Monday, September 8, 2014


There is a zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water."

What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same.

What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water?

When you labor, stay awake. Notice the frame of mind you bring to your work.

Do you approach your work as if it were a nuisance?

Do you remove your consciousness from work so that you are filled with resentment or worry?

What would you need to do to be more fully present in your work?

Practice mindfulness in work. It does little good to attain clarity of mind on your meditation cushion if you lose it as soon as you become active.

Start with simple activities like brushing your teeth, ironing clothes, or washing dishes. Be fully alert as you move.

Notice the position of your body in space. Notice the feelings in your body as you move. Pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you do the task. See if you can let them go and just focus on the work itself.

If you are cleaning a countertop, feel the sponge in your hand. Feel the wetness. Feel the texture. Observe how the sponge moves in your hand from the sink to the counter. Sense your movements as you scrub. What do your eyes see? What do you hear as you work? Clean that countertop as if it were the most important thing you could do. Move with fluid motions. Waste no energy. Allow yourself the grace of economy of motion. Be grateful for the countertop, the sponge, the water, the soap. Be grateful for the hand, the arm, the whole body that can move a sponge. Be thankful for the floor you stand on and the roof that protects you. Without letting your mind wander too far, be grateful for all the circumstances that put you where you are at that moment with that sponge and that water and that countertop.

We travel to the ocean or to mountains, rivers and canyons, in part to escape the mundane world of work, but also to experience the awe that arises more spontaneously in nature’s magnificence.

We give ourselves an incredible gift when we can experience some of the same awe in the mundane world of our daily lives. :)

The weed that grows in the crack of a sidewalk is a phenomenon as miraculous as the redwood tree that towers into the sky.

The raindrops that streak the window are no less an occasion for awe than the spray that dampens our face at the waterfall.

The fingers that tap a keyboard are as worthy of praise as the feet of a ballet dancer.

When we open awareness to the tasks in our lives they become lighter.

When we are able to be in the moment, we no longer feel compelled to watch the clock.

Whatever your work might be, bring all of yourself to it.

When you are fully present, you may find that your labor is no longer a burden.

Wood is chopped. Water is carried. Life happens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To: You

Call forth what you need.

If you need power, 
do not wrest it from another call it forth from within. 

It is there.

Do not seek money from the world, 
call forth your ability to share your gifts and find money flowing to you.

If you want love, 
do not seek others to give it to you. 

Call it forth from your heart and the world will respond.

Everything you need sleeps within the depths of your soul awaiting your call. 

This day, call forth what you desire.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Manda's Monday Meditation

The light
The creative energy
In you and me
Is something we see
When we meet
And believe
In what may be

The past me
The me of today
Met in the tank
Old thoughts floated away

The ideas in my mind
Shine down like golden light
Drenching me
Twinkling on the ceiling
As my shadow bounced above me

My breath slow and steady
Deep, long and neutral
My head, arms and legs outstretched 
the entire length of the pool
Tippy toes and finger tips touching the edges
I stretched and swayed side to side 
acknowledging my length, 
my body's reach
I felt whole in myself

Sufficiently me
I am happy
I have all that I need
The day awaits me and I breathe
Smiling and curious
Full and relaxed
Comfortable with whatever He brings.

I have achieved peace.


The words above came to me after floating in a pool of warm water and epsom salt for an hour.

This spa service is similar to the old style "deprivation tanks" and they are meant to isolate the senses and aid in meditation and relaxation.  

My first experience was quite different (you can read about it here) and feeling how much more inner peace I have now was refreshing.  

It is quite an experience and lovely if you enter with patience and are able to find deep relaxation.

I highly recommend to all, regardless of size, shape, age, religion, emotion, opinion, and hopeless abandon.

You will definitely find something in that tank that inspires you.

For me the biggest take away (which I tried to touch on in the words above) was the idea that we all have a glowing light that radiates from within and upon meeting someone for the first time, or seeing them after a long time, it is visible to our spirit and our senses.  

Our lights may dance and frolic and play, or they may be seen as a threat to a person's comfortable darkness.

Whatever the case, I feel it is important to always keep aware of our spiritual light dances with each other and to try to keep our personal energy moving so that our relationships, no matter new or old, will always blossom and grow.

I have found my energy again and I feed it by juicing and eating a healthy diet, exercising, spending quality time with family and friends, and thanking God for all that I am blessed with.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Leap of Faith

"If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you. 
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

-as attributed to Jesus Christ in The Gospel of Thomas


As I typed the email I felt completely at peace.

I was saying everything that I believed in my heart and knew that it must be shared to avoid miscommunication, hurt feelings, and more of the same mistakes.

I've been down this road many times and know how easily my compassionate human nature can trump the conscious voices of my past trials talking clearly in my head; the spiritually intuitive stabs at my stomach; the pain that creeps out and reminds me,

"Not like this, not again Amanda, you know better."

But, life is a series of tests. I must take the same one in different forms over and over until I finally pass. Then, I will get a shiny new test, designed just for me. It never ends and I am an eternal student.

Just as some of life's tests are really easy, others are equally hard, constantly tripping me up and holding me back until I finally accept the truth and see the hard-to-swallow answers.

Today I took a test.  I call it a leap of faith.

By trusting in the Lord, I composed a beautiful email, full of my thoughts and truths and written from a place of love.  It felt theraputic to put those feelings down into words and to read, and reread them until they completely captured the message I hoped to send.

I said a prayer, then I hit send. 

My heart began to beat out of my chest and fear fell all around me, like dark walls cutting off my oxygen supply.  My breathing sped up.  Did I made a mistake?  Where did my peace go?  Questions began popping in my head and I started to continuously check my email for a reply that never came.

Oh how I wished I had just wrote it all for myself and then talked about it instead, but I always seem to leave important things out when I try it this way.  And oddly enough, my deep compassion sometimes physically hinders my ability to say what I am truly feeling, for fear of hurting the feelings of the person on the receiving end.

But nevertheless, I am a writer, so instead I wrote.  And I sent. 

Eventually, I stop checking for the reply and start praying more instead, that the peace I felt was real and God's will should be done.  My peace returns.
Six hours later, I reflect on the fear and conclude it was my embodiment of doing something the wrong way for so long, that when I finally set myself free, the wrongness didn't want to be kicked out without making a mess first.  By letting go of old ways, and setting a new way into motion, I could see how those failed tests were all just big grumpy messes, holding on and clinging, not willing to go without a final rumble inside.

Unfortunately for the mess, I've decided to clean house and am now keeping my eyes (and heart) open for my new test.  The next level baby.  One that will allow me to grow into a happier, more peaceful, more loving human being. 

Today, a leap of faith taught me that God always has my back, as long as I listen and dedicate my days, experiences and relationships to Him.