The little raccoons that play

Last night I was watching these baby raccoons playing outside of my window. There were three of them. These babies appeared few weeks ago.

I moved here in June. I remember my first encounter/discovery of the raccoon kingdom outside when I was jolted awake by a loud, banging noise. My silly black cat, Pisces charged at the window, seemingly trying to fight some strange creature.

It was past midnight, I needed to get up at 7am in the morning to get ready for a day of working from home, It was the pandemic, I was tired, I was frustrated that I got woken up and wanted to curse, but was also terribly frightened. Is there a monster here? It usually takes a little while for me to get used to living in a new place. It had only been a few days and I didn’t feel secured yet. I had dreamt of an intruder and afraid that there might be one.

“What’s going on??” I asked my cat, and saw him sitting up super straight staring out at a spot outside of the window, as if some serious business was going on. Then I saw this humongous raccoon right outside. He saw me, and didn’t seem to feel intimidated at all. As I thought raccoon would usually get when seeing a human. And he charged at Pisces through the window, again. Making a banging noise while my cat was ready to fight him, too.

Behind him a raccoon of smaller size walked by, skittish and seemed to be afraid of me or my cat. She (I’ll assume that was the wife of this huge raccoon) kept her distance, her body language was equivalent to human being hunch over, trying to stay small and out of the way. A startle difference between these two. As her husband ( I will assume they are married in the raccoon kingdom) was bold and unapologetic, he tried to fight my cat (though they were separated through the glass window).

My cat wanted to fight, but also frightened. This is his new home and I am guessing he must feel like he needs to protect his territory. Or maybe I am projecting. But my cat is pretty sheltered, he was taken to the animal rescue when a few days old and adopted by me when he was 8 weeks. Though he was orphaned and on the street in the beginning of his life, he never really been through much in the sense of wild animals survival. I can tell that he was anxious, frightened.

These are large, picture window almost from floor to about a foot from the ceiling. Outside the window is a little deck area covered by a little green mat that make it look like a field of grass, at least from a distance. Sometimes, it feels like no separation from inside or outside. The optical illusion. I wonder if that’s how my cat felt at the beginning. Things seem so close, but yet could not be touched.

And the behavior of this huge raccoon fascinated me. After a few minutes, when both him and my cat had calmed down, this huge raccoon stood up and tried to see if he could get into my place. Luckily, I close and lock my window every evening. But I wondered, have they been hanging out in this space before I moved in? He just seemed so at ease and it was as if he does it every night when trying to push open the window.

That was me and my cat, defending our territory when we first moved to this land. Trying to establish our status, rooting our energy, screaming and swatting at the raccoons saying that THIS IS OUR HOME. I wonder if this is a mini version of what the settlers went through. They migrated to a new place, fight with the natives, dominated them and claimed that this is their home. And besides human inhabitants, there have been nature energies – plants, trees, insects, mammals, fishes, reptiles that also inhabited those lands before their arrival. Did they go through a time of battle and negotiation with nature energies too?

Anyhow, we ( me and my cat) and the raccoons, and all the outside creatures – birds, possums, deers, raccoons, and I think I might have saw a coyote outside few nights ago but not so sure. We are living together in peace now. My cat still watch them whenever they came by. I would feed the birds sunflower seeds once in a while. And the raccoons had disappeared for a little while, before these three babies showed up.

Perhaps needed to focus on feeding his new family, daddy raccoon now just go about his business when they are on their nocturnal family adventure. He went straight to wherever he was trying to go – probably the dumpster where all the goodies are? And his wife tagged along, as usual, skittish and keeping a distance from my window.

Yet their babies are different. These baby raccoons are terribly interested in my cat, and in a friendly way. It was obvious that they wanted to play. I stood next to Pisces last night, and watched them. I suddenly realized that my deck had become these raccoon babies’ nursery while their parents went and look for food. The three of them were just hanging out right outside, two of the babies were rolling around and playing gentle fight with each other. It kind of look like little kittens playing. The third one was the most curious about me and my cat. Super sweet too. This little baby were sitting right next to my window, where my cat was, and trying to snuggle with my cat. Rolling over and putting little paws on the window, it was a very friendly gesture.

Pisces really wanted to play with them too, it seems. It warms my heart to watch and feel these little creatures spreading love all over the deck. What a blessing it is to be able to watch these raccoon babies up close, and to feel their sweet presence right outside my home. How I wish that their innocence could last forever, and that they will never have to learn to defend themselves. I know pretty soon they will grow, and like their parents they will have to learn the ways of the world, but I cherish this little sweet moments, when my deck is their nursery, their safe space.

Your destiny is calling you.

This is the confession of a healer, a therapist, a writer, and a fellow human.

I often spend my days pondering what I should do, which path I should take. Being human presented so many options in how to be, and who to become. And I am an adventurous, spontaneous soul, who got visited by all these ideas, dreams, paths that I could take, roles that I could try. The possibilities are endless.

Being stubborn has its benefit, and its constraints. I have achieved a lot of my goals because I was/am stubborn. Ever since I was a kid, people would tell me what I can or can’t achieve because of this or that. And, I honestly didn’t care. The limitation of their mind, and the sense of fear in their relating to life never applies to me. I am who I am. And I won’t sway even a bit for things that I am passionate about.

But this attitude of stubbornness isn’t as helpful when I am operating in denial, in fear, or in dread. Those times when I pretend that I did not hear the call from my destiny. I ignored the signs, denied the calls, and was somehow able to find a thousand other things to obsess with. Getting more and more entangled with the vines in the labyrinth, I struggle with getting out of being stuck. 

And how did I get my self stuck in the first place? It was simple, it was my refusal to listen to my soul, my heart. We each have a role to play, a mission we are here to do. As we grow, our journey might evolve and take on different forms. But what matters is always in the present, in this moment. What makes your heart sing? What breaks your heart open? What gives you that sweet feeling of heart ache accompanies by tears of love? When do you feel the passion that is undeniable and everlasting?

Your destiny is calling you. Listen to your inner voice, your feeling, your heart. Your soul is longing to speak to you, and direct you towards your path, to your destiny. 

And each and everyone of us, has a destiny. We just have to let go of the control, and listen.  

May you live each day with love and joy. May your heart be touched by life’s miraculous moments.

Much love and light.

 

On Radical Self Love

I am learning to love myself, all over again.

Having some space to myself for the past week has given me new perspectives on how to love myself. To love myself means to make space for what’s nourishing for my soul and my body. To eat heathy, get rest when I need to, make space for meditation and contemplations, and to review what’s the most important in my life.

Oftentimes we are operating in an autopilot. Chasing after our tails like a silly doggie, getting stuck in endless drama that doesn’t really mean anything in the end. It is important, and essential to make time to pause in between breath. For hidden within the daily mundane moments are divine messages, but we have to be quiet in order to listen. To become aware of our emotions; our anger, jealousy, irritation, greed, and/or feeling of competitiveness. And it is important to love ourselves even when we are experiencing these darker emotions. For we are spirit having a human experience, and being human is about embracing and mastering the dance between the light and the dark realm.

But yes, I am re-learning this art of self love. And I have to admit that this is very healing and beautiful. For self love calls for radical acceptance. And I love and adore myself just as I am. This love is unwavering and everlasting, and it doesn’t matter what other people or the society think. It doesn’t matter whether I succeed or fail in a task. I love myself regardless, and am committed to taking the best care of me. 

And you? How are relating to yourself? 

The Strange Man with a Mask – seeing through illusions and letting go of the past

Few nights ago, I dreamt of a friend who recently passed away. In the dream, I visited him at the hospital and found him standing to the left of the door, his face covered with a mask but I could still see his mouth – with a wry smile on his face. A shocking appearance, but strangely familiar also. Where have I seen this smile? Was it from him, or was it from some other human I’ve met in this planet?

Anyhow, I walked into the unit, and saw the doctors and nurses next to his hospital bed. And I discovered that, he was there, but missing. What does that mean? I was told that he was there, but he wasn’t really there anymore. “Since he had been gone for 10 days, we would have to destroy his body”. The doctor announced. I was devastated, crushed. “No… “, I exclaimed. But the decision had already been made. And I woke up, my body still vibrating with the visceral feeling in the dream state – the spooky appearance of him standing next me, and the uncanny occurrence of him being there, but missing.

What is this all about? As I reminisced the content, the feeling tone,  and the energies of this dream, I realized that – what is gone, is forever gone. This dream holds an important lesson for me. How many times have I held on to the past, the sweet memories of someone I loved, and dwell in the realm of imagination? The imaginative world is powerful, yet, it will not become our grounded reality until we pour our creative energies into manifesting it.

Too often, we allow the sweet memories of the past in clouding our perception – to discern reality from illusions. For the sweet nectar of the past is seductive, and it can be heartbreaking to see and acknowledge the naked truth. Letting go is not easy. It feel as if we are reaching into our heart, pulling out a piece of the tissue we shared with the beloved. It hurts, and we may even bleed a little. For this is a conscious choosing of an ending, of a clear cut of the emotional cords that once connected us. Yet, we shall live through this , as we endure this heartache. As our cells will regenerate, when we allow ourselves to feel the difficult emotions, while we continue to nurture and nourish our soul with love and kindness. 

And we will continue to evolve, to grow into a more conscious being, as we learn and thrive through new love, and new mistakes we make. And even if we forget, and we let go, the impact of these past, present, and future connections are forever engraved upon our soul. We need not worry for the impending loss, or indulge in obsession –  to hold on tight or dwell in the pool. For what we have lost, will always come around in a different form. Perhaps, we could let the flow of water guide us, and lean backward on the dolphins. Our heart shining with the reflective light, as our hands open to receive – the magic of the rainbow.

With love and blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of a human being

I just finished reading a memoir yesterday. It was one of those night when it was already past my bedtime, but I couldn’t put the book down. Being deeply immersed, it was as if I’ve walked inside the story book, witnessing the unfolding of the author’s life. The intricacy and complexity of human experiences never cease to amaze me.

Many years ago, I landed a job at a Crisis Residential Treatment Program in San Francisco after receiving my Bachelor degree. Honestly, I was not consciously planning to become a counselor, or to work with this population. It just happened. 

It turned out to be the best entry I could ever imagine, into this profession, in the mental health field. Throughout the year, I had the privilege to listen to countless stories of human beings, from all walks of life – about their past, the predicaments, their dreams, and the regrets. Each of these meetings were truly special to me. I still remember some of these individuals, about the moments we shared. The terror and despair they’ve been through, and the opening of my heart and soul as I witnessed them recalling their journey, reclaiming their sense of self after tragic moments.

Too often we are so guarded and protective of ourselves that we miss the opportunities to connect, deeply with other human beings. We’ve been hurt, we carry our baggages from the past, we are afraid of being judged, we are too scared to open up. Yes, being vulnerable is scary. It brings up all the insecurities, all the pain and wounding we’ve accumulated in our life. But the loving connection that flows between human beings, as we open our heart and share our stories – raw and messy, but real nevertheless, is magical. As if a beautiful rainbow suddenly appear at the end of a storm. This connection embraces us with warmth and gentleness, with a sense of magical touch – which heals and fulfills our soul with sacred love.

I witnessed and participated in those magical moments – when a group of random humans came together, and shared their feelings, their hopes and dreams with each other. No fabrication, no facade, just real life, real story. And suddenly the group transformed – into a sacred circle. And we found out, we are more similar that we thought we were. As we bear witness to each other’s journey, our heart expand, our consciousness grow.

Being connected is a beautiful thing. But first we need to learn to listen. To truly listen to another human being means we need put our judgment and preconception to rest, even for just a moment. For it changes the energy in the interpersonal field, and open up the space for the other person to be themselves. For it sends a message that conveys acceptance and love. 

This is a gift we can keep giving to each other – the courage in sharing our own story and the willingness to listen. 

With Blessings.

 

 

 

In the flow of origami boats – finding joy and ease in difficult circumstances

I have this fond childhood memory of origami boats. I was too young to know or remember what actually happened, but from time to time there would be flooding – inches of water flowing right outside the door of our little home- the little studio apartment we lived in. And while the grown up were hustling around, attempting to scoop up all the water out there with plastic buckets, my brothers, sister, and I decided that we would keep ourselves busy folding origami boats. I remember how fun and magical it was, to be creating these boats from paper and putting out one after another little white origami boat on the water, and watched it float – effortlessly down the stream, passing through the feet of the grown up who were out there remedying the flooding situation, while the little boats waving hello to each of our neighbors. 

This is something I love about my family. It is this ability to find peace and calmness, to have a little fun, while going with the flow in life’s circumstances. Perhaps life hasn’t been easy for us when we were kids, but we were never stuck in hopelessness or excessive worries. Somehow, as far as I remember, we were always able to find a way out, through joy and laughter. Through the power of our imagination.

Yes, it might feel like an irony. To be folding origami boats while the city is flooding. But isn’t it also the best time to play, as well? The grown up might disagree, but the scene of white boats floating down the stream was quite serene and beautiful. It helps us to remember the essence of life – the intrinsic beauty and love in all situation, even when it wasn’t apparent. Yes, we could be easily baffled – by the frustration of things not going the way we want them to. But with a little twist, a little humor, we could create a vehicle, get in the flow, and shift our experiences completely. 

Young children often knows the secret of effortless being. It is when we became adult that we have forgotten how to be, and we try to grasp on to things as they are changing. And we get frustrated, upset at others, and throw a tantrum. We’ve lost touch with our soul – with the nature in our inner flow – where inspirations come effortlessly while we meet each moment with love and curiosity.

What can we bring to each moment – of life’s success and challenges? What kind of energy, what intention are we putting out there in the current of life? Perhaps if we can all remember that regardless of the circumstances, there’s always a choice in how we show up, and how we engage. We can start to realize that , even in difficult circumstances, we can still have a little fun, feel a little joy, and be at ease. People might think we are weird when we are dancing in the rain,  but the sense of freedom in flow is so worth it. And seriously, who cares what others think anyway? 

May you find lightness and joy in life’s circumstances. 

 

Alone in the Underworld – Working with the Inner Child through Dream Interpretation

Alone in the underworld 

I was in a dark, gloomy basement, all by myself. 

I looked up, and saw this little opening space on the ceiling.

A glimpse of the twinkling light.

In the unknown space above.

I wanted to get up there,

And I saw, this old wooden ladder

A wooden ladder I could use to climb up and get out of this dark place.

The ladder was shaky, and the spikes on the wood hurt my hands

I kept climbing, and when I was half away there,

I looked down.

And I saw, a little girl, perhaps around five years old.

Sitting on the floor, under the triangular space contained by the ladder.

All by herself.

Shiny black hair, in a bowl cut.

She was cute.

She didn’t seem to notice me, or anything else in the world.

She was playing with a stuffed animal, quietly.

But all of a sudden, this shaky wooden ladder collapsed.

Huge broken pieces of wood fell right onto her,

Piercing into her little body,

She was broken, covered with shattered wood and blood.

Yet she was still calm, serene,and quiet,

As if it didn’t bother her.

She continued playing.

All alone.

 

This is a dream I had seven years ago, right before I began my journey in pursuing a masters degree in counseling, on becoming a therapist. It was a vivid dream, the imageries sharp, the sensations real, the emotions raw. 

I didn’t know about working with dreams then, I was just beginning my journey of self discovery, of healing ,and uncovering the secrets of who I am. But I knew this dream was significant, it came as a message, as a guide.

I brought this dream up again and again, to my therapist at that time, to friends, with mentors. Somehow it just wouldn’t escape my mind, and I kept trying to uncover its meaning.

But it wasn’t until three years later, when I was sitting in one of the classrooms at IONS – Institute of Noetic Science. When the space, the ceiling, the light twinkling above triggered an intense felt sense of being in that basement again. I was stunned.  I felt as if I was in the dream, again. My consciousness was a bit hazy as I was not so sure what kind of consciousness I was in – was I awake or was I in a dream? Nevertheless, my weirdness somehow caught the attention of the professor, and he made an interpretation.

Suddenly, everything clicked. When the meaning of a dream finally revealed itself  – when everything in your life and space magically lined up – it felt , as if being washed by this tranquil, healing ether that came upon me, passing through my body, cleansing my aura and attuned me to a better understanding – of myself, my past, and my path. 

We all have a child self, living inside our heart.

Over the years, we might have forgotten this little one.

As we’ve been so caught up in the world of grown up.

To be successful, to be attractive, to abide by a certain social standard.

We might have even been told not to play anymore. 

We lost touch of the preciousness of our soul.

In the process of becoming someone, we lost touch of who we are.

The process of reconnecting with our inner child, is precious and beautiful.

As we descended into the space in our psyche, to be with this child.

This child that we once was.

We re-create a connection, and hold space for healing to happen, if he or she was somehow broken.

Our love to ourselves expand as we tend to the broken pieces of our heart, gently, patiently. 

Until we become one, again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love with Integrity – Speaking up for Justice with kindness and compassion

In moments of life when things seem to be getting chaotic, when I feel bombarded by challenges and chaos, when my world seems to be turning upside down, I would make space for solitude, to breathe, center myself and reflect, go for a walk, and allow nature to speak to me. And the universe would let me know , ” All is well.”

The universe speaks to you by metaphor, by energies, by the synchronistic magical moments, by the encounters of kind and compassionate beings who are really angels in human form – the earth angels surround us and providing what we need. Carl Jung says, ” In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorders a secret order.” This is a deeply felt experience that I have, when I swim in the chaotic water, uncovering the truths beneath ugly facade.  The seemingly random broken pieces would somehow fall into places, as if a puzzle being put together by unseen forces, while the hidden truth slowly reveal themselves – for those who have eyes to see, and ears to listen.

Changes do not scare, or upset me. As, I believe, changes is the constant – it is the law of the universe. But one thing I do value is integrity – to be truthful and honest in our words and our deeds. To follow through with one’s promises and be accountable for one’s responsibilities. To tell things as it is, as much as one’s able to, instead of making up stories in order to manipulate. Integrity is an important quality – of any human being, especially those who choose to live in collaboration with others. 

In Theravāda Buddhism, one of the 7 virtues is Sīla pāramī : virtue, morality, proper conduct. To me, having integrity – being kind and honest with others is good moral. And I guess, lately, I’ve discovered that there are people who have taken the bodhisattva vows – do not practice proper conduct and virtue in their daily lives. It honestly hurt my heart to realize this, but at the same time, I also understand that we are all doing the best we can, at this very moment.

I guess, this is lesson in life – in love and discernment. There are times in life when we have to speak up against injustice, when we have to confront people/organizations who are being unjust and dishonest. This is not done out of hatred or anger, but of love and compassion. For this life is a class, and  we are all learning with and from each other, in our interconnected web of fate that we weave each day.

 

I’ll finish with a poem I love. 

 

The Guest house – by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. 

Transitions – An intriguing time of Uncertainties and Possibilties

The topic of transition seems to be the theme song of the season – this season of life, this moment of change. Many big changes are happening, internally and externally, with our own life and the life of others around us, individually and globally. 

This time of change can be overwhelming and disorienting. For instance, as circumstances around us changes, our role as a human being often changes accordingly. All of a sudden, the position we have accustomed to, the role we’ve  identified as, does not belong to us anymore. In a split second, our identity is shaken up. Who am I, if I am not the doctor treating patients in this agency? Who am I, if I am no longer in this relationship, being connected to this family system? How am I supposed to act, to be, when I am no longer with my community, whom I sometimes feel annoyed with but at the same time shared a familiar ground with for years?

Transitions in life shake us up, and made us realize that this identity that we hold on to is not I. This is not I. I am not the body associated with the image of the picture of me. For my body shall decay, and I do not have ultimately control over when it will stop working.  Time after time, as we go through various transitions, our own or others, we begin to realize the impermanence of the roles we take on, the circumstances around us, the body we inhabit. 

Many years ago I went to my first 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. It was the first time I have ever meditated. I drove up to this site in Kelseyville with other meditators I just met, and spent 10 days in silence. Waking up each day at 5am, following a straight schedule, diet, and percepts of morality, I sat crossed legged in the meditation hall for many hours each day, paying attention to my breath and sensations in my body. 

I remember we were not supposed to move at all during the hour long group meditations. It was extremely uncomfortable and excruciating. To be feeling all these pain in my body and not move – to me it was tasting suffering, seriously. But it was in that process that I started to practice, in paying attention to what is there, and let it go. For hours after hours, days after days, I continued scanning my body, feeling all the sensations. Whether it was tensions, pain, or the joyful feelings of chills when energy was pulsating through my body, I practiced to simply notice it and let it go – with no aversion and no attachment. 

This is the concept of Anicca in Buddhism – the doctrine of impermanence. The arising and passing away of all things in this world. And our suffering is stemming from grasping for the pleasurable, and aversion of the pain. 

Transitions are exciting and important time, as we temporarily leave one identity and await our next role, next assignment. And if we can let go of fear – the often debilitating fear of uncertainties, but to breathe deeply and rest in our heart, where our soul lives. We will realize that it is all good. Beyond the corner of our eyes, in the shimmering universe, there is a future unraveling – for our joy, our love, and our expansion. This is but a phase in life where we expands, to something different. This is a time to trust in the unknown, and keep following the heart, with the deepest faith that – the universe got our back. The best is yet to come.

 

Let go of everything, and you will have everything.

 

The Sacredness in Impermanence – love, life & relationships

It is interesting how life unfolds some time. We just never know what will happen in the next second, the next moment. We can never predict who will stay, and who will spiral away. 

The apparently random circumstances bring people together, forming little communities, or soul tribes – for a more sacred term. When we were younger, we are usually surrounded by our birth families, or whoever raised us when we were children.  Or perhaps we grew up in spiritual communities, where we were connected to each other, in the shared love and faith of the beyond. And as we got a little older, we somehow gathered with our special groups, in the purpose of learning life’s lessons. These special groups were brought together as we happened to go to the same school, or work at the same place.

Perhaps I am romanticizing, but I like to think of these groups of special people as little soul families. As if there was a hidden soul contract we have agreed upon, to serve as a certain role in each other’s life. As if we were caught by the web of fate and casted away in the succulent garden, playing out the game of life. 

Human beings are funny,  we just take ourselves so seriously some times. In the meetings and mingling with others, we could experience some very extreme emotions and feelings. Love, hate, jealousy, irritation, frustration, admiration, thoughts such as “I can’t believe you did this.” , or feelings such as “I just can’t deal with you anymore.” All the feels from love and adoration, to hate and disgust. It is in relationships that we feel the full range of human emotions. 

It is in relating to each other that we grow, as we get to know ourselves better in each other’s presence. We support and cheer on each other as we face challenges and become our better self. We goof around, laugh and have a good time. We create memories and take pictures that remind ourselves of the special connection we shared.

 Was it really coincidence that we happened to meet each other, and become schoolmates, friends, colleagues, or families? I don’t think so. These connections in life are just too special and specific, in my opinion. And in the ebb and flow of life, even the most special connections goes through the cycle of converging and diverging. I have come to realize that, it is okay to ride though the waves of life – the many endings and beginnings. For it is the law of the universe , where change is the constant. And I trust that if we are meant to meet again, we will. For our soul will be attracted to each other, and our sacred connections will take form.

In life, or in dreams.

 

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”  – William Blake

 

 

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