do you look and see?

I can see it in your eyes, my Grandma Millie said. Let’s find something else to do. How did she know that I, at the tender age of eight, was bored with playing dominoes? I wasn’t interested in building necessarily and setting up a chain reaction with the thin, black blocks was entertaining for only so long. Clearly, my grandma was not only looking, she was also seeing. Directed by ego, looking is taking in and processing surface information through what can be seen (form). Seeing is relying on a higher vantage to interpret the information taken in and to understand the spaces between words and pauses accompanying actions (formless).

It has been said that your eyes are mirrors of your soul, your inmost thoughts and feelings. Your eyes reveal what is true for you. Researchers say that your eyes are the only part of your brain that is directly exposed to the world. Pupils can dilate or constrict, yet you cannot control that process. It is a natural reaction that is dependent on strong feelings or reactions to something that is said or seen. The limbal ring, the dark circle around the colored iris, likewise is affected by strong feelings or reactions. You may also position your eyes in a certain way as you speak. Gazing upward may mean you are thinking or creating mental images. When you glance sideways as you are talking, you may feel uncertain about what you’re saying.

And while your eyes are unconsciously showing your inmost thoughts and feelings, you are also learning about the feelings and thoughts of others. From a noticeably young age, as early as seven months, babies tune into social expressions, conveyed mainly through the eyes and mouths of their parents and those around them.

Through socialization, you learn to read emotions from another’s eyes and surrounding muscles. Examples include eyes that narrow, meaning questioning or doubt about something said or done and eyes that widen, indicating surprise or disbelief. Many other emotions are also revealed. Additional research verifies that when a person is near another like-minded person, tandem dilation or constriction of pupils occurs. This eye language is a way to gather information—a filter—when you’re looking. Keep in mind that the language of the eyes also applies to animals and nature.

Now, more than ever before, being together while wearing masks and remaining physically separate poses many challenges. It is essential and valuable to look at people’s eyes as windows to the soul, whether they peer over masks or are part of a Zoom interaction. What can you learn about their thinking, emotions, and preferences? However, there is more to it. Do you just look, or do you also see?

I have had many opportunities recently to look at eyes and collect information. These first examples are from my extended family. I looked as glee registered in the eyes of my youngest granddaughter (2) as she ran from her papa who was trying to corral her for a diaper change. Or, notice the ease, yet determination, in my middle granddaughter’s eyes as she (nearly 8) sang “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music.  Or, watched the enthusiasm and pride emerge from my oldest granddaughter’s eyes as she (11) offered an interpretive reading of an early chapter of her original manuscript, Dueling Diaries. I gathered the information and mentally tucked away the emotions in my heart.

Going deeper—seeing—to interpret what was behind those emotions in running, singing, and speaking, I saw so much more in their eyes. I witnessed the spirit of freedom, the challenge and poise of getting to know your own voice and sharing it, and the gratification of creativity resulting in form. Do you just look or do you also see?

Outside of the family, I recall looking at the unmasked, yet safe-distanced eyes of the candidates of the first 2020 presidential debate.  I looked and gathered information from Joe’s eyes: honesty through direct gaze, indicating  America has “gotten more divided, sicker, poorer, and more violent” under the current administration; substance rather than force, yet backed by experience and a plan to expand Obamacare; and compassion, focusing on Americans’ guaranteed right to vote in-person or by mail-in ballots.

Donald’s presence offered mixed messages: As he looked sideways, rarely at the audience, his voice was forceful, out-of-control and condescending. His words were sweeping generalizations: “weeks away from having a vaccine,” “schools are teaching students to hate America,” and “I left the Paris Accord because it was a ‘disaster.’” His eyes narrowed as he leaned on the podium and began his flippant ridicule of Hunter Biden being kicked out of the military due to cocaine use, and the later military reference to Joe’s deceased son as a “loser.” I also saw false innocence and contempt in his eyes as he spoke fear-inciting words, refusing to denounce White Supremacists’ actions even when given an opportunity to do so. He also insisted that voters watch for fraud at polling places.

Again, seeing by going deeper, I understood the emotions underlying Joe’s honesty, substance, and compassion. I sensed truth, direction, and capability. In the case of Donald, the underlying concepts that emerged because of his lack of leadership details, accusatory positioning, and consistent bullying allowed me to see only fear, mockery, and lies.

It would have been interesting to be in closer range to observe any changes in the candidates’ pupil size and the size of their limbal rings as they spoke. Clearly, they were not like-minded, but they may have had tandem pupil reactions to the frustrations with each other and the process.

From a higher vantage:  Look, yet also see. Deeper understanding helps you to build more stable relationships at all levels. Faces, whether masked or not, are dependable sources of eye language. Look at someone, further seeing that individual. What resonance, insights, or connections do you experience? Interpretation is furthered by intuitive tools. May you sense that there is always something beyond physical appearance that leads to greater awareness of the whole.

© 2020 in the thick of things

a new path is unfolding

So many losses! Deaths. Vanished livelihoods and businesses burned to the ground.  Misunderstood and thwarted equal human rights for every individual. Food and product shortages. Upended finances. Waning health insurance. Evictions, fear of rioting, or living out of cars on a Walmart parking lot. Uprooted rules due to COVID-19. Weather calamities. Presidential election rhetoric. Truth, support, and dignity? Amidst all this chaos and upheaval, this impermanence, this uncertainty, how do you live from the perspective of your higher Self?

By definition, higher Self is that unseen, inner voice that has been with you and loved you throughout eternity. It is valid, but not necessarily understood. For some, acknowledging the existence of a higher Self may take a lifetime, if it happens at all. For others, believing in the power of this energy is too risky and might upset the status quo, so only minor attempts are made. Then there are others who have accepted their higher Self, learning that this decision is not for the faint of heart. Trusting the unseen is not always comfortable and involves choosing to face all aspects of your life, especially the undesirable. However, should you choose this courageous quest, know that the more you engage with your higher Self, the more stable and content you feel. Acknowledging, believing in, and accepting your higher Self increases personal inner strength, happiness, and resilience. A stronger, happier, and more resilient society and universe follow. As the saying goes, What do you have to lose? Think of the gains! Right now, you are at a vital crossroads.

Start by getting comfortable, slowing down your breathing, relaxing your entire body, and setting an intention to welcome your higher Self. Rise above the layer upon layer of racing thoughts that continuously try to consume you. Ah, your heart rate begins to drop. Although you believe that you need to control your life to avoid worry of not surviving, fear that there will not be enough, or loss of entitlement, that is not the case. Control is simply an illusion. Remember the times when you thought you had everything planned to the smallest detail—only to encounter a circumstance that altered everything? Your decision to sense an energy greater than you are—to be more than you can be on your own—bolsters confidence and lessens resistance. Trusting the unseen becomes plausible. Senses that you relied on for decision-making can take a break.

Your higher Self knows what to do when you allow it to lead you. However, this is not the norm; people are used to being led by ego. At  first, opening to the unseen may seem counter-intuitive, feel strange, or strike you as insane. Of course, others may label you as daft, but no matter. That’s only a word. How can you compare that to the opportunity to invite an energy that is all-powerful, proven, resides everywhere, and is always available to work on your behalf? Has any other invitation satisfied so many dilemmas? With your higher Self, live the moments. Do not insist on immediate answers or fulfillment of specific expectations. This change in thinking will take trust and commitment. Seek or create harmony where you are. The “how” of a new path is unfolding.

A sampling of questions, based on current observations, that may lead to engaging your higher Self…

Question:  Given the last six months have heightened your focus on death as part of life, has your thinking changed?

Comment: Yes, there is no denying that death is challenging to face and carries with it a void that changes your life. Death has always been with you, but how have you responded to it along the way? Death is more prominent now because of Covid-19, and unfilled time magnifies death’s impact on your mortality. Yet, this opportunity to ponder your own death could be beneficial. Working through options gives you peace of mind and makes decisions easier for your surviving loved ones. You may not have all the answers, but keep patiently exploring the moment at-hand without resistance—fear, hate, doubt, denial, or complacency.

Question: Since you had no control over the pandemic or rioting and looting, how can you move on with life despite altered or destroyed livelihood?

Comment: There are no easy answers. People pull together. Out of times of monumental change, new community and business models emerge. Ponder the possibilities for greater potential at all levels, in all things, leading to a reframed and interconnected, thriving, global society. 

Question: How can I live (hear, see, do, say) a “just like me” platform with no retribution?

Comment: As a human, being, you are deserving of functional living rights, dignity, and love. It is up to each of you to look inward, persevere, and do the right thing by others. And you know what those things are.

International Bill of Rights

  • The right to equality and freedom from discrimination.
  • The right to life, liberty, and personal security.
  • Freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
  • The right to equality before the law.
  • The right to a fair trial.
  • The right to privacy.
  • Freedom of belief and religion.
  • Freedom of opinion.

~https://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/human_rights_basics

From a higher vantage: Acknowledge your higher Self. Listen, speak, think, and act with all things from your true nature of positivity. Initiate harmony, inclusion, and good will beyond familiarity. Hold yourself accountable. Be love in all circumstances. Love. Allow yourself to be loved.

©2020 in the thick of things llc

root to rise

Put all the chaos in a huge drawer. Stop mourning here, yet wishing you were there. Use the present moment as a time to explore root to rise. In the yoga community, this phrase refers to becoming firmly planted in the foundation of a yoga pose so that the full posture can unfold in the most stable and solid way possible.

I first heard root to rise some years ago as a beginning yoga student in a workshop conducted by Matthew Sanford. A renowned yoga instructor, author, and inspirational speaker today, Matt was paralyzed in a car accident when he was thirteen. He broke his spinal cord, back, neck and both wrists. Although his father and sister were killed, his life miraculously was spared as a quadriplegic. He turned to yoga because he needed a way to unite the mystery of mind, body, and spirit. “It was accepting and staying open to whatever it [my body] produced – little or small, subtle or loud.” http://www.matthewsanford.com/sites/default/files/Biographical%20Interview%20with%20Matthew%20Sanford.pdf?phpMyAdmin=4qrRaMSfaJdSKnrro9UtvUEcrT1

Isn’t that where we are today during the pandemic? Staying open and accepting (to the degree we can) whatever developments are beyond our control. Allowing our bodies, minds, and spirits to adjust in ways of their own. Overriding our own fears by offering practical support to others.

Our world has been turned upside down, only this time, everyone, everywhere is affected. Many of us feel paralyzed or increasingly tightened parameters. We fear for ourselves, our loved ones, our jobs, our retirement savings, and the future. We don’t like being told what to do. Everything seems surreal. Discouragement. Despair. Defeat. How to co-exist with the global mystery that changes daily, yet is still so far from comprehension? Root to rise.

As in strengthening the foundation of a yoga pose so that the final posture is unwavering, we turn inward to develop stability, confidence, and trust in a greater energy so that we can weather chaos. The stronger the foundation, the greater the stability.

We intend that our hearts will continue to soften as we face life as it comes to us. As we remain steady, I am reminded of my grandmother’s favorite saying during challenging times: This, too, shall pass. We have time to slow down, get quiet, breathe, and rest in our sacred inner space, that deeply rooted core of  dependable comfort. This is our foundation, our offering for a stronger diverse and loving world.

It is up to us to explore the possibilities of what if during what is, in order to discover what might be—a new direction of being and relating. It is these possibilities that we bring to the collective and, ultimately, will enable us to rise together.

The pandemic is a wake-up call to look beyond ourselves to all members of our community. How can rooting during our sheltering in time help us to see differently our dependence on and need for each other? A common bond of talents, gifts, and expertise emerges as we shift to an inclusive perspective. United in hope and committed to a new way of interacting, we move forward, shoulder to shoulder. It is about community.

Why not rise above the chaos, relax fears, stop blaming others, and thank those in medical leadership for their courage, quick thinking, and selflessness? As we root to rise, we understand the wisdom in the value of the present moment and in the increasing openness of hearts and minds. We are not distracted.

From a higher vantage:

© 2020 in the thick of things

out of sorts?

So many details, so little time. It is the sixth week of my book immersion, and I have been making great strides to complete my double series of books. Intentions are working well. I came up for air just long enough to realize that I had not included an intention for the March posting. A big oops!

I guess I simply trusted that the words would be there. After all, a greater energy has been filling my head with concepts for eight years. Not that I wasn’t grateful for the thousands of words I had already been gifted. Not that I had planned to take anything for granted. Not that I didn’t want to honor Source by spreading narratives of awareness-raising consciousness. No, it was time to re-visit where and how I was placing my trust.

I was pretending to know what came next, trusting the parameters of my ego. However, I knew the result would be limited in ideas and possibly academic. With ego, writing is not as dependable; when I really need words, ego goes out to shovel snow. She also doesn’t have the duration that I’ve grown to know and love in writing generated by my higher Self. Ego is determined to have her way and balks at approaches that are out of the ordinary. She also sees no point in allowing writing to sit overnight. Just write and be done!

After feeling captured by the environment and then dejected, I knew that I absolutely must request Source’s help and means of unfolding. It was still a possibility. I had just slipped off my usual alignment with a greater energy. I connected with Source and immediately felt calm and productive.

What to Think About Trust?

Trust seems easy, especially when life’s

adventures match the expectations of my ego.

At other times, trust feels trying, a long time in coming,

        or downright out-of-reach.

Lately, I’ve had some insights.

When I act in-charge, pretending to know what comes next,

        I am trusting the confines of my ego, formed when I was six.

Its knowledge is based on limited life experiences,

               immaturity, and selfishness.

This level of trust is unpredictable and fleeting,

        offering only momentary satisfaction, demanding more.

There is another choice.

When I set an intention, directed to Source,

I trust an expansive force to work within me.

This force has unlimited knowledge, vast maturity,

and my best interests at heart.

This level of trust is dependable, strong and true,

regardless of circumstances,

offering lasting contentment.

Why not count on a “sure thing”?

From a higher vantage: When you feel out of sorts about the way things are unfolding, check your alignment with greater energy.  Are you in ego mode?  There is always a choice. And why not, upward self-regulation contributes to a higher vibration for you and for the universe.  Go to the light.

© 2019 in the thick of things