Bringing Love Where Love Is Not

“Bring love where love is not” is a mantra of mine that I use at times when I’m faced with a challenging situation that is laced with anger, fear, judgement, pain…you know, all the things that are surrounding us in every moment these days.  It’s so easy to get seduced by the drama and lose ourselves by falling into our old familiar patterns of blame and anger, and feeling absolutely justified in doing so.  Being committed to bringing love where love is not can sometimes feel like you need to channel the energy of a samurai warrior to overcome our ego’s desire to collude with the masses.  And right now, that is precisely the calling.  Our world is hurting right now, and people are suffering.  We can consciously choose to let go of our own fear and pain to bring the vibration of love alive, for ourselves, and for the world.  It’s a choice we have.  Love is always a choice.  Fear or love.  What vibration do you want to bring into the world?  I invite you to choose love.  We have enough of the other stuff.

The Trappings of Self-Care

Especially now, in these times of Covid with the stress of everyday uncertainty and what feels like continuous loss, the reminder to “self-care” keeps popping up.  Little ditties on your social media accounts, ads for spa treatments, vacations, and wine therapy are abundant.  Published “self-care” lists suggest such things like binge-watching your favorite TV show, buying flowers for yourself, taking social media breaks, and organizing a cluttered space.  Burn a candle.  Take a bubble bath.  Go on a hike.

Sounds wonderful, right?  Sign me up! (Except for the organizing clutter one, let’s be real.)

Lately, the world around us feels like it is imploding.  It seems like everyone I talk to is going through something right now. Clearly, the time for “self-care” is now.

 With all of those suggestions out there being offered by well intentioned people, I invite you to ask yourself before engaging in a “self-care” activity, is this merely a distraction from my pain or does this activity give me the opportunity to let go of the fear and pain that is currently living within me?  With all of the current losses we are going through, big and small, coupled with all of the uncertainty in the uncharted territory of Covid, you can bet there is pain in your heart asking to be freed.  It shows up in many ways…tightness in your chest and/or jaw, traps, and lower back.  It’s both exhaustion and the inability to get a good night’s sleep.  It’s the relentless spinning of the thoughts in your head.  It’s your desire to stay busy or the inability to get anything done.  Anxiety.  Depression.  It’s how quickly you get angry, how easily you blame.  These are all part of a shared human experience, not to be judged, but instead to hear the call of the heart, which is saying (and sometimes screaming), “It’s time to free my pain now.”

For those of you that are called to walk, hike, or run, be conscious of your breath.  Join your body and breathe into the pain of your heart (with intension) with your in-breath, and cleanse and let go with your out-breath.  Feel your feet hit the ground.  Build your connection to the earth.  Center yourself.

For those of you called to be in nature, receive the beauty with your in-breath, and release pain with your out-breath.

Dance and sing with the intention of moving energy through you, receiving love and light with your in-breath, letting go of that which no longer serves you with your out-breath.  When lighting a candle, grow your inner light by breathing in light with your in-breath and breathing out darkness with your out-breath.  In your bubble bath, receive the gifts of the water that surround you with your in-breath, the stillness, the warmth, and the serenity.  Let go of what is troubling you with your out-breath. Get the idea?

Join your breath when engaging in any activities that you love (and especially the activities that you don’t).  Deepen your ground and your oneness to all that is.  This is how we truly take care of ourselves…by attending to the request of our hearts in the most intimate way.  Receiving, and letting go.  Returning to the flow of life.  Growing our love.  Honoring the request of our heart instead of distracting ourselves from it.

So as you prepare to “self-care” by pouring your favorite glass of wine and settling in to binge Netflix, pause.  Take a few moments to return to your breath, and inhabit your body.  Your enjoyment will deepen, your laughs will be louder, and your heart will be lighter.




Brightening the Light Within

‘Cause God knows the sun hasn’t been shining in Vermont!

You can’t bump into people these days without hearing about how miserable the weather’s been.  Cold, damp, raw, and yes, even snowy. “When will it feel like spring?!” has been on the minds of everyone you meet.  May 15th and we are still lighting a fire in our wood stove.    So is it the dark days that have been getting people down, or the lack of light?

I have a sneaky feeling it has something to do with both (and throw in the unmet strong preferences of Vermonters this time of year after a long, hard winter).

When something so out of our control as the weather has gotten us all in a tear, I am reminded that we have a choice to make.  If we are relying on external forces to feel happy, it’s time to turn inward.  Or not.  The choice is ours to make.

Turning inward reminds us that we alone can dictate how we feel.  We are not a victim of the weather, or of anything else for that matter.  Light is abundant within us and around us.  The light we see in the eyes of our children, of loved ones…the light from the earth that is nurturing and caressing the delicate buds we are beginning to see on the trees…the light in the sky that twinkles even through the rain…and the light of spirit that burns brightly within us.  Choosing to join the light within us through our conscious breath will grow that light, and chase away the shadows.  Choosing to be with the beauty of the light around us, instead of longing for the sun, will grow our light, breath by breath.  Receiving light with our in-breath, and cleansing and letting go of darkness with our out-breath.  It’s a practice.  One that you can try in this exact moment.

So when you see the sun burning through the cloud cover today, rays of light racing to the earth, drop whatever you are doing and RUN outside before you miss it!  Let it warm your face, be with the beauty of the subtle prisms of light dancing on your eyelashes, breathe it in and allow it to fill your soul.  Be with the blessing of this moment.  And when the clouds resume their cruel barricade, end this joining of the light with gratitude.  And when your longing of the light makes its way back to your consciousness, remember, it’s just a breath away.


Growing our Light through Death…and Life

Today is the anniversary of my niece Morgan’s death.  In the picture below, Morgan is holding my son (now 12 years old), three days before she died.  There are so many astonishing things that I could share with you about Morgan, about about her spunk and vitality, about the lessons she taught us, about how many lives she touched.  But today, I’m going to share with you something that sometimes gets missed when watching a loved one die, because it’s easy to get swallowed up by the fear and pain that is breaking your heart.

As Morgan was dying, she had a divine light that was growing inside of her that made her eyes bright and sparkly, that softened her energy and shifted her vibration to that of pure love and light.  As Morgan was dying, her spirit would spend less and less time in her human body that was riddled with cancer, and more time flying free with the angels that she spoke about, reacquainting herself with the Light of the One.  At times it felt as though she was hanging on by a thread!  And then she’d come back, open her eyes, and be a little brighter and more at peace.  It was an honor and a privilege to witness and experience.

In the last month of Morgan’s life every time I saw her, the light within her had grown, and there seemed to be less and less moments that she was inhabiting her body, and more and more moments that she was with Spirit.  It was that way until she took her last breath.  More love, more light in every moment.  Her transition was full of such beauty and grace.  It was a gift to us all. She was an inspiration.

Growing our love and light can happen today.  Right now.  Divine love and light is already within us!  Morgan didn’t conjure it up because she was dying.  It was already there!  When we turn inward, return to our breath, we can open to receive love and light from the Earth Mother and the Great Spirit and grow our own.  It’s a practice that will also help us be more present, so we can recognize and join the light within others…including those in our lives that are dying and are gifting us with their transition, as Morgan gifted me.

At times our own light is shining bright!  Other times, we dim the light within and get lost in our fears, our minds, and the distractions of life.  I invite you to recognize when this is happening and return to the practice of joining your breath, and deepening your ground.  We can choose a more love-filled life when we conciously grow our light…with every breath we take.

5 minute grounding meditation

Guided grounding meditation from River Buffum on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy this simple guided meditation.  It was created to help grow people’s awareness of their breath.  Breath is Life!  It also introduces the concept (and magic) of grounding.  It is such a beautiful gift and practice.  Revisit the video as often as you’d like.  My hope is to create more videos that invite people to grow and deepen their practice.  When we carve out time to meditate, even if it’s for the littlest while every day, we strengthen our ability to return to our grounded breath in the moments of our days, which allows us to be more present, more loving, more compassionate, more One.

Happy Spring!

Art by Erika Pochybova-Johnson

If you’re a Vermonter (or a New Englander for that matter), outside looks anything but spring!  The air is frigid, the snow is deep.  But there is an unmistakable feel of spring in the air.  A lot is happening just under the Earth’s surface, and it’s changing the vibration all around us.

Today is the Spring Equinox, a sacred day in many cultures.  It is a day in which the amount of light and dark are equal.  Tomorrow, there will be more light than dark, and the light will continue to grow everyday until the Fall Equinox, where it will become equal amounts again, and then the darkness grows.

We are entering the yang season, and saying goodbye to the yin.  You may notice people driving a little faster, listening to their music a little louder, adding feverishly to their to-do lists.  Spring is a season of action, and it shows up in many different ways in the world around us.

It’s easy to get caught up in the energy of it all, the rushing around, the taking advantage of the longer days to get more accomplished.  Often by doing this, we lose ourselves in the excitement of it all, and find ourselves losing our ground, which makes it difficult to be present in our bodies, and almost impossible to listen to our hearts.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to gently remind you (as I remind myself), to return to your breath and your ground during this busy time.  Grounding this active growth-filled yang energy with your breath with the yin of the Earth Mother will allow you to join this season with more of you, with more presence, more consciousness, more grace.  And believe it or not, you will actually get more done, more efficiently, by grounding, than you would if you let the energy of spring sweep you away!

The Gift of Breath: part 2

Welcome back!  Let’s cover a few basics before continuing on with the practice of meditation.

All meditation practices have four common principles:

Focus.  It doesn’t matter what you choose to focus on.  It can be anything…a word, an image, a sound, music, a mantra, etc.

Breath.  Joining your physiology, you receive and nurture your body with your in-breath, and release and cleanse with your out-breath.

Joining.  In meditation you choose to join your breath, your focus, your mind, body and spirit.

Returning.  When you get distracted by your thoughts, sounds, sensations, etc., return to your breath and focus.

This is nothing you need to memorize.  I’m not going to test you later!  It’s just a good awareness to have.

The meditation that we are going to be practicing is a Native American grounding meditation.  Receiving the embrace of love, light and fire from the Earth Mother becomes our focus.  We breathe in through our feet.  Our feet act as a conduit to our entire nervous system, awakening every organ, muscle, tissue, and cell within us.  We breathe in through our feet to receive and bring love, light and fire to our whole body, mind and spirit.  And with our out-breath we let go and cleanse ourselves with love, light and fire back through our feet and into the Earth Mother.

Breathe through our feet you say?  Yes.  Imagine that you are growing roots out of your feet.  The roots reach far and wide and deep into the Earth Mother where there is nothing but love, light and fire.  With every breath your roots grow and expand.  And your hands!  Your grounded feet awaken your hands. Allow your hands to rest upon the Earth.  Grow your roots with your breath.  Your hands are an extension of your heart.  So with this practice you awaken your inner heart!

Imagine it.  Sense it.  Feel it.  And practice it!

Grounding is a oneness practice.  Oneness of our body, mind, and spirit, and oneness to all that is.

So I invite you to sit in a chair, with your feet on the floor.  Or lie down on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.  Close your eyes.

Bring your awareness to your breath.  With your next in-breath, breathe up love, light and fire in through your feet and nurture yourself with these gifts from the Earth Mother.  With your out-breath, breathe out through your feet and cleanse yourself with love, light and fire giving it away to the Earth Mother.  Breathe in from the Earth Mother and receive.  Breathe out to the Earth Mother and cleanse.  Grow your roots through your feet and hands.  Feel your breath deepen.  Receive.  Cleanse. Coach yourself through this grounding meditation.  Focus on grounding.  Join your breath.  And when you get distracted, (and you will get distracted ;)….gently return to your breath.

Look for the soon-to-be-posted grounding meditation video that will guide you through this practice.  Until then…give it a try yourself!