Finding Cougan

Early 1970, a New England wintery mix showered into the frosty sinking woodlands. Evening darkness had long fallen near 4pm. I could hear him. Way out there… almost imperceptible – Listening… Listening…  “Did you hear that Dad?” He slowed the car as we entered the tunnel, the thick canopy of oaks, maples and white birch that hung over Ledge Road. The enchanted vortex spanned nearly a quarter mile before giving way to a glimpse of sky that peeked atop the hill where a quick curvy descent ensured momentum.

Mom’s beloved Doberman pinscher, Cougan, had broken his run once again. He was far away this time. I could feel it. Cougan routinely did not return to our beckoning calls and was more inclined to bolt in the opposite direction. He was a Nervous Nellie type of canine in that way. We had to listen for him. Listening… Listening… He had to be found.

Adopted from the shelter just months before, Mom quickly brought him back to health, with a lustrous rich coat of deep red satin. A bit pudgy around the edges, let’s say Cougan was at his full potential. Though his four stick legs held him tall, I knew his collar was likely dragging six feet of broken chain. With the thicket hefty and the temps threatening to plunge, a quandary like that could spell disaster. The consequences of not finding this short-haired oversized lap dog that night were near dire.

I just knew he was within reach. The terrain nested years of lain and freshly fallen branches braided across the unkempt fields of soft dirt and spotty swamp land bearing granite boulders. The quagmire was in essence, the quintessential briar-patch. I just knew that Cougan was probably tangled somewhere. I could feel his connection.

My parents were skeptical. It was a school night and before my 9:30 bedtime. Exhausting the local search, Dad and I jumped in the car and drove way up past Croteau’s house, calling out “Cougan! Cougan!” Turning around we re-entered the tunnel. No houses, just overgrown and forested pastures divided by dilapidated stone walls.

“Cougan! Cougan!” I called and called from the backseat window. Later learned, Dad was readying to call it quits for the night.      …the sound ever so faint, ever so far, if even there at all. “Dad, pull over here, please!” “…yip…  …yip…”  “ I think I hear him!”  “Sure Honey,” he said, turning off the engine.

We were stopped and it got quiet outside, real quiet. And then, more silence… We could hear all the natural sounds that surrounded us, the raindrops from the trees, the creaking of their limbs, the inspiring gusts whistling through space like tumbleweeds as it chilled the air. I was compelled to get out of the car and start trekking. I was drawn straight in. Off I went with Dad following close behind. “Be careful, Honey”, he said as I leaped over the stone wall, raising my feet high as my legs would allow, taking tall steps through the entanglements. Finally reaching a second stone wall, Cougan was not to be seen nor heard.

By this time Dad is getting concerned. He’s not so sure he ever did hear anything. ‘It’s pretty dark and wet out here and we aren’t dressed the part. This may be a wild goose chase!’ Attempting to reconcile a sad inevitability, I just knew Cougan was out there and we were going in the right direction. A moment later our heads raised to attention, “…Yip!..Yip!!” “ Did you hear it, Dad!?!” Excited, we both leapt to our feet with renewed enthusiasm. “Come on Honey. Let’s keep going.” Invigorated and resolute, we trekked further in with stronger knowing. Though the land could be rugged it held great beauty and peace in the dark twilight. Across the old field we spied yet another stone wall just inside the next tree-line. We halted. We called out. We listened. Listening… Listening… Listening… “…he has to be here,” I whispered to myself.

Very naturally staying open to the feeling of positivity and optimism, in a rush of energy I found him. “He’s over here!”      Cougan was certainly in a pickle. The chain was tightly embedded within the jumbled granite that wrapped around an ancient evergreen with ingrown barbed wire. He was confined in his space, unable to move right, left, up or down. He could only sit on the rock and shiver. Needless to say, Cougan was very happy to see us. His little stubby cropped tail and pointy ears were glistening wiggles. I checked his paws and sure enough, he had gashed one pad. He was just plain pitiful. We knew Cougan’s tendency may be to run once freed.  Loving on the dog in reassuring tones, Dad carried him all the way back to the car.

That night held one happy reunion, I’ll tell you. Arriving home many cigarettes later, Mom had the woodstove burning at full tilt.  Cougan got the royal treatment being dried off with a family bath towel and given his favorite digestible treat. Flattered and complimented, my Father validated my power as he recounted our adventure.  Describing his perspective of previously unfolding events he said, “If Patty hadn’t heard him, I would have never stopped. He would be lost for sure.” I was elated! I had helped in finding Cougan. I absolutely knew it was possible. I just knew it – all because, I got quiet… And, that is a really good feeling all around.

 

What I take away from the experience is this. Tap into the silence. Meditation is the name of the game, in all aspects of wellness.  Meditation nourishes mindfulness and cultivates the alignment with that really good feeling vibration. The evidence tangible, our life gets better and better and better.  Personally, I appreciate the ongoing benefits reaped and wisdom gleaned after spending a few minutes every day, in silent meditation. …pausing to b-r-e-a-t-h-e,   b- r- e- a- t- h- e,   b – r – e – a – t – h – e… It’s mindfulness that creeps in and makes the difference. In mindfulness, we tap into the types of answers that we prefer to see and to hear and to feel. Fun realizations and positive expectations regularly come to the foreground. Meditating consistently, the how of things always takes care of itself.

Clarity comes incrementally. Sit comfortably and gently close your eyes and breathe. Notice your breath in and your breath out. It’s that simple. Through science, we know that meditating, for just sixteen seconds at a time, holds tremendous value in our overall health and well-being, even on a molecular level. Work up to meditating for five minutes to the ideal twenty minutes a day. Meditate and appreciate. Start now. You need not wait to be in a pickle to take up a meditation practice. Though on occasion, we do find ourselves sealed in the jar. At that point we are committed to the energies’ momentum. You may as well take a nap and start again.

Sometimes, we think about the undesired and then notice that we are thinking about the undesired. Pat yourself on the back for the noticing. That’s mindfulness at work! Noticing you are noticing is a big deal! Now, you have some control. Cultivate it. The more mindfulness we develop the more we perpetuate and thrive in our personal power. It’s all good!

Leading lecturers tell us we are “pre-paving our experience.” Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Simply put, we get what we think about. Take it easy on yourself and meditate. It’s in mindfulness we naturally become a discriminating gatekeeper at the door of our own minds. Reading these words, right now, we point our focus. ‘Energy flows where attention goes.’

Meditation centers us. Watch as your joy is mirrored back to you in gratifying ways, uplifting those you touch. We are always aligning. Cultivate your flow of happiness. Dream big, you are phasing into a more desired experience. I usually ponder fun, upbeat, and feel good kinds of things. Mom would say, “It sure beats the alternative.”

It is fun noticing my thought then very quickly seeing it divinely manifest.  Recently, after finishing the kitchen chores, the picture of a new car flashed across my mind. The experience was pleasant. I thought to myself, “Oh that would be good.” Next thing a couple weeks later, not one but two new cars in the driveway!

Make meditation and mindfulness a priority in your daily routine. Keep it right up there with eating, sleeping and breathing. How easy it is to take a few seconds now to breathe-in and breathe-out. Silently meditate, letting your inner cork float. Feel yourself relaxed within the flow.

When we practice meditation, we open to feeling the grace of alignment with appreciation and love, which begets feeling the grace of alignment with appreciation and love. We are meant to feel good.         Aum… Listening… Listening…Finding Cougan and we lived happily ever after, I just knew it! It’s only natural.

toilet paper

     We all experience points when life takes that turn and everything really starts to go our way. We feel lighter and freer. But – so often we’re encumbered with a sense of guardedness, feeling like this is not going to last, while we wait for the other shoe to drop. We have grown so accustomed to the struggle and daily grind that when good things happen we’re not used to it and we think it is an anomaly.  Well, I’m happy to report that this type of stinkin’ thinkin’ is all in your head. It is only natural for us to feel good and everything is supposed to go our way.
     To prove this point, consider your toilet paper. I have lived in many different locations over the years. Each abode, of course, had a holder for the toilet paper. In one place I became accustomed to turning toward the left to gather this precious reserve. It became automatic to lean in that direction for the much needed item. After a while I didn’t even think about it. The brain pattern was in place and I could be totally mindless when it came time to acquire this useful tool.
     Moving to a new place, I found this valuable commodity to be on the right. How odd it was to automatically be reaching left, reaching left, reaching left. I realized, though without fanfare, that if I wanted to utilize this important resource, I had to open myself to a new way of thinking. I had to allow and create some new brain wrinkles. I had to be mindful and reach right. Those little subtleties can change everything. In mindfulness, the shift is always for the better.
     Meditation cleans things up. When we meditate we cultivate mindfulness and open ourselves to all that good stuff. Each time we meditate we, little by little, train our ever agreeable brain to lean in the direction of our natural inclinations. We become mindful.  We begin to notice that we are turning left when what we want is on our right. We recognize our passions and our brain re-patterns to accommodate our wishes.
     Test your toilet paper today. Take a few minutes each morning to meditate, breathing in and breathing out; paying attention or being mindful of your breath, your breath, your breath. The shift is incremental and it does not take long to become used to and normalize. Life is supposed to feel good, without compromise. Meditate and let it in. It’s only natural.
hearts (3)

(artist unknown)

core intellect

025I’m taking a 100 hour meditation teacher training which will ‘qualify’ me to share a type of meditation that everyone can utilize. I love it. Oddly, I’ve always been qualified but over the years I had allowed the opinions of others to jade my self- confidence.

We are such people pleasers, we humans, that most of us have trained ourselves right out of our own innate and natural well-being. We’ve allowed the intellect to take over our lives forgetting that we are an energy field at our core walking around in these garages we call a body.

When we meditate we are cultivating that core. It is a distraction for the intellect, which says ‘yes’ to everything we feed it. In meditation we tune in to our inner world where inspiration, simplicity and goodness reside. Meditation leads to mindfulness. Cultivating mindfulness through meditation is a powerful tool for daily living. We are able to soothe that which does not serve us and our perspective shifts.

Emotions are simply the indicator of the direction of our thought. Our thoughts, thought often enough, turn into beliefs. The intellect is comprised of our beliefs. Contrary to what the programmed intellect may offer, it is natural for us to feel good. When we meditate we become equipped to notice if we’re feeling good or if something is feeling off. It is that noticing, that mindfulness, that allows for us to consciously change our minds. We are enabled to slow or stop feeding the off-ness our energy/attention and it slows the momentum.

010.jpgIt is the daily practice of focusing on the breath, the breath, the breath that gently breeds mindfulness. The intellect conforms to mindfulness and you will find your behind in the proverbial sling less and less and less. If you’re in a pinch, breathing and focusing elsewhere, like your big toe for example, helps to find that place of well-being. Overall, once a consistent meditation practice gets a foothold on the intellect, feeling good becomes normal and life gets better and better.

007Cultivate your core and meditate. Open the channel telling the intellect, “I know I have the ability to focus.”  Bring your attention to the breath, the breath, the breath. Feel a type of detachment from the physical environment letting your inner cork float. The more you do it the more you want to do it. It’s all good AND It’s only natural.

power pause

Deep breath in to the tippy top, holding briefly and a strong exhale out the mouth. Allow a sigh. One more time – inhale and exhale. Now, just breathe normally noticing the rush of air coming in and going out. Just noticing. At the beginning of a practice, meditation students  are often instructed to silently ask themselves three simple questions.

Now, in your mind, as you breathe ask yourself,  ‘who am I?’ breathing in and out, ‘who am I?’ very gently offering the question – breathing in and breathing out. Next question, ‘what do I want?’ And, again breathing in and breathing out, ‘what do I want?’. Ever so easy, ever so natural ask yourself ‘what is my dharma/purpose? What is my purpose/how may I serve?’ And then, let the questions go, breathing in and breathing out. Inhale in the luscious air, savoring it and then exhaling out what no longer serves you.

How easy is that? Very! Now you have launched your practice for the day. Enjoy the peace of natural breath for a few minutes more. Make the best of the rest of your day and watch what comes. ‘Seek (the good stuff) and ye shall find.’ It’s only natural.

mind fiber

We all know the process. Look for and identify your negatives, make amends and then move on. What typically happens though is we forget to move on. Once those self admonitions are pinpointed we tend to bring them up over and over again. They become excuses. We rarely let ourselves off the hook and usually stay in that disconcerting feeling of unworthiness. It is quite common. Even the 12 steps, as well meaning as they are, keeps one in the swirl of self-deprecation. We are well trained into believing that this is life and without the constant recognition of our pitfalls we are doomed to repeat them. Unfortunately, that mind game constipates our thinking and literally makes us sick. It’s time to recognize your worthiness.

Incorporating a good quality source of fiber into our diets really moves things along, doesn’t it. We are relieved and feel much better as we go about our day. When our physical-ness is well nourished life takes on a whole new lilt. We feel free and easy and light and productive and worthy. What usually happens though is we gradually slide back into our old habits. We regress without noticing that our bodies are starting to return to its familiar lethargic pace. It’s only when we struggle to move that we consciously take action and begin the process all over again – back and forth, back and forth.

Meditation is like fiber for our mind. The movement that is mindfulness tends to maintain a wonderful ease and flow that we all appreciate. In meditating for just a few minutes every day we become equipped to recognize when we are returning to the usual grind. Once mindfulness kicks in we never again go back to our old ways without noticing. Life improves, our worthiness and value grows and enhances. The load is lifted and progress comes to us with regularity. Our sense of self continues to brighten and lighten.

Enjoy a balanced diet with mind fiber by adding the simple act of silent, breathing meditation, 5 to 20 minutes a day. The resulting mindfulness flushes out all that stinkin’ thinkin’. It mucks out the stalls and makes room for healthy advancements. We never again feel obligated to bring up all the old stuff. We truly forgive ourselves and let it go.  Our bodies respond in kind. Meditate and enjoy your daily dose of mind fiber. It’s only natural.

019

 

mass Consciousness

Feel the conversation… now… same sex and ganja, for instance. Pretty open, easier, right? Feels greatly improved over how it must have felt in the 1950s, when I was born. I and my counterparts have firsthand Flower Power experience, wild-mild rock and roll, a new black and white TV and portable radio with HiFi turntable. Breaker Breaker, the 60s and 70s… really good stuff man. You can’t rub that off. That’s mass Consciousness!
My parents brought in rumble seats and BIG BAND sound, the rebels. That’s mass Consciousness! Deep roots, my own grandparents were of Women’s Suffrage era and gas-powered horseless carriage. That’s a revolution. That’s mass Consciousness!
My lineage may even go as deep as the witch hunt. OMG. As recently as the 1750s, we had to teach our daughters to sit quietly and ix-nay the agic-may (or, as we know it today, the coming into our Power). Extreme and dire consequences demanded it. That’s mass Consciousness, too!
Our mothers taught us well. Fortunately, we are like corks and always pop to the top. Sitting quietly and b r e a t h I n g  for a few minutes every day; That’s mass Consciousness – Meditating – coming into our Power!
You absolutely cannot fool Mother Nature. Take the first b r e a t h – now,   in234 hold234 out234 hold234. The more we b r e a t h e the more we want to b r e a t h e. Indulge yourself – b r e a t h e – now  enhance the mass Consciousness. It’s only natural.