Flow of the Heart

We are traveling well into the Fire/Summertime. It is hot here in Tucson. Today the highs will be in the upper 90s. These desert temperatures can be difficult. Sometimes it feels like I’m melting when I walk outside in the afternoon. The heat manages to get deep inside. We reach for the cold drink. Hot drinks would most likely be better. But what else happens this season?

The organ associated with this time of year is the heart. In Chinese Medicine the heart works optimally when energy flows unobstructed through it. A healthy person manages to nurture the heart so that it doesn’t hold onto anything. That means that the heart is not gathering pains from interaction, communication, self-expression, or the pains of others. Heartbreak is real. We can stay there, or we can allow things to flow through and capture the winds of unconditional love that actually fills our hearts. If we rid ourselves of hurt, pain or bitterness we allow ourselves the possibility of living from an expanded heart of light and love. This is why I end every note with this greeting.

Many of us are working our way down this path. As we move toward a place of light, we get the opportunity to look deeply at what we stored away in our hearts. This season will be the time to heal that next layer.

One of my favorite quotes is of Liu Zhou, a 6th century philosopher wrote that if the spirit is at peace, the heart is in harmony; when the heart is in harmony, the body is whole; if the spirit becomes aggravated the heart wavers, and when the heart wavers the body becomes injured; if one seeks to heal the physical body, therefore one needs to regulate the spirit first.’

When are we most at peace? Is it when we release the endless worry, fear, and anger? You can see how the emotions set us far away from where our hearts need to be. I appreciate how all emotions show up for each person. But the issue is whether we plant them, whether we water them, and whether they grow out of control. Emotions are the human experience- they will not be denied. And the celebration and rituals of our lives need to come from clear hearts toward heaven and earth. Maybe it’s idealism, or maybe we can work and become empty and make it to this peaceful and harmonious place.

This week we will dedicate our Qigong and Meditation toward a free and flowing heart and inner harmony. We will see if we can manage to operate from a place of greater heart clarity and have more loving communication.

The Movement Toward Summer

When I arrived in Tucson last week on April 25th, the Palo Verde trees were all in bloom with yellow flowers. While it’s not a forest it is everywhere. This is the main flowering tree around here and the flowers remind me of being in DC and awaiting the magic of the Cherry Blossoms in late March where you can’t help but be hypnotized by the magnificent trees’ energy. Then later in April the azalea bushes are in full bloom, then as they wilt and fall the heat intensifies as Summer comes.

Back here in the Desert, when eyes look down from the yellow flowers of the Palo Verde the cacti are in bloom at the same time. The desert is alive in an unusual array of colors. I came here and witnessed the height of Spring and the movement to the next energetic. But the way to know this is always watching the blossoms wilt to the ground. Summer shows its strength and glory just as the Spring had.

But here we are on May 5th the first day of Summer according to the wisdom of the Chinese Calendar, and those flowers are increasingly a carpet on the ground. The trees now are full of green leaves and are beginning to provide a little more shade in the summer heat. The heat while unpredictable from day to day is full on and you can feel it in the dryness in your mouth, your nose, and on your skin. You feel shifts inside you in various ways. It appears that everyone here is well aware of the shift with hats and sunglasses and carrying water with them.

And there are the other things to be aware of. The snakes are out. I keep my eyes peeled as my dog has no snake training and I expect his curiosity might be his undoing. It is really the snake’s land and as long as you give them their due you can keep at peace. I saw a rattler run over by a car this morning. I don’t want to encounter one up close and personal.

Also, on May 5th there was a lunar eclipse.  It was at the full moon, this time in Scorpio. There is nothing to be afraid of here. It might be intense transformation, rebirth, or something more and unique for you. As with lunar eclipses, your perception might open and expand. You might have to confront something in your life that just doesn’t work. You might feel you are going faster than the usual. It is better to take a pause and slow down. You may need to change course. Always take the moment to look at the truth about yourself and feel a wave of compassion, and then incorporate that part and go forward. If you can’t sleep – no big deal. You’ll sleep tomorrow the next day.  Scorpio, Taurus, Aquarius, or Leo
might feel a little shake up that actually could be good for you. As with everything we go through there is an opportunity for growth and learning. Maybe it’s naïve but I think to myself – bring it on.

On Jasper the Great Traveling Dog

Whenever I talk with people, they ask me about my traveling companion Jasper. Let me assure you he is totally fine. I’m not sure he likes traveling in the van as he resists coming inside when it is time to hit the road. And he resists getting in the van even after a day of hours of activities outside, I think he would rather be in a hotel.

I did have one scary moment with him back in January. We were staying at an RV park near Gainesville, Florida. I was meeting friends there who were also traveling. At night I was reading on my iPad around midnight, and just as I turned the device off, I felt Jasper get on his back and suddenly I heard that he had fallen off the bed and between the crack to the back doors. Under the bed is what we in van life call the garage. There are plastic bins of food stuff, clothes, paints, and various camping supplies. Anyway, for a brief minute I tried to get him up from inside the van. It was impossible so I quickly put on pants and shoes and went to the back of the van to retrieve him. I hoped he had not broken his back or other bodily harm. I opened the door to a very frightened pup, but he walked normally and didn’t seem worse for wear. Luckily, I didn’t need to go to an all-night vet. This was the most frightening thing.

Most things are funny now. We spend all our time together. He is so excited to see anyone, absolutely anyone new. I have always said he is running for mayor wherever we are, but it is 10 times worse now. Please let me be with people is the message that I get from him. We go to dog parks, hiking trails, watch the birds and the mountain, but I often feel that he wonders where our house is. He does keep track of where the van is located which helps me. He is definitely in charge of the direction we go on the trails.  He is a useful hiking guide. As you may know I do stay at hotels or in homes to teach classes.  I think he loves this.  Last week we were in a hotel with 2 beds in the room.  He always starts sleeping on the floor and then I find him in my bed.  This night when I got up, I found him happily spread out over the other bed.  Then I had my information.  He prefers his own double bed.  What a riot it is to have a dog companion.  I know he is spoiled, but we communicate all the time and I don’t really care if he is spoiled.  I can take him to any restaurant, and he lies down and is a very good boy.  He is kind to everyone so I’m happy.