Tuesday, February 16, 2021

This Magnificent Love

 

“We all know the truth: more connects us than divides us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”- King T’Challa, from the Black Panther Marvel movie
artwork by Frannie Hoffman 2021
Sometimes, when I forget that truth – that we are all “one single tribe” – I feel like I am left alone. These times of crisis, all times of crises, push us to face our own darkness, and sometimes we need to go inside and take down the walls we have erected to protect ourselves from pain or to insulate ourselves from being vulnerable.

This Covid pandemic has stretched me and broken me wide open. When things get tough, it is so easy to fall asleep and forget this heart and mind that want to join with the Divine. Time and time again, I forget that all I have to do is soften my gaze out there, return to myself, and settle into what this moment brings me. It’s really all I want – to connect with what is causing me to feel this separation where I fear the future, the next moment, or the new relationship that is in front of me. So, I choose to go outside and be touched by nature where I can change my focus to my heart and lean in. She calls me by shining the sun through my window or sounding the chimes in my garden with her wind. Through this connection, I can be more committed to my inner path, as I feel my way through all these worries and breathe gently. It opens me to all that is coming my way. 

So many people are divided by ideas and opinions. No matter the differences, we are much more alike when we live in the heart of compassion. So, I have learned to ask questions instead of making assumptions. And I can listen without having to be right. I let go of everything I think I know and allow the moment to be real. I can hold them with a spacious heart and a still mind. I meet them in the deepest part of my being where I have faced my own fears and shortcomings. Then the moment becomes a way to honor how precious life is, because I only have this time, this present moment with this person. I may never see them again.

We don’t have to figure it out, just arrive in the moment open and willing to stand on the bridge together, unafraid because we trust in our own ability to live in the heart of the Beloved. Here we are one; here we are the same. In this present moment, we take refuge inside by being true to ourselves. We can be kind as we sit back and listen to that still small voice that guides us to wisdom. To stay conscious is to be an open heart without holding back or hiding so that we can expand our love to embrace all people. This is the miracle of relationships where we get to meet another soul and open to the wisdom that they share.

As we think back, we appreciate what we may have taken for granted -- being with our loved ones, traveling without restrictions, loving with our whole selves. We have been cut off from the most natural way of being. We feel a physical discomfort when we are with someone we want to touch, hug, or kiss but cannot. With masks on and 6 feet of social distancing, we feel the awkwardness. Now that we truly understand loss, let’s blanket this world in our magnificent love.

I have found ways to love from the deepest parts of myself. This love that is a divine power will link us all when we open to it and awaken to the truth that there is love in everything. This natural world that surrounds me offers gifts without conditions, and in the presence of this beauty that I am receiving, I feel love. I fill up with this true nature that lives inside of me, and I want to give it away as it fills to overflowing and spilling out. It becomes the silent prayer of my heart beaming out into the world.

These bodies are used for communication, and as I unveil myself and look at the truth within, I am free to express all of who I am. In this union, I am a beacon of light for others. I breathe in and say Namaste, “I bow to the light in you.”

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Power of Love

 

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.”- Rumi
With so much going on in this world, the mind wants to wander and take me into fears of the unknown. Then I hear the call of my dying friend, and when I look into her eyes the moment reveals the power of love.
           
This moment unveils me like nothing else, for as I feel my grief, I realize that every one of us is facing loss in these turbulent times. I muster up the courage, take a deep breath, and feel the reality that is before me.
           
This moment, this day, this time is where I get to look inside; where I let go and do my part to add support during these times of uneasiness. I reach my hand out to all who are brought to me. I hold them like precious jewels and behold their beauty, always with the reverence, presence, and appreciation as if it would be my last chance to do so.

Though it might be crowded with uncertainty and fears, I arrive within my heart and drop into the present moment where I give and receive the truth that rises within my human self. How precious love is, and it costs nothing but our own ability to empty what has held us back from receiving what is already here. When we open and empty, we can respond with the glance, the touch, the word that can be used to connect with the heart of another.
           
This art of listening does not have to separate us from anyone, no matter what they say. Just focus on what is real, for in the moment what is true rises within as light. Here are we joined. No matter what coverings we wear, this light binds us all together in this incredible tapestry called life.
Out of the darkness of thoughts 
That can only bring suffering
Comes the ever-present breeze of Spirit 
Calling your name,
Nudging you to break away 
From the mind that holds you
In the grip of despair.
 
You turn your gaze to the sun,
Where ripples of golden Light 
Move and dance upon your eyes
As you take in the story 
Written long ago
Yet now remembered.
There is so much to see 
When you live in union with the Divine 
Expressing the wisdom of the heart.
 
Oh, precious One!
Take off the denial 
So that your feelings can be allowed 
To pass through the river 
That once brought soothing 
In the womb of the mother.
Let the unconditional stream of consciousness 
Pull you into the embrace of tender loving care.
Look now to the sweetest life given 
For both the struggles and triumphs 
Have allowed you to grow into yourself.
 
This internal path brings forth the new,
As the seasons of grief change all your colors.
In the barren land of emptiness,
You become filled with the Light that gives and gives
Knowing that there is so much more to be received.
Now, as you reach into the deep canyon of emptiness,
The Light awakens and everyone in your presence 
Is welcomed into the embrace 
Of the One Eternal Being that transcends time.
 
Namasté,
Frannie

Monday, September 7, 2020

We Are Never Alone

 

“God’s message of love is sent into this world in a human envelope.” 
- Richard Rohr
Artwork by Frannie Hoffman
With all the stress of living in this human body, I strive each day to be the best version of myself. I glance over to the bookshelf where a colorful plaque screams the words etched on its surface and in my heart…
 
LOVE LIKE YOU’LL NEVER BE HURT
SING LIKE NO ONE IS LISTENING
DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING
LIVE LIKE IT’S HEAVEN ON EARTH
 
As I ride the waves, big and small, that carry me through this vast ocean that is life, again and again, I am shown yet another way back to myself. From this place, I know I can and will open my heart again. I let my soul’s song release the truth for everyone to hear as I dance on this incredible earth with abandon. There is so much toxicity in our world—with climate change, stressed ecosystems, economic destruction, and of course social and racial injustice, all compounded by pollution, chronic inflammation, and other diseases that reveal how stressed our bodies are. Still, this life has shown me that when I allow the stress to settle, when I let go, I can hear the calling of my heart and trust the wisdom of my soul. I remember who I am, worthy to experience life as Heaven on Earth.

Thirty-five years ago, I started on this journey to heal my body, mind, and spirit. My soul was calling me to transform through my body (illness) and I answered the call. These hard times helped me grow into a more conscious soul. This education—learning what I needed to live in a healthier way, restoring my body and mind—it’s a path, not a destination. It never really gets done, for there always are more layers of these human conditions to unveil. Each day, I wake up into something new that challenges me to stay awake. 

My first book, From Modeling Clothes to Modeling Self, was the journey back to my true self. I share my path, my experiences, as I made my lifestyle changes and allowed the internal discomforts to bring me to my rough edges. Though life’s lessons continued to bring me to my knees, it was what I needed to help me grow into higher vibration. The key is to accept these feelings and unlovable parts without judgment, to be the best friend we can be to ourselves. 
There is so much that is pushing us all into higher consciousness. Deaths of loved ones, the loss of relationships, illnesses, and endings. But also birth and new beginnings. New partners, new babies/grandbabies, new clients, and new friends. This pandemic is a time of greater awakening. We are staying home more, feeling more, unveiling. It’s not just for us, it’s for the entire planet. As all the toxicity comes out of us and our planet, we see birds, fish, and bees coming back. I see this perfection and realize it is the same force that provides the foundation of my beliefs—pure Essence. 

Buddhist teachings and meditations help me uncover the layers often muddied by false ideas that stir things up and cause chaos. When I get still and quiet, the inner waters calm, the sediment falls away, so that who I really am can be seen and felt in the emptiness within. I love how The Course in Miracles brings everything back to me and my forgiving heart. I once asked someone, “If you take away money, you take away illness, you take away this or that, all these so-called problems, what is left?” If we can let go, for a moment, of the ego and all it wants to identify with, then the mind quiets and there is space inside to birth what is real. And that is presence, that is the connection to our perfect spirit. 

This lightness of being is love. It reminds me we are all connected so I can sit at the table of life with all humanity and keep my heart wide open. No matter where they have been, what dogma or political belief, whatever the color, gender, circumstance, or behavior, I can settle inside this heart of mine and listen. As I listen to the way life brings another to their knees, I can see the offering of love being presented to them. It fills me up and spills out as the compassionate loving of all mankind.

It is my work and joy to share this with the world. There are no enemies, only opportunities to heal what has been held within the body to learn the lesson of our souls. 
So, as we all face so much through these times, as we uncover these false beliefs that keep us attached, we become the one walking in this world but not of it. As the world turns us upside down and inside out and shakes us to our knees, we wake up to the knowing that fear does not hold us back. It helps us to feel our human self. 
Allow the mud to settle and reveal your shining light. Then look in the mirror and, seeing yourself fully, greet all that is reflecting back to you with, “Hello, you beautiful being of light, I love you!” Then walk in your world, uncovered, look into the eyes of another and say, “Hello, you beautiful being of light, I love you!”

As a messenger of light, I let my voice sing the praises of the Universe as I celebrate each day on this earth. I am alive to witness its beauty. The door that closed has opened many. The trumpets sound the arrival of this new day where I begin again. I dance in the living room with my puppy and sing like no one is listening. The song is "I Am Mantra" by Jack Dill and goes like this:

I AM!
I AM!
I AM!

Come join me here.

Namasté,
Frannie

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Let the Divine Do the Healing

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last night, as I woke up with a mind that was reliving difficult times from my past, I could feel myself releasing the traumas. My deep sleeps can be a time of healing and releasing these wounds from my cellular memory. These days, the pandemic provides fertile ground for fearful thoughts to overtake me in the present moment. I know these thoughts will take me to scary places if I follow. Instead, I reach for Spirit, which opens the doorway to the light. 

At the end of April, I got sick with Covid-19. The virus knocked me down and stopped me in my tracks. Sometimes breathing was such an effort. I felt like I was climbing on top of a high mountain and I couldn’t take in enough oxygen. At those times, I couldn’t reach for Spirit. All I could do was let go, surrender, and trust that my breath would return. From that place, I could see Spirit working through all my loving friends and family as God’s arms lifted me up and gave me the support I needed. I had Robert with me and virtual support from all over. I could feel the energetic hands and words of love that reached through the phone as I gazed at my daughter’s or son’s face. My grandson Theo, my sisters, and friends were there for me with their love and prayers. They dropped off food, groceries, and even money to help me get my needs met. This was another experience that I would never wish on anyone yet going through it has purified me. As I got clearer in knowing the gifts that my soul showed me through these trying times, I believe that everything happens for a reason even though sometimes we don’t see it right away.

Even amid the fear and challenges we are forced to encounter with this new coronavirus, there is growth. Perhaps this experience will wake us up to the idea that the ever-expanding, intelligent Universe is pushing us all individually and collectively to evolve. Unsettling times bring us to our worries—I know they do for me. How do we respond to this changing world? And most important, how do we find peace inside and overcome the fear and helpless feelings that we face when we reach in and touch our wounds? Being aware of what is going on in our bodies can bring us to a greater understanding of the feelings and perceptions of our human self. As we learn, we shift. And as evolving beings, we can choose to reach a higher consciousness. 

These pandemic times push us all deeper into ourselves. It pushed me into trusting God/Universe and showed me that she was doing it. I had to stop fighting and just surrender to the truth that I was taken care of. In my vulnerability, I can move out of my ego where God begins to change my mind. As I face myself so intimately, I uncover and let myself be exposed. The light of my true self channels through my heart no matter how unworthy I think I am. It’s just a moment in time where my human self provides the opening for Divine Source to come in. My healed, calm body settles into this moment where I can see all the beauty in my daily living. 
 
Today, I seek the truth as the light reflects to me what my heart knows. In the clarity of my mind, I see how beautiful it is as I get a glimpse of the divine looking back at me through all that walk with me. Nature in its glory speaks through the silence that we are all connected. This deep connection fills me up like the scent of the jasmine. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Be Still and Know That I Am

 "Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself? - Tao Te Ching 

I watch my grandson Theo walk into his parent's bedroom as he gravitates over to the window where the sunlight is flooding into the room. He begins to lift his hands up to touch the light. He is grasping with his tiny fingers as if he was catching it as it pours through his hands. He brings his hands up to his face as his smiles light up and capture the beauty of his innocence. How precious the moment is for me as I watch this experience that he is having for the first time.
 
I roll onto my side as I wake up in the night of my dark bedroom. The vision of Theo catching the sunlight passes through my inner eyes. Then thoughts begin to move through my mind as I recapture the fears I hear about the Caronavirus. It's such a scary time where life can bring us to our knees, where nothing can satisfy the negative thoughts of fear, loss, death and sickness and so much more. Such a time where the unknown future brings me inward.
 
I breathe into my body as I soften and receive the light. My mind is quiet as I let the light fill my mind's eye. Peace washes over me as I drink in this feeling where I am opening to love, sinking into my safe heart. Here in the sweetness of God's love, spirit speaks to me again and again as I fall awake into a presence that is beyond my thinking mind. I hear "Be still, stay here. I am here."
I listen to the quiet truth of what is needed and I let the dawn open my hands to write.
 
And so it is... 
Daily we are fighting the worries and fears where we lose our confidence.
Let us pause together as we breath, resting in our hearts for this precious moment.
Slow down and receive what is in the bottom of your feelings where unspoken fears and sadness live.
In the stillness let yourself be touched by kindness and tenderness. 
Quietly open like a flower turning its petals to the sun.
Safety and serenity is right here. 
Taste the goodness that is the essence of life.
If we stop for a little while and listen, we don't take this life for granted.
There is strength and wisdom in this hidden wholeness where inner light touches our weaknesses.
Let us step back and sink into the quiet within where we return to peace.
Greeting silence with all that is revealed, we are blessed.
Let us gather together in heart with patience through this time and listen to the still voice.
We are faithful companions for all our fellow pilgrims upon this earth.
Lean in with your heart with unshakable compassion.
Let peace grow large within...more and more peace to expose towards others.
Let this energy that creates worlds flow through every thought, word and deed. 
This love that nourishes the soul brings comfort from your spiritual nature to the world.
You are the prayer, the song of the birds, the light of the sun, the love of spirit.
In your stillness, you will see the opening where grace illuminates with the divine.
The good is already here as God is radiating on us all!
 
The sweetest offering I can give to you my soul family is to stay in this presence. An invitation to breathe into this moment so that the gift of our true essence can nourish and renew like nothing else in this external world. This fragrance of peaceful tranquility goes with you wherever you are and touches others during your quiet walks, during a moment of reflection, doing little things with great love. We are participating in something much greater and larger than our little self can ever know. Just as the innocence of Theo touching the light of the sun as he was perfectly himself in total love of the moment brought me life. Let us be empty so that God can fill us up and light can shine through our hearts as we touch the world even without physically touching as we pray and become the space... quietly empty for growth, life and spirit to enter.
Be still and know that I Am. I Am that I Am.
 
Deep peace to you
Namaste
Frannie

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Look Within- A Brand New Year to Fall in Love with Life

"When you give thanks for what you already have, the corresponding manifestation is to expand and increase what you have. When you give thanks for what you don't have, as if you already had it, the corresponding manifestation is to attract and create it into your life." -Mike Dooley
 
Ram Dass died December 22, 2019. He was one of my teachers. He had a near-fatal stroke over 20 years ago that paralyzed him and hampered his speaking ability. It took away his freedom in his body, but it allowed him to become more compassionate and humble. He continued to reach deeper into his soul and allowed and received his God image as he shared love till his last breath.
He says in Be Here Now, one of his books and for me, a favorite,"Early in the journey you wonder how long the journey will take and whether you will make it in this lifetime. Later you will see that where you are going is HERE and you will arrive NOW... so you stop asking."His teachings, and through his living, he demonstrated that every situation in life is for God to use to do good. In his later years, he focused on aging and dying without fear.

Doors close all the time. Doors open all the time. Life presents us with one opportunity after another. And when you look at your cup as half full instead of half empty, you might see ten thousand ways to walk through these openings. Life brings all kinds of loss in different ways. As we work our way down life's path, gratitude helps to soften the blows and lighten the load of the burdens carried; even when we stumble and fall and as broken dreams stop us in our tracks.
            
All of life is sacred. When you can accept it, just as it is, you open a space to find the good in it. Through moments of contemplation and meditation, I can become so anchored inside my inner being that when the feeling of fear rises-up in the present moment, I can see where my mind is attached and then I can let it pass on by, just like the weather. It's the grasping that creates suffering. When I recognize what I am attached to, I can free myself from even the most difficult situations. How easy it is to let the negative mind get into a loop that keeps us stuck in the fear of what is instead of participating in the flow of life. The soul just accepts it without pushing it away.
            
The first step is to express these indwelling thoughts of negativity whatever way it works for you and to decide to feel good by being grateful in this present moment. Think of gratitude as a present that gets unwrapped the moment it is given. It's time to start living your dreams now as you fall in love with yourself and your life. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Namasté,

Frannie

Friday, November 8, 2019

Let Us Be Grateful for Our Precious Life

"Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -Mary Oliver 
 
Life is so very precious! I just spent time away in California to celebrate my grandson Theo's 1stbirthday. How easy it is to be with him as I pause and become more present. He brings me into my heart without effort. I sit watching him. His big blue eyes and infectious laugh pulls me deeply inside where I let go of everything I think I need to do and just settle into the moment. Here in the living room I feel happy as a wave of peace enters me. I watch Theo try to walk, stumble, fall, cry, laugh and get up again and again.
 
As I ask myself how I choose to live my life right now, I breathe in and sit quietly. I meditate on the love, compassion and truth that is deeply inside of me now. With every heartbreak and unexpected experience that lifts my heart into joy, I can take a step into living what is next. Here I arrive, humbled to remember that in every moment, even if I stumble or fall, I have a choice to play, to sing, to open my eyes and feel the beauty of life that flows through. In this silence, everything that I need to know is revealed. 

What will I do with this one wild and precious life? 

Today, I settle into my heart and acknowledge how beautiful my family and friends are. Each one of you are like shining jewels in my life who have blessed my heart with kindness and sweet presence. When I stand in the sacred space that surrounds me, each breath and each touch, I will be mindful of all the details of my life and give thanks.
Step by step, moment by moment, breath by breath, 
I sense a quiet that embraces everything. 
I am the center of it all where everything is still.
I cannot find myself in those things of the world.
I pay attention to the language of Spirit.
I listen to the sweet sound of nothing.
This silence waits for me in between the words and ideas of my mind. 
My heart beats in this sacred place within my inner being. 
I can feel the touch of love that enters when I stay with me.
I surrender to this path that shines the light onto everything I do.
 
Namasté,

Frannie