Returning Home : Part II – Italian Cathedrals, Updated Edition

While I wish my Italy photos were digital, sadly my trip was pre-internet. Thinking of my beloved Italy, especially the Lombardy region ~ Milano, Bergamo, San Pellegrino, Lake Lugano, Pavia, Lake Garda, and the entire region, where I spent the majority of my time. Wonderful people, sumptuous beauty, and yummy food!

Namaste, Linda

litebeing chronicles

By Stefan Bauer, http://www.ferras.at (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Roman Forum

Update:  Please enjoy some new photos added for your viewing pleasure …..

Sometimes traveling somewhere distant can take you right ” home.” I was incredibly fortunate to spend a few magical weeks travelling throughout Italy. As an Italian American , spending some time in the land of my ancestors helped me appreciate some of the origins of my love of food, art, history, and la dolce vita.  I was transported to a realm Eckhart Tolle calls spaciousness while visiting cathedrals. Words can barely describe how I feel when I am in the presence of these breathtaking works of art so I will let the images speak to you. 

By Andreas Tille (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Sistine_Chapel_ceiling_left public domain

Sistine Chapel Ceiling

800px-Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

Michelangelo’s Creation

Michelangelo's Last Judgement public domain

Michelangelo’s Last Judgement

800px-St_Peter's_Square,_Vatican_City_-_April_2007  DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Outside St. Peter’s Square , Vatican City

by Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) wikimedia commons license 2,5

Basilica Di San Marco, Venice

Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) license 2,5 wikimedia

 San Marco Ceiling

by Maria Schnitzmeier. wikimedia license http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:GNU_Free_Documentation_License_1.2

San Marco Mosaic

Pala_D'OroII public domain

San Marco Altar

by Jiuguang Wang http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Duomo, Milan

Duomo_In_S4 By Spens03 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Duomo Altar

By メルビル (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC-BY-SA-3.0</a>], <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADuomo_di_Milano%EF%BC%BF20130101-3.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

Inside…

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By Selbymay (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Road to Resilience

This is a guest post I wrote for amberskyeforbes.wordpress.com back in 2013. I am hoping it may offer some support and resources during this time of extreme transformation. Will be back soon with fresh new material as writing is my medicine.

love, litebeing

Thank you Amber for having me as a guest blogger today. I want to share some thoughts I have about human resilience in the face of loss. Life is a series of continuous losses. After you take your first breath, you find your way on the path towards your final one. Our cells constantly regenerate. In fact, it is known that our bodies completely change every seven years. Typically people equate death with loss and sometimes use those terms interchangeably. Yet, loss is pervasive and incredibly universal. Here are some common losses to consider: loss of health, loss of youth, loss of innocence, loss of a relationship, loss of teeth, loss of weight, loss of physical strength, loss of vitality, loss of purpose, loss of  money.  Even if we live in the same home and work at the same building, our atmosphere is constantly changing. Quantum physics has proven that your favorite chair is really made up of energy particles that are not solid matter. Change, loss, regeneration, motion……. change, loss, regeneration, motion…… This theme is one of the few constants in the human experience.

So how do we cope when the human ego craves the status quo and desperately tries to hold on to what is familiar and safe? The first step is always the same ; acceptance. When one grieves a loss, it may take a while to come to acceptance, but once there, the path to resilience is within reach. Eckhart Tolle espouses that acceptance of what is will lead to inner peace. In his book The Power of Now , Tolle  says

Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.

The idea of non-resistance has been embraced readily in the East, but not as much in the Western world. However, the popularity of Tolle’s work , along with yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices, has made this concept more palatable across the globe.

A receptive attitude towards life is also essential to the cultivation of resilience. To be receptive means to be open to new ideas and possibilities, even in the throes of pain and sadness.  It also includes the ability to look at situations in a new light and the awareness of a larger worldview. For example, deciding to move to a new city so that your partner can accept a new position may leave one feeling conflicted about giving up their current social connections and comfortable lifestyle. Yet, with a receptive attitude, one can see how this decision to support your partner may also bring them into alignment with a fulfilling new career path, nurturing like-minded friends, and awaken a dormant sense of adventure and vitality.

It is often much easier to make these behavioral changes in community. Community can mean biological family, family of creation, spiritual/ religious group, neighborhood circle, social media, or outside support system. For those who need additional support with the grieving process or making transitions, a support group or therapy group often can provide the community and treatment/support necessary to face the crisis in a healthy manner. I have worked many years as a therapist with people dealing with acute and chronic mental health challenges. The amount of loss and trauma many of these individuals carry is close to unimaginable. Often a history of abuse and/ or trauma is present in those with certain mental health issues, which can trigger substance abuse through self-medication. This choice can create more loss and trauma, along with the traumas inherent that many encounter in the mental health and criminal justice systems. The Mental Health Recovery Movement that is emerging in the US and Europe addresses these issues in a proactive , holistic, humane fashion. My work in a Recovery program gave me the opportunity to create and facilitate groups that embraces those values. I ran a Grief and Loss group that  gave the members the space to develop trust, improve communication, and begin the path to acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. We often examined ways to re-frame a situation in order to encourage attitudinal change and healing. We often discussed how we gained something positive in the wake of a loss. When a commercial began airing with the slogan ” What will you gain when you lose? “,  I began to wonder if the advertising firm was eavesdropping on our group!

I am not suggesting that resilience is inevitable, some people are genetically wired to be naturally more resilient than others. So perhaps there are those among us that experience less setbacks or regroup quicker from a significant loss. We all can make a huge impact upon our own destiny by increasing our awareness of when we need some form of treatment/ intervention in the face of depression, anxiety, extended grief, trauma, and difficult life transitions. Relief from suffering and recovery from loss is possible and there are many wonderful resources available. We all deserve the best possible life we can create for ourselves. Evidence of resilience is abundant both in nature and bustling cities, and everywhere in-between. Take a close look around you and you are bound to discover it in action.

Resources:

http://www.imhcn.org/

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

http://ncmhr.org/

https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=USPRA&WebCode=about

http://raysofhope.blogs.com/my_weblog/2011/04/resources-list-for-grief-loss-trauma-and-transitions.html

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577311523

http://www.amazon.com/Counting-Our-Losses-Reflecting-Bereavement/dp/0415875293

http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/080701429X

http://www.amazon.com/Resilience-Things-Bounce-Back-ebook/dp/B006NZ7HQQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370381672&sr=1-1&keywords=resilience

http://www.amazon.com/Resilience-ebook/dp/B009GEY7WI/ref=pd_sim_b_5

header image by Selbymay (Own work) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Better Things

Before composing this post I took a shower, needing to wash off all the negativity residue.

I began to ponder what I actually believe about the planet today :

” I tend to be paranoid as a Scorpio but used to be skeptical of conspiracy theories and the theorists themselves. Yet, look at the world especially since 9/11. Hey, what about before I was born like the Holocaust and all the World Wars and so on. We really have not evolved much, or is it all simulated?”

Then my thoughts drifted here :

” Matt Kahn spoke so brilliantly about why some people don’t hear their guides. I remember a workshop I took where I set aside shower time as a safe space for Spirit to be with me so be quiet and listen. ”

Then this line from a song kept repeating in my head. I could hear part of the melody but only made out one line – Here’s wishing you the bluest sky. ” I asked myself to remember this line so I could Google it later, hoping it was a message.

Here’s the song that came to me:

I ‘m crying as a write these words, amazed by the blessings of my guidance and so strongly in need of joyful music. I don’t know how these songs pop in my head, but I know the quantum field is involved. Matt Kahn in his latest video Facing Uncertainty made some points that seemed both personal and universal. His take on what thoughts are and how bad thinking does not create one’s reality was revelatory. He described undesireable manifestation as aligning with a negative narrative, rather than thinking negative thoughts alone. He also spoke about why some people don’t hear their guidance team and what it may mean. Watch the video to get the complete picture. What I will reveal here is that he strongly encourages people on the awakening path to not expect guides to rescue them from unpleasant circumstances and events, but rather be with them while they live their experiences that are meant for them to live through.

I am just another soul trying to live my purpose and shine some light. I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did and probably more than I realize at certain moments. However, I want to align myself with the narrative that all is really well, even in the face of seemingly Armageddon-like global catastrophes.

I’ll leave you with these final few words ~ Accept your life and what it brings. I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things.

By Kelvin Kay, en:user:kkmd [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

2014 Wrap-up Challenge: Present Your Gifts

I hope to share some new material with you all soon, but in the meantime, I came across this holiday post that I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Cappy everyone 😀

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By JD Hancock from Austin, TX, United States (Merry Christmas 2010) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Since I decided I would take whichever day was left for my blogging challenge, I kinda suspected I would get Christmas Day. Yet I figured I would wait and write my post on the day I was “given.” It is indeed Christmas Day and I am relishing the quiet while I type. This post is my present to all of you.  So in that spirit please read on…

First I want to let you in on a little secret. When I devised this challenge and created the theme, I was hoping that focusing on gratitude would lift my spirits. I was imagining that those who were called to participate would connect to form an energetic web of light that exuded grace, miracles, and blessings. As per usual, this challenge has proved to be miraculous in scope with surprises at every twist and turn. And it isn’t even finished yet!

When…

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Transcending Hearts~ WE can make a difference!

I love nature and have no words in response to the Amazon fires. But I do have this reblog from Sue Dreamwalker containing lovely poetry and ways to help address this urgent problem, one of many facing us all.

love, litebeing

Dreamwalker's Sanctuary

Lily~Fish Pond in the Garden

Feeling the rhythm as I sit on the swing

Allowing thoughts to drift, to see what they bring

Cloud watching the sky as butterflies’ flit

Pondering the beauty as in creation I sit

~~

The Fish in their world swim beneath lily flowers

While frogs sunbathe too, no concept of hours

Each Petal, perfected in meticulous precision

As I sit and swing, enjoying this transition

~~

We create in our hearts, with our thoughts and minds

For each it is different, our manifesting finds

For that which we think, the energy creates

So be mindful of thought, for it opens many gates

~~

My heart it is peaceful, my mind it is still

We are ALL powerful, all subject to Will

Know we are Sovereign much more than we know

Don’t give away your power to the fear-based cabal

~~

The time now is here…

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Catching Up

Greetings litebeings! It has been a good stretch since I posted anything, especially anything new. I have been working on balancing my life, and practicing self-care to increase my inner resilience. I am also working on  a guest post that is rather intense. I hope everyone out there is enjoying the change of season. It is an exceptionally rainy May in my neck of the woods.

Speaking of woods, here are a few photos from my latest trip to Longwood Gardens:


I have been re-vitalizing my meditation practice with a different type of breathing and adding chanting back to the mix. I recently learned that an extended exhale and the act of chanting help relax the vagus nerve, which plays a role in heart rate and digestion. I am also enjoying select lectures from the Hay House Summit, which is happening right now. I enjoyed an interview with Esther Hicks and a video featuring Caroline Myss. Check it out and discover an array of material on all things metaphysical.

Finally, I want to extend a Happy Mother’s Day to all who love and nurture others. Ceres the grain goddess is also a very maternal figure and while I do not have children, my prominent Ceres makes me an Earth Mother of sorts, particularly to those of the feline persuasion. Let’s honor those who extend affection, protection, and care to those in need to foster their development and well -being.

Even when I am away, my thoughts and energy are always with my readers, followers, fellow writers and all that connect with me at litebeing chronicles.

Namaste, litebeing

 

How Am I Doing? ~ Mercury Direct Neptune Retro Wayward Pines Edition

I stumbled upon this post while searching my archives for Neptunian material. With Chiron at the tail end of Pisces and  Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces this is truly a time for profound healing and kissing the familiar goodbye. Cry, dream, create, sleep, pray,  play music, imagine with abandon, meditate, make love, let go and let God.

blessings, litebeing

litebeing chronicles

Photo607I could be grocery shopping right now. But I am here with AC blazing on a Friday afternoon. We are having a heat wave and this new development took me by surprise. Everyone has been talking about the intense Mercury Neptune energy. Honestly for me it is like a regular day at the office ( when I actually went to an office.) Translation: I have Neptune Sun Mercury conjunct in Scorpio ( a stellium) so my mind naturally rides the waves of hyper-imagination, empathy, fantasy, and susceptibility to deception or illusion.

Having said that, I still am taking life slowly and simply for a few more days, focusing more on the inner journey and escapism entertainment. I am really enjoying this new Fox show Wayward Pines. I will not give away the plot twist but will say how wonderful it is to see Matt Dillon back on-screen and…

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INFJ at the Holidays?

Now in the thick of the holiday season, I am acutely aware that for many souls, this time of year is very difficult. Let’s look out for one another and also practice self-care. love to all ❤

litebeing chronicles

Happy Mercury Direct everyone! It may take a few days to notice a decrease in mechanical , electronic and communication glitches. Hard to believe 2018 is coming to an end, when I can hardly catch my breath. I have re-posted this “Holiday Classic” from the archives, hoping it will be useful to those who are in need of self-care at this time. 

Enjoy this re-tread and feel free to comment.

I was ready to dive into an astrology article including Taylor Swift, but she will have to shake it off just a little bit longer. I am sensing a need to write about how to navigate the holiday season with fun and a lot less drama. I have wanted to write about INFJs and HSPs ( Highly Sensitive People) for a while, and this seems to be the perfect time.

wikiart public domain

 Where is the INFJ in this picture?

He or she is probably…

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Winter Review ~ Who is Taking the Wheel?

This is the third and final installment of my Winter Review Series, an attempt to claim and integrate the timeline from September 2017 through March 2018. Now is as good a time as any to put this all to bed. We are approaching a full Pisces Moon, Mars is going direct in a few days, and the Sun has entered Virgo. It feels to me like we are shimmying up to Indian Summer, with the cooler mornings and the influx of golden leaves leaving their homes and touching the ground. So my goal is to take one last look at this unusually intense time in my life. I truly want to make room for whatever is meant to enliven my next “season.”

Road to Know-where: There was one consistent thread sewn into this timeline, road rage on steroids. Whether I was driving on small one -way streets or major roadways, during rush hour or lunch time, on weekdays or holidays, most of the drivers were gunning for each other. Rarely did I not drive by an accident that just took place or a near miss ( often my vehicle). Occasionally I would see an accident in progress, not fun at all. Initially it seemed like I was imagining this pattern, so I discussed it with others. Many people told me that they were noticing the same phenomenon. I had to psychically protect myself and this made me uncomfortable. But I had to stay on red alert and be a defensive driver. There seemed to be a major war happening, but I never got the memo.

 Snowday, NO – WAY! : An alternate description of this timeline could be ” The Winter of My Discontent.” The snow was relentless and I was ill prepared. After so many years of mild winters, this past one was excruciating. Often my drive home would be several hours. Since a portion of my commute was through wooded areas, fallen trees were a problem. I often would find myself in front of a tree blocking the road with no detour sign in sight. I did not know the area well and was not familiar with alternate routes. My commute reminded me of one of those nightmares where you want to scream but no words come out, or someone is chasing you and you are immobilized. Or you are simply lost while driving and each turn takes you further away from your intended destination.  When was the snow going to stop? Finally, some relief arrived around the beginning of April. The weather only started to improve after I was laid off. In fact, the raging drivers also began to mellow about two months ago. If I was paranoid I might consider that my job was causing climate change and vicious assassins  to populate the freeways.

Every day is a winding road: The commute was horrific and so burdensome on multiple levels. Yet, I did manage to survive. A positive transit of Saturn trining my natal Pluto ( still in effect) afforded me the ability to withstand pressure that would usually bring me to my knees. I became more flexible as a commuter, albeit one who does not use a GPS. I learned to become more aware of my immediate environment and recognize, yet again, that I am here as a human with flaws and limitations. This meant that I decided to love myself more and praise myself for my ability to adapt. This was in the midst of regular rumors that the rehab was going to be sold or was going to fold (see I can rhyme). I knew in my heart that some of the tension in the office was due to upheaval and uncertainty. I minimized it for a while because I was told by management that things were fine ( until they weren’t). Eventually I realized that the toxicity was really harmful to me and my patients. I even considered resigning. A draft resignation letter was conceived in my head, plus I  began organizing my office in the event that I needed to pack up quickly. I suppose I picked up intuitively on the layoffs before they happened. This did not in any way protect me from the pain or disappointment. It did help me see how much investment I still place in identifying as a healer. It also was another reminder that I still harbor some resentment about moving so much as a child, feeling rootless and often worthless or expendable. After all these years, still more work to do with my shadow!

Spirit ( or Grasshopper) take the wheel: Guess who just came by to greet me? I was about to take a break from writing and went to draw the blinds. This is the second time I ever recall seeing a grasshopper here at night. The other time he/she moved along before I could snap a shot.  This is no accident or coincidence.

The sighting arrived just in time for me to say hey, it is alright. While I do feel traumatized by losing two jobs due to downsizing in less than one year, I am not alone. And make no  mistake, I do not use the word trauma loosely. This has been a tough year. I lost the mental health job about one year ago and was called about the rehab job in September 2017, just shy of a year ago. I still get twinges of pain or access memories in unexpected ways. I get an email from a former coworker or hear a song that reminds me of my patients. Sometimes I have a dream that I am still at work. Other times reading about the opioid crisis will trigger something deep within. And let’s not forget about the endless recitation about being laid off that I am required to do every time I am on an interview for a new gig. ” So why aren’t you working now? ” ” Tell me about your last job – why did you leave? ” ” What happened over at @$^&#^? I hear they are not doing well anymore, what a shame.”  I saw a former coworker from the rehab at my last interview and it was awkward. Where do I fit in?  It is easy to wonder if I will ever be employed again.

This job search is exhausting.

 

I cannot continue to fool myself any longer that I am driving this vehicle all by myself. This is where surrender comes in.  Even when I  practically drown in the silence of the void, I am neither abandoned or forgotten. Grasshopper ( or Allah , Jesus, Buddha, Goddess, etc) is in charge. Little self never was and never will be, not in this human form. I really don’t understand why this Winter time period was fraught with so much drama and so many unusual obstacles. All I wanted to do was help people in pain get themselves together. I wanted to serve and have myself placed in a position where I could contribute to addressing the addiction epidemic.  This never was about ego for me. I wanted to be used by Spirit where I could best be of use. I still feel that way.  Yet, I do comprehend that it is not necessary to know why. That does not lessen the sting or dry the many tears. But it still remains the truth.

I could end this trilogy with Carrie Underwood’s tune Jesus Take the Wheel, but this Sheryl Crow classic seems more on point. Take a listen and you’ll understand why.

It is time now to say good night to the agony and ecstasy of Bensalem PA ; from the beginning ~ my senior year of college when I first noticed an intriguing rehab to the end, which I believe is NOW.  I won’t forget all the people or experiences over the course of decades  that made me smile or let my heart sing. But in order to move on, I have to say goodbye. It is likely that more lessons will be revealed, as this is typically the case. But living in the past has never accomplished what I hoped it would. Spying Grasshopper tonight has taught me well. There is so much more to receive when my mind and heart are open and willing to let love in.

road images courtesy of pexels.com, public domain

Neptune Retrograde ~ End of the Line

This has not been an easy time, but when has it ever been easy? While  transiting Jupiter retrograded back on my natal Sun over the past few days, I spent most of the time physically ill and/or exhausted. Astrology is complicated and sometimes transits do not show up in a standard way. The late Donna Cunningham wrote about this topic and postulated that often astrological transits trigger internal events, even when it looks like they ought to be external.

I am not certain, but what I do know is how grateful I feel when the pain subsides or when I am able to just let go and be with the pain. How can we know sweet without bitter, light without dark? In the material world, duality is here to teach us the range of creation. Lately, I have noticed that more nudges have appeared, bringing into focus the complexity of emotion and the far-reaching impact of empathy.

Neptune just stationed retrograde this evening at 16 degrees Pisces and will remain retrograde until November 24th. Of course it just started raining as I type this post.  It is part of a grand water trine including Mercury and Jupiter. It also creates a grand water trine with my Mars in Cancer and Scorpio stellium. It exactly trines my Mercury and is transiting my first house. It has been there for many years and will remain there for many many more. For me, it emphasizes an internal re-calibration that is scary and exciting simultaneously. I would imagine many of my readers can relate, as so many of us are experiencing cosmic upgrades.

Neptune in Pisces has many interpretations and her impact will vary on your chart and your sensitivity to her energies. The God Neptune was male but I perceive the energies as feminine, hence the female pronouns! Some of the themes to be revisited during this cycle include: forgiveness, letting go, compassion, empathy, surrender, heart expansion, and boundless ecstasy. If you are typically Neptunian anyway, this cycle is just another day at the office! If not, you can use this time to hone your communication with your Higher Self and learn to block out the static on social media and the world at large.

It is also a great time to get into photography, so I am sharing some recent pics from Longwood Gardens. Before I go , I want to say thanks to those who have been there for me as I deal with the loss of my former patient and my hero Anthony Bourdain. My guess is these two souls had plenty in common, which makes their passing even more tragic. Thank you to Connie who has been there for me consistently over the years. She knows how to listen and hears what isn’t being said. Thank you

Many synchronicities have led me to consider that grief work may be part of my calling. I am happy to share that I have advanced in the hiring process for the position at the non-profit organization that offers grief support programming. I am hopeful that all will occur for the highest good. Thanks to all who continue to hold space for me and shine light, especially when I shut down and retreat.

Before the power goes out ( again), let me conclude with a special video. At my former job I would play videos for my guys at the beginning of Friday’s group therapy that were related to addiction or recovery. One of the first videos I played was End of the Line to celebrate Tom Petty and to illustrate letting go of judgements and expectations. This song has always been a favorite of mine and while some of the undertones are dark, the tempo is upbeat and conveys hope. Besides, there is something about me and trains that is yet to be fully explored.  I hope you enjoy it! I dedicate this post to my guys and to everyone that struggles with addiction: