Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.
Margaret J. Wheatley

Being here in Los Angeles gives my sense of reality a run for its money. In Minnesota where my house and other two children are at, they are in the middle of a typical January deep-freeze. Cold temperatures and short days are the winter standard. Here in LA it is a pleasant mid 70’s, nice and sunny. You walk around and see people in tiny shorts and your brain begins to question what season we are currently in. With palm trees rather than pine needles my sense of time feels slightly off. Oh where, oh where, has wintertime gone? Oh where, oh where, can it be?

Winter on a spiritual calendar is a time of reflection. While it is cold and with fewer hours of daylight outdoor activities become limited. More time is spent inside on interior things such as; reading, planning for the spring garden, your vacation, studying new topics. It’s a time for growing anticipation of the return of daylight. The time spent in reflection during the winter months can make you ready for action in the upcoming spring. But here in the land of more tropical-like temperatures my mind has lost sight of winter.

I wake up and its a warm sunny day. I feel restless. I feel caged and pent-up. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know what I am suppose to do or what to be focused on. I find myself in a fog of forgetting the season. I reach for a jacket and nearly suffer from a heat stroke having no need for it pushing myself out onto the street.

But hot or cold, winter is a time for reflection or interior measuring, (how did I do?, how am I doing?). It is a time of goal setting and renegotiating. It is a necessary time of self examination if you are compelled to live a life of truth making the best out of the days in each season. We need the rest of winter and the building of impending energy for the out-flowing of creative force that is the spring. But all this sunshine and heat is confusing me and I want to run and play rather than sit and pray.

So I’ll compromise and walk and pray reflecting all of the way. I will study my reflection in a window reflection and reflect over the reflection of myself reflecting over the reflection that mirrors the indulgence of winter and reflect over the need to work on my reflection. So I set my spring’s intention of working on my winters reflection as I walk and pray on the streets of LA.


Weeding through thoughts

I took this picture of these flowers while in France. Roses are one of my favorite flowers and I thought it was cool to see roses in bloom in December. The gardener of these grounds keeps them up even through the darkening of winter and the flowers rewarded the gardeners effort. Tending these grounds is an everyday affair and weeding the garden is part of the job. In order for the rose plants to look their best they must be separated by everything that is not a rose-bush. All other growth must be managed so the beauty of the flowers can be showcased and admired.

The gardener knows from experience what the plant needs and responds. I look within myself and see the same thing. The smallness of our lives keep most of us trapped in the grounds of a garden untended. The negative hurtful thoughts that choke off our life force are like weeds running rampant through our gardens. We forget our source because we see and feel nothing but the weeds that are choking us. We have forgotten our source we are so choked by our thoughts and our own looped thinking. We fight over semantics and antique religious beliefs walking in a garden of someone else’s making. Why have we forgotten that we have a living God, are alive in a living body, connected through a living force?

I spent the better part of Sunday and Monday reading the New York Sunday Times. It’s a big newspaper and it takes me a while to go through it. If there was ever a source for a constant reminder of all things bad it would be the front section with the news of the world. As reported there are horrors all over the world, wars and the ravages of war, people suffering and dying. The flu is becoming an epidemic, money is scarce and more people are dying and suffering, in our country and theirs, by our hands and by theirs. Its horrifying!

Awww the maya of the physical world, look around and you will see weeds everywhere and lots of gardeners hard at work. Very few people are weeding their own gardens. Problem with hiring a gardener for your own garden is the awareness that you are now at the mercy of your gardener. Half the time we believe we are tending our gardens and walk around completely unaware of the mess we are walking in. If you grew up within an untended garden it will take a while to recognize a well-tended garden and you may not know your right to have one of your very own.

I move my mind from one stage to another happily weeding my garden.

The is no greater power than being your own gardener and there is no greater risk. Because if your garden refuses to flower there will be nobody to blame but yourself. And often if you have to go the search alone your garden make take a while to manifest and patience must be applied. You must be willing to wait before you pull out plants understanding the depth of the root system that has grown in place. A deep root system allows for a garden to have plants that are hardy and adventuresome. A well-tended garden allows the birth of many new plants and allows for the removal of those not doing so well anymore.

I am one of the lucky people who has seen a lot of life and from both sides of the fence. I am not fooled anymore into believing money is an answer to anything and have learned the hard way that love is the answer but the definition of this kind of love is way bigger than most people can allow. The world garden is a very small place with lots of patches needing renovation. I think now is the time the world over for garden tending and a lot of plants need replacing as they have reached the end of their usefulness. Most of all it is time to garden for yourself.

Be careful as you start tending your own garden. Action is not the first step, awareness is. You must first sit and learn about your garden. Walk through it, see it, feel it, and speak with it. We must measure our own hearts and minds in our gardens. No one can do this work for you. Though most will give away this power to a gardener that seems more knowledgeable and once a gardener is in your garden they will begin weeding and replanting. Do they know what you want and need?

The most awesome aspect of taking over the care of your garden is the individual nature of gardens. No two gardens are ever alike and each garden is a reflection of its owner and its owners beliefs. How many people think orchids are hard to grow and will not even try to grow them? But all any plant needs is correct light food and water, love gives it everything else. Same with anything, give it the correct, light, food and water and love will fill in the rest.

Off to tend my garden while weeding through my thoughts.

Emptying my mind

I am moving from one mind to another. It is winter, the season we delve into our deepest darkest parts and I in all of this winter time silence am surrounded by my thoughts. As it is the start of a brand new year I am trying to look at tired beliefs in the form of my tape-loop thinking that tries to hold me in place steeped in fear, “you’re not good enough”, “who are you to suppose”,”it’s not my place to say”,”no, that’s alright you go ahead”, “too much time has already passed, it’s just too late”. But this thinking and repetitive behavior which binds us in time must be confronted, transformed or transmuted, it must be dealt with, we must move from one mind to another.

But before we can do that we must first empty the mind of that which is old tired and out of step with our ever-growing and ever-changing beliefs. As we move through life we have experiences that can; change the course of our lives, stop our lives or finally get them going again. When these kind of life course changing events happen a time for emptying the previously held beliefs comes and usually it is a period of sadness and withdrawal. Change is painful and often it is hard to accept the notion we were wrong, hiding as we do along the banks of de-nile.

When all of the thoughts of the past have been processed the mind can empty like a bath tub loaded with its old doubts and fears replacing it with more space open for new-found experiences and wisdom to accumulate . It is not an easy process and most turn running from it because it can cause problems in relationships and with your life as it can look and sound like one is losing their freaking mind. It is not easy digging through old buried hurts searching for truths and sometimes the answers can only be found when we learn to walk away and just let go.

So when I sit and cry for no apparent reason or get started laughing and can’t get stopped I chalk it up to the emptying process I am undergoing as the new readies itself for my examination and use. I feel the tears like a ritual cleansing and the laughing a robust workout. It’s not always that easy but apparently necessary as I move from one mind to another. We will talk about what my mind is doing another day. Now I am off for a session of standing forward fold so I can continue to empty my mind, yoga style, followed by a good book and a glass of wine, emptying my mind Leanne style.

Now what

thOk so it’s 2013, looks like we made it and all of that jazz. We lived through all of the scary dates like 11-11-11, 12-12-12, and the end date of the Mayan calendar 12-21-2012. Whew that was close!  And because of all of the hoop-la, I am expecting great things from 2013. I just know golden opportunity is right around the corner and my best days are out in front of me, said with a smile. Everything is going to be great. Smile fading, except for right now, not much is happening right now.

This does not bode well at all as I have just returned from my awesome end the year abroad trip. I was traveling most of the month of December and now finally back in my own bed I fully expected to have gained new knowledge and have some great insights to share, but I don’t. Like I said there is not too much going on right now. There hasn’t been too much going on at all.

But that has been the point just learning how to be. I have to quit thinking there is something I am supposed to do and figure out what I want to do. I spent all of that time traveling to force myself to take a breather and just be. I did that a lot while I was in Paris. Sometimes in a cafe, sometimes standing around art. While I was doing all that just being me I would stumble on these out-of-the-way galleries or another cathedral. I would get to walk through them at a leisurely pace and certainly not pushed and shoved the way you can be in the Louvre or MOMA.

In these out-of-the-way places I spent as much time looking at a piece of art as I desired. There were so few people in these art spaces that the art had a chance to breathe. Just doing that, seeing all of that art, it reawakened my need to have art in my life again. I have been pushing the artist in me away for a while but standing in a gallery surrounded by paintings and boom, there she was.

To view art is wonderful to make art, Divine. Until I get my next studio set up I am going to live like I know that.