Thursday, December 29, 2011

Expand Your Perception to Lift Your Community

Perception is the key to your experience.  So perhaps if you are having an unpleasing experience you might focus on changing your perception and not the people around you.  There is always a greater perception available to you.  There is always a more expanded view than the one you are currently viewing.  Especially when things feel “rough” inside, ask that you perceive with the eyes, ears and heart of God.  Remind yourself that anyone and everything is the very image and likeness of the same essence of Love that you are.  Perfection is about Divinity at the center of everything which always knows, supports, loves and guides.  If you cannot perceive the perfection of a situation in your life today, then remind yourself that God is doing something for you that you could not do for yourself.  I look back at some of the hardest situations in my life, when I felt yanked from something that I felt was good, or couldn’t have something I really wanted and see the whole picture with the clarity of “hind-sight,” and realize that something greater than me was steering me toward a much more brilliant good in the long run.  So, a key to being an active and powerful member of any community is your perception.  Intend to perceive the capitol T truth of any situation.  Dedicate yourself to seeing the good at the center of any individual and when you find yourself in judgment, which we all do, forgive yourself quickly and chose an expanded perception.  Chose to know that, without a doubt, even though you can’t see it with your own eyes yet, that the Universe is indeed “conspiring for your good.”  Chose to know the truth that you live in a friendly Universe and that no one is truly “out to get you.”  We are so dynamic as spiritual beings having this human experience and so many of us are carrying pretty significant pain bodies which taint our perception and cause defensiveness or judgment, especially when we feel fear or backed into a corner.  This is why when somebody see’s past your ego and identifies with your Truth when you are acting from your pain body and acting out in jealousy or fear or sadness or self doubt, that it is an invaluable experience.  Even a moment of this type of experience can and often does linger for a lifetime.  So, when somebody in your community is acting out…. Without feeding the egoic body, see and identify with the Truth of that person.  Being seen is one of the greatest gifts on the planet, so find a way to give it away today.  Celebrate others successes, especially if they are celebrating in an area of your own desired growth.  Do not feel threatened and do not remain quiet when somebody is succeeding in an area that you would like to succeed in for that would put the biggest damper on the possibility of your own growth in that area.  Praise others for their triumphs and successes and see their truth when they seem to be in a dark spot.  The second principle in the four agreements would be a huge benefit if applied more often in community – “do not take things personally.” 
Sobriety is about getting’ real… so get real with your bad self today and allow yourself to grow into the next best version of yourself… your community will greatly benefit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Challenge to Love Beyond Judgment

The free verse of the planet burns most brightly through the communities of the world today.  The brightest light is emanated from those communities centered in the conscious awareness and purpose of growth in the spiritual life.  Nonetheless, any structure of community is by it’s nature empowered to shed a greater light on the planet.  Whether it be a rugby team, a church group, a group of people at a Dave Mathews concert, an AA home group, a tight knit group of friends or a group of parents who gather three mornings a week at the ice rink to take their kids to hockey, community is formed and empowers the individuals to greater life.  There is something so wonderful about being recognized and loved for who you are.  One of the things that I love the most about having grown up in a small town like Aspen is that it is a fish bowl.  One of our local newspapers has a slogan that says “if you don’t want it printed, don’t let it happen.”  I have come to love this over the years because they are right on about this community.  The size and nature of Aspen is such that transparency is a quality embodied by the individuals and the town as a whole whether you like it or not.  Sure, I have run to cities where I felt more anonymity in my life and quite frankly, loved the gift of anonymity.  However, I missed the love and familiarity of being in a small community.  We have characters in our community that perhaps when you first met them you might have felt judgment and a resulting fear.  The instinct may be to talk for it is a form of vomiting the fear that you feel when someone is so different from you.  But over time you learn that they have a place in the community and somehow the fear fades to a realization and acceptance that they are safe, quirks and all.  It is a true test of our own evolution to notice the depth and breadth of our love for others in our life.  It is easy to love those you feel fond of who serve you in some way.  The greatest measure of love is to find the person or situation that is the most “challenging” in your community and dedicate yourself to loving them to the best of your ability.  If it is a challenge for you to do so, then take notice of an elder or a mature person in your community and notice how they rarely, if ever, engage in negative talk about an individual.  Notice how they are identified only with Good and therefore do not subscribe to any particular “circle” of friends.  Notice how the gossip never even reaches their ear for they are so centered in God that the mamby pamby of low-level thinking, escapes them completely.  Be in the fishbowl of community today and extend your perception past your judgements of self and others and dive deep into the true nature of you and your community which is always, LOVE.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Community Is Calling Me

“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I know I’m not the only one…..imagine…. a brotherhood of man…. the world is one.” -John Lennon  The words of this song never cease to unzip me and expose my heart.  I remember when I listen to lyrics like this what this whole sobriety, yoga and life thing is about.  I am here to be a part of expanding the dream of John Lennon, the dream that is deep down inside all of our hearts, into reality.  I am here as an usher, as a servant to the dream of the heart, to the dream of One.  I crave community like my pup Sophie craves bacon wrapped dried mango.  I have a dream and a vision of community which inspires, draws and informs me all of the time.  I have a dream to participate in the fully unleashed expression of celebration, healing, love, light, creativity, joy, triumph, freedom and prosperity.  I know this is my vision, my call, my path because it is un-waivering.  Since I first stepped into some version of loving community at The Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle and then into other Center for Spiritual Livings and ultimately into the rooms I found my soul in these places.  I found the feeling tone, which I crave with all of me.  However, whether it be an hour in the rooms, a few hours celebrating on a Sunday, a few hours with a sangha once a month, a few hours in a class once a week or whatnot…. I always want more.  Like many of us, I go back into the world of the blessed “sleepers” who don’t yet know that they are sleeping and I feel alone.  I miss my compadres who are on the spiritual journey with me.  My favorite times in life is when I have been on spiritual retreats for several nights at a time and the journey is always for the revelation of greater wholeness, greater health, greater freedom and always the journey is inward and deeper…. So paradoxically we each go inward together in a setting like this but what comes from that journey inward is a celebration and deepening in the community as a whole.  To witness anothers revelation of growth, truth, light, freedom and pure joy goes unparalleled.   I don’t know, there is just something about community for me, that I live for.  I love it.  I thrive in it.  So, over the next few days as we prepare for the new year I am going to explore the inspiration and ideas of community that infiltrate my being.  If you have any thoughts or ideas that you would like to explore or have me address in my next blog then please post them in the comment section.  I believe God is in all of us and the best healing happens when there is an active dialogue between more than one individual.  So don’t be shy, hop in and post your thoughts, your creativity and shine your light… we could all use a little more of you in our lives today J

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let It Shine Baby!

There is a Holy Wholeness at the center of each one of us.  If the way that your light is being reflected is fragmented, it is only because there is a belief system or layer covering some aspect of your true nature.  It’s like having a lamp that is covered partially by a towel.  The light bulb itself is still complete with all of it’s components but something else is blocking the reflection of the whole light that is available for expression.  “There is a light and it never goes out” and it is at the center of every one of us.  One of my favorite yoga instructors plays a song that repeats this chorus while we lay in Sivasana.  This is because that we hunger for this Truth.  Such a simple remembering and yet so powerful.  So, remember this today…. No matter how dark it feels inside there is just underneath the pain, confusion, desolation, emptiness a bright and mighty light that extends into Infinity.  If you are having a day where you feel powerfully connected to your light, then let it shine baby, because I guarantee you there are others who could use your light in their world.  There is sometimes this business in life where somebody’s ego temporarily takes them over and their ego does not like to see another's spirit thriving and doing well… they may even go as far as to attempt to bring you down.  Remember in those moments that the world is hungering for your light and when you feel it, please do not tone it down.  You came to shine!  A part of shining is too the light that comes from walking through the darkness…. So if you are in the darkness…. keep walking and those of us who are in the part of the cycle that we will call “shining” are shinings our lights to brighten your way.    Please, just remember that your light is always there….. it never goes out or away.  Even the most robust and beautiful plant has it’s time as a seedling in the soil.  Even the most beautiful plants live out the seasons of life and die to themselves through the cycles.  It is important to remember that brilliance is of Infinity and in order to experience this one must die to their little selves and allow what is true of all of us to shine uniquely through their kaleidescope of being.  Life is Good by it’s very nature.  You are Love, Loved and Beloved.  Blessings

Friday, December 23, 2011

Evolving Into Contentment

As we grow and evolve our ability to get excited fades into a higher vibration of being present in the moment.  I was just talking with someone about the holidays and how we each feel about Christmas approaching.  She said that she is finally starting to get excited about Christmas but it’s more along the lines of “it will be nice to have dinner with my family.”  I get it, I am not excited and I am not un-excited.  I am grateful in advance that I will have the chance to be with a few of my friends.  I am grateful now for the beautiful lights that are strung up all over Aspen.  I am grateful for the quiet of the snow as it falls.  I am content, which is a feeling I love now.  In my sobriety and through my yoga practice I find great value in being content…. a feeling of fulfillment that stays.  There used to be such extreme highs and lows in my life.  I used to look forward to the next high and be completely dissatisfied with the lows.  So, perhaps the gift of this place in my evolution is an overall feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. 

One major component of my well being is rest.  I was just looking over my blog from yesterday and recognizing how dis-jointed it was.  I feel deep gratitude for my growth for today I don’t beat myself up for it, feel embarrassed and take it down, wonder who read it and judged me or try to change it.   It’s my journey and it is all perfect just as yours is today.  This same person always says to me “give yourself the Grace.”  Now, I simply recognize that I was exhausted yesterday and it showed in my work.  One thing that I will note is that I was still doing my best.  I did my best to sleep the night before and it just didn’t work out that way. I did my best to show up for all of my commitments yesterday, even if I was a little tired.  I recognized it as an opportunity all day to be aware of my low energy and to be extra vigilant of what I was thinking, saying and doing.  Sleep is a huge part of the balance and integrity of my life.  We often refer to the acronym H.A.L.T which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired.  These components have the ability to affect almost any person.  The two that I relate to most are hungry and tired.  It’s as simple as being aware that if these things are occurring in your life that it is best to address these first and then take on whatever else is going on in life.  I love sobriety and yoga because they are a design and a tone for living.  There are actual tangible practices which take us to our meeting point with God and then there is this underlying power house of a force that moves us in positive and good direction…. this is God meeting and moving us from the inside out.  I love this journey.  I love that I accept myself and feel worthy of all that life has to offer.  I believe this is True for you too, no matter who you are or what your actions or life has been…. I believe you are made from the same essence of Love that I am.  Namaste

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stay the Course and Your Vision Will Inform You

In order to be free we must release the future and the past and be present now.  I’ve realized how much pain future focusing can cause.  Yesterday I found myself in tears trying to make plans and as they say…. “if you want to know how to make God laugh – make plans.”  I hope God wasn’t laughing at my pain but perhaps there was laughter in order to ease up the grip I have had recently on trying to figure it all out.  This tendency can be so subtle yet so powerful and if there is not a keen awareness upon the layers of my being, it won’t be long before I am in the grip of the future or the past which doesn’t exist anyhow.  All we have is now… "today: at the most which is exactly why we are reminded all the time, “just for today.”   Be careful not to get caught in the trap of future focusing even if it’s “good,”  even if the vision is so very good.  I’m not saying that it is not important to have goals and intentions because it is wildly important but set them, plant them and let them be.  Let the Universe take care of their growth and evolution and take action only when directed by intuition or clearly by God in some other way.  In the meantime be here, be love, be joy, be compassion, be free, be…. Wholly present.

Last night I watched as a huge piece of my “big” dream fell smack into place in the center of my world, or perhaps otherwise said, I met my vision in manifest reality in a major way last night.  I was and am so excited that I have been hardly able to sleep(perhaps there’s some growth in the area of grounding as good unfolds, available here).  As I was driving through the beautiful quiet of the snow I thanked myself for staying true to the vision that was born inside of me so many years ago.  All of the moments when I compared myself to others and wondered if I had it wrong and should have just chosen to do it the way that most did it then somehow I would have this “pretty good” life.  Well folks, I didn’t come here to live a “pretty good” life…. I came here to wake up to my true nature and live on purpose and live a “great” life.  I came to be the most full and dynamic self which is my only true intention and I allow the purpose within me to inform me of the next step on the path.  I take that step and sometimes my ego throw up a tantrum of doubt for it wants me to play small.  Most often I have taken that step and last night I got to see that all of the steps that I put together took me on a road less traveled to the dreamland of true eternal life bursting forth into form.  This may sound intense, but it’s true.  Lately I have been glimpses and tastes of eternity.  In the present moment last night I felt, without a shadow of a doubt a deep abiding gratitude for good beyond my wildest dreams unfolding.  Thank you sobriety and each and every angel that has walked with me on this journey.  Love to each of you as you listen...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who's Sobriety Inspires You? Johnny Cash?

I just watched “Walk the Line” and immediately had to look up Johnny Cash’s history with addiction.  The scenes where he rummaging for the pills, sweating like a mad-man and getting busted by the cops, all hit me in my gut.  For a moment I thought it might be best to turn the movie off but I continued with the knowledge that it had a happy ending.  If there was any doubt about my alcoholism and addiction, I can let it go for my relatability to this story, burns in my blood and my gut as I tangibly feel myself in Johnny’s struggle.  I can almost taste the moments of sheer pain and loneliness, like the way he rolled back over after a three day sleep…. feeling the monkey mind take off and the itty bitty shitty committee taking flight in the mind and all you can do is pray that you fall back asleep one more time.  Thank God he was sober for most of his life, for he lived it well.  I am para-phrasing but I just read somewhere that he felt that his life began when he got sober. 

This is akin to something someone I ran into on the hiking trail today said to me. - She happened to be at the meeting that I spoke at this morning and she shared a deep Truth with me when she reminded me that I was so young to be getting this and that if I run with sobriety now(as she looked up at the Colorado blue sky) she continued … “the sky is the limit.”    I feel this in my soul when I am sober…. that the sky is, indeed, the limit.  It’s quite the opposite of the feeling of isolation and desolation that I feel when I am “out there.”  The illusion that I was more creative when I was inebriated also has had to be smashed, another point I was inspired by in Johnny Cash’s story.  He busted right through that fear and allowed creativity to thrive in his life in sobriety.  I am inspired by this in Johnny’s life as well as by the people who stood up for him and never gave up on him…. June’s courage and dedication to the vision of the true Johnny was so powerful that she had her own family backing him when even his own family had left and given up on him, is just another absolutely moving part of this miraculous story.

I am reminded to pull back the view of my telescope to see the big picture.  From this vantage point I have a clear view of the vast array of miracles that is my life today.  From this vantage point, I see the Divine thread of all of the unfolding that has occurred as my life.  I see that I have the courage to chose a path which runs deep in it’s challenges and it’s triumphs and I am grateful that I have not lived a life that is “standard, simple or status quo.”    The intricacies of my life make it difficult to see the rhyme or reason sometimes but when you see a story like Johnny and June and all of the dynamics and lengthy time of their unfolding, it evokes a surge of patience and a sweet spot of anticipation for the next chapter of my life.  I am inspired by Johnny Cash’s sobriety and the life which emerged from it.  Who’s sobriety are you inspired by today?  Love Out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Beyond Your Comfort Zone Lies a Gift

I like to listen to piano while I run…. It allows the dream within to well up inside of me.  I am just returning from a sunset run in the Colorado country side…. a run I almost didn’t take…. and it reminds me of the good that is almost always just beyond our comfort zone.  You see, a run doesn’t always stir up cozy and comfy emotion when I think of taking it, especially when it’s been a while ;-p  But I’ve been craving “deeper” lately and I know myself well enough to know that a run lifted to inspiration by the chorus line of piano, almost always takes me deeper.  My whole day has been a bit like this….. I wake for the second day in a new home several miles from the town I grew up in, both in sobriety and in life.  What that meant was that I needed to hop in and get my toush to a new meeting in a new place, even if it is only 15 miles from everything sooooo comfortable.  I watched as excuse after excuse whirled in my head of why today wasn’t a good day to go to a “new” meeting and how later in the week would be perfect.  Luckily I am identifying more with the Spirit within me lately and I knew better than to listen to that voice for I needed a meeting.  I’m so glad I showed up because I felt immediately welcomed and remembered that these groups always have a tint of home to them, no matter where you go.  It reminds me of a meeting that some friends and I four wheeled to in torrential downpour in the deep south of Costa Rica.  We knew we needed a meeting and if it took three of us riding a single four-wheeler for half an hour in a down-pour, we were going to get there(we did it with gut wrenching belly roars for the sheer ridiculousness of it all.)  We did, and they waited for us to arrive to begin the meeting.  We drank warm coffee and listened to the rain pouring on the roof of this home as we sank into the feeling of being home in an aa meeting in a foreign country.  We left  with full hearts, ease in our being and in garbage bags with arm and head holes cut out.  If that’s not a special experience worth being sober for, I don’t know what is.

There it is, just beyond your comfort zone, another sweet gift.  Beyond the rain, beyond the fear of something new, beyond the comfort of staying home is this Light, this Life that we are sober for.  There is no reason to be sober if your plan is to stay the same.  The point of sobriety is to step into your greatness, to sink your teeth into life.  What is just beyond your comfort zone?  What extra step can you take in your sobriety today?  I guarantee it will reveal a gift.  Open yourself up by intending a state of awe for the Grace that is always occurring.  So much Love.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Be Loved for No Reason

Why is it that challenges feel like mountains in the moment?  Perserverance and adherence to Truth and faith and attention on what is truly important to us coupled with a little time almost always turns these mountains into molehills.  Even a day can make such a difference in the world.  Today for example was a breeze compared to the challenges that came up at work yesterday.  What’s the difference between today and yesterday…. I don’t know.  But I am learning that in order to have high flyin’, zip roarin’ days of pure joy and pure ecstacy, then there needs to be days which provide necessary relativity.  The difference now during a solid practice and dedication to yoga and sobriety…. -my reactivity and participation are so different than ever before.  I have been taught to create and participate in the “pause” and without getting lost in total complacency I find myself slipping back into action from a place of love and empowerment, more often than not.  

“God, I offer this moment to thee to write through me and to do with me and to be through me as thou will.  Thy will, not mine be done.”  May my ego be enveloped by the sheer power and Love of Good, of God within me and may this moment continue to be guided by the pure unhindered movement of Spirit.  May these words be the creative outpicturing of my soul, of my inner life in such a way that will aid myself and others in their journey in sobriety.  May my Light, however bright it may be in this moment, be a beacon of light for others on their Way.  May all be reminded through their own practices, communities and intuition of the true nature of their soul and that there is nothing that one can do which can cause them to truly fall from a state of grace.  May each know that there is nothing that they have done to take them outside of Love.  Love, by It’s very nature is unconditional and does not chose who, when or where.  It simply is and we are It’s expression.  So we can let go together in this moment of any conditioning that tells us that we have to be, do or have something to deserve love.  We are taught on our mats, by the guides at the front of the room, by the people in the program that we are loved… that we too are love and shall give it away to ourselves and others in order to advance our practices and remain sober.  We are then therefore in line with our purpose to love in a unique, dynamic and powerful way.  May Light burst through the darkness of anyone feeling it right now and may they reach out a hand and allow the grace of love to love them for no reason at all.  May we know that God is the Power and Presence of Love at the center and circumference of all of life.  May we be ignited by the purpose at the center of our soul’s and rise up out of the darkness together, into the light.  May we learn to discern and not to judge based on the truth that we are all worthy and my worth is not a measure of myself against another.  May we know that there is enough for all and that we simply have to take a bucket instead of a thimble to the Infinite well.  May we know that Christ was not a man but a consciousness embodied by a man named Jesus.   May we trust this man when he said that “these and greater things shall you do” and may we go on to do greater things which could only be done by embodying the consciousness of Christ within ourselves and our own lives.  May we remain sober, knowing that it is a gift, not a curse for we are truly available to the miracles of life as a result.  Starting with community may we recognize how good life feels in sobriety and remember how bad life feels at the merciful isolation of the drink or drug.  May I see, sense and feel this truth more often each day, in new ways allowing God to reveal Truth through my eyes, ears and heart.  May sobriety and yoga continue to reveal Love to me and others in the most deep, profound and mind blowing ways. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Showing Up Even if there Seems to Be Nothin' to Say

Sometimes I have no clue what I am going to write and I am here at the keyboard out of an awareness that I must show up for this commitment to myself even if I don’t know what or more importantly, “if” something’s going to flow.  Creativity is about taking the journey and allowing it to take you.  It is about trusting the twists and turns.  More importantly it is about trusting what feels like the lulls.  Often as addicts and alcoholics we don’t feel like we “fit in” anywhere and the unfomfortability of not feeling “a part of” is quickly alleviated by the drink or drug.  But to be totally honest, as I learn to be more comfortable with who I am and somehow am proportionately more accepted by the world, I often think “what am I fitting into anyway?”  I have carried this perception at times that most people have it together and know who they are and in my mind they are so mature and their lives are this brilliant work of ease and joy.  The more I grow, the more I realize how this was just a perception and what I thought I was viewing as a perfect world for others, is most often not the perfect world I had perceived it to be.  The goal is not to judge but to discern and to realize that no one path is better than another.

I am working hard on seeing and perceiving the perfect truth of anyone, of everyone that I meet.  As I focus my attention on where I am placing my attention I realize how much judgement there really is.  I am shocked by what I perceive to be sadness, depression, anger, confusion and so many seemingly lost souls.  Is this me that I am perceiving in others?  I am called to see the perfection and to be a safe harbor for the revelation of truth in others and yet oftentimes all I see is, sadly, what is wrong.  I want to see what is right without having a polly-anna, fake and false perception of what truly is.  Does any of it matter?  Does it matter if I see Truth?  What Good reason is there to dedicate my entire life to this that Christ revealed through the man Jesus, the woman Theresa, the monk Buddha…. Why am I so called to this path?

I find myself resting in my purpose when the humanity of life begins to get to me.  I find myself returning to what is true in my heart…. But then I wonder, is what is true in my heart just a bunch of bull-oney anyway?

I don’t know the answer to this and I don’t need to in order to pursue that which is calling me from the inside, from the eternal.  May what is calling you from the inside, from the eternal be what you wake for and what you walk for each day.  This is why I am sober today.  Much Love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

States of Grace

At some point in our Spiritual Practice we begin to get a sense of life propelling us forward… this is the tangible experience of God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.  This is often a momentary or short lived experience but there comes a time when it all feels like this for periods of time – I know, I am currently living in what I consider – a state of Grace – Life is definitely doing for me what I could not do for myself and in a sense I feel something bigger than me, living my life.  It is important that I am very clear here that I, of myself, have nothing to do with this state of Grace.  I did nothing to deserve this for this is a birthright of every single individual alive.  I just followed my heart onto a spiritual path where I have been learning and growing and practicing for many years.  Sobriety though is what has unlocked all of my dedication and practice to this current “flow state” that I am feeling.  It’s quite exhilarating really…. It feels like gratitude and joy and awe.  I watch myself, as things get so good, looking for a loophole or the other shoe to drop and I have to remind myself “it’s ok Ash, it’s ok to feel good and to be doing really well, it’s ok to succeed.”  I love what Michael Beckwith says about surrender – he says that we not surrendering to something outside ourselves but to Divinity within that is connected profoundly to the same one that is in all life.  This place within us, this Divine Life and Light at the center of us individually though is a unique gift of purpose granted to each one of us.  We are surrendering in essence to live the lives that we were meant to live.  I don’t know what that life is for anyone else….. however it is very identifiable in those who are in full expression of themselves, of those who are in full tune with the Divine swing of things….. they are the ones doing triple back-flips off an X-Games jump, singing like Adele, living like Katy Perry, being philanthropists and world activists like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.  These individuals and so many more have unleashed the creative fire within them.  One thing that I know of this creative fire is that it is sourced from something much bigger than ourselves and yet it burns right there at the center of us.  But, because it sourced by Life we have exponentially more energy when we have activated the God-seed within.  The body shimmers with the glowing light of Truth and life unfolds with an ease that is not available when we are in our own will.  Let me be clear again – I fully believe that I chose each and every struggle that I have had to grow, develop and unfold…. to become the woman I am today.  I fully believe that I chose gut-wrenching, heart breaking experiences to get to the good stuff of life, to get to the sweet spot.  This is not to say that you can’t arrive at the juicy goods without hardship but, for me, that’s what it took.  I believe I chose to be an alcoholic that I might understand the depths of pain and therefore feel great joy and reward in community and life again.  I give thanks to the life force that has lived as every individual and situation which has played out in my life, for all of it has brought me to this moment of Grace.  I give thanks and I stand anchored in Love and an awareness that these states are available to each and every one of you….. simply take one more step forward today my friend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shifting Anticipation with Perspective

Yesterday I had someone ask me what my insights were while driving for two full days from Seattle to Aspen.  Most what I was experiencing was an expansiveness through the vast and exquisite landscapes of our country.  I was reminded also of how diverse life is and how many different “human suits” God puts on Itself to experience itself.  I also experienced Gratitude for the perfection of my life and being completely aware that I am living the life that Divinity designed perfectly for me and my soul’s evolution – including sobriety.  Sobriety really is a gift you know…. It is an evolution past any lifestyle which includes the ingestion of toxins, I don’t care if you are an alcoholic or not…. It is a life, perhaps undesired at first, of purity and clarity and community…. One of deep connection.  We got all of it seemingly through our struggles with substances – how blessed are we. 

I wake this morning at home in, what I consider to be, one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I have a little anticipation for going to this morning’s meeting for I haven’t always gotten this thing right and it’s taken me a while to get these last seven months of good, clean, quality sobriety – which still by the way, has not been perfect.  There is however a quality to my sobriety now that I have not experienced before and I just have to remember that it is none of my business what anyone thinks of me – good or bad.  I am simply here living and it is my right to be present for my healing and to focus my attention on those people who do support me, love me and, believe in my sobriety.

Today I am so grateful for the immense gifts and opportunities in my life.  My yolk is light and I am available for the awe inspiring work of Divinity to continue it’s beautiful ways in my life.  I invite you to make yourself available to your Divine Good too J  Love Out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elegant Endings & Gratitude

Elegant endings are the ideal way to transition and yet with all of the layers of our humanity it is not always quite as graceful as one could hope for.  I would say that I am transitioning from one beautiful season of my life to the next today with some Grace but perhaps not as much as I would like.  I have discovered so much Love during my time here in Seattle and yet I have also discovered a few of my growing edges(character defects).  I get so fired up sometimes when I feel a boundary has been crossed and I find that isolate to my own detrement.  The truth is that I had a perfect sponsor and a lovely community, in fact I think both were as fine as I have found in all of my sobriety.  The facts are that I had my feathers ruffled and I found a familiar behavior of mine in the midst which is isolation from the group.  None of that matters here, for I am sober and eternally grateful to the woman that sponsored me and the beautiful home group that I have been blessed to be a part of for keeping the goal with me during my time here – sobriety!  I am also grateful to have been a part of what I consider one of the best yoga studios in the country (Be Luminous Yoga), a Baptiste yoga studio in Seattle offering the finest instructors and facilities for the total yoga experience, one which addresses the mind body and soul connection.  More Truth about me and my life have been revealed through the synergistic effect of both.  In reflecting back I am aware of an opportunity to grow – the word that here in my being is “soften.”  Soften when I feel the most rigid toward myself, another or a situation.  Use what I have been trained to do in my countless hours of yoga training – breathe into the space in my life that feels the most resistance or stale…. After all Ezekiel did it with a pile of bones.  Bones have life you know?  They have an entire vascular and nervous system…. I did not know how rich with life they are until my anatomy classes in college.  Are tere areas of your life that could be enriched by a greater awareness or understanding that there is actual a rich potential for greater life if you but looked a little deeper and recognized the life that is there? 

So, it is the gift of any ending to be able to reflect back and see the most positive aspects or highlights of a period of time and simultaneously and at the same time receive this beautiful gift of letting go of all the rest...  Those things that you somehow could not let go of in a moment are suddenly released and the Truth of a story is reflected in the highlighted points of time period memory.  This has been a fantastic time in my life, complete with fond and loving memories of time with my Mom and my sister, joy filled time with my best friend, Sober Thanksgiving rising and fading and Christmas popping up in Seattle.  Blessed by the love of Water’s Edge and a beautiful sponsor full of insight, intelligence and love, by wonderful sober women and the beginning of a new journey with the most fantastic company. 

Perhaps today doesn’t have to be an ending of sorts for you to soak up the gifts that are right in front of your very eyes.

In Deep Gratitude and Love.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flourish In The Sun

I Am Surrender
            I Allow
                    I Am Free
                             Free for Holy Wholeness
In this Present Moment
                             I Let Go
                                         I Am Free
                                                 Free to Be
                                                           The Fullness of God Within Me
Take a Deep Breath
                        Realize… I Am that I Am
                                 Inspired Now with Pure Inspiration
                                            Free Up the Breath & Free Up the Mind
                                                     Free up the Mind & Unlock the Heart

 Unleash The Love From The Double Dutch, French Doors
            Flung Open Wide Through Your Deep & Dedicated Practice
                             Give it Away & Stay in the Flow
Flow In the Light & Flourish in The Love
                                    It’s All Now….
                                                Be Here

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We're Goin' to the Symphony When God's Drivin'

The gifts of sobriety (often referred to as the 9th step promises) are pouring forth and things are happening so fast in my life right now that I am becoming aware of a need to stay as grounded and rooted as possible.  That red bicycle that I saw cruising down the road has arrived and a dream of mine is coming true…. I am moving home to Aspen with my company that I absolutely love working for.  It’s amazing to me to watch how all of the dots of my life connect to make a beautiful path to this moment now.  I do a process called visioning, developed by Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, whereby you are activating your intuition and learning to become more aware of “God’s Will” for your life.  We spend a lot of time in meetings talking about God’s Will for us and how do we know what God’s will is.  It is often shared and I agree that God’s will has a feeling tone of ease, grace, joy and freedom.  Taking our own will back often feels constricting, limiting, difficult…. Like we are trying to muscle something and the central energetic focus is in the mind.  God’s will moves from the power center in our bodies, which is our heart.  But this process itself is a wonderful way of courting the presence and asking God directly, what is the Divine idea of my life?  I believe this is the perfect practice for seeking to know God’s will for my life.  On a side note, what I have found about God’s will for me is that I am not giving up anything that I want to live God’s will, it is always way more than what I could have imagined for myself, so those of you who believe in a vengeful and limited God, a guy in the sky who is saying yes to some and no to others – this is a practice where you can develop your relationship with and, understanding of a God who’s essence is Love, Intelligence and Creativity.  Anyway, during my visioning sessions throughout the fall I kept hearing my intuitive voice tell me to “continue doing yoga.”  Mind you, this was in the midst of visioning for my professional life, my life purpose and the development of a beautiful spiritual center in Aspen.  Little did I know that yoga would play such a big part in bringing me home to work in a job which is truly the Joy Of Being that I have been praying for but also makes me available to the un-foldment of my BIG dream which is to be a profound player in creating a powerful and inspired community of Love at home.  Well, the red bike is the perfect job at home with a great company that I fully intend to grow with that supports me as much as I support them, to be at home available for the next stage of my career as a spiritual life coach/community leader/ minister.  It is all the synergistic flow of God and my dedication to following the guidance when I was clear enough to receive and it and my willingness to give the reigns over to God when nothing looked like it could possibly have any order to it and dedicating myself to the faith that God is at the center and the circumference of this, paid off in the fact that the company I am working for up here that I was in the midst of writing a proposal to open a store in Aspen, is opening a store in Aspen and I am proudly on the opening team.  These are the ways of a God that is so Good!  These are the ways of a deeper life when I don’t make judgments and action choices based on what I am seeing on the outside realm.  Life is an inside art that unfolds into the world of form so I do all of my work inside my soul/consciousness.  I am in awe of the movement of life through the avenues of sobriety and yoga – I can’t wait to find more ways to give this joy away today.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Slavery to the Freedom to Be Creative

“ There are moments when you walk on the earth but still your feet don’t touch the earth – you are six inches above.  Moments of joy, moments of prayer, moments of meditation, moments of celebration, moments of love…. And you are weightless, you are uplifted.” 

To lose oneself to the whole is the art of creativity.  Creativity is the natural out picturing of life, that for me was stunted if not completely put out by my drinking and using.  Like a robot I showed up for work to put money in someone else’s pocket, which actually became a great place to practice and fine tune spiritual tools such as being present and deepening.  Knowing that there was nowhere that God isn’t I could get lost in finding God right where I was.  I found it easiest to find God where people weren’t for the longest time.  On ski patrol, I loved to do work/errands on my own for I would always take a moment deep in the Aspen trees to take a cleansing and unifying breathe and get lost in moments of feeling complete and total serenity.  It is easy to find God in the mountains of Aspen.  But when I forgot these things, work became a countdown… I was always counting down the hours until I got off.  Most of the time I would fill up my mind and time with planning for the perfect happy hour or dinner, which I knew included good wine and beer.  I was a slave at work and I was a slave when I got off.  Thanks to sobriety I am free to live out the nature of my soul, which is creativity.  I didn’t think that I was creative because I learned when I was little that I wasn’t creative in the traditional sense of the word.  I was never very good with a paintbrush or clay.  My art teacher in elementary school was constantly on my case and I developed a belief then that I wasn’t creative.  I am so grateful to know now that my life is my tapestry.  My creativity is expressed differently…  a few avenues for my creativity are my word – spoken and written, praying, skiing, meditating, listening, traveling.  Imagine that, these are the ways that my soul is creative in the world.  What are your ways of creativity in this world?  As I reflect back,  these things are all of the aspects of myself that were stunted or arrested by my drinking.  Nothing glowed quite as brightly in my drinking days…in fact, things began to get so dim that I was almost tricked into believing that I don’t love those things that are my very creative life force with my whole heart the way I feel so very connected to them today.  Thank God I made it into the rooms because I am fulfilled and I thrive by being creative, even if it’s just a simple form of creativity.  I am fulfilled by a day of skiing in the sun, by a delicious cup of good coffee, by raindrops splashing into a puddle, by the smell of Christmas trees and by sitting here writing this blog.   Appreciating life in these ways  is a part of being creativite, it’s an aspect of creativity called receptivity.   Participating with presence is a powerful place to be in the world.  Being grounded like a tree when the winds are blowing a hurricane through someone else’s world, being loved and grounded by another when the winds of life are ripping through the branches of my tree…. These are all the gifts of sobriety.  I like when I get the feeling that my little me is out of my own way…. But this begs the question then, whose way is that little me yielding to and is creativity the action of my will or the free movement of something greater….. hmmmm…. Much Love. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rising Above the Crud Through Saying Yes

The conditions don’t have to be perfect to practice.  When I say practice, I mean spiritual practice, which could be anything from reading a paragraph or poem from a book, meditating, praying, being in and of service, taking a yoga class, singing, painting…. It could b anything that is dedicated to knowing the God within more clearly and or expressing the God within more fully, which in actuality is to know a greater version of one’s True self.  I notice the change in me through my sobriety during times like today when I don’t have my mat for yoga class(it’s locked in my mom’s car with my dog who has the most beautiful red Christmas bow on – thanks Mom!) or a towel to keep me from slipping and sliding, but I go anyway because it is more important for me to show up for the things that are good for me than to look good doing it.  I have lost a huge chunk of my connection with the part of me that spent so much time caring what other people thought and the tireless hours perfecting every detail that I could possibly control about a situation…how I walked in the room, how my smile looked( my nervous smile vs my confident smile, this boot or that, hair down, hair up, what I would say I was doing next if asked… that kind of petty BS)  Wow, as I reflect back on all of that stuff – it seems totally exhausting and giant waste and diminishment of life energy.  I am learning to be comfortable in and as my authentic self.  I make mistakes(catastrophic ones in size sometimes) but I soar like an eagle in other moments of my life.  This perspective in my life gives way to compassion for others for I know that I may catch you in a moment of soaring like an eagle, or I may catch you in a moment of dying to your old self and struggling in the letting go.  I may catch a view of you somewhere in between but I strive to connect with you in genuine compassion and love no matter where you are in your journey for each moment of the journey is as precious as the next and in my world as I am letting go of the need to be perfect, I am proportionately letting go of my need for you fulfill some false idea of perfect too.  Ahhh, a sweet gentleness I feel in this moment…. A gratitude for saying yes to yoga a couple of hours ago, even though it did mean renting a mat and slipping and sliding around a little and not looking as cool as my ego might think I look sometimes anyway :p This is the gift of communing with goodness within through the art and the practice of yoga.  From this place I can forgive and therefore release myself from some petty conversation that has been going on around me about the details of my past and be present to being honest and real, right here and right now.  I chose to be open and honest and to break trail in life in ways that no one before me has, and I’m ok with that.  In fact, I love being different!  I love being me.  I love you being you.  You worry about your business and I’ll appreciate it and let me worry about my business and I’ll appreciate that too.  Much Love as you reveal more, and never less of who you truly are today.  Yoga rocks and life is Good!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Truth or Identity?

“So, if you are seeking something else in the name of creativity then drop the idea of being creative.”  Osho
We tend to be so caught up in the identity that facilitates the expression.  Any identity is a faculty of the ego.  I am an artist!  I am honest!  I am a woman!  I am an athlete!  I am a minister!  I am a yogi!  I am a good friend!  I am a skier!  I am a liberal!  Whatever identity that I cling to is only holding me back from my greatness.  My greatness is expressed when the ego is asleep and I have forgotten altogether about my little self, which I think is my big self.  I think this is why service feels so flippin’ good… we get a mechanically induced experience of selflessness.   We become identified with the whole and it naturally feels so good.  I believe that this state is available throughout our lives and is the nature of our God self that we came to live.  Somehow, somewhere along the way we became so identified with the ego and did such a good job of forgetting the true nature of life that lies at the center of each of our lives that we began to collapse upon ourselves and each other through acts of selfishness and a hunger for a false power that does not truly belong to any individual anyway.  If one is exercising true power it never had anything to do with them in the first place.  It seems so often and so natural that we take credit for it and in so doing we release ourselves from the experience of genuine power and fall back into the shadow sides of life.  It hurt and feels embarrassing and shameful to play that game…. I know, I did it for so long.  I held myself to standards that were near impossible to meet all the time and ultimately set myself up for not feeling good enough, more often than not.  Of course, you never knew about this for I was constantly bending over backwards to out do myself and others in the constant game of comparison.  “Doing” is one major mis-conception in this world.  Somehow we believe that if we do more we deserve more….more credit, more aknowledgement, more money, more friends, more love, more freedom.  But it’s quite the opposite you see, the nature of life is to BE and allow natural action to occur through you.  Have you ever noticed the difference between an individual that seems to glide through the world and the world laying a path of soft stones and gentle lights to guide the individual along the way?  These are creatures who have evolved to life lived in a state of being.  Of course, these are action  based individuals…. But it is natural motivated action instigated by an inner drive which is the natural unfoldment of their love purpose on the planet.  Being is a state of Unity with the whole and doing is a state of comparison and separation.  This is the world of maya and one day we will all wake to the Truth that this world is one conjured up in mind from the aspects placed on this plane meant for relativity only…. Only we have become identified with the materials of the experiment verses the essence of life that we were going into the experiment and the essence of life that we will always be that will never change.  I am sober to be identified with the whole and to be in the glory of selflessness.  I love, love.  Love Out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'll Keep Comin' Back for Life when It's Like Today

I am experiencing miracles left and right in my life.  I looked up the definition of a miracle a few months back and my favorite definition is : Divine Intervention.  It seems to me that all of this spiritual business of the program, yoga and church has all to do with lining ourselves up to be available to Divine Intervention.  This consists of getting our little me, our ego, into harmony… into service to the Divine Self so that our lives may be one miracle after another like mine was today.  As my sponsor likes to point out, because I am a sober woman, I have choices.  I would like to think that I had choices when I was “out there,”  but the truth is, I didn’t really.  I had moments of reprieve from my planning my next glass of wine(I mean dinner) or time with a friend or apr├Ęs ski or whatever activity it was that allowed me to get my drink on.  Today I am free to be…. I am free to show up for life…. I am available to the things that I loved as a kid, like ice-skating for example.  The other night I went skating at The Seattle Center and as soon as I walked into the rink, I smelled the ice and it reminded me of the countless hours of hockey that I played growing up and I fell in love with a part of my childhood that I had tucked so far away.  As I glided around the rink, showing off a little here and there as I always did when I was on the ice, I felt the freedom of flow.  I felt like a bird soaking in the sites.  There was nothing hindering me, like the constant watch on the clock I used to feel for what I was really concerned about was having a drink when we got done(in all actuality, this was just killing time ‘til it somehow felt more appropriate to those around me to have a drink again.)  Not today and not the other night…. I am beginning to taste true freedom again.

Today I had the freedom to chose to be with my mom as the city social worker came for her annual assessment.  Not intending to participate, I walked through the door carrying some of the resentment that I had been carrying for several weeks now.  But God showed up in this woman and in this space.  Before I knew it, 3 hours had passed and we had talked about everything important, facilitated by this angel of a government worker.  Honesty was the way and understanding was the result -Divine Intervention to say the least.  We then met with my mom’s landlord and discussed the further security and vitality of my mom’s living situation.  I don’t know at exactly what point things turned for me but somewhere in the midst of today I had the profound experience of God doing for me what I could not do for myself. 

I take no credit for the red carpet of miracles occurring in my life…. But I’ll tell you, I want to continue to do everything that I have been doing without a hiccup because somethin’s definitely workin’ in my life.  I am going to keep coming back for my slice of heaven pie.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When Life Gets So Good

Ahhhh, the anticipation is sweet when I can surrender the outcome even just a little ….  But it’s uncomfortable, almost painful when I let it take me….  this is all over good news you see.  I work for this amazing yoga company and have been working on a business proposal of sorts.  I come to find out last night that the idea is already taking shape and I can skip to step two of my development with this.  I am so excited I think I am going to jump out of my skin.  What comes next…. an insane and insatiable desire to drink or smoke or something…. “incredible” I think – my disease works so hard when there is something to celebrate.  It’s as though some part of me wants to sabotage what is appearing to be a HUGE, miraculous opportunity.  Yes, of course, that part of me is my disease and it is by it’s very nature, ultimately destructive… Staying present is key and not coming to expect…. but how?  How do you maintain composure when you see that red bicycle you have been wanting for the last 5 birthdays, being ridden down the road on the night of you birthday by a family member?   A part of me wants to succumb to my belief that I(of myself) want to be doing something to usher this thing in…. and yet I don’t even know if it is mine to be.  The hardest thing to do, is nothing at all and yet many great spiritual teachers have a told us that the highest spiritual practice is the practice of “doing” nothing.  Whether it is a practice of being and allowing or showing up just for the things that are suggested or becoming ok with the pull of inspiration as it tugs on your heart strings as a hope for things unseen…. I don’t know.  But what I do know is that if I am really the woman of faith that I believe I am, I need to demonstrate that faith by trusting implicitly that “God alone” is at the helm.  This consists of reminding myself that, hey Ash, God still has this one.  God has been at the center and the circumference of this since it first began to budd in your life.  It is the water, the light, the soil, the acorn and it is now revealing itself as an oak tree as the very life that you are living.  You do not need to do anything to make yourself grow, to promote your growth, to talk God into giving you all that you need to grow and be the full expression of life that you came to be…. Nope, God has this…. you just continue to show up and be open, forgetting about the me of the package you come in.  There is a Divine orchestration of your life occurring and you are not the director of the show.  Well, you can be…. But it hasn’t worked out all that well with you in that position anyhow…. So let it go Ash…. Trust, more now than ever before, that life has never and will never let you down.  Be totally present to the gifts of today and allow the balance of presence and grounding to keep a sweet tint to the anticipation of the waves of goodness rolling into your life. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Angels Who Dedicate Themselves to Our Truth

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who has always lived in a way that is simply inspiring to me.  She, like me, has never subscribed to the conditioning of the world.  Recently, while she was in Brazil when her father had a major hemorrhagic stroke.  With the experience of being an ABA therapist working with kids with autism all over the world, a background in spiritual studies and kick ass partner and 24 hours of traveling home – she was able to implement her faith and in the process she became a huge part of the miracle that continues to occur in her family(and beyond)’s life.  Molly decided to stay dedicated to her faith in miracles and she held her vision and awareness on the plane of the highest possibilities for her father, from the get-go.  She did not waiver from her faith…this I respect so much.  It is truly an honor to bear witness to the journey as she describes what we decided is a red carpet of miracles and her father as the Oscar winner. 

Being sober is about being present to these miracles in life.  It is about being available to the tears that welled up in my eyes as I listened to my friend’s journey over the phone as she described it from her home in Brooklyn, 3,000 miles away.  Being sober is about being a friend, a daughter, a community member, a life-giver and not a life sucker.  This happens as a result of keeping our attention and intention on the possibility of miracles when the rest of the world is believing in the doubt and the smallness of themselves and others….like Molly’s fathers nurses who repeated the trained beliefs and behavior of the western medical system….generalized inference of doubt and practices of coping instead of true healing… I wouldn’t have subscribed… and neither did Molly.  She stood true to what she believed in her heart of hearts about the health and vitality of her father and now this man is walking, talking, eating and bringing gratitude and joy to the world through a little nursing home somewhere in New Hampshire as he throws Thanksgiving feasts for himself, his roommate Chip and everyone at the rehabilitation facility. 

I believe in the Universe.  I believe in it because I see it working miracles in the lives of so many each day.  Every person sitting in a seat in the rooms today is a demonstration of these miracles.  Some days the miracles are loud and clear and sometimes they are so subtle but equally powerful…. It’s these subtle miracles that I go the extra mile in my spiritual practice to be available to.  I know they are happening all around me and yet it’s not enough to know…. I want to be a part of them experientially.  There are angels like Molly throughout the rooms who believe in our health and sanity when so many have given up on us and written us off.  I am grateful for all of my angels today.  I am grateful for your angels today.  I believe in your health and well-being so if you have forgotten – you can borrow my faith because I do believe in the Perfect Wholeness, within you. The Light of Love Burns Brightly where you are, can you feel it ;-)?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Humility Follows Humbling

“There is a Light and it never goes out…” lyrics from a song that my yoga teacher plays while we lay in Sivasana.  There is that place which is the same within you and me and all of life…. That place of Love and Freedom and Joy…. That place of Peace that passes all understanding…. That place of reprieve and restoration…. That place which seems to whisper wisdom when we need it most… that place I call God.  In today’s morning meeting we discussed humility and, in the 12 &12, humility is defined as the desire to know God’s will for us.  It occurred to me that this is an action word that requires movement, on our part, in the direction of our higher power…. God.  As a new thought student I have spent a lot of time telling God what I want and in the use of certain Spiritual Principle, I have co-created many things…. most of which I found I did not want in the end anyway.   In recent months I have discovered that my truest desire is to live God’s will and God’s will alone, for my life.  My sponsor loves to point out the quote at the bottom of p. 69 in the big book that reads “God alone” and although I had an aha moment while we were meeting the other day – something along the lines of wow, that doesn’t include me, I still sense that I haven’t had the aha that she has had around this and so…. I will keep coming back.  I realized that being humble is sexy and being the opposite, really is not!  There is a healthy radiant confidence from one who is right sized in God.  This is a shining light and does not appear anything like the false confidence of the “I did this” attitude of the ego.  My ego got a hold of the reigns last week as I resisted and resisted until finally I had been humbled so many times that I realized I had forgotten to seek God’s will for my life AND dedicate myself to the commitment of following through with the guidance given.  I was being less than open and charming with my sponsor and she did this thing that she tends to do, “love me when I wasn’t loving myself.”   What a profoundly powerful experience this continues to be. If I am not loving myself than I have no space to love others.  Another definition of humility offered this morning was not to think less of ourselves but to think of ourselves less often.  So today I claim an attitude of giving-ness of humility and helpfulness and in all earnestness I ask to know God’s will for my life.  I ask God to reveal to me how I can serve another, or many others?  I surrender my will as my ideas, thoughts, opinions and plans to the Divine idea of my life.  I allow God to be the Good Director of my show.   Today, I am experiencing welcomed humility which feels much better than the un-welcomed pain of humbling process.  Today I am pulled by inspiration, not pushed by pain. Infinite Love