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December 2012

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A call is resounding for “a great turning” in response to the current situation we are facing on our planet. In my eyes, it is as simple as it is profound: to turn to who we really are, to each other, to nature and what is here. Now.
When I awake in the mornings, I look outside my window and often I see sunlight piercing through the clouds, illuminating a golden pathway across the ocean. I hear the constant rhythm of the waves, seals barking, children laughing and playing at the beach, the doves sit happily at my windowsill – I can’t help, but smile and weep for the sheer beauty and gift of this precious life. Then I turn to girls being brutally used through sex trafficking, people who go hungry in an affluent country… Walking on the beach where I collect trash, I meet a pelican, who cannot move anymore, because oil is covering its feathers…

Can we allow our hearts to be as wide as the world in answer to this? Letting truth guide and wisdom live us in the midst of the beauty and mess of our humanness? Are you willing to fully turn and open to the gift you have inside and actually live it- for the sake of all?

I have had many heartbreaks in my life and each time I turned to both the joy and the pain, allowing my heart to open, instead of shutting down (which is tempting, when it hurts like hell) with a willingness to drop deeper than the stories and beliefs, I only discovered an even greater love that is present and alive in everything.
Not a love that covers a pink blanket over what we do not wish to see, or one that is reserved for a few. Or that is unattainable, like from another world we cannot find. You know what I mean, for you have experienced it many a time, may be in moments when least expected. You may just have a different word for this:

A love that is right here in the midst of it all- that touches you, risks to reach out to another, gets into the muck of it all, connecting us, that cares and dares to take a stand amidst adversity, that moves us into actions which are of benefit; compassion which embraces you, even in the deepest suffering, when all seems lost; a love that has an intelligence far greater than our little minds can comprehend and uncovers a way we may not yet have seen, a love which can move us to step beyond the old story- into life itself,

This is what I trust. It is always here, even if I too forget at times. That is what I know can help us all to turn. It is the gift in your heart, wanting to be recognized and be expressed in a way that is unique to you. As you do, whether in small or big ways- it makes a difference for us all. Allowing our light to shine forth, not only being a lamp onto ourselves, but for and with each other and the earth- this is already making a pathway across the world. I see it everyday. It isn’t just the Buddha, Christ or a Holy One. The great masters and beings are with us, their ancient teachings can greatly help us along the road. Yet, in this time- it really is up to each one of us. You are the gift. Let’s live what we got in us, like there is no tomorrow, as if our lives depend on it (I guess at this point our survival really does) and support each other. Even if it is a tiny glimmer we can allow and share with another- it matters. My invitation to you is: Light a great fire with all of us, in your heart and in this world! Blessed Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanza, Santa Lucia, Hanukkah and New Year to you.

Nicola

I was alone on Mt. Shasta for a silent retreat, camping in the wild, swimming in pure lakes and meditating long times at the sacred well. Some of you may have been there, or your journey may lead you one day to this special place.
I remember the sunrise one morning- flooding a vast field of wildflowers in golden light, giving way to an immense view across the mountains and the valley below. It was paradise and I was filled with a profound reverence and gratitude for the sheer existence of it all.
Sometimes we need to step out of the familiar, the story of our lives, let the mind rest in the backseat, open our hearts and arms wide and just walk right into the Unknown. By that we might gain a greater view and enter through the gates into what is true. When we look from a higher place then the usual, where we are less identified with the stuff we tend to carry around, we see more clearly what is real, remember who we are, what truly matters in life and we might gain vision for our next step, which can lead us to new shores.

Immersed in silence, in the breathtaking beauty and utter sacredness, I felt my own veils lifting and was taken into what is most natural: oneness with all creation.
In that moment a deer walked up to me and stood like an old friend so closely by my side, our bodies almost touching in this peace of being together. A hummingbird landed on my head, looking for nectar or a nest? A hawk circled me from above with a screeching sound- who is the prey I wondered? All of nature responds, when we open into who we truly are. For in that we are intimately connected with all of life.
In this awakeness, in love all is embraced and met- our hardships, pains, failures, ignorance, our longings, joys, celebrations, victories, deliciousness….Nothing is left out, not you either- welcomed simply as you are.

Through our willingness to be present with what is and center in love, we can truly connect with one another in most simple ways- by sharing a meal, a word of kindness, a smile or our so human tears. How easily this can be forgotten in a world of delusions, where a buzzing business, some grandiose ideas or a daily treadmill can take over and put us to sleep. This might be as good of a moment as any other, to stop for a breath or two and sense the aliveness in the body, the longing inside the heart, the love that beholds you. When allowed, it will take you all the way home. Trust and follow it my friend! May we give each other a hand, for none of us can make it alone. And if you forget- just listen, be present, for the heart speaks in the silence, the wind, the sunset, the eyes of a child, the touch of a friends hand: The power of love is always here -in and all around us. Are you?
Sending you warmth of the Indian summer here,

Nicola

Love. What a word.
There are so many people -you included- who have been and are living Love in the best way we know how.The ancient teaching of loving kindness from the Buddha, which the Dalai Lama walks today continues on in an unbroken lineage. “Love your neighbor as yourself”- the message from Christ is still standing strong after 2012 years. Ammachi has meanwhile hugged 35 Million people in many countries and established 20 charitable institutions. . Such an immense power it is, flowing through all cultures, rich or poor, educated or not, old or young, among the animals, through flowers, the ocean, as an endless stream.
And there is Hollywood with all the romantic films and the promotion of the ‘happily ever after’ relationships that are being chased as a way to ultimate happiness. Striving for great success and the mountain of money, as proof that you are finally loved, worthy and good enough. The millions of messages we have received about what love supposedly is are endless and can lead into a maze of delusion filled with suffering. And the song “All you need is love” keeps going round…

What actually arises in you as you read this word: Love? What do you experience, when you feel into what Love is, beyond preconceived ideas, beliefs and opinions? What happens, when you allow yourself to drop some defenses (yes, we all have them), follow your yearning and open deeper into your precious heart? What discovery might await you here? How might Love move you to act in our world as it is?

We have buried this jewel for so long, in many complicated ways. Yet, we all have the capacity to remember what is true. Sometimes it emerges in moments, when our heart is touched- maybe by a loving embrace, by a beautiful sunrise, by a genuine caring touch, when we are giving someone a hand or offer a gift without expecting a return, when a kind word is spoken, when we touch the sacred that is immanent in all of life. Here love is, so simple. It’s just that at times we have veils before our eyes, are lost in the mind, or might want to force love, or block the stream with all sorts of stuff from our vast personal collection. We might close off to love altogether, because we got hurt at some point, when being open and vulnerable -so love becomes dangerous, something to be avoided and controlled. For some, love is just a feeling or a state to be reached through the next “bliss” event. Most go bargain shopping to somehow get more of love from somewhere or somebody- nobody knows where. As soon as you think you’ve got a taste securely in your pocket- puff it is gone. It cannot be contained, for the mystery is far too great to be held in a box. There is a lot of searching for love and a lot of fingers pointing in many directions. Easy, to get lost in that.

I invite you to let yourself notice all the places where love shows up for you, to open a little more to all the ways it is present, to be aware of the stream flowing through you, even in the very fact that you are breathing, to drop concepts, heal some pain and let love touch, fill and move you.
I encourage you to dare to act on the love that is in your heart- without conditions. Undefended. For love to be real it needs to be lived, no matter how imperfect it might appear. Thank you for every loving act and step you have ever done. Every seemingly little bit of true love matters. It ripples further than any of us might see and has a greater impact than you might realize. Just like the drops of water are finally causing the dam to break- and by that the river of life is flowing free again.

May you trust the true flame in you, let it shine through the mess and beauty of this world. May you feel and know that you are embraced and loved by life, just as you are, no matter what happens on your path. May your hands bring forth love, as an offering for all. You are it. Blessings, Nicola

I was swimming in the ocean, and a big wave rushed toward me. My first thought was: “Oh no. This one is huge. This is bad” Of course fear joined in too. As the wave captured me, my body went rigid in alarm and I was tumbled around with such ferocity, that I almost lost consciousness. It hit me hard. It wasn’t just one, relentlessly one wave after another came. I resisted against them and struggled to survive. I was terrified and fought with all I had. Of course the ocean won and turned me upside down and inside out. In the end she had mercy and threw me out.

I lay gasping for breath in the sand, all covered with seaweed too. Cried in exhaustion and never ever wanted to go back to that cruel monster again (I took it rather personal. Funny really).

Sometimes, when we get tumbled and thrown by life, by circumstances or people we tighten up in fear, shut down and do not want anything to do with life anymore -or only a little bit (as long as we can control it). We aren’t fully alive then. It is the same with Love. We experience hurt, when a partner betrays or leaves us, when a friend rejects us…We become afraid and try to protect ourselves from ever experiencing this gut wrenching pain again. So, we move to the sidelines to stay safe, create armor around our once tender heart. When we experience hurt we might think the problem is with love, so we get busy in making all sorts of justified barriers against it. We build asphalt; some are more sophisticated then others. We argue about how it should be. Trying to fix others, ourselves…everything including life.

But the problem is not the ocean, is not life, the problem is not with love- it is our deep-seated sense of separation, our disconnect, forgetting who we are, our interpretations…each one has a different version. And waves come in the ocean, as well as in life and in relationships. There is a different way, one where we get to live fully and truly, no matter what comes. We can learn to respond rather than react, if we are willing to be intimately present and open to meet what arising. When we dare to open to the hurt, when we lean into the wave, when we stay present with what is happening and not control, contract and tighten up, then, after the wave of discomfort passes through us, we expirience far more aliveness and love than ever known before.

Well, I could not resist the call of the sea with all the beauty, magnificence, dangers and waves for too long. I went in for a different relationship with the unknown. At some point the dreaded moment came again. I was out in the sea, when the wind suddenly raised the waves and they rolled full speed at me. This time I repeated: “Relax into the wave honey.” I admit, given the size of those huge waves, it took all I had to relax into my body, be present, when everything in me just wanted to scream, recoil or hold my breath, close my eyes until it was over. In those moments we need our breath the most though.

How about breathing into your own big toe right now? Finally, I did take a deep breath and relaxed. In that moment natural knowing emerged as to what to do and I dove under the turbulence, deep into silence to the ground of the sea. I opened my heart to the power of creation, felt intimately connected with the water and her movement. It seemed I was carried by grace, led through and made it actually happily to the shore. Still came out with seaweed though…was good for making seaweed salad. I felt truly alive and at one with all. The waves, the situation had been the same. I just related from presence, my being, this time. A very different way then from conditioned reactions. I call it truly living.

How intimate are you with this moment? Right now if you like, let yourself relax into what is happening, into your experience as it is, into your body, allow what you feel, stay present and let yourself be taken into the stillness, the love, the ground where all is intimately connected and you just simply are. May be have a go –welcome openly the next wave and allow life to take you home into your heart. Rest in the mellow waters along the way. And may you enjoy and trust life itself. After all it’s got the wisdom to bring a blade of grass through cement!
Remember, no matter where you are- you are loved and held in benevolence. Pass it on. Nicola