Sorry I’ve not been online.  There has been a lot of “commotion” and unexpected events during the past month.  Yes, the lovely black bear still comes into our yard every week or so.  My husband uses a metal pan and a wooden spoon to scare it back out of the yard.  After about 15 visits, the bear figured out he doesn’t have to be a bit afraid of Mike. So much for that idea.  I’m glad the bear isn’t going after anyone because it is fun to watch him when he walks through our yard.  I’ve given him the name of Trasher.  He loves trashing trash so we humans can clean it up.

On to Smoke.  Those of you in the US might already know the fires are burning further north and west of here and moving down through Minnesota. Warnings are already out that advise that everyone stay inside because of the damage the smoke can do to our lungs.  Yes, where there’s smoke, there is fire, but there are no active fires burning here thankfully.  Just the “smoldering” stuff.  Whew.

These past few days have been filled with our family visiting us in Two Harbors. They are down in Duluth right now, getting homemade candy, taking tours on the ore boats, bands are playing in the park, and much more.  Our kids have two kids now – a boy that is 14 and a daughter that is going to the University of Duluth this year.  She’ll be living about 15 miles from us and I’m sooooo excited because we’ll be able to see her more often!  That has really made my year.

Then there is my fear.  I’ll be having my “total knee replacement” replaced! The replacement has failed after about two years – they don’t know why.  So, I’ll be out of commission for at least a month.  It’s a complicated procedure when it is a second time around issue.  At this moment, I’m glad I don’t know any details about the surgery – I’ll know Tuesday.  Then I’ll begin to get a bit fearful of the procedure.  My soothing thought is many people have gone through this and I’ll be fine.  Plus, the surgeon is a very handsome man who also is a very kind and considerate person.  I think I won the lottery with him being my surgeon.  So, to bust up the fear that keeps dancing around in my brain, I created a statement that will help release my fear.

Fear is like fire, we want to immediately run from it, but it’s easier to simply pour water on it to put it out.

Dr. Deb

A great piece was written by Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara .  . .

Discover the Joy of Doing Nothing

Zen teacher Pat Enkyo O’Hara teaches us the practice of Shikantaza. Doing nothing but sitting and breathing, we rest in flowing awareness beyond the ups and downs of life. (Photo by Léonard Cotte)  Sometimes it feels as if we have nowhere to turn. Maybe it’s a sudden loss or an ongoing struggle we have been trying to manage for too long. This last year seems to have intensified the personal suffering we experience.  It is as if the outside world is mirrored in our own hearts, in our feelings, and in our minds.

Many of us are challenged with the most searing of concerns, the losses that seem to come all at once: of jobs and friendships, and most poignantly, the loss of life of dear ones. At times like this, we may turn to a meditation practice to help us, to ground us, and to loosen the sense of suffering we are feeling.

The magic of this way of meditative practice
is that it is so intimate, so anchored in our own minds and bodies.

These days there are many meditation instructions available, and it’s no wonder that we may want to find ease and relief by following them. But sometimes, that effort can, unfortunately, become yet another struggle with ourselves. We worry, “Am I doing it right?” “What’s the second step?” and so forth.

Let me tell you about the Zen practice of Shikantaza. It’s about doing nothing—intentionally. We can translate Shikantaza as “just sitting,” and it is usually practiced sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor or upright in a chair. The idea of the posture is to be structurally coherent and allow you to breathe easily, limiting distractions. Not too tight, not too loose.

And then—we simply sit and breathe.

Or, as Dogen, the thirteenth-century Zen teacher who adapted the Chinese teacher Hongzhi’s “Silent Illumination” method, wrote, “Think of not-thinking. How do you think of not-thinking? Beyond thinking.”  The magic of this way of meditative practice is that it is so intimate, so anchored in our own minds and bodies. As Dogen says, this practice “is not step-by-step meditation. It is simply the dharma gate of peace and comfort. It is the practice-enlightenment of the ultimate Way.”

Following this “method-less” method, we become free of thoughts and instead enter a flowing awareness. Here is an instruction I sometimes offer for Shikantaza practice:

This is an impossible thing to do, so just settle body, breath, and mind.
Drop quietly into your body. Is there tension? Release.
Let the breath come easily, freely. Just the breath, right now.
A recurring feeling? Ahh, yes… But just allow, let it, don’t hold it.
It is just another changing, flowing, fleeting aspect of this moment.
Allowing, releasing, letting go—breathing.
When thoughts arise, they too rise and fall, like the breath.
Thoughts have no form. Like clouds, they float by and float away.
They become lighter, losing form, until that cloud, that thought, has disappeared, and just the vast and boundless sky remains. Not separate from you yourself in this moment.
After thirty minutes, bow to yourself, in gratitude.

Enjoy . . . .

It often seems our past experiences are calling all the shots.  When things don’t go well for us, we put those past experiences into our “future” and stamp it as something we’re afraid might happen again.  We don’t ever want that “something” to happen again.  If things go well, we store that past experience in the future.  We then take our experiences, which are already behind us, and we make decisions about how we feel and think about them.  By doing that, we lock ourselves into relating to the past experience as if they were going to happen again in the future.  That’s the wiring that needs unwiring.

Trying to resist or avoid the enormous influence of the past, foolishly keeps us focused on it.  We tend to be reluctant about leaving it behind.  We then become lazy about transforming the hold it has on our present lives, by not doing so results in a “now” that’s littered with all the stuff from the past. By recognizing our “wiring” is calling the shots instead of us, we’re are left with nothing!

“Nothing” is a “clearing” in which we become fully ourselves.  “Nothing” creates the future so it can come into the picture.  If we’re going to create a future in relationships, work, and our lives – it’s a matter of saying so.  It doesn’t rest on anything – it rests on nothing and that’s the foundation for possibility.  By creating possibility, we learn the possibilities of being human.

So, my advice is to GO OUT AND DO WHAT HUMANS DO – HAVE SOME FUN – RUN – SING – DANCE  – BE SILLY!!!

Dr. Deb

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good,
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
and mountains and rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese,
high in the clear blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting,
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Dr. Deb
(Written by Mary Oliver)

My suggestion to all of humanity is to
simply be who you and your “self ” already are – 

Remember what you must do
when they undervalue you,
when they think
your softness is your weakness,
when they treat your kindness
like it is their advantage.

You awaken
every dragon,
every wolf
every monster
that sleeps inside you,
and you remind them
what hell looks like
when it wears the skin
of a gentle human.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I haven’t posted much because
physical dragons are haunting me again.
I’ll try to post every couple of days.

Dr. Deb

Important Topic

This is not a happy topic, but it is a critically important topic. Usually, when a person hears the term “assault” or “molestation,”
rape initially comes to mind first. Both sexual assault and molestation have a much broader scope than rape. To understand that,  one needs to view the entire arena of sexual assault on a continuum. The continuum spans from non-touching offenses such as obscene phone calls and dirty jokes to the violent offense of rape.  The common denominator of all offenses is coercion; that being a person is being forced to participate in acts against their will. Other offenses on the sexual assault continuum are indecent exposure, sexual harassment, child molestation, incest, sexual exploitation, and pornography.

I share this today because where I live has lots of long country roads full of trees on both sides. That is where “assaulters” take their victims (male or female). They are then drugged, used, and left to lay on different dirt roads until someone finds them. Some are so damaged they die on the road. All this is true. I’m a Certified Sexual Assault Advocate and I trained for over a year on this expansively complicated topic.

Some of you readers may wonder why I chose to post about this top. I did it for two reasons. One good, one bad. The good one is I needed to make sure any and all abuse is being reported to the police.  If you know or suspect any type of sexual abuse occurred to you or anyone else, contact the police.  The bad one is this. Women tend to let their guard down much easier than men.  It’s a pro-active and very good idea to always have a “screamer” in your pocket so you can use it if you need to – don’t ever think it could never happen to you because it can, and it does.  Yes, there are many cases of men being raped as well- it can, and it does happen to men so all you guys need to be alert if you are out alone.

I lived through eleven years of assault and molestation – every day I pray that no one ever touches or harms any of you; male or female. If you need to talk or share, email me at debbie@dengelmann.com.

Be aware – Be safe

Dr. Deb

 

Beary Cute

Below is a picture of today’s visitor . . .

He/She is probably about one year old.  It was not afraid of people, nor did it try to lunge at us at any point.  It took about an hour to succeed in getting him/her to leave our yard and go into the backwoods.  What a fantastic gift it was to watch it up close.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be seeing him every day because they love to roam.

Loved this experience – I “bearly” managed to watch “it” leave without a few tears.  It was a gift from Mother Nature herself.

Dr. Deb

The Bear with No Name

Image preview

 

A gorgeous place to visit is in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I’ve been there twice . . . the gardens stir my soul and fill my heart.  If you have the time readers, go there!!  If you live far away, here is the link to their website so you can virtually enjoy the gardens.  Dr. Deb

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

 

 

Have you ever had the feeling that the world around you was spinning faster than a tornado?  Do you sense your internal sky darken a little bit more every day?  Do you frequently turn around to see if someone is standing behind you that you cannot see, yet you continually feel their energy? Hopefully, I’m not the only one that feels those things.

That’s where I’ve been these past weeks – spinning within various tornadoes.  I’m not complaining because it’s time to ruffle up the feathers of my life before I do fall into darkness.  My mind touches my childhood stories for a bit, and then it switches to my book, then it moves on to the joy that completely filled my heart as I watched my granddaughter graduate last evening. Do inner tornadoes actually clean out the crude we’ve built up?  I think that is exactly what they do.  But it’s scary.

So, at 4 am this morning, I began to clear some crude out.  I’m still dizzy.  I’m still clearing.  Things are getting brighter as my eyes slowly begin to open.

Dr. Deb

I walk barefoot when I can.
Each walking step feels like
I’m kissing the Earth with my feet.

I respond rather than react to the
sounds and sights around me
as each step tells me a story.

Sometimes I don’t talk at all
in order to listen.
While thinking
I must never assume anything.

In every single moment,
there is plenty of time.
In this very moment,
I am precisely where I should be.

Each day forever shows me
the infinite possibilities
already living in me,
because they are me.

Dr. Deb

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