The Call of the Osprey

She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong.

She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong.

The girl liked fishing in an unlikely place. She would go out to her backyard, climb up on the old rock well that had been there for generations and sit there with her fishing pole in her little hands.

She was a special girl. She had the ability to hear and feel all the pressure, the jagged shadowy voices behind the eyes of most people she interacted with.

She could feel their dull-knifed self-inflicting inner dialogue of manipulation. It hurt her because, though nothing was expressed in words, she felt their intentions in her heart.

Since they no longer used that well for water, they covered it with two sturdy crossing beams of wood so that the girl could still fish and not fall in–because no matter what the parents did, they could not get her to stop doing this strange activity (all thanks to grandpa).

“Anytime you feel bad about anything, you get out here and wish yourself a good fish to give you the answer you need. But you have to use your imagination and sometimes you have to keep at it because the fish might not bite your bate for a long time.”

And fish she did. Since everyone around her affected her so much, that was her way of dealing with it. There were piles of problems; people fighting, computers messing up, worrying about money, bad weather, things to do, to undue–a tangled-up mess with everyone intertwined, in a hurry to go no where.

The girl, a precocious little thing, noticed her mama’s bad mood inflaming her dad’s bad mood that he reflected back to her bigger and inflated; which she then spewed onto the teacher at the PTA meeting and the teacher regurgitated back to the students the next day.

She felt how this vein of ill intention tarred everyone’s interactions with each other in a viscous dark goop of negative emotionality. The girl promised herself that she would put an end to this in her own life.

Over time she got good at waiting, sitting around, doing nothing. It was thanks to fishing that she also learned and practiced the language of nature, the call of the osprey, the warning chirps of chipmunks. It was through fishing that she learned to let go, to forget time, to be submerged in stillness and yet, at the same time, to launch desires of better things that she wanted in her life.

Then the extraordinary happened. She heard the engine and the screeching of her brother’s school bus coming to a stop. At that moment her fishing pole tugged for the first time.

She felt a wave of goosebumps up her spine and on her arms. She grabbed the fishing line firmly. There was a light glowing in the distance down in there and it felt like it was going to yank her into the well, but she anchored herself by wrapping her legs around the wooden post that flanked each side of the well.

She pulled and pulled and the light in the well got brighter. She heard bits and pieces of whispered voices coming up from deep within her darkness.

“Don’t worry, it will pass.”
“Be kind to you.”
“Follow your fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.”

The girl pulled the fishing line with all her might, feeling exhilarated–a part of her, knowing what was happening.

With one last yank she tugged so hard that she went flying backwards. Up from the well shot up what looked to be a shooting star version of herself, a precise brilliant replica, a scintillating silhouette of lights that looked just like her, which vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

The child tried to catch her breath on the grass. She looked up at the sky and saw a few clouds going by–nothing unusual.

“Dinner time!” her mom called.

The child, like a cautious cat, walked up to the well, climbed up the rock ledge and looked timidly into her void. A silent darkness.

Back home, the girl took her plate, served herself dinner and ran into her room, filled with excitement. The parents knew something was up because every time she did this, they knew something major had happened and she needed quiet time; they had no other choice but to honor this because if they didn’t, she would unleash a tornado of a tantrum.

She got under the covers; her eyes open, electrified with movement, a surge that felt like dolphins swimming in her body.

“Tomorrow I’m going to have a good day,” she said to herself and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning she woke up at 3 a.m., she searched the pantry and found green food coloring. She tiptoed to her parents bathroom and dropped all the green tablets in their toilet. At around 6 a.m. her mom screamed so loud it woke everyone up.

The girl ran to their bathroom, laughing hysterically.

“Got ya!”

The mom and dad looked at her, perplexed, then at the toilet bowl full of emerald green water. They couldn’t help but join in on her daughter’s infectious laughter.

At school, the child was focused and playful. She had the best recess game of tag in her entire life. There was a new enthusiasm in her behavior and everyone noticed.

The girl hated Mrs. Stern. After recess, she ran up to the teacher and gave her the biggest hug of her life. It made Mrs. Stern cry, an older woman who lived alone, was strict, punctual and hadn’t gotten a hug in a very long time.

When school was done the girl
hurried home. She had a plan for her dad. He came home in a bad mood, full of his practiced behavior of mental complaints of all the crap that had gone wrong that day.

The child greeted the dad at the door, extended a magic wand (a stick she found by the well) at his feet.

“Off with his shoes!”

The dad, caught off guard, couldn’t help but smile and quickly took off his shoes.

“To the couch!” she said as she pointed the wand at him with comical determination.

She had her dad put his feet up and take off his shoes and socks and pinky swear that he would sit there, no matter what, for at least 2 minutes. She took out one of her collected feathers and tickled the bottom of his feet.

Her dad was laughing hysterically. She liked her father’s booming laughter. She thought she saw a light of glee in his eyes, like the one she had briefly seen shoot up from the bottom of the well. She saw the same look in her mom and her teacher and everyone she interacted with.

The next day she climbed on the rock ledge of the well and sat there in stillness, looking down into her well of silence. She felt different. She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong. She didn’t need to be the victim of people’s negative attitude around her. She became her own light, what she always was.

COPYRIGHT 2015
David Hornak
All rights reserved

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You’re Beautiful

image

JESSICA SIMPSON

6 or 7 years ago I went to Los Angeles to visit my good friend, Kevin, who was an editor for the movie Mr. Brooks, directed by Kevin Costner.

He had friends that were in show biz, so one night we went to some lounge club where celebrities hung out.

It was surreal. There were paparazzi outside the club, scanning faces to see if anyone was famous. No pictures of us were taken.

That night I saw a bunch of celebrities. It was bizarre. Jessica Simpson popped into the place with like 5 people and a lady, who I guessed was her mom.  She brought homely cheer to the place. It must have been J.S.’s birthday, because she was opening up presents and taking a lot of pictures.

(I didn’t know that many celebrities use the back door–because all the ones I saw just appeared from the back of the club.)

No one was allowed to take pictures, but because J.S. was who she was, no one said anything to her.

IN THE MIRROR

Some time passed and my friend’s girlfriend had gone to the bathroom and come back. She said,

“Guess who was just in the bathroom? Jessica Simpson!”

She told us that she guessed J.S. thought that there was no one in the bathroom while my friend’s girlfriend was in the stall.

When my friend came out of the stall, she saw and heard Jessica Simpson say in front of the mirror,

“God I am so ugly!”

I was was surprised.  She looked so happy celebrating her birthday and taking pictures with her family. I figured that someone with her fame and success would be confident and self-accepting.

“I AM” HAS POWER

There is power in the words, “I am.” As you probably already know, these are strong words of self-hypnosis. They are a command; ideas directed to ourselves to be and think and feel whatever it is we choose. But what often happens is that we think by default and not with a deliberate awareness.

BE NICE TO YOU

All of us have an inner child who resides in our heart. It feels better when we are gentle with ourselves and say nice words to that creative wonderful child from within.

If we are nice to ourselves we will treat others nicely and expect others to be nice to us. Our experience in life will be more pleasurable when we learn the language of kindness.

OWN NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

Any time you are feeling in a negative way, acknowledge the thoughts that are influencing you to feel this way and then intend to refocus them towards what it is you want to feel, towards the positive.

For example, “I feel tired and sleepy but I want to feel like I am energized and in a good mood. Maybe I need a nap.”

“I feel ugly. I hate my body. I want to learn to feel beautiful.  I want to love myself. I don’t know how but I want to find a way.”

“I feel sick right now but It’s ok. I want to feel like I am getting better, healthier. I have a strong immune system and it’s helping me get better.”

The phrase,”I want to…” helps us to clarify our desires and refocus our  attention on what it is that we want.

Saying, “I don’t know how I will figure this out but I want to find a way” helps to open ourselves towards a solution mindset, one that we may not receive that day, but the answer always arrives, sooner or later: ask and you shall receive.

LOVING YOURSELF TAKES TIME

If I were to talk to all the people out there who feel not so good about themselves, I would like to say this: you are beautiful. You are perfect.  You are here for a divine reason. You are here to create in ways special to just you. You are unique and you are here to have fun. You are here to grow and expand, to give and receive love.  But takes time learning to love yourself.

Practice observing what you already like about you, the aspects of your personality and your talents; what is working in your physical body, the myriad of complex processes that your body performs  effortlessly in order for you to be alive.

I don’t always love myself but I am improving. I’m getting better at catching myself. It helps to acknowledge these negative thoughts, be aware that I am going down a thinking path that doesn’t feel good; then I create the intention to realign myself with my deeper inner being, which for me, means to close my eyes for a moment and breathe in and out slowly and try to connect with that good positive feeling of inner peace. I’m getting better. It takes practice.

Sometimes, I need a nap, or a walk, or to eat or drink water or watch a movie or practice my martial arts, but if I am at work, I might need to focus on my breathing as much as I can and/or deliberately say to myself, “I’m going to have fun today at work no matter what.”

SMILE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR

One thing that will help is this: when You look in the mirror, no matter where you are, look at yourself in the eyes and give yourself a big smile.

Evidence suggests that smiling at yourself in the mirror is a way to create happy feelings. It is a simple practice that will aid in the habit of loving and accepting yourself more and more.

Is that you in the mirror? Smile and share a comment or a question bellow. Feel free to share this article on Facebook.

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The magic of free-writing

My journal. My best tool (next to meditation).There is a type of everyday magic that occurs when we set down our thoughts onto the written word.

When I was a teenager I experienced much family turmoil: intense stress, yelling wars, silent rotting hatred, me punching holes into walls and destroying my room with my street-hockey stick as a result of the culmination of feelings of pain and hurt that I conquered and overpowered with anger.

Needless to say, anger is higher up on the emotional ladder than depression; though destructive, used correctly it’s helpful. The times that I have sunk into the swamp of despair, getting angry has boosted me forward to a better feeling place.

Then Pablo showed up. It was Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet, who ignited my desire write. I saw the Italian movie, Il Postino (in Italian class in high school–thank you Ms. Skrozowski) in which Neruda is shown exiled in Italy and a simple mailman, who always brings him big piles of fan letters from all over the world, tells Neruda that he too wants to be a poet… A great movie.

I was inspired to write. I learned of the concept of free-writing, expressing onto the page whatever it is we wish to express; drawing and painting with words the worlds of our imagination onto a canvas of infinite possibilities. Besides learning about meditation, it was an extraordinary gift to my being.

I wrote poems and more poems. I wanted to be just like Pablo. And I began reading books that provided me with the tools to be the type of person who was at peace with who he was and accepted and loved himself.

But my palette had two colors, love and anger. I wrote love poems to my soulmate (whom I hadn’t met yet) and when I walked my dog at night I looked up at the stars, wondering if she too was looking up that moment.

But I also wrote about the stress, and what felt like a war, at home. I felt like we were killing each other’s souls. I wrote down all my hatred for all the members of my family, especially my father.

(Now I love my dad dearly. I understand that he did the best he could with the tools he had. He is a great man. I admire him and appreciate all that he has done for me. I understand that all of what I experienced growing up was the perfect compost for the garden of my life.)

Nonetheless, in middle school and part of high school, I had the most intense hatred for him.

But there were ephemeral glimpses of clarity that were brought on by this newly created habit of writing.

I had a dream in which I saw a pen in the ocean. I was submerged in the water and I could breathe it like air. I saw my pen go down into the depths of this body of water.

Since, through writing, I have delved into my emotions, my anger, dead on, I would start my journal entries in very intense ways, for example: “I f+**+^ hate my father. He is such an +*^>¥…”

Then, when I got all the anger out of me, because I would write voraciously non-stop for many pages, I would eventually turn a perspective corner and wonder why my dad behaved the way he did. I wrote down what little I knew of his life story and in doing so, through my imagination, I put myself in his shoes, in a limited way–and not really aware of it, I saw what he saw.

My anger turned into curiosity, my curiosity into understanding and my understanding into fleeting glimpses of a mixture of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, love and a feeling of resistance being released. I felt relief.

Writing helped me to know myself. It helped me to understand who I was, what I was feeling, and from that universal emotional lense, it helped me to know others, especially (what I thought many a time was) my fucked up family.

Writing became a ritual. Though I still smashed tv’s, shattered porcelain cups against the wall and roared my lion’s roar when I was angry, I wrote it down and doing so liberated me from my self-created prison.

Writing soothed me, it helped me to untangle and gave me perspective; it relaxed me into a meditative, peaceful-feeling atmosphere.

A good friend of mine who lives in Vermont told me that when he got angry or felt guilt as a kid during the summer, he would jump in the pond behind his house and his problems would be left in the bottom. It is similar with writing.

But there was something deeper there. The more I wrote, the more I had this feeling that I was having a conversation with a higher intelligence that was also part of me, as if I were conversing with my wise indigenous great-grandfather from Colombia (who was a shaman and healer) who loved me and wanted the best for me. He would hear me out through the written word and then speak kindly in ways that helped me to understand, through my own writing. He would talk to me with all the love in the world and he loved me just the way I was.

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Meditation explained

Ease of stillness

Ease of stillness

There are many ways to meditate.
To me, meditation means to close my eyes and (either sit up or lie down) focus on my breathing, while releasing resistance with the out-breath and allowing the feeling of wellbeing with the in-breath.

If you’re new to this, it’s like learning to drive a car. It takes a little practice, but then it becomes easy.

Find a way that works for you. At first, you might want to count each in-breath and out-breath until you get to 10. An easy task once a day.

(If you’re an advanced meditator, you can share your experience with a comment bellow.)

For me, focusing on my breath is simple but profound. My lungs are like an internal hot-air balloon that helps me fly up so that I may align myself with my excitement, with what makes me peaceful and happy moment to moment. It gives me clarity.

That’s the great thing about meditation, it is residual and cumulative. The 20 minutes that we invest in the morning reverberates throughout every interaction of that whole day.

To me, to be healthy means that we are aligned with our inner joy, with who we are in our heart of hearts.

Meditation is like hopping on that internal hot-air balloon and rising up towards the expansive sky’s serenity within us all. Once we are done with our meditation session, then it becomes easy to bring that awareness to our everyday lives.

Meditation is a simple but powerful tool for us to align with the peaceful good feelings that are always available to us. Some days it will be easier than others. But the more we practice, the easier it gets.

We create our very own personal weather forecast everyday. There are many ways to do this, but one of them is to meditate sometime from the moment we wake up, until 12pm. In doing so, we establish, early on, our emotional atmosphere for the rest of our day.

We want to magnetize, mantralize (repeat positive phrases to) ourselves from the moment we wake up so that we get used to creating pleasant, fun experiences throughout our day.

When I get angry, often for silly things, there is an explosion of tension or fire in my body. When I was a teen I would throw and break things in my room, kick my bed and indulge in momentary rage.

Now, that old feeling of anger is a controllable little match-flame (as opposed to the wild fire that it used to be) and it gets rerouted to my trained habit of taking a deep breath, holding it in for a few seconds and exhaling, while I very consciously focus my attention on dissolving the tension out from me. When I am successful, there is space for feelings of peace, creativity, humor and kindness.

And since I’ve gotten a lot of rerouting, recalculating practice, I have begun the practice of laughing at myself the second I start to get upset for something small.

For me, focusing on breathing has been one of the catalysts for all the wonderful experiences I’ve had during and after meditation.

Invest in yourself: create time everyday to do nothing but breathe.

5 to 20 minutes will do.

Sit in a quiet room, on a comfortable chair (or lie down. Sometimes if I’ve been standing for a long time, I will meditate with my back to the floor and my feet on the bed, creating a 90-degree angle with my shins and thighs against the bed).

Focus on your breathing. If a thought comes in, allow it like a bird perching on a branch of your tree; look at it, let it go and then come back to your breathing.

Some days it will be easier. Allow it to be what it is. And if you want to take it further, see how many times you can remember to focus on your breath throughout the day.

What is your favorite way to meditate?

What do you think about all this?
Write a comment: I would love to hear your opinion or experience.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

David Hornak

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