Being in Balance While Counting to Zen

Two weeks into the New Year and I am beginning to feel the realignment of balance and the recognition of coming back to a new normal. A new normal for me.

Each morning, as I sit quietly in the predawn, there is a sense of unfoldment, teasing me in its reveal.

The release of previous holds on me are shifting in ways that are creating a deeper understanding of past patterns and situations. Looking back at them, I see how necessary they were in order to build the ladder to the stars that are now aligning.

I continue to pray and listen to a response as I sit on my mat and count to Zen, riding my breath while it moves in and out of this body I have reclaimed.

It’s not enough to just feed the body.
It’s not enough to just feed the soul.

The soul needs the body to give birth to its dreams and the body needs the soul to live and experience those dreams. The feast is an interconnected ying-yang circle of continual flow. Another relationship where one shouldn’t live without the other is the balance of the head and the heart. I say shouldn’t because many of us only live in one or the other, perhaps too afraid of making the connection or simply not knowing how. No judgement. Just acknowledgment.

There are so many things I already knew up there, but as the dots begin to connect, I now know the same things down there, adding color and texture to the monochrome that lay there before. I can’t help but sigh and drop my shoulders as I relax into this realization of deeper knowing in my heart, and wider understanding in my mind. A brand-new landscape, for sure.

I’m excited at the hints I’m seeing of what’s ahead. A work in progress, that’s me but aren’t we all? We’re just at different stages of the artist’s vision. As the day deepens believe me, the loftiness I start the day with is something that needs constant attention because it’s so easy to be pulled one way or another and before I know it I’m taking another deep breath and counting to Zen. But circles aren’t always perfectly round I remind myself—that’s not the important part. The important part is that there is a circle and that the connection remains.

And tomorrow I will sit again, curious at what will unfold but knowing that whatever it is, I will be adding a new rung to the ladder that I’ll use to climb and reach the stars.

Blogging From A to Z: Near Life Experiences (NLE)

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Have you ever had a Near Life Experience (NLE)? I bet you have and if you haven’t, you probably know someone who has. I know I’ve had it. The opposite of a Near Death Experience (NDE), an NLE is a situation where someone almost lives. Instead of sincerely living life and being awake in its moments, they live life based upon the opinions and judgments of others and not their own experiences.

Many of us are sleepwalking through our lives. There is a Zen blogger who wrote about succumbing to NLE’s and described it as not living in the moment and being distracted by our own preoccupations. I completely agree with her but I also want to take the concept of an NLE deeper and a little sideways. I believe NLE’s also means that we have designed our conclusions about life and what it should be based on what we see on TV or read in newspapers and magazines. We are so quick to judge and form an opinion but how much of it is really our opinion and not one parroted by the more popular consensus?

When do we stop designing our opinions according to the latest news or stories in the magazine or newspaper? I’m including myself in this observation of following the crowd. I know I do, but I’m breaking free of it by forming and voicing my own opinions through my writing and art and really looking at things beyond face value. Waking up from an NLE doesn’t have to always mean taking your views publically like I have, but you can clearly show it by being an example. And yes, it can be scary!

Someone I know recently said that life has a habit of prompting us to act and many times it is through illness or a traumatic event. This prompt does not have to be life-threatening event but enough of one to threaten an existing quality of life. With a direct impact immanent, we snap out of our doze and begin to take an active role in our lives and find the courage to voice our particular opinions and beliefs. We begin to live according to our life’s voice and not the voices of others.

Don’t let illness or traumatic event become the motivator. Getting out of our NLE’s doesn’t mean extreme acts such as planning a pilgrimage to Tibet or hiking Kilimanjaro (unless you want it to be!), but it does mean stepping out of our comfort zones and not being afraid to form our own opinions and beliefs. Yes, it takes courage, but it is so worth it as I am learning while I continue to wake up to life and take things deeper. Join me!