Tuesday, December 31, 2013

61 Accountability partner

Prior to the 5 Day Silent Retreat in Ojai, I was asked to give a try for this accountability project with another attendee friend for fun/preparation. This is good if you are somewhat lazy like me who would skip your to-dos with excuses.

We set our regimen like doing "raving=appreciate about any small 5-10 things in dramatic way" for 5 min., 5-10 min. meditation and/or "diving-in=letting stories go and being with feelings" twice a day, etc., and report to each other everyday otherwise due a penalty of paying the other.

The key was to be honest to your partner and not to take it to a stressful level.

We thought it worked pretty well, so decided to keep doing after the retreat with some modification on our menu.

I recommend this system to anything you want to improve on. It's a great exercise for self-improvement as well as communication.

Thus a few months passed by with some ups and downs but we both managed to surf along to maintain blissful state. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

60 Problems solve themselves in your absence

So I came back and fully enjoyed the group breakfast with retreatmates. They are wonderful...we stay in touch since then and exchange healings or share thoughts from time to time. And all the way to LAX I carpooled, I was so bubbly and happy, I even seemed to speak more fluently than ever, maybe due to being present.

Funny trick happened to my car after dropping off a friend in the valley. The car didn't go more than 30 mi/hr. It didn't hit me for a while because I was going down the hill to Hollywood, but soon I realized that the car got locked in low gear somehow.

I was still in blissful state and totally left all to the universe to handle, so I didn't stress but carefully drove on (my favorite) Sunset Blvd., all the way to 405 on-ramp. When it was about time to drop off my rent-a-car near LAX, I was still in Brentwood wondering if I should take the freeway. Actually, my priority was to go pee ASAP, so I pulled into the gas station nearby, also in hope for getting some mechanical help.

Unfortunately, there was nobody to help on the car. "Maybe I should take the surface street to LAX, but I would miss my flight for sure especially since I'm not an expert local driver any more...." Quick decision was required, but instead I just pulled out anyway forward to the small street.

To my surprise, there I saw my long-lost favorite little bakery! After I left L.A. in 1999, my sense of direction faded and I hadn't been able to find them. They had the best brioche & croissant, and I used to pick up the first-baked ones around 6am before getting on to 405 for film-shoot. Glad to see the place still there, looking busy.

Well, for a few moments while I completely forgot about the problem, something magical happened..
Why, the car works! It sped up as I stepped on the gas. A great example & lesson of "Things are going great in my absence". 

So I got onto smooth 405, made it to LAX 40 min prior to my departure without stress, and was frowned but allowed to speed check-in. It was a fun ride after all with some thrills and unexpected discovery!

All the way to Tokyo on the plane I was still in high spirits. I chose funny and uplifting movies, (which are not my usual picks) sang along to them, cried and  laughed at them like nobody was watching. (Fortunately the plane was somewhat vacant.)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

59 How to surf emotional bumps

Lola said, it's not the end of our sufferings but just a beginning. Now we only know better how to surf around whenever emotional bumps come along.

Actually there was one thing I could not get over with during the retreat although in blissful state overall. And it hit me when the party was over and I came back to my hotel room.

"This is not what I was expecting...." I was saddened, but instead of treating it as if it never existed or blaming myself for still stuck in the same spot after all, I tried to be with the feelings face to face without stories. Despite all my efforts and hope for the feelings to rise, it persisted until the next morning.

What am I supposed to do at the breakfast meeting with happy retreaters?
It seemed impossible for me to show up either in my lowest spirit or faking to be high-spirited.

Out of desperation, I shifted my attention to something practical. Yes, I needed to go to my bank to deposit my paycheck for my illustration job. So I searched on my iPhone, and made sure I got enough time to make a trip.

So I'm off to the city of Ojai.... Oh, how I LOVE driving...especially alone. The whole time this trip, I car-pooled to save money. So there I was driving in the crisp morning light, feeling good already, through the foresty road, out to the open rural road. Ah it was a lovely scenery of houses with stables and big yards.

All of a sudden, I got struck by bliss, as if I surrendered automatically to the presence, and these words came from within: "Everything is perfect the way it is!" "All feelings are good. Embrace them!"

Tears gushed out and my heart was filled with gratitude. I got free from the long-lasting attachment like I just woke up from a nightmare. Oh how wonderful that was....reminded me of the blissful experience in Oregon.

Soon I arrived in downtown Ojai, still quiet in the sharp morning light hitting the white wall of Spanish arcade. I parked quickly and stepped out to appreciate the present moment....the bank run didn't seem important after all. My heart felt like a clear blue-sky without a single cloud.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

58 Day 5: Initiation Day

We were told to wear something "special" this day. Lola put it, 
" It's your wedding day with your innermost Being and you'll never forget it."

So we finally broke free from silence and celebrated our memorable day. We all love ourselves for who we are, stress and trauma-free, starting to really live our lives.

A man who came in with his cane limping the first day was dancing freely. He said he couldn't believe his leg got so well in such short time because he couldn't even walk without his cane before due to a severe motorcycle accident several years ago.

Another lady confessed that she was surviving through 5 days without her prescription for her serious heart problem, and she was actually doing fine without them.

These miracles were really happening around me, and I could easily believe that my cancer cells were all gone! (Too bad it wasn't visible.) To be more precise, it was not just about cancer, but I was feeling so much better as a whole, like I had never been.

Here is how we changed through Divine Openings: http://vimeo.com/58950206

We enjoyed dancing to the music, chatting and laughing away, or sitting in silence/laying out giving/receiving healings, admiring the scenery outside, Lola's artworks, etc. We all were like old friends already although without verbal communication until that day. 

The retreat venue turned into a big party house full of happy people. The only difference from regular parties was that we were naturally/spiritually high, without beer or wine, or any other substances, even sugar! 

Some of us thought of going out to town for celebrating more later, but then we realized right away that it was an old idea, because drinking alcohol would only turn off this pure blissful-state. Instead, we arranged a breakfast gathering the next day.

We all thanked Lola as she was leaving us to rest as usual after the 5 day session. Now it's her turn to go into silence.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

57 Day 4: Another trip to the beach

Some quotes of the day by Lola:
"Drop everything. What you need comes when you need it. The more you're off the case the more they transform."
"Look within first when giving too much attention to people and/or trying to control them.

We visited the beach again in the afternoon. I decided to be active in contrast, and started walking along the beach as it pleased me, toward the pier.

Soon I arrived at the beautiful Ventura pier, and I was motivated to walk further to the end of it. I felt so fulfilled every moment, completely being present which means free of time, worries, and ego. 

During 5 Day Silent Retreat , we received the special energy by Lola and advanced retreaters everyday at the end of the day. The energy is called "Divine Openings" initiated by Lola, and there are variations which are Divine Mother Hug and Divine Healing. We started practicing them from the 2nd or 3rd day. It was mind-blowing because it is nothing like what I had learnt about healing "modalities".

The biggest difference to other healing techniques is that with Divine Openings, we do "nothing". We use our body just as a tool so grace/universal energy/God/love whatever you may call it... can take over. So we have to "get out of the way". All headings should work as long as you believe it, but this one is really powerful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

56 Day 3: When it gets intense, soften. When it gets boring, just rest on emptiness

Lola said,
"Life is a story, and story is not bad, but if it's not helping you, then it's bad.
It's not what happened but it's how you reacted to it.
Leave thing that are not working for you."

And as I was getting better to feel the feelings, Lola also said to "soften" when it's getting unbearable. 
To soften seems the easiest thing we could do when we get hit by anger, sadness, or any extreme emotions. No "pushing away" or "denying", or rationalizing by "making it a bad thing". Just put a warm blanket around it, imagine to make the spiky edges of those emotions a little rounder or smoother, little by little until it feels somewhat OK. Then it becomes easier to handle...

After getting too intense, a big emptiness would visit, and it'd get all boring. Lola said to rest on emptiness, without judging or analyzing, or even thinking. This lesson was luxury yet difficult for me, because I used to feel guilty for doing nothing, as I grew up being told to use time wisely, not to waste any minute. 

It was pure peace. During this silent period, I was motivated to do quick sketches on anything that caught my eyes. The sun-lit leaves against warm dark shade, the vibrant colors on plants, trees, the life energy all around me.