Sun shining truth

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San Agustinillo dogs

The sun shining its light

through the stormy dark shelf of clouds

speaks the truth.

The light and dark mingle today. Mixed energies, from the people I’m connecting with to the way my computer is behaving. On this gray day, the ray of sunshine that wrote on the ground as I looked out the window hinted of spring. In that moment, I recognized the light as the truth and the dark an illusion that burns away.

what i pass is again seeable, touchable, feel-able

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Blurringby

“The truth is that blurring by something is not the same as experiencing it.” 

~Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo consistently inspires me!

Earlier this week in his writing about “At the Pace of What is Real”, he spoke to me about our capacity to feel what is before us. The most important thing that my journey with cancer did for me was further awaken me to the breadth of my emotional being. Through fear and uncertainty, emotions because larger than life – and then I was able to see them. Before it was easy to just move past them, like blurred landscape while moving on a train.

“So, no matter how many wonderful opportunities come my way, no matter the importance placed on these things by others who have my best interests at heart, I must somehow find a way to slow down the train until what I pass by is again seeable, touchable, feel-able.” 

~Mark Nepo

 

Why Mindfulness Matters

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Why Mindfulness Matters

I thought you’d appreciate this blog I co-authored with one of my IBM colleagues about mindfulness.

IBM Jobs Blog

By Vicki Flaherty and Megan Moyer

 San Agustinillo Mexico Rocky Shore (1)

Image: San Agustinillo Mexico Sunset (Photo by Vicki Flaherty)

Everywhere you turn, the word mindfulness seems to show up. At IBM, we have a community of professionals from across the business and around the world leading a mindfulness movement. Some of us are experts with years of training in meditation and other mindfulness practices, and some of us are just starting to practice mindfulness. We’d like to bring you along on our journey.

So, what is mindfulness? Well, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines it as “”paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”

“Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and…

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As long as we sing

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sing

“As long as we sing, the pain of the world cannot claim our lives.” ~Mark Nepo

This quote brought to mind some of the anger, disappointment, frustration, just plain ugliness that has flowed into and out of my life. I realize how important it is for me to put their essence on the page – so I can see them, no longer deny or resist or judge them, and display and honor their place in the experience of my life. {A couple of my poems that reflect my pain inlcude Into the Vortex and The Struggle.}

Giving voice, speaking my truth, singing my special song into the world – this requires that I have the words for the song, that I hear my own voice, that I listen to it, open to what it might be telling me, without judging it as good or bad, rather accepting it as an expression of creative energy that moves through me. {This poem reflects the song that came to me shortly after writing Into the Vortex: Invited.}

* The link to this photo provided by google images is broken. Originally, it was on picssr.com

 

 

Cure Forward

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I just discovered this blog sitting in my draft folder that I had intended to share months ago when I received an email  from a  three-time cancer survivor and ambassador for Cure Forward, a new platform that is helping cancer patients understand and access precision medicine. As a cancer survivor, I was asked to write an open letter on my blog to someone recently diagnosed with cancer providing any advice or support I’d want to share with them.

So, this post is to Beth, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of September and is currently recovering from a mastectomy and undergoing chemotherapy. Her experience, as with many others I’ve encountered since my diagnosis, took me back to my own surgeries and recovery.

My advice is 1) take the time you need to heal, 2) welcome all the feelings that show up, explore them, write about them, paint them out, whatever form of creative expression works for you, and 3) ask for and open to the help of others – give them the gift of giving.

With love, Vicki

Yoga Dancers

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My last yoga practice on the Winter Soltice with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Holden Cancer Center Gentle Yoga Group, led by Lisa DeShano, was full of flow and grace. Lisa encouraged us to listen to our bodies and move in ways that felt right to us. As we gently moved in the glow of a room lit by candlelight, we were like flowers dancing in the moonlight, each of us inspired by the gentle breeze of our hearts.

I thought I would repost this poem I wrote earlier this year, as it seems fitting:

Unfolding 

By Vicki L. Flaherty

 

The flowerbud

unfolds

a slow

gracefulness

filled with 

faith 

in possibility

its joyful dance

reaches 

and believes

flowerbud opening2

Like human fish

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fish

courtesy of wallpaperscraft.com

Today’s post in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo spoke to me today; it left me feeling at peace and open to swimming with life today:

“…the world in all its mystery and difficulty cannot be improved upon, only experienced…life in all its complexity and wonder is complete as it is – everchanging and vital, but never perfectible…accepting that the world can do quite fine without us allows us to put down the burden of being corrective heroes and simple concentrate on absorbing the journey of being alive…like human fish we are asked to experience meaning in the life that moves through the gill that is our heart. Ultimately, we are small living things awakened in the stream, not gods who carve our rivers. We cannot eliminate hunger, but we can feed each other. We cannot eliminate loneliness, but we can hold each other. We cannot eliminate pain, but we can live a life of compassion…”

He offers a meditation:

  • Sit quietly and simply let your heart breath without focus.
  • Try not to think and also try not to not think.
  • Exhale your pressures and arrive where you are.
  • Breathe deeply, and accept the jewel and grit of this moment.

 

Deeply – a reblog of Jana’s beautiful peom

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~
Just this breath. 
Just this moment. 
One wave at a time;
here & now.
Whole galaxy flowing
in the spark of your eye.
A woman from the stars, 
a man of Gaia.
~
Smelling infinite freedom in the air;
Pure sweetness, the sand, the ocean…
Watching the ever-changing;
such a perfect rhythm.
~
Amazed to be living the dreams.
Giving birth to new dreams to be lived.
One by one.
Deeply.
~
Sudden glimpse of the turquoise.
Divine light in your eyes; a seagull’s calling.
Waking up to who we are.
Bewildering beauty of the soul.
~
Just this moment – 
worth a thousand lifetimes…
Walking on sunshine;
dancing my name with the wave.
~

This Precious Moment

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thispreciousmoment

This Precious Moment

By Vicki L. Flaherty

Here we are.

You and me.

Together in this living, breathing moment.

I see into your eyes.

A deep well invites me in.

I hear your words.

They envelop and pull me in.

I move inside the waves like a song.

I feel your presence,

A palpable energy.

I stand in the shower of your light.

Illuminated, you leave me curious.

What awakens your spirit?

What makes your heart sing?

What do you love more than anything?

What are you passionate about?

What is your special gift?

How do you feel most alive?

Beyond the words and actions,

Amidst our dance,

what connection is possible for us?

What does this precious moment together offer us?

* This photo was taken at sunrise on Playa San Agustinillo, Oaxaca, Mexico