The Cook Awakening

Archive for 2018

Sacred Pause

December 21, 2018
Posted in: Events, Grief, Life on Life's Terms, Meditation, Seasonal Change, Spiritual Practice

It can seem overwhelming. The holidays. Crowds, traffic, the stimulation of gatherings and lights and cooking and eating, so many words. Kids wanting, wanting, wanting. Tummies rumbling from too much yum. Perhaps there are financial stresses in the mix.

Or, it may feel lonely, if you don’t have the energy for it all, or if community feels distant.

I have a memory of our dog, Jazz, the best dog in the world, who, for her first 5 years, would get so excited when we went to the dog park, she’d run and run and run with every dog she saw. At first we thought it was fun. Look how happy she was! She’s such an extrovert, look how she loves to chase and wrestle with the other dogs!

Jazz in motion

Until we realized, what we were seeing started as fun, but would at some point become frenzy. We started to put her on the leash after she’d run long and hard when we’d see froth on her lips. And, you know what? There was clearly a feeling of “oh, thank you for saving me from myself” in her manner as she’d flop down next to us at the park bench.

The Breath

November 29, 2018
Posted in: Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Seasonal Change, Spiritual Practice

We’re in that chute again. My husband and I call it “Slogging toward Solstice”. It’s dark at 4:30 pm, it’s colder, it’s wet outside, and for some of us, there’s snow on the ground.

Right when there’s an internal calling at the end of the day (or beginning, for that matter) to build a fire, snuggle up with a good book or watch a good show, many of us also feel the reality of a busier calendar. I remark on it to myself every year. Why is there so much to DO?!

That internal tension can be uncomfortable. If you’re like a lot of people, you feel pressure to show up to events. It’s a whole train of family gatherings (hello Thanksgiving), classes, meetings, school fundraisers, shopping, concerts, holiday parties are coming up, ….

Falling Apart

May 8, 2018
Posted in: Grief, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

Healing is the natural impulse of sentient beings, given proper support. When trauma surfaces, it’s because our human souls want to work it through, so that we can heal. Our egos usually have an argument with the process. That needs to be honored very gently, not overridden forcefully. As a teacher of mine says, “The ego gets carried along with love.” This way, it’s possible to actually unwind the trauma, rather than get caught in loops of re-traumatizing the nervous system or getting lost in spiritual bypass, neither of which will resolve the trauma.

As mentioned in an earlier article, our first born did not have an easy birth. He came 10 weeks early. Our wonderful, rural hippie vision of a home birth scattered in the wind of the helicopter blades when I was airlifted to UCSF at 27 weeks of pregnancy with early rupture of membranes. I managed to keep him in my womb for 3 more weeks in the hospital on strict bed rest, but at 30 weeks gestation I showed signs of infection, so labor was induced. The umbilical cord was coming out ahead of him, so I was quickly prepped for an emergency c-section, he was intubated for 24 hours, my belly was stapled closed, I was on morphine, he was placed in an incubator for 4 weeks, he couldn’t nurse, I was transferred across town from him and had to bus in to the hospital, he was poked with needles multiple times a day, I could only hold him for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours….

Yes. That was a bad run on sentence. Our lives were a bad run on sentence for those weeks, an endless litany of fear and isolation and effort and sorrow and hyper vigilance.

Distorted full moon and street light

We all experience trauma in one form or another. It’s a part of my personal mission in life, to help people find the courage and tenderness to hold themselves in a way that supports trauma unwinding, to learn trust in the process of life living itself.

Honoring the Little Deaths

February 28, 2018
Posted in: Events, Grief, Life on Life's Terms, Living Into Death, Living with Health Challenges, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

We often live our lives on the surface. Until something happens, a major upheaval. And, even then we might be so caught up in handling the emergency that we don’t slow down enough to actually feel our feelings.

What lies beneath the surface?

I encourage you to engage in rituals designed to bring your internal process to the surface. That could be public ceremony such as the Nest event the Owl Salon offered last month, but it could also be something small and personal, such as creating a sacred space in your home dedicated to a particular event or process you know is percolating, or simply that you’re wondering about. A death. A relationship that went sideways. Your own “empty nest”. A career change. A diagnosis. Noticing that your body has changed with age, even if it’s only subtly. Your first (or fortieth) grey hair. This dedicated space, whether you feel comfortable calling it an altar or not, is a container for your process, a focal point.

One of the central Buddhist teachings is centered on impermanence as an inescapable truth. Everything changes. And, generally, our egos don’t relate to that well. We either want our uncomfortable states or situations to change faster than they are naturally changing, or we want to hold onto our happy states and life circumstances. There’s a counter intuitive result of that grasping — you may have heard the quote from Carl Jung “what you resist, persists.” The same is true of the other side of the coin — the lovely, easy feelings or situations we enjoy are often changed into a less pleasant version when we hold tightly. People we’re in relationship with don’t always respond well when we grasp onto them.