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Sunday, September 25, 2011

There Are No Mistakes

Recently Chris, who was returning from a weekend of gigging as a jazz musician, was on a flight from St. Louis to Hartford. When gigging in the Midwest, he usually travels via Continental, with the typical lay-over being in Chicago, but this time the tickets were on Delta, and the lay-over was in Detroit. I relay this difference because it is an important element in the following story. There are no mistakes. There are no coincidences.

As Chris boarded the 7:14 am flight and settled into his seat, he noticed a couple, husband and wife, coming down the aisle with their heavy carry-on luggage. Chris said he KNEW that they were going to occupy the other two seats right next to him. Interestingly, the flight wasn't full and he had earlier contemplated picking a different seat, but something made him stay put where he was. As the couple began to lift their luggage into the overhead storage compartment, Chris rose to help them. When the couple took their seats, with the wife window-side, her husband in the middle, and Chris on the end, the man said that he KNEW Chris and he would get along 'famously' because Chris had offered to help with the bags.

Soon after sitting down, the man said to Chris that he felt Chris was an artist. Then, he showed Chris his own hands and began showing him how to do a deep massage regimen for each of his finger joints. With the palm up, he explained to exert firm but not excessive pressure on each finger joint, holding the pressure for 7 seconds...counting one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, etc. Then he showed Chris trigger points in the palm to release tension and increase flexibility. The man said to do this each day and you'll never have problems with flexibility in your hands. Good advice for Chris, given he's a pianist...although this was not told to the man prior to him showing Chris the hand-health techniques.

There are no mistakes.

Only then did this trio introduce themselves to each other. The man's name is Om. His wife's name was beautiful, but Chris didn't get a spelling of the name and so I cannot relay it here.

According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: Om is a mantra consisting of the sound \ˈōm\ and used in contemplation of ultimate reality. It is Sanskrit and its first known use was in 1788. The Mimi-hu online site says: Om (also written Aum) is the oldest and most sacred sound found in yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism. Not only does Om represent the entire universe, known as Brahman, it is also said to be the source of all creation.

As Chris was telling me his story about Om and Om's wife, he paused and mentioned that across the aisle from them there was another woman with a large, hardcover book on spirituality. Chris had Dan Millman's book, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior," with him on the plane and actually wrote in pencil on the inside cover some of the tips and thoughts Om had talked about. Chris also placed Om's address label next to mine on the inside cover...I often put such a label into my books so that if they get lost, they'll be returned to me...KNOWING that we'd be visiting Om and his wife in the not too distant future.

There are no mistakes.

As Om and Chris chatted, Om's wife was rather quiet, but very pleasant, and nodded off to sleep now and again. Chris relayed that the famous sax player, John Coltrane, had named an entire album, "Om." This album is described on Wikipedia: In October, 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hindu religion, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire Universe. Coltrane described Om as the "first syllable, the primal word, the word of power". The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu epic. The 1965 recording, issued posthumously, has Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders chanting from a Buddhist text, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and reciting a passage describing the primal verbalization "om" as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things. Chris also told Om that John Coltrane named his son, Ravi, after Ravi Shankar, the legendary Indian sitar player, however, John died before he had the chance to play music with his musician son. And on that note, please know that Om and his wife were originally from India and are now living in the States.

Chris learned that the couple were continuing on to Toronto, in order to visit with their son. Interesting that Chris and I, and our sons, also had lived in Toronto for a time ('95-'98).

Throughout the flight, Om and Chris engaged in pleasant conversation. Om also showed Chris how to use his two palms, held horizontally...the left hand on the back of the neck and the right hand on the top of the forehead, held for 7 seconds (count 1001, 1002, 1003, etc.)...in order to relieve headaches. Om asked if Chris' hands were heating up. They were. Chris said that Om smiled knowingly.

Chris explained to Om that besides being a jazz pianist/performer, he also taught music at two schools. Om asked Chris to guess what he was? Chris told Om that he might have held any highly respected position...a doctor, a lawyer, etc. Om said he is a retired librarian, having retired 11 years ago from the Wethersfield Library in Connecticut. He talked about his retirement party, pleased that someone had said that there were more folks at his party than any they had previously seen at other such retirement parties. Om was understandably moved and proud about this fact.

Eventually Om brought out food from a bag to eat. He had brought homemade, spicy chapati, which he shared with Chris. Om said his wife did all the cooking. Chris told her that that was an art in and of itself. Chris declared the chapati...Indian unleavened flatbread...DELICIOUS! Om relayed that they always took home-prepared food with them when traveling. Chris asked the couple about their diets. Om said it was simple, consisting of nuts, yogurt, fruit (fresh and dried), dal (preparation of dried pulses: lentils, peas, or beans), very little rice, naan (leavened flatbread), fish or lean chicken (only once every two weeks or so), and vegetables in light sauces. Chris noted how svelte both Om and his wife were.

Om talked about what he did for a living when he first arrived in the States. A placement officer in NYC hired him to be an English teacher. Om asked the officer if he found it ironic that he, just coming from India, was to be an English teacher in NYC. The officer stated that Om had more command of the English language than many others he had seen.

Om asked Chris about our children. When Chris said his oldest son is 31 years old , Om appeared wide-eyed and asked him how it was possible, given how young Chris looks. They had a great laugh over that!

In between talking, Om said that he'd best allow Chris to rest, saying he often talks too much. I KNOW that Chris treasured all that Om shared and most definitely didn't want Om to stop.

One last thing that Chris remembered to tell me had to do with a book that Om recommended. It is "Body Reflexology: Healing At Your Fingertips," by Mildred Carter. Never one to take a book recommendation lightly, I looked it up on Amazon and placed an order for a used copy. Funny, but I had been recently nudged about reflexology and how it might be important to learn in addition to what I'm learning at school. Hmmm...

When all were ready to depart the plane, Chris helped Om and his wife get their bags down from the overhead compartment. They walked together to their respective connecting gates. Chris' gate came first. Before they parted company, Om patiently repeated what he had previously shown Chris about maintaining flexibility in his finger joints and hands, as well as the technique to ease a headache.

What an amazing couple. We're going to contact them soon and set up a visit. I can't wait!

At one point in their conversation on the plane, Om exclaimed that there are no mistakes in life. Indeed, there are no coincidences.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reverence

Several years ago Chris received a book from a friend and fellow musician: "Reverence - Renewing A Forgotten Virtue," by Paul Woodruff. If memory serves me, this friend gave the book to Chris because, among other things, it struck him that Chris displays undeniable reverence whenever he sits down at the piano to play jazz...be it his 'own' compositions that he's playing or scores written by others...a deep reverence given by Chris to that which is, that which was, and that which is coming, and all who have made it and will make it so.

I fished the book out of the library in Chris' music room, thinking it may be time to read it myself since the virtue of reverence has been on my mind of late. On the back cover, one of the plugs for the book was: "Woodruff sets himself two large tasks: to revive an appreciation for reverence in a culture that celebrates irreverence, and to rescue the idea of virtue from its proponents on the right and its proponents on the left. He succeeds admirably in both." ~ Christian Science Monitor. This plug reminds me of how Chris quotes another musician/teacher of his: "If the right don't get ya, the left surely will...be wary of both." Ha!

Here's some paragraphs from the intro of the above book:
Reverence is an ancient virtue that survives among us in half forgotten patterns of civility, in moments of inarticulate awe, and in nostalgia for the lost ways of traditions cultures. We have the word "reverence" in our language, but we scarcely know how to use it. Right now it has no place in secular discussions of ethics or political theory. Even more surprisingly, reverence is missing from modern discussions of ancient cultures that prized it.

Reverence begins in a deep understanding of human limitations; from this grows the capacity to be in awe of whatever we believe lies outside our control - God, truth, justice, nature, even death. The capacity for awe, as it grows, brings with it the capacity for respecting fellow human beings, flaws and all. This in turn fosters the ability to be ashamed when we show moral flaws exceeding the normal human allotment. The Greeks before Plato saw reverence as one of the bulwarks of society, and the immediate followers of Confucius in China thought much the same. Both groups wanted to see reverence in their leaders, because reverence is the virtue that keeps leaders from trying to take tight control of other people's lives. Simply put, reverence is the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods.
Whew! Lots of food for thought just in those two paragraphs. Yep, I think this book is gonna have to be tackled soon!

Thinking about myself, I can say that I've a healthy respect for many, various paths (fiber arts, the metaphysical, etc.) that I've studied and been involved with over the years and for the people who have contributed to the joy I feel regarding this involvement. That said, the above author discusses the difference between 'respect' and 'reverence.' He writes, "Another easy mistake to make about reverence is to confuse it with respect. Respect is sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes wise and sometimes silly. It is silly to respect the pratings of a pompous fool; it is wise to respect the intelligence of any student. Reverence calls for respect only when respect is really the right attitude. To pay respect to a tyrant would not be reverent; it would be weak and cowardly. The most reverent response to a tyrant is to mock him. All of this because reverence is a kind of virtue. A virtue is a capacity to do what is right, and what is right in a given case - say, respect or mockery of an authority figure - depends on many things."

Hmmm... This author gets my mind going...

On further thinking about myself, I know that my youngest son, Alex, has teased me that I literally often bow to people I'm talking to and in front of. In fact, the whole family has recognized that I do this. Alex is just more sarcastically vocal about it. Prior to my recent Life Between Lives session, I'd never been able to completely explain why I bow to people. It just happens. However, perhaps reverence has something to do with it. In my Life Between Lives session, I alluded that this bowing has to do with me not thinking I am above anyone in any way, shape, or form. It certainly has to do with having respect for the person before me, especially given that no matter how they are acting at the time or what mask they are wearing, I am recognizing and honoring that they are amazingly wonderful as the soul they truly are.

Related, Chris early on in our 31-year marriage and even now has questioned me why I am often attracted to folks who seem to him to be the unlikeliest of friends. I have always answered him that I don't analyze just surface info. I look deep into their eyes, "the mirror of the soul," as proclaimed by the old Yiddish proverb. Doing so has helped me look past so-called 'flaws' in the person's incarnated body and get to the good stuff waaaay deeeeeeep.

Reverence. A good topic to study.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Please Celebrate Me Home



Personally, a double entendre tune if ever there was one! Nice!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hierarchy And Lack Thereof

Ever since I returned from having experienced my Life Between Lives Regression Therapy session in August, I have been thinking about hierarchy. As I transcribe the CD's of my four-hour hypnotherapy session, I am struck by how many times, whilst being in an altered state, I said that hierarchy is not something that even exists for souls. In other words, wherever we are at on our journey towards enlightenment, one soul is not better than another. One soul's path is not better than another soul's path. One soul is not working on something more important than another. One soul is not in a study group 'on the Other Side' that is of greater importance than a soul in a totally different study group. Yes, some souls have progressed further along than other souls, but this does not make one soul better than another. All souls, and the work they are doing, are equally important. Personally, I found such information incredibly profound.

This all got me thinking back to college where some friends made me feel less than good about my choice of being in art education; instead of, for instance, pursuing a so-called 'worthy' path of study in mathematics or the sciences. I never could understand how they could feel that one discipline of study was better and/or higher than another. After all, how can one compare apples and oranges? Apples are apples and oranges are oranges. One type of fruit isn't better than another, just different. Why would excelling in art be considered less by some folks than excelling in math? This notion, it seems to me, stems from the value that various groups of humans (especially power-driven humans) have given to various disciplines of studies and jobs utilizing such disciplines. It's come down to an absurd belief that, for many at least, one thing is of more value than another thing based on the money tag placed on it...or in the case of a job well done, the salary paid for doing such a job. Who decides on earth what something is worth? Why us humans, of course!!! We've done this to ourselves! This is a heavy EARTHLY issue, not a UNIVERSAL issue. Nor is it a Light-filled SPIRITUAL issue. We have decided on these issues as humans inhabiting a heavy, temporary body while we're living on an earth plane which itself is based on illusion...not as the loving souls we truly are, unencumbered by such a body, inhabiting our eternal, spiritual home.

One personal example I can give regarding my frustration over this earthly issue is when I was working at a mill job and my Chris was finishing up a Doctorate in Ethnomusicology. The road to achieving such a degree was not an easy nor a smooth one for Chris and our family, but persevere he did. I remember a co-worker flippantly saying to me, "Well, a PhD in music is certainly NOT the same thing, value-wise, as a PhD in science (which some relative of her's was working on). I was astounded. What does one say to someone who spouts the ridiculous apple vs orange comparison? I quickly decided it was not worth the effort to even discuss.

Also, I got to thinking how my Ma had turned her nose up at my study of the fiber arts: knitting, spinning, dyeing, etc. She once said to me more than snarkily, "Is THAT how you're going to use your degree?" Well Ma, after 30-some years in the fiber arts field, where I wrote and taught and had fun brewing indigo urine vats, I can say it was a very nice way, indeed, to utilize my degree. LOL!

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~ H. Jackson Brown

Ha! Just noticed today's 'Law of Attraction' quote. Nice! Appropos!:

"Get out into the sunlight — out where everything is — with a vibration that is so dominant that those who annoy you; those who don't agree with you; those who make your life feel uncomfortable don't come into your experience, because your vibration — through your practice — has become so clear, so pure, so clean, so in keeping with what you want, that the world that revolves around you just feels like that. That's what you planned." ~
Abraham

Excerpted from the workshop in San Rafael, CA on Friday, March 9th, 2001 #189

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Five FREE Skype Or Phone Readings - September

It's September! Time again for my offer of 5 free Skype or phone readings. The first 5 people to respond to this offer will get a free 30-minute reading during the month of September. PLUS, I can...for no extra charge...send a MP3 recording of your reading to you via e-mail. Send your request with the type of reading you prefer to my e-mail address: spinningjenny57@hotmail. If you have a webcam and are signed up with Skype, this is as close to an in-person reading as we can presently get. Skype-to-Skype does not cost anything for either of us. If you do not have a webcam, a phone reading is instead offered. In either case, we simply agree on a day/time that is convenient for each of us. With regards to phone readings, if you are one of the 5, you will be required to call me on the day and at the time we agree upon.

I will list the first names of the first five people who respond to this offer on this post. Once the five people are listed, that's it for the FREE readings for that particular month. I'll re-post this offer at the beginning of each month and the process will begin again. One free reading per year, per individual, please. However, do tell your friends and family about the offer.

Please note that now that I am in seminary (see My First Week Of School), I can count my Skype/phone readings for my homework reading requirement. I will send a brief questionnaire t0 each person who requests a reading to kindly fill out and send back to me after they receive their reading. These questionnaires are then handed in to my teachers as proof that a reading has been completed.

An additional service of free distance healing energy work (distance Reiki) is offered to all who request a Skype/phone reading. This is optional on your part but hopefully something that you will desire. Once your reading is done and the questionnaire is filled out, just let me know if you're interested in the distance healing energy work and we'll schedule it. Please note that it only requires that we are in touch via e-mail (not phone or Skype, as in the reading). Again, I can use this energy work for my healing homework assignment and so will ask that you fill out a brief questionnaire relating to it.

#1. Bonnie ~ completed
#2. Jaye
#3. Mon
#4. Linda ~ completed
#5. Alicia ~ completed

Thank you! I look forward to doing a reading and healing energy work for YOU!