This morning, at about 4 a.m., I was awakened from a very deep and mystical dream to hear the explosive sound of branches breaking.
This wasn’t a small branch, dead wood suddenly tossed down by the wind.
This was big branch, the enormous, shuddering creaking of major limb or even whole trunk, cracking apart from itself and crashing down into the woods.
For a brief moment, after the booming crash, there was silence. In fact, in that silence, as I groggily tried to orient myself to what was going on, I wondered if I was dreaming.
But then instantly, the chatter and screams of all kinds of birds: either heralding the shift in the forest hierarchy, or misplaced from their home, crying in confusion that they had been uprooted.
Changes in our lives sometimes seem to happen this way. One minute we’re asleep, or lost in dreams or daydreams or distractions, and then CRACK, there is a shift in the field, a tree is down, a major limb is lost and all around us the beep of birds goes off like a car alarm that won’t quit.
This particular breaking branch, fallen tree, wasn’t too near. From the sounds of it, perhaps a hundred feet away. I walked out into the woods this morning to find it, but everything was a green tangle I would guess as I walk further into the ferny glades, the break will reveal itself.
The break didn’t affect me too much… or did it? We live in a unified field. A tree one hundred feet away that breaks at 4:00 am, unexpectedly, out of the blue… this was a wakeup for me, literally. And whenever there is a literal wakeup, there is also a spiritual one.
We don’t always understand these signs of nature. I don’t understand yet, what the breaking branch means; I don’t understand what part of my life it applies to, what message I mean to receive, what I meant to understand.
What I think now, is that I am guided to understand that things happen all around us, even when we sleep. We’re part of the energy of everything. My own waking up, in shock, on alert, when the tree broke, and my own waking up further with the birds calling… I remember that I am a part of this forest too.
Even 100 feet away, in a house, in a bed; I am still part of this forest, I am still part of this unified field, I am still part of this nature community that surrounds me.
The unified field contains us all: all soul, all time, all space, all matter. What affects one, affects One. Even a breaking tree, affects the field around it.
I live above a bend in Oregon’s Willamette River; from my front window I can see the long stretch of river where two eagles have nested in the tall trees for a decades, and then the slow leisurely bend where the river sails past parallel to the house.
The Willamette is not especially friendly in the winter: it’s a wide, turgid river that runs very fast and high in the fall, winter and spring.
But in the summer, when the river is gentle and the sun is warm, the Willamette becomes home to to canoeists, kayakers, the occasssional skidoo, and sometimes plucky inner tubers.
What’s interesting to notice, is that what I see from my vantage point, is not at all what it feels like to be on the river, on a lazy summer day.
When you view the river from above, it’s flat and serene: a plane of reflection that mirrors the evergreens and maples along the shore. On the water, the boaters or inner tubers look like tiny black spots, like logs or branches in the water, and you can see that they’re making good time, flowing swiftly downstream.
When you’re on the river, however, it’s a whole different experience. For one thing, there are the birds: hawks and osprey and eagles soaring over like it’s a bird highway, swooping down for fish, and often fighting each other for the catch mid air.
On the river, the banks are wide: head out to the middle, away from the brackish underground trees and roots, and you realize how wide the river really is, and how fast the current is going.
In a canoe, it’s wobbly and precarious. In a kayak, fairly exhilarating. But in an inner tube, there is both the sense of vulnerability, and the cognizance that without a paddle or other way of pushing down stream, you’re going to be on the water a long, long time.
When you look with binoculars on the river, you can see that most inner tubists come prepared: hats, sunscreen, snacks, beer. They’re in for the duration… a long, lazy after noon of four or six hours on the water.
The discrepancy: of what it looks like from above, and what it looks like on the water, is striking.
IT’s the same way the Universe might see us, the big picture of this human life, moving all so quickly in the Flow. Whereas for us, with our drama and our emotion and the moment to moment of daily life, it appears like time is moving so slowly, like we have all the time in the world.
We’re on the river, birth to death. The thing is: from one perspective, we disappear 'round the bend in the blink of the eye. From another perspective, we're right there in the water, legs dangling in the current, eagles overhead, lazing down the river with all the time we could ever need.
Sometimes we find ourselves on the brink of facing something we’d really rather not face.
We might have to face a person we have conflict with.
We might have to face a situation that brings up old stuff.
We might have to go to a place that brings up old wounds.
We might have to be in an environment that triggers us.
When you find yourself heading toward an experience that is going to be a soul lesson, it is common to feel a lot of negative feelings.
You might feel cranky.
You might start blaming others.
You might get mad.
You might panic.
You might want to run away.
You might shut down.
And sometimes, if the situation or experience or person is about to really push our buttons from the past, if it’s about to really make you feel or remember the big wounds we haven’t cleared up yet, we can get very angry, scared and resistant to this situation.
In our resistance to looking at our past pain, we may lash out at others.
Most of us have done this many times in our lives: it is normal to not want to experience pain!
However, whenever you notice yourself being triggered, take a moment and resist the urge to lash out, fight back, run away or shut down.
Instead, accept the reality that you have come face to face with at lesson: the Universe is inviting you to clear your fear, release your anger, let go of your panic, stand your ground.
You’re being presented with this lesson, because you’re ready to learn it.
And… resistance is futile.
If you don’t learn it now, no worries. You will be presented with this same lesson, in this lifetime and in all future lifetimes, until finally, you as soul move through it.
If you can surrender to your lesson now, wonderful.
If you just can’t do it now… there will be time later.
We are infinite souls, in infinite state of expansion via the human heart.
Sometimes we get overly excited at the start of a venture.
We buy the book.
We sign up for the class,
We join the retreat.
We reserve the event..
We’re SO excited!
And then, when we enter into the experience, all the buzzy excitement and impulsive “yes, yes, yes” goes away.
We suddenly don’t feel great.
Our excitement fades.
We are faced with the fact that we are here to do our work, and maybe we don’t really feel like doing our work, after all.
All the buzzy, excited “yes” of anticipation may turn to dread, overwhelm, even resistance or anger when we are faced with the actual book, class, course, retreat, program or event.
If you find yourself getting grumpy, wanting to quit, blaming the teacher, getting angry about a course or class, feeling like nothing’s working, feeling like it’s not a fit… take a look deeper.
It’s likely that you’re afraid of what you’re going to find when you enter in.
It’s likely that you’re scared of what you might discover.
Soul work requires vulnerability.
You have to let the Universe in, if you want to change.
Soul work also requires time.
One book or class or course isn’t going to do the trick. The best teacher in the Universe can’t solve your whole life. No program will fix everything and make it all better.
It’s all a process.
Inner work can take years. In fact, most of us find it takes decades.
So… Don’t look for the quick fix. It doesn’t exist.
We open and expand at the pace we are ready.
There is no proper timing. There is only your timing.
If you’re over forty, you probably have some baggage with your parents.
For whatever reason, younger generations seem to have less angst about their folks; they have less trouble separating from mother and father.
However, for most of age 40 or over, there is deep learning curve surrounding the parental units.
And yet no matter what your childhood experience, even if it was difficult or even horrible, you begin to grow into a new understanding.
As you do your inner work, you move from this place of absolute pain and anger and fear and rebellion against your parents, to a place of separate and independence, to a place of compassion.
In some cases, your parents are declining, and, you have become the adult as your parent is moving toward the stages of toddler and babyhood.
Even for parents who are nowhere near that: who’s minds are still sharp as a tack, who are making decisions and living their lives… we discover that we feel differently about them than we once did.
It’s not about us becoming the adult, and they the child
It’s not about them becoming helpless, and we need to take care of them.
It’s about us doing our inner work, and slowly but surely coming to a place of compassion for this person who has held space as our parent.
We see them our parents as individuals, the same way we see our partner, our child, our friend, our colleague.
All the old strum und drang goes away.
We see them in full compassion for all the experiences they’ve had, good and bad, all of the pain they’ve had, all the pain they’ve caused, what they’ve worked through, what they haven’t worked through.
And instead of putting them on this Parent Pedestal, we bring them into our hearts, simply as another soul on the path.
You might not have turned the corner yet to compassion for your parent. It might take a lifetime to get there. But when you do, you know that you have cracked open into a new place.
Much love, SARA
I was taking calls on the radio show a while back, and a man called in who I hadn’t spoken to in decades.
He’d long faded from my memory, as had most of the events and people from that distant time.
You see, we crossed paths in 1992.
This man wandered into the ad agency I worked at those decades ago, seeking help with materials for his new hypnosis business.
As we talked about his project, he invited me to try hypnosis for myself.
I must admit, I was resistant. At that time, I didn’t have any vocabulary for things like meditation, hypnosis, guided journeying… I’d never heard of any that.
Back then, I thought hypnosis was something that happened when you stared at a swinging timepiece and then started doing the chicken dance up on stage in front of hundreds of people.
But eventually, I agree. This man and I worked together for many months, session after session in which I entered deep trance, and experienced all the realms I know now:
I went to Akashic Records.
I went to the Book of Knowledge.
I went into past lives
I saw old memories and events.
Back then, this guy was brand new: I'd hazard that he didn’t really know what he was doing yet.
I certainly had no idea, that the places I was going, were real, or important or that I would return to the over and over and over again.
Somehow, way back in 1992, I was already visiting the realms and etheric that I work in now.
It is amazing, to look back at the chance encounter with this man, and see how the Universe places things in our path, well before we are cognizant of what our path will be.
A full eight years before my NDE in 2000, the Universe was already ramping things up so that I would be ready for what was ahead.
All because of some random guy, walking in off the street.
It's interesting. To recall the people we knew in the past, and to realize that there are no random encounters, all of these are Divine convergences, set in place to help us open as souls.
A while back I was wrestling with some deep emotional loss, and I found myself sick for four days.
Now, there was nothing physically wrong with me.
I didn’t need to go to the doctor. I didn’t need medicine. I didn’t have musical aches or an upset stomach or the sniffles. In fact, there was no outside sign of illness.
But in my spirit self, in my inner world… I was wiped out.
For whatever reason, the Divine took me down… so much so that I was almost unable to function.
I cleared my schedule I took a nap each day: not a short power nap, but a long, dream-filled, down-for-the-count nap. And after the nap, I went bed early where more dreams awaited.
During this time, my experience was almost as if I were pinned to the bed. It was as if the Universe had wrapped me up in sheets and blankets. Swaddled me so tight that I couldn’t move.
I was paralyzed by the need to rest and sleep and rest some more. I could not read, I could not write, I could not focus on computer.
I didn’t feel like talking; the best I could do was tell my family “I need to rest” or "I am resting" and then I drift back into dreams.
And those dreams! Here was where the Divine was working on me, healing me, opening me, expanding me. The dreams were huge: intensive, unfathomably detailed downloads; clear visions and messages, everything so rich and full and complete in the moment, even though I cannot remember them now.
At the time, during the dreams, I knew: this is important, this is crucial, I am receiving what I need to know. I am being awakened, I am being expanded. I must rest, so that this work will be accomplished.
Sometimes, in spiritual awakening, the Divine knocks us out so that they can work on us without our getting in the way.
We call it illness.
But it is often not physical but spiritual illness: awakening disguised as illness, so that we will slow down and rest enough, to receive what we really need.
It’s easy to fall into habits or routines.
Sometimes our routines give us a way to relax and bring fun and enjoyment in our lives.
For example, we might go to our favorite place for lunch, or take the same yoga class in the evening, or hang out with people we know well.
When the vibration is high, it can be a great practice to do the same thing over and over.
The same goes for our thoughts: when our thoughts are positive, it feels good to bring in the same mind loops over and over: peace, love, joy, fulfillment.
And yet sometimes, we attach to thought loops that aren’t positive at all: in fact, they’re very stuck, even very negative.
And we run these thought loops over and over again.
We might worry a lot.
We might have anxiety.
We might be angry, and loop that anger over and over.
We might feel betrayed
We might feel victimized, or abused.
Just as you wouldn’t go to a lunch place that served spoiled food, you wouldn’t want to enter into a mind with these negative thought loops.
Just as you wouldn’t go to a yoga class where the teacher is rude and condescending, you don’t want to let your mind go into thought patterns that make you feel bad.
So much of group thought nowadays is this kind of negative, blaming, victim mentality. You see it on social media. You see it in the news.
The thing is, you don’t have to go there. Even though it may seem like this is all that’s swirling around, this is not so.
You can free your mind.
You can attach to high vibration, instead of low.
You can free yourself from negative thought looping, simply by deciding to do so.
If you find yourself in habitual negative thoughts that don't make you feel good, take a look at what you’re really doing.
Being angry with others is poison to yourself.
Putting others down makes you feel worse.
Gossip dishonors you.
Playing the victim keeps you stuck.
Free your mind.
Attach to higher vibration, and see how you are changed.
Each of us enters this world as Soul, packaged in a human container, and organized with a particular personality.
We’re not going to change any of it very much: the spirit, body, and mind have to learn to work together in this lifetime. So… don’t fight your personality so much!
If you are a consistent, regular person who does best with an organized practice, go do that. If you are a wiggly, in-the-body person who has trouble sitting on a meditation cushion, don’t sit. Go for a walk, or go dance, or do chi gong. Move through your meditation.
If you are a person who loves to study and read, do that. If you are a person who likes to work from audio, do that. And so on.
My own practice has become like a strand of pearls: a very full day, with each break from work or family dedicated to being one of One, to the fullest extent I can.
When I have three minutes, I might breathe, deeply and gratefully. When I have ten minutes, I might meditate. When I have twenty minutes, I might head out into nature. When I have an hour or more, I might meditate or write or listen to music or… so many ways to open to the Divine. If I have a lot of time, I might head out to the nature around us: the forest, the Pacific Ocean, all the beautiful places here in the Northwest.
I don’t worry about a regular, consistent schedule, because life isn’t arranged that way. Instead, I focus on showing and connecting as often as I can: if I have a little time or a lot, I will dive deep into that space where everything is healed, renewed, become whole. The more room we make for such a life, the more such a life arrives to us.
And while I’m not yet able to live every minute consciously… I am able to bring consciousness to many, many more minutes of my day.
I invite you to let go of all shame, guilt, or unworthiness about how your spiritual practice “should be.”
Do what you can. Connect where you are. Begin to live in Divine space, in the way that is best for you.
How to know if you’ve reached bliss?
Sometimes bliss comes as total body-mind euphoria, an ecstatic altered state, what we think of when we hear the phrase “blissed out.” Other times, bliss is a smaller wave of yummy, feel-good style happiness.
Here, 15 signs you’re there.
• Your jaws are relaxed; you can easily smile. You may have trouble NOT smiling!
• You laugh freely. In fact, you may find yourself laughing without any reason.
• It's easy to close your eyes, yet you feel alert.
• Your body may tingle or vibrate, especially down your spine, neck, or head.
• You have a feeling of expansiveness in the chest.
• You have a feeling of lightness or floating; there is no sensation of heaviness.
• You feel deeply relaxed, yet in a highly alert state.
• Your heart feels at peace.
• You feel safe in the environment you are in, no matter where this is.
• You feel expanded in your connection to the world and to the space around you.
• You feel a rush that is not an adrenal rush, but an euphoric rush.
• You don’t feel physical pain, or your pain is lifted or blocked.
• You feel a sense of divine grace, of being in the presence of the universal Divine.
• You experience a state of altered consciousness; an ecstatic state.
• You may experience bliss for a few minutes, hours, days, or an entire lifetime.
Bliss may last for a moment, or it may last for lifetime. It may return again and again, even when it’s not sought out or expected. Extreme experiences of ecstatic bliss may result in an altered state that changes a person forever.
All the mystics, the great spiritual teachers: Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed—they felt bliss all the time. Those beings existed in a state of never-ending bliss. Infants, children, the elderly, the mentally disabled, those who have been enlightened by great sacrifice or pain, they also may exist primarily in a state of bliss.
Bliss is a state that is removed from our current reality, but it doesn’t have to be. To be alive is to hold the possibility of bliss in the next moment.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Close your eyes and do it again. This is the first step to a happy life.
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Sara blogs on spirituality and intuition twice weekly. Get Daily Divine direct to your inbox, plus instantly download the FREE ebook, "What are Your Unique Psychic Gifts?"