Today’s Manna

Manna in the form of Bread Pudding
So I go to Tai Chi and tell my teacher Cate about this wonderful new energy in my life and she is moved, for she remembers how I started her class 4 years ago.

And the new student’s name is Laurie Lee, which happens to be my sister’s name (My daughter was named after her). So my antenna was up already.
After class, I decide to treat myself to lunch at The Stockyard, a new restaurant in Vinings. When I get there, they take me in a side door because there are yellow jackets at the front.

A lovely girl named Kate seats me and takes my order. I tell her I am learning to enjoy lunching alone and she is all for it! Once more, I have made the first move and now am connected to Source in a stronger way.

We chat a bit about energy and how it helps to do new things. She is very kind and when she brings the bill, she says, “MIss Vicki, the coffee is on me!” And I am so grateful for our connection and I think she is, too.

Now it gets even better. Suddenly the manager appears to ask how everything was. His name is Zeke and once again, I open a conversation with him and he is immediately present.

He sends me home with a free dessert, saying “We need more people like you in the world,” and the gratitude swells again. Especially when he offers me a hug.

And so I am back home and in awe at the new energies flooding in, complete with bread pudding.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Inner Rose Garden

Visit me on my deck….

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A New Life of Gratitude

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Vicki has coffee….

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Working your way through hell….

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How to Get Back Home

Vernon Howard was a genius at showing students how to study their minds. He wasted no time filling our heads with affirmations. Instead, he taught us to become thought-watchers. “Go through your day,” he said, “experiencing every useless thought and emotion.” That is the direct way out of hell, a hell we create for ourselves moment by moment.

He hastened to add that angels go with us into hell, always, when we are studying our thoughts and emotions. Our reactions to this world are knee-jerk ones, so the goal is to see this on a very deep level.

There is nothing sentimental about the Work; it goes much deeper than that. It offers you a way to become one with yourself. As Dogen said, “To study the self is to study the Way…”

And so my life has been shaped around this exercise of being a self-watcher. It also extends to being a watcher of the outer world as well. They are ultimately the same thing. And believe it or not, we are divine beings encased in the armor of the mind.

To be truly free is to be fully alive while in this heavy earth suit. Oh, it is hard. But as he said, “The hard way becomes the easy way.” Or in the words of Christ, “Straight is the way and narrow is the gate and few there be that enter in.”

I am learning to live at the still point, where silence simply happens. It is there that you live in the world but not of it. It is there that you realize your true nature. It is there that self-love is seen to be cosmic love, for there is no difference in scale or scope.

When I woke up this morning, I had slept so deeply that at first I had no idea of what this earth life was about. It was frightening. Who was I and where had I been? I recalled remnants of the dream in which I had seen lovely owls and cats and birds nesting in ancient rock. So there is life in seeming deadness.

And so it is with us. We live more and more in the ancient and the newly born, for time is falling into the rhythm of our breath. We are time untimed and space unspaced. We are truly beings of light.

Have no fear of witnessing every dark place in your mind and in your life. It is the true way back to the light.

Vicki Woodyard

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Are you an introvert?

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Words and Silence

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The Ugly Ducking Becomes a Swan

swan (3)

For so many years the grief was winning. Had me chained to my mind. Thoughts taking me where I didn’t want to go. That is the nature of grief. The heart shattered and the mind making things worse.

I tried to keep up the semblance of a spiritual practice because it meant so much to me. The grief work had to be done in spite of that. In spite of the grief cleaning my emotional clock more than once a day.

Stopping up my nose. Making me sleepless at night. Forcing me to try and heal when it was much too early for that to happen. One simply cannot force healing on a grieving parent or spouse.

If I am frank, I found myself totally alone in my grief. That is how it is with us all. No one stands shoulder to shoulder in the dead of midnight.

Now I am growing stronger. Surprisingly, I find myself venturing out into a world that has been waiting for me to discover it. Like today, having lunch alone. The waiter and I had a lovely chat as I waited for my entree.

I was able to see more clearly that I have missed out on so many things other people take for granted. Now I am able to make up for lost time any time I choose to do so.

Grief is a mystery that one never gets a handle on. It will happen again, but never on such a large scale, surely. Hopefully my time now will be spent enjoying simple things and knowing how grateful I am.

For all of you grieving, I have no advice. For grief and advice simply do not mix. They are oil and water. In your grief, you know best. You know the harshest truths up close and personal. They cannot be shared, nor would you really want them to be.

Economy of energy is essential when you are grieving. Say no. Take the phone off the hook. Get a massage. Buy some scented candles and lovely soaps. Eat chocolates and take walks. Go to the mall and alone and mingle with strangers anonymously. That is what I did.

The spiritual teachings will wait for you to find them again. God has never once left your side. He is just too wise to cram himself down your throat in the name of healing. Yes, I said that. I will say anything that hits the keyboard. Some may think me idiotic; I know I am. I also know who I am and where I belong. In the heart of healing, in the mystery of God.

Vicki Woodyard

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The Winding Stream

The Winding Stream

I just watched an outstanding video, The Winding Stream. It is about the Carter Family and if you want to settle into a meaningful hour and a half or so, it will lead you inside your own winding stream of consciousness. It did mine.

We have people standing on both sides of the stream, some we don’t even know, because they died before we were born. Our ancestors live on through us, and the children who died young do as well.

My heart is still constricted with sorrow as I just turned off the TV. You see, I repress the deep sorrow that runs through my stream of consciousness. That is because I am told to do so. But that stream, with its poignancy, is what makes me the kind of writer that I am.

I go so long without writing a tearjerker, and then I watch a movie like that. People had it tough back in the old days. This is about people from Virginia, but they could be from anywhere. Mine was a country family as well. We heard stories of babies dying routinely. My grandmother buried 2 little boys and she would sing “Babes in the Woods” in a whiny nasal voice as she rocked us. But she was stoic; she had to be to go on living.

When I buried my little girl, the stream within me was often flooded by my tears. There must be beautiful wildflowers growing nearby. At a particularly poignant part at the end of the movie, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash travel to see A. P. Carter’s grave. Johnny said there was a shaft of sunlight playing on it. There was a gold record on it and below it said “Keep on the Sunny Side.”

If you feel mournful, an old-fashioned word now, just know that you are part of a pilgrimage here on earth that is very ancient. And pilgrims play music and dance to forget their sorrows. I know my little girl would want me to do that same. And in the mist there are others wanting me to love and live deeply while I am down here on earth.

No one will miss me when I am gone, unless they remember words that consoled them at a time when they felt no one heard them. We all hear each other; it is just too much for us to take in, so we close down.

I feel these people of the winding stream would want me to see them, remember them and dance for them. In that way, the stream continues on. If you weep, know that you are not alone; that innumerable broken hearts together make beautiful music. That is simply how it goes.

Vicki Woodyard

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