A Modern Mystic

Musings on life, work and contemporary spirituality

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To struggle or not, that is the question

There is much written here and elsewhere about letting go, or what I am currently calling “releasing the struggle.” For too long I have understood these terms theoretically, only applying them on the meditation cushion or when some major life catastrophe occurs—divorce, job loss or illness, for example. Lately, however, I have begun to more easily cultivate a release of the minor, moment-to-moment struggles. This has changed my life.

flower path

A new path


What do these mundane relinquishments look like?

Here’s an example from my life this week.


With a particular outfit in mind, I go to my closet to get dressed for the workday. I soon realize, with some annoyance, that the grey slacks I intend to wear have a torn hem and that I really don’t have the appropriate red sweater to pull the whole thing together. Hmm. I look at the clock.

“Lots of time,” I think, “Why not stop at a favorite shop on my way to the office?”

Another voice in my head immediately objects about spending the money. Next comes the opposing thought, a justification: hadn’t I just received an unexpected check?

I decide on the plan and pull out my sewing kit to mend the pants. “What? No needle? I could swear I had one in here.”

Soon I am looking through the house for the emergency back-up sewing kit. I find it in my step-daughter’s bedroom. Sure enough, here are the needles. But what’s this? An empty package where the scissors had rested? Angrily I make a mental note to ask her to track them down. Meanwhile I am no closer to getting my pants hemmed, I have messes to clean up in three different rooms where I’ve been searching, and I have used up the time I had budgeted for the shopping expedition.

I go to Plan B: the brown skirt and black blouse, same shoes, hose and jewelry. I realize that this outfit is much more appropriate for the appointments I have during the afternoon. Everything is in perfect shape and I am dressed and ready to go within moments.

At this point I’m laughing. I realize I have just struggled away 45 minutes of my day. How similar that is to what I do on my zafu many dark mornings! I now clearly see that there was another choice: to notice that the slacks were not going to work and to just flow to the next outfit. What a tone that might have set for my day, far more important than grey or brown, slacks or skirt!

This is how life is. We can, in every moment, choose struggle or ease. This is what it means to let go.

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Being at home with fear

Lighthouse, Cape Mears, OR

Lighthouse, Cape Mears, OR

A friend called yesterday. She’s been trying to decide whether to move after accidentally finding the house of her dreams. It’s not an easy thing these days, to buy a house, put another on the market, get a new mortgage. I listened as she brainstormed ways to get the financing. She wanted a fool-proof plan, an air-tight  assurance that her mission would succeed.

Needless to say, I couldn’t offer that. I couldn’t tell her how to go about the process in a way that ensures all the pieces will fall into place for her move into that new home.

I listened more with an ear to hearing her discomfort, her fear and her need for control. How many times a day do I have the same fears and needs?

It seems this is the perfect time for listening. The Chinese call it the year of the Rabbit. With their long ears, sensitive whiskers, soft and gentle manner, the rabbit is the perfect symbol for taking it easy, staying quiet and allowing the wafting scent of the situation to enter our senses. We can really be as quiet as a rabbit, opening ever so gently to hear just what we need to know.

Instead we’re prone to distraction. Anything to take our minds off the complete vulnerability of the present moment. Anything to shout-out the whisper-soft voice of our heart. We’re taught to override our fears without giving them a second thought, and that habit makes our tiny terrors loom much larger outside ourselves in the form of political terrorism, financial insecurity, chronic health and well-being issues.

After our conversation, my friend faced her fears. She  realized her own discomfort in not having a Plan B if she should sell her present home and not qualify to buy the other. And when she presented her fears to her partner, something miraculous happened. In the space of his desire for the new house and her fear of taking the risk to get it, an option appeared that they had not considered. Plan B seemed obvious and approachable. The path opened when they faced their vulnerability together.

It doesn’t mean they’ll get the house. But it no longer matters. They are in a place of detachment, choosing the comfort of the present moment as their home for now.

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Some thoughts on 2011


Tara in the snow, 2009

Just like the quiet beauty of a longed-for snowfall, there is something magical about the first week of the year. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts that they may be the seeds for our positive thinking in 2011.

The themes for the year are releasing struggle, listening, and trusting the abundance of life.

The simple joy of the holiday season seems to spill onto the pages of my pristine 2011 datebook. My most ardent wish is that I trust the empty spaces more than frantically trying to fill my days with hustle and frenzy, struggling to manage all my commitments. Indeed, the first Monday of the year did not go as I had planned, but brought a theme of Let Go. A co-worker was laid-off, a plan in my home was abandoned, a client made a move away from me and toward a new strategy for himself, an old friend surprised me when I let go of my judgments about her.

Sound scary? I certainly react with fear at times. What I have come to realize, however, is that I cannot let go of only what I perceive as bad. If something is bad, is its opposite good? When I am honest, I admit that I have no idea.

The secret is to release the struggle to sort it all out,  to keep the good and the bad segregated, to spend my days filling-in the ledger book in my karma account.

Release the struggle. Every struggle. Struggle looks like “yah, but…” Releasing it looks suspiciously like “——–” listening. How simple is that?

There is an abundance unlike anything I have ever known. Gifts are falling from the sky. The right words appear magically. Several conflicts were averted yesterday just by staying present to my own thoughts and feelings and stating them simply. New plans materialized that were even better than previous ideas. A grounded surety has begun bubbling-up like a healing hot spring.

Is this the right path for 2011? I don’t know. Stay tuned. It will change.




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2010 in review–thank you readers!

Although I aspire to many more posts and views in 2011, 2010 was not bad considering I worked full time and had little energy left over for writing. Nonetheless, I’m happy that so many of you found my words helpful.That’s truly what it’s about for me. So if you find something here that you like, by all means please share the link and leave a comment. In the mean time, the statisticians at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of my blog’s health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 3 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 32 posts. There were 3 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb.

The busiest day of the year was March 24th with 49 views. The most popular post that day was About Carrie.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, networkedblogs.com, astrologyexpressed.wordpress.com, linkedin.com, and healthfitnesstherapy.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for carrie ure, coward archetype, apollo archetype, apollo greek god, and lion archetype.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


About Carrie March 2009
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The Archetype of the Coward: Facing Fear Part I March 2009


The Archetype of the Coward; Facing Fear Part II March 2009


The Apollo Archetype June 2009


April Fool’s Day; The Archetype of the Fool April 2009