not one second that felt awkward or wrong.  I held her hand.  She didn’t speak but her eyes saw my every move.  I introduced myself and told her I was going to sit with her.  I honored the work she was doing – as she seemed to be laboring – and her body’s wisdom to know when it was time to let go.   I told her she wasn’t alone.   I never know what I will be moved to say or do with any particular person.  It’s different every time.  Sometimes I sit in silent meditation.  We must have “gazed” for over an hour.  It was intimacy on a soul-level.

When I returned the next day for the first shift, I was told that she had just passed.  I went in to see her body and touch her forehead.  As I sat and waited for her family to arrive, I cried.  At first, I was critical of myself…”Stop being so dramatic!  You didn’t even know this woman.  Why are you crying?”  After those thoughts passed, I decided to allow my heart to expand and just feel everything that was surfacing:  the ending of this woman’s life, the shell of her body in front of me, the softness of her gaze from yesterday, the imminent arrival of her loved ones.  The LOVE my own heart could feel for this woman, for the people that cared for her, for the patients in the facility, and for my family.

Today I looked back through my journal and discovered that the day I sat vigil with this woman,  was a year to the day that I first sat with Lance.  If grief is a sprial, then love is concentric circles…rippling out to infinity.  I am truly grateful for this life and for the meaning that I am privileged to have fill my days and the people I am honored to serve.

End of an Era

Oh boy,  this week is going to be tough.  It’s taking me by surprise…Andy’s not surprised though.  He called it when Lili went to Kindergarten 9 years ago (!)

Lili's first day of school
Lili’s first day of school

I was complaining about how institutionalized the school seemed and how it was nothing like our awesome, Buddhist inspired preschool Alaya.   Andy said that I would become just as active in this school as I had been at Alaya, that I would make friends, and that I would be boo-hooing when my time at Crest View was over.  (A time which felt about one million years away, by the way.)  I vehemently denied all of his predictions.

Fast forward to now.  Lili is “graduating” from 8th grade and Baby Boy is completing 5th grade, and the time has come…one million years have passed, and it is the end of an era.  For almost a decade I have been walking, biking and driving to Crest View. I have volunteered.  I have fund-raised.  I have combed hair for picture day.   I’ve been a room mom.  I’ve stuffed Friday Folders.  I have made good friends.  And last week, when I rode my bike over to Crest View before school to put a ‘thank you’ card in the office for Harlan’s teacher, and the principal was cranking Pink Floyd (who knew?) and the office ladies smiled at me and Lili’s kindergarten teacher from 9 years ago waved to me, I realized I was the world’s biggest liar.  I am a wreck!  I’m not ready for this!

Harlan's first day of Kindergarten (with his best buddy Cade.)
Harlan’s first day of Kindergarten (with his best buddy Cade.)

I already know when I’m sitting at the 8th Grade Award Ceremony (that’s right, she’s getting an award) I will be making that awkward half smile face that signals to my kids that “Mom is trying not to cry but it’s not working because oh Geez, now she’s making these tortured half laugh/half cry sounds…look away and pretend you are not related because now she’s full on crying.”  What can I say?  I’m a cryer.

Then on Thursday, I will bike over to Lili’s 8th grade graduation and see a lot of kids that I’ve watched grow up since kindergarten walking across the stage looking like young men and women.  I will remember the Halloween parties and the play dates and the class field trips when they were so much smaller.  And I will cry.  And I will be proud of the young lady that Lili has become, even if she is ignoring me because I am crying.

bigWee
ready to fly

After the graduation, I will head directly over to Crest View for my final ever class party (how could this possibly be?) For 9 years I’ve been doing this.  I’ll scoop ice cream and congratulate kiddos.  Some of the other parents are in my shoes, this is their final year at this neighborhood school, and I’m guessing there will be tears…

growing up
growing up

I know the only constant is change. I also know that my kids are each ready for their new, bigger frontiers;  I trust them and their journeys.  Right now, I’m just saying goodbye to an era that I remember fondly and won’t happen again.  There is something poignant and beautiful in being present to a moment you know is impermanent…a stage in life you will never get to do over.  I loved living so close to school and being welcomed into the classroom, even if it was just to say ‘hello’ and give a hug.  I loved that the teachers knew my kids and kept a close eye out for them.  I loved being a mom to an elementary school kid.  I already know that Middle School is the dark void re. parental involvement.  I’m sure High School is even more so.  I am feeling this milestone with a mixture of heavy heart and gratitude for getting this far.  Grateful for the teachers and families that have been part of the ride.  Thank you.

Grief Spiral

dandy

Grief isn’t linear.  It’s not a straight shot.  You don’t pass through locks in a canal, never to go back, chugging along to what…?  Before?  No.  A land where there is no pain?  No.

I love the metaphor that grief is a spiral, where I circle around, sometimes close to the epicenter (deep pain) and sometimes a bit farther out (awareness of the loss) and sometimes on the outskirts of the spiral (where I can smile at the memories and celebrate the gifts from knowing that person.)  No matter how long it’s been since the death of a loved one, I can be anywhere on the spiral – although I can truthfully say once I’ve experienced the acute phase of a loss, I’ve never gone back to that excruciating grief that feels like it could swallow me up and seems unsurvivable when it’s happening.  I hope that gives people some hope to read that.

Sometimes…I can be grieving and not even realize it.  Recently, life has been feeling so tender and almost unbearable to me.  Spring is late here in Boulder and with Spring comes baby animals.  We’ve got a Mama Raccoon in our attic, right over my bedroom, and her babies make scritchy scratchy sounds and chirp all night long.  I am sleeping in another room because they are so loud!  They sound like they are in the room with us!  Andy is calling them his roomates.  I don’t ordinarily like raccoons, but I am very distressed about these babies.  What to do?  I want them to be relocated, and not euthanized.  But I’m worried they are too young to be moved.  I can barely stand the thought that they will be moved outside… and then what?

Yesterday, we noticed a very small, brand new, baby squirrel up in our tree.  The mama was trying to show it how to scramble through the branches.  Then we noticed a very fat, buff tiger cat (ours) up in the tree, getting ready to pounce on the baby squirrel!  Oh no!  Andy ran out and sprayed the hose on our cat.  This barely distracted her.  Note that it was pouring rain yesterday too.  I was paralyzed with fear that Baby (our horrible cat) was going to kill the squirrel baby, the squirrel baby that isn’t even strong enough, or old enough, to scamper away.  The cat finally came in looking like a drowned rat and she has been locked up under protest all day today.  I’m praying that baby squirrel has enough evolutionary smarts to grow – fast!

As I was unloading my animal woes (my fear of impending death to small, helpless creatures, and my participation on some level with their possible impending deaths) on a friend today, she wondered what is going on for me about death.  “Well” I answered innocently, “a year ago is the time I started working with Lance.”  Hmmm.  As I said it, I realized that is what’s been living in me without me being consciously aware of it.  Two days ago was the 11 month anniversary of Lance‘s death.

Last May, I started giving Lance reiki and spending more time with him.  It was a powerful, life changing month.  It was an  intimate experience that touched me.  I will probably write more about this time, but for now the words escape me.  I am just aware that I am more sensitive than usual and it’s a reminder to go back to the basics of self care; something we teach in the Newly Bereaved groups at hospice.  Drink more water.  Rest.  Get out in nature. Share with close friends – people who will listen and let me be right where I’m at.  Most of all, thanks to my wise friend Sally, I want to BE present with all that I am feeling right now.  I want to witness the sorrow and the tenderness and allow any and all emotions to wash over me.  I might feel things this year that I was too in shock to feel last year.  I can notice the gifts that have come to me in the past year, since knowing Lance, and give thanks for them and for his life.  Gratitude.  And, I’m going to try and help these little animal babies stay alive if I can…

True Confessions – Part 2

Vunerability and Truth…two of the most potent spaces to be in – combined anything is possible.  It was in this spirit that my relationship with Nancy West McGuire was started.  On this day, at this cafe, it was the right time for us to connect.  Do you have any friends like that?  Where you know each other peripherally, or see each other around, but for some reason you finally connect and you wonder “Why did this take so long?”  Ahhh the mystery of life.  I love it.

One of my absolute joys in life, and a reason I believe I’m here in human form, is to deeply connect with other human beings – on a heart level.  Sitting down with a “stranger” and finding common ground with each other energizes me and makes me glad to be alive.  It fills me up on a soul level.  And guess what?  Nancy loves that too!  The more we shared, the more excited we got to recognize a kindred spirit in each other.  We both had been event planners in past lives, we had gone to high school within 7 miles of each other, for decades each of one us has been drawn to different trainings and teachings to improve ourselves.  We each have a reverence and curiosity for death and dying.  It was a such a treat to meet and spend hours (!) talking and enjoying myself.  The items to be discussed kept growing and tumbling out, it felt as natural and comfortable as seeing a friend after many years – a sister…a best friend from childhood…where had she been all my life?

The cherry on top of the sundae was that Nancy was passionate about India.  Not only had she traveled there solo and lived there, but she was familiar with the one city that has been calling to me – Varanasi.  The one city on the “Journey to India” itinerary that I haven’t been to, yet feel called to see.  Nancy told me story after story about her days in Varanasi, about impromptu dance parties with women in the slums, about chartering a boat to take families down the Ganges to a park for an afternoon of play, of paying for children to go to the dentist for the first time and have their teeth cleaned and filled.  To hear Nancy speak of Varanasi, is to see her come alive.  She’s a strong woman with a large heart and she exudes confidence, competence and gregariousness.  But the nectar is to watch Nancy soften when she speaks of Varanasi and the people there.  She looks like a young girl, delighted with life, and sweet with vulnerability and truth.  See for yourself:

True Confessions – Part 1

Every day I make a ‘to do’ list and I write: “blog post about India.”

'to do' lists
‘to do’ lists

I usually get everything done on my list, except the blog post.  Why?  Well…I have a secret to share.  I am sharing this with the hope that it will help others and set me free at the same time.

When I first decided that I wanted to plan a trip to India, a part of me felt that I needed a “draw” – like, I needed a big name or talent to get people to sign up.  I knew I could handle the details and organize the trip, but I didn’t think that I could get people to sign up just because I was leading it.  So I set out to get a well known teacher to co-lead with me.  Only problem was, for different reasons, the teachers weren’t able to do the trip.  This was not working out how I planned.  I kept giving God a squinty-eyed look that said “I am not doing this trip myself God!”  I didn’t want to.  But here’s the dirty little secret…it wasn’t because I didn’t think I could do it – that wasn’t the scary part for me at all – it was because…because…if I couldn’t get enough people to sign up for the trip, and had to cancel, then I would be a FAILURE.  And not only that, but I would fail PUBLICLY.  Everyone would know that I failed.

I wrestled with this for awhile.  I suffered.  During a BARS energy work session with Kate Spear’s gentle questioning, I started to unravel my beliefs around the trip.  What would it take for me to put both feet in regarding the trip?  What would it look like if I partnered with God?  What would it feel like if I let India be the “draw”?  What if I planned a beautiful trip and trusted that the participants would have their own experiences?  I could feel my chest expanding with each question Kate asked.  The true freedom of letting go of any attachment to the outcome…the relief of stepping back and trusting that India, and India alone, would be the bell calling out to each soul.  Partnering with God filled me with trust.  I felt humble and unafraid.  I was committed, both feet in, to follow this journey towards India and see where it would lead me.  There was no failure in trying, only learning.  I made a commitment to move forward.

The very next day, Nancy West McGuire sent me a freind request on Facebook.  I knew her peripherally but I had always been too shy insecure to reach out.  I accepted her freind request and shared my secret that I had always wanted to be her friend but had been holding back.  She responded instantly and warmly, saying “Hello new friend!  Life is too short to be shy!”  and we set up a date to meet and have tea.  Two days later, we met at one of my favorite cafes in Boulder and talked for hours – discovering many common themes, one of which was a shared passion for India.

In Part 2  I’ll write about how a Facebook request, and a truth shared with vulnerability from the heart led me to be co-leading a trip to India with Nancy.  See you tomorrow!

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