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Posts: 23,095 3/6/14 10:51 P
Two Sides of the Same Moon Ritual Moon
by Madisyn Taylor
As our ancestors once did we can honor the cycles of the moon with rituals that help connect us to a more natural life.
The moon waxes and wanes in the night sky, always following the same cyclical pattern, lighting the darkness with its luminous glow. It has been this way as long as the earth has been here. The same moon grew from dark to full and back again, catching the eyes of our grandparents, our great grandparents, and those at the beginning of humanity. The moon guided our ancestors in the planting, sowing, and reaping of their crops, and we can be inspired to observe and honor these same cycles today with simple rituals that help connect us to the natural ebb and flow of life energy.
Dark moons and new moons represent polar moments of beginning and realization in the arc of the moon’s phases. When the moon is dark, we might take time to meditate on emptiness, the fertile ground in which seeds take root. A simple ritual for acknowledging this potent phase of the moon would be to write down new plans and ideas that present themselves and keep them in a moon journal. Looking back over a year of dark moons, you may be amazed to see which seeds have blossomed. Full moons symbolize completion and fulfillment, the realization of the seed, and they are times of celebration. They are a great time to gather friends and family to partake in a communal feast acknowledging the apex of another monthly cycle. Your full moon journal might track the full moons of an entire year with a recounting of the gathering—the menu, the guest list, and any other observations you feel inspired to make.
Honoring the dark and full moons with these simple rituals brings our year into a new kind of focus. As we acknowledge the flow of the moon’s cycles, we become more comfortable with the changing nature of our earthly lives, making our peace with each phase, and with the shifting from emptiness to fullness and back again. We strengthen our connection to the universe in which we live and find peace in both emptiness and fullness, each of which are natural and necessary—two sides of the same moon.
Interestingly this often happens naturally in the country where farmers help each other, but not in the city where so many "services" are provided by the local government.
Pounds lost: 18.0
Posts: 23,095 3/5/14 11:44 P
Constructive Connections Sharing with Your Neighbors
by Madisyn Taylor
If you are craving community look to your own neighbors to forge new relationships and build something new together.
Many of our relationships can be fleeting or do not deepen past a superficial level, yet these connections, as trivial as they can seem, often have the potential to grow into something much more essential. When we crave community, we should focus our attention on these casual acquaintances. To forge a bond with neighbors, we need to work together with them so that we have a context from which to begin a more mature relationship. Sharing tasks that are part of living can be a wonderful way to become a part of a larger community, make new friends, and lighten the workloads of everyone involved.
Creating a network of neighbors who agree to pool certain resources and share daily duties can be as easy as taking the initiative. If you are willing to take the first step by reaching out to the individuals and families who share your building or your street, you will likely find that others are receptive to the notion. Starting small, with just a few people, can help you orchestrate a smoothly running system. Together, you will need to decide what chores you want to do communally and what resources can be shared. Ideas for community sharing are child care, errands, housework, keeping a joint garden, cooking for the group, and carpooling. For instance, if you cook large meals for four neighbors once a week, you take off four nights after that. As you grow to trust one another, you can begin adding new members to your evolving network or introducing new tasks to your shared roster of duties.
Actions speak louder than words, so working closely with neighbors to ensure the well-being of the group can be a wonderful way to build a sense of community in your locale. Not everyone you approach will be open to the idea of becoming a part of a network of sharing. As you connect with those who do appreciate the merits of such a system, you will discover that others are just as eager as you are to create interpersonal connections that are defined by substance.
I love this one. I'm looking forward to a day when I can do this more naturally. Retirement will help.
Pounds lost: 18.0
Posts: 23,095 3/5/14 12:54 A
Rhythmic Rest Natural Cycles of Sleep
by Madisyn Taylor
Our bodies are naturally encoded to respond to light and dark and sleeping with the rhythms of Mother Nature.
The human body evolved to fall asleep soon after the descent of night’s curtain and to wake with the appearance of the dawn. Sleep cycles were governed by patterns of light and darkness for thousands of years, meaning that for much of history, humanity has enjoyed nine of more hours of sleep each night. Our bodies are naturally encoded to respond to light and dark and sleeping with the rhythms of Mother Nature. In the present, artificial light has changed the way we schedule our day-to-day lives, and most of us slumber for less than seven hours at a stretch. It is possible, however, to come back to natural sleeping cycles by making a few small changes. When our bodies and minds are attuned to the world’s natural rhythms, we feel calmer, more centered, and more energetic while awake. Sleep is more satisfying because we afford ourselves more than enough time for restoration and rejuvenation.
Our reliance on indoor lighting further compounds our disassociation from the natural cycles of light and darkness that would otherwise preside over our sleep. You can mimic the passage of the day by changing the quality of the light. Sleeping without heavy drapery or shades is best so you can wake up with the sun. If sleeping by a window without a curtain is not an option, a dawn simulator lamp imitates the sun by growing steadily brighter with the coming of the height of morning.
You will likely discover that changing your sleep patterns to be in sync with the daily cycle of light and darkness is easy and that you feel more alive when your sleeping and waking rhythms are in alignment to those of the earth. Nature’s own phases will be your guide to wellness, granting you more waking hours in the summertime when you will benefit greatly from spending time outside and ensuring you get plenty of sleep in the winter when you likely need it most.
10-Year Anniversary Celebrating 10 Years With Our Readers
by Madisyn Taylor
Dear DailyOM Readers,
We all know that great companies start from inspired ideas and our story is no different. My husband, Scott, and I were living in Los Angeles each doing our thing when we started to have feelings that we wanted to create and start a business together that melded our personal world into a business model that others could benefit from as well. It started with the thought, "how can we create positive change in the world using our skills and gifts?" We pondered about what legacy we could leave and how we could change the footprint of the earth for the better. I wanted to use my love of meditation and writing to share about the life lessons I have learned throughout my own life and especially during a period of accelerated awakening. In March 2004, an idea was brought forth to fruition and DailyOM began in our home in the Hollywood Hills of all places.
My husband’s role became that of business manager, programmer, visionary, and CEO. My role became that of Meditator In Chief if you will, downloading ideas from deep meditation to be brought forth into written form. Both of us naturally took on our roles as we created and morphed DailyOM into what it is today. It wasn’t always easy, as I struggled with fear and doubt around delivering daily insight and Scott took on the challenges of pioneering a daily on-line company. Eventually I settled into a beautiful flow with spirit who graciously guided me with 5 new story ideas each week.
We now send out over 1.2 million emails a day and we rejoice in knowing that so many brave souls are making the effort to improve their lives. What started out with only my daily essay has evolved into many more features such as our gift store, music and library content, daily horoscopes and our popular on-line courses.
For many years we stayed anonymous, with the idea being that readers would concentrate on the message, not the messenger. Soon people wanted to know who was behind DailyOM and I also felt a nudge from Spirit to come forward. I was very uncomfortable with this as I am a very private person and prefer to not be in the public eye. You greeted us with open arms and with messages of curiosity fulfilled.
2008 and 2010 brought printed versions of DailyOM through my publisher Hay House. (My husband published 3 works of spiritual fiction and wrote and directed a movie!) 2009 brought a new addition to our personal family, our son, Oliver who no doubt will be changing the world in his own way. (actually, he already is…)
Not only has DailyOM helped our readers, but also the employees that have come to work for us over the years. Some only for a short while and others who have found a comfortable home with us. A heartfelt "thank you" to all of our past and present employees; so many lessons learned and lived.
A big thank you to my husband, for making all if this happen each day. Without him, my thoughts would still be contained within my journals without a voice and we wouldn't have our beautiful connection with all of you each day. Also a thank you to our friends and family who have supported us throughout these 10 years and beyond. You know who you are and we love you!
I honor you and value each and every one of you. For all of you that have written to me, I do receive your mail and although I would love to answer and help all of you personally, I cannot. I have a special place set up to save all of your emails after I have read them. Thank you.
DailyOM will continue to serve and it will probably continue to ebb and flow as we all do in our own personal lives. We have something new on the horizon, be sure to look for a major announcement in the spring!
If you want to wish DailyOM a happy 10th anniversary, you can write to us at Love@dailyom.com or visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dailyom. Also, if you want to post a video message, we would love to watch it.
Letting Go with Forgiveness From the Letting Go with Forgiveness On-Line Course
by Ana Holub
The following is an excerpt from the "Letting Go with Forgiveness" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.
Welcome to Letting Go with Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a very tender subject. It brings up lots of memories, emotions and desire in most of us. I’m glad you’ve chosen to explore forgiveness as a healing tool in your life, for it is a sacred journey. Forgiveness is the most powerful medicine I’ve found to heal the human heart.
As your teacher and guide for the next 8 weeks, I’d like to introduce myself. Most people know me as a professional forgiveness counselor, certified Radical Forgiveness coach, mediator and author. I’m also the mother of two unbelievably amazing children (I know I’m biased, but it’s actually true!). I’ve spent over 20 years learning and teaching about human psychology, spirituality, conflict and peace. I work with lots of people in all sorts of places and circumstances, including couples, individuals, corporations, non-profits, some of the inmates at San Quentin Prison and at-risk teens and their families.
But, of course, there is a lot more to my story than my professional biography. I’m so deeply indebted to the work of forgiveness, and to my mentors in the field, because my sanity literally depends on it. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near as happy and peaceful as I am now if I hadn’t discovered the miracles that forgiveness brings.
Many of us go through really hard times. My hardest time was when my mother died, by her own hand, when I was young, pregnant, confused and almost penniless.
Contact with God was the only thing that kept me sane and whole enough to raise my children well, despite my mother’s mental illness and its effect on me. It helped me learn that I am a lot stronger than anything that shows up in my life, even the shock and pain of my mother’s suicide.
It took years to receive all of the lessons this experience gave to me. It was, in a sense, very hard work, and even now I would not claim that I am finished. Through forgiveness, I learned that the grace of God offers a more powerful love than what my human mother could give me. It’s a love that never leaves, never gives up, and always heals when we allow it into our hearts. I also learned that my mother's love was perfect as it was, and as it is.
You probably have a different, painful story that affected your life. Perhaps you have quite a few of them! This course will guide you step-by-step, showing you a way to heal your painful memories by finding the spiritual treasure hidden within each one.
As I’ll explain shortly, the kind of forgiveness I’m talking about is not the traditional model. As the next 8 weeks unfold, I’ll teach you how to go much further and deeper on your spiritual path. I will share with you my version of ecstatic, radical forgiveness. I know it will help you in some of the same ways it continues to help me.
What is Forgiveness?
As I mentioned earlier, forgiveness truly is heart medicine. It involves the healing experience of Divine contact. The Divine has many names, including the Holy Spirit, the Divine Mother, Father God, Great Spirit, Nature, or the “peace that passeth all understanding.” Whenever I mention the word “Divine,” please substitute any name that works for you. The important thing for us to remember is the uniting, creative force of Love. Only this Love is real, and only Love has the power to heal and reunite us with our true nature.
I sometimes call our forgiveness journey a jump into the River of Love. In this course, you will learn that Life gave us our experiences to show us that NO MATTER WHAT, the River of Love will float us home to a deep sense of inner security and serenity. This experience of forgiveness teaches us to release our sadness, and find gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned. It gives us the joy and freedom of knowing we are never isolated or without a friend. The River of Love shows us that the edges to all things are friendly…if we relax into the safety we share with the Divine.
In committing to make use of the River of Love on our path of freedom, we need to examine what this forgiveness is, and what it is not.
In the traditional view of forgiveness, a common element is that a crime occurred. If there was no crime, there’d be no need to forgive! So if you feel that forgiveness is what is next for you, you’ll need to find the crimes in your life story. By crime, I mean any transgression that seemed to cause you pain, sadness, anger, fear, or other emotion that you did not want to feel at the time. It could have been as large as a rape or murder, or as small as a nasty look or icy silence.
I say “seemed to cause you pain” because it is never the events that cause us to suffer, but rather how we interpret the situation. It is possible for one person to feel great anguish over something that another person wouldn’t mind at all. Even dramatic acts of violence can have different effects on different people, depending upon what the people involved think about what happened.
We have a choice about how we interpret our surroundings and the intentions of others. We can choose fear or love. If we choose fear, which is how we were programmed at just about every level of society, then we will assume that an attack occurred, and a crime must have taken place.
For example, crimes usually involve violence of some kind. This could be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or energetic violence. Perhaps a situation occurred where someone crossed your personal boundary without permission, physically attacking you or giving you an emotional stab. Probably, your first instinct was to defend yourself, retaliate, or withdraw. Each of these instincts stems from a belief that the attack was real, and that you are an individual person with an individual body. This is how you live in the World of Humanity, also known as the world of 3D or the world of duality, where crimes take place every day.
Once you were convinced that a crime occurred, the people involved automatically fit into pre-arranged roles. We have a group agreement for these roles, which spans all cultures and socio-economic levels around the globe. We call these roles Victims and Perpetrators. Sometimes there is another role, that of the Savior – a third person who swoops in to (temporarily) save the day. For our forgiveness practice, we’ll focus on the Victim and Perpetrator roles, because they take us directly into our emotions, and that is the place to go for deep healing.
In traditional forgiveness, we keep these roles intact and try to heal. We say to ourselves, “I’ll just let bygones be bygones.” Or, “I’ll let the passage of time heal my aching heart. It doesn’t feel so bad anymore. I’ve forgiven him/her.” Or, “They had such a terrible childhood, they couldn’t help themselves. I feel pity for them. I have forgiven.”
In this course, you will learn to enlarge and change the definition of forgiveness. Complementing the teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and Radical Forgiveness, you will utilize a philosophy that ultimately throws out the victim and perpetrator roles altogether. You’ll ask yourself to expand your thinking and feeling to include all beings as equal, eternal and holy. You can then experience a sense of peace that is never possible when we identify ourselves or others as victims and perpetrators. This peace is only available to us when we relax into the World of Divine Truth, where the grace of God envelops us all.
The catch here is that we can’t gloss over the knots of constriction and pain that we made in our emotional bodies, back when upsetting events in our lives occurred. Especially when we were children, we didn’t have the emotional maturity to separate ourselves from our parents, peers and teachers. We didn’t understand the impact of the pain they were carrying when it was projected upon us. We dutifully took on the legacy of their trauma in an elaborate human dance that has lasted for untold generations. And the thing is, we’ll keep on projecting this mess onto our children and our grandchildren unless we stop the momentum. This is the most important stand we can take in life. We can say, “This pain stops with me.”
“To transform energies we must experience them totally, working through them and forgiving them, which means seeing the perfection in them.” — Colin Tipping, Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle
Note: Forgiveness is the inner work that we do to increase our experience of freedom. It brings us consciously into the World of Divine Truth. In the World of Humanity, we also need accountability, responsibility for our actions, systems of justice, mediation, reconciliation, treatment programs, jails and prisons. This is the outer work of living together in an unenlightened society. These inner and outer levels are connected, yet distinct.
Almost all of us have wounds that need to heal. We can’t skip over the work that is needed to release this pain out of our minds, hearts and bodies. This is the blessing of forgiveness and the vital excitement of jumping into the River of Love. It takes us from isolation, fear and pain all the way back home to God. We simply cannot heal without learning to float within it!
When you do the inner work of forgiveness, remember that you are not trying to fix yourself, another person, or a situation. You are not looking for justice in order to champion injustice. You are not a savior or a victim or a perpetrator. Those are roles that you constructed. You are not bound by them, nor is anyone else.
What a relief!
You will learn to simply witness what you are carrying from the past, learn from it, and let it go. You will release the need to blame, shame or revenge upon anyone – including yourself. This release will open up passageways that were blocked, perhaps for your entire life up until now. This means that all of the love and wisdom of the Divine will be available for you…now that you have finished your business of building grievances. The doorways, your inner meridians, will be open. You will begin to live inside miracles themselves, and to come to at-one-ment with our Creator. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.
“No more fearful dreams will come, now that you rest in God.” — ACIM, WB 193
What are the benefits of forgiving someone? Research results cited here come from the Mayo Clinic. For more information, go to www.mayoclinic.com.
Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of forgiveness. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:
* Lower blood pressure * Stress reduction * Less hostility * Better anger management skills * Lower heart rate * Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse * Fewer depression symptoms * Fewer anxiety symptoms * Reduction in chronic pain * More friendships * Healthier relationships * Greater religious or spiritual well-being * Improved psychological well-being
Keep in mind that current research studies people engaging in a traditional forgiveness model. In this course, you’ll also be receiving these health benefits, but in a potentially much deeper way because of the radical nature of its philosophy. How deep you go depends on you.
Contemplate these questions to begin your forgiveness process:
How do you currently view forgiveness? What prompted you to invest in this course? What is your commitment to yourself about finishing it? Are you committed? What value can you see in learning to forgive? What do you want from forgiveness? What will you give to your process? Are you waiting to be forgiven? from whom? What emotions are rising up in you as you meditate on these questions?
For more information visit From the Letting Go with Forgiveness On-Line Course
Most of us know in our hearts that the homeless and the poor are not so very different from us.
Homeless people in our communities are a fact of life, especially in big cities. Many of us don’t know how to interpret this situation or what we can do to help. We may vacillate between feeling guilty, as if we are personally responsible, and feeling angry, as if it is entirely on their own shoulders. The situation is, of course, far more complex than either scenario. Still, not knowing how to respond, we may fall into the habit of not responding at all. We may look over their heads not making eye contact, or down at the ground as we pass, falling into a habit of ignoring them. Each time we do this, we disconnect ourselves from a large portion of the human family, and it doesn’t feel right.
Most of us know in our hearts that the homeless and the poor are not so very different from us. They may be the victims of poor planning or an unavoidable crisis. Some of them are mentally ill, some are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and some are choosing to be homeless for reasons we may never understand. We can imagine that, given their lives, we would likely have ended up in the same place. This does not mean that we are meant to rescue them, as they are on their own learning path, but it does remind us that we can treat them as equals, because that is what they are. Even if we aren’t able to offer food, shelter, or money, we can offer a blessing as we pass. We can look them in the eye and acknowledge our shared humanness, even if we don’t know just how to help them. This simple act of kindness and silent or spoken blessings can be so helpful to those living on the street.
If you want to help with information, you can learn about the services in your area and share the locations of food banks, shelters, and other resources. Perhaps your family would like to have a plan ahead of time, talking with your children about how as a family you would like to handle these situations. Whatever you decide to do, you will feel much better when you make a conscious choice not to simply look away.
My Mom is a Genii! No, really! She has just written a book about wishes. (It is unpublished & she is sending it to me, in the hopes I will take it as my own & expand it! You said in my years cards I would be writing! I'm inspired to help her out! She is published in several areas, already & on Amazon) She grants wishes & 1 of her sayings is "be careful what you wish for!" Because she has helped many people realize they are their OWN Genie! & can grant their own wishes!
Great reading today!!!! Thanks!
You are SO wonderful sharing your gifts with us all! We are blessed! *~LIGHT
My new motto: (AS OF 1-23-2014 "I AM SUCCESSFUL IN EVERYTHING I DO!" "My religion is kindness; my church is nature; my God is a feeling, lives deep inside; my job is to be conscious; my path is forgivness; my religion is kindness and I practice it everyday"! Song & lyrics by Karen Drucker
current weight: 2.0 over
Posts: 23,095 2/27/14 10:38 P
A Magical Mind Wish
by Madisyn Taylor
When we wish for something our consciousness opens to receiving it like a flower unfolding its petals to receive a bee.
From blowing dandelion seeds into the air to throwing a penny into a fountain, we have all felt inspired to make a wish, to whisper our secret desires into the ears of the universe and wait for signs that we have been heard. Some wishes come true while others remain ethereal visions that either stay with us or fade like a star in the light of morning. Whether they come true or not, wishes are important missives, expressing our heart’s desire as well as our intention to create something new in our lives. When we wish for something, our consciousness opens to receiving it, like a flower unfolding its petals to receive a bee.
There is something innocent and magical about making a wish, something that recalls the energy of childhood. Wishing is not about formulating a plan and following it step by step to attain a goal, which is the realm of adulthood. Wishing is more like a playful volley across the universe, an invitation to play. Waiting for the response is an integral part of the process. Wishing inspires an innocent opening to the possibility of magic as we wait to see if the invisible realm will bring our wish to life. This opening is a beautiful gesture in and of itself, regardless of the outcome. We place ourselves in a magical mind, and this mind is arguably as wonderful as the fulfillment of our wish itself.
In our straightforward, action-oriented society, we may tend to dismiss the power of this seemingly passive process, yet the power of a wish is well known, hence the cautionary phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.” If you have given up wishing in favor of more adult pursuits, you might want to bring its magic back into your life. The next time you see the first star of the evening, or find yourself in front of a birthday cake covered in flaming candles, give yourself the gift of the magical realm that you knew so well as a child—close your eyes, open your mind, and make your wish.
A deep feeling of gratitude can emerge as we open to the experience of being helped.
Most of us pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We like to be responsible for taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. This is why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation in which we have to rely on someone else. This can happen as the result of an illness or an injury, or even in the case of a positive change, such as the arrival of a newborn. At times like these, it is essential that we let go of our feeling that we should be able to do it all by ourselves and accept the help of others.
The first step is accepting the situation fully as it is. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should or by lapsing into feelings of uselessness. In both cases we run the risk of actually prolonging our dependency. In addition, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. In needing others and allowing them to help us, we experience the full realization that we are not on our own in the world. While this may bring up feelings of vulnerability, a deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.
It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our own helplessness and to accept that we, just like every other human being, have limitations. The gifts of surrender are numerous. We discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate and surrendered in the world.
We can excel easier in our lives when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.
Within each of there is a well of energy that must be regularly replenished. When we act as if this well is bottomless, scheduling a long list of activities that fit like puzzle pieces into every minute of every day, it becomes depleted and we feel exhausted, disconnected, and weak. Refilling this well is a matter of finding time to focus on, nurture, and care for ourselves, or "you time." Most of us are, at different times throughout the day, a spouse, a friend, a relative, an employee, a parent, or a volunteer, which means that down time, however relaxing in nature, is not necessarily "you time." Though some people will inevitably look upon "you time" as being selfish, it is actually the polar opposite of selfishness. We can only excel where our outer world affairs are concerned when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.
Recognizing the importance of "you time" is far easier than finding a place for it in an active, multifaceted lifestyle, however. Even if you find a spot for it in your agenda, you may be dismayed to discover that your thoughts continuously stray into worldly territory. To make the most of "you time," give yourself enough time on either side of the block of time you plan to spend on yourself to ensure that you do not feel rushed. Consider how you would like to pass the time, forgetting for the moment your obligations and embracing the notion of renewal. You may discover that you are energized by creative pursuits, guided meditation, relaxing activities during which your mind can wander, or modes of expression such as writing.
Even if you have achieved a functioning work-life balance, you may still be neglecting the most important part of that equation: you. "You time" prepares you for the next round of daily life, whether you are poised to immerse yourself in a professional project or chores around the home. It also affords you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, and your tolerances in a concrete way. As unimportant as "you time" can sometimes seem, it truly is crucial to your well-being because it ensures that you are never left without the energy to give of yourself.
Our true selves exist whether we acknowledge them or not, often buried under fears and learned behavior.
Identity is an elusive concept. We feel we must define ourselves using a relatively small selection of roles and conscious character traits, even if none accurately represents our notion of “self.” The confusion surrounding our true natures is further compounded by the fact that society regularly asks us to suppress so much of our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual vibrancy. Yet we are, in truth, beings of light—pure energy inhabiting physical bodies, striving for enlightenment while living earthly lives. Our true selves exist whether we acknowledge them or not, often buried under fears and learned behavior. When we recognize our power, our luminosity, and our divinity, we cannot help but live authentic lives of appreciation, potential, fulfillment, and grace.
At birth and throughout your childhood, your thoughts and feelings were more than likely expressions of your true self. Though you may have learned quickly that to speak and act in a certain fashion would win others’ approval, you understood innately that you were no ordinary being. There are many ways you can recapture the authenticity you once articulated so freely. Meditation can liberate you from the bonds of those earthly customs that compel you to downplay your uniqueness. Also, communing with nature can remind you of the special role you were meant to play in this lifetime. In order to realize your purpose, you must embrace your true self by letting your light shine forth, no matter the consequences.
Rediscovering who you are apart from your roles and traits takes time and also courage. If, like many, you have denied your authenticity for a long while, you may find it difficult to separate your true identity from the identity you have created to cope with the world around you. Once you do find this authentic self, however, you will be overcome by a wonderful sense of wholeness as you reconcile your spiritual aspect and your physical aspect, as well as your inner- and outer-world personas. As you gradually adjust to this developing unity, your role as a being of light will reveal itself to you, and you will discover that you have a marvelous destiny to fulfill.
Intimacy Without Resposibility From Intimacy Without Resposibility On-Line Course
by Wendyne Limber
The following is an excerpt from the "Intimacy Without Resposibility" on-line course. If you would like to enroll in the course, click here.
Freedom in relationship is about becoming very clear about your own codependency - the roles (and games) we play with others... your intimate partner as well as family, friends and colleagues.
Who are you when you are in the presence of others? Are you real? Are you hiding your joy, pain, truth, or love. And, what is real love? How can I be in relationship with others and stay true to myself - not FEEL abandoned or enmeshed with the other? And, how can I let go of wanting to save or fix you and just take care of my own SELF... and still feel important, happy and loved?
Having intimacy without responsibility for others is about practicing the art and skill of freedom in relationship... moving toward more love and CARE FOR SELF. We realize that when we truly heal and take care of ALL of our own issues, we are able to love more deeply.
It's also about the mystery and sacred space that relationship takes us. This work honors the universal truth that tells us: Every relationship I have is mirroring something about me that is wanting to come up into consciousness for my healing and transformation... for my wholeness and the evolution of my soul.
AND, Whenever I have a problem or issue with you, I have an opportunity to heal and transform something inside me ... like an unresolved old wound or trauma, something I lost, something I always needed, or something I do not even know!
Soon you will really know that every person you attract in your life is a part of your wholeness, a missing piece of the healing puzzle - that no matter what happens in this relationship, I am healing more because I am choosing to view every part of this relationship as a sacred thing - Yes, I like it.
I Am Speaking My Truth: Principle #1
I Am Here On This Earth For My Own Soul’s Evolution - Not To Take Care Of You
Love is not about taking care of someone else. Even though taking care of someone else could be rewarding, it usually becomes a burden sooner or later. Some people learned to do this because they had to in order to survive. Some children grew up too fast - having to take care of their siblings or emotionally unbalanced parents.
Caretaking can become a disease. Most caretakers become martyrs and eventually become sick or addicted to something to take away the pain. When I care-take someone else, I get to not take care of myself. If I am caretaking, YOU are what I am always thinking about. I begin to worry, control, manipulate and hold in my feelings or I become angry and hurtful. Either way, it does not work and I am not whole.
I am here on this earth for my own soul’s evolution. I am here to take care of ME.
And, I will let YOU take care of yourself. This does not mean that I will not help you or support you. I will figure out HOW to do that in the healthiest way that serves us both.
As I learn to TAKE CARE OF ME, I am actually more free to love you fully. I will not have to be fearful of the time we spend together – knowing that I am not giving away a part of myself. Today I commit to my journey.
Write your answers to the following questions:
Who Am I Care-Taking? In what way do I do this? How long have I been trying to take care of other people? Am I committed to my own soul’s evolution?
For more information visit Intimacy Without Resposibility On-Line Course
Thank you for this reminder. I am rather sensitive to sound and noise with a fine line between the two.
Pounds lost: 18.0
Posts: 23,095 2/23/14 12:16 A
Sound Healing Good Vibrations
by Madisyn Taylor
When the vibrations of our physical and spiritual bodies are out of harmony it can cause disease.
Everything in the universe is in a constant state of vibration, including our bodies. Sound is vibration that can be translated by the delicate structures of our inner ear, but it moves more than just those tiny receptors. It is part of the spectrum of energy vibrations that affect us on the mental, physical, and spiritual levels. Long ago shamans recognized the power of sound when they first used chants and drumming to heal people. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and India, the use of sound and music for healing was a highly developed sacred science. Sonic vibration has been one way of experiencing the energy of the universe for much of humanity’s history.
When the vibrations of our physical and spiritual bodies are out of harmony it can cause disease. Sound healing gently massages the molecules back into the right places, clearing blockages and restoring harmony. Ancient healing systems such as Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda associate specific musical notes with subtle-energy systems of the body, such as in yoga where particular notes of music correspond to each of the seven chakras. In Tibet, priests have long used bells and bowls over and around the body to tune and clear the energy centers. Chimes and tuning forks are other tools that have been used to heal not only the body but the energy in a room as well.
Knowing that sound has the power to heal, we should also try to remember that sounds from modern life can have a negative affect. Choosing silence over discord may help us maintain a state of equilibrium. As we seek soothing and harmonizing sounds to surround us, we may be doing more than creating a balm for the noise of the world. We may actually be performing an act of self-healing that connects us with one of the most basic vibrations of the universe.
The need to fill an imaginary void by shopping is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves.
In our culture today, we are constantly encouraged to consume. This includes food as well as purchasing ever newer items that we may not need, often using money that we may not actually have. It could be that we are trying to fill a void we feel within ourselves, but if we take the time to examine it, we know deep inside that this is not the solution. We may notice how quickly the joy fades after our purchase or once the food we’ve enjoyed is gone, and how soon we feel the urge to do so again. This is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves, so the first step toward balance is connection to our center.
When we connect to our center, we access the fullness of who we are as an individual spirit. We also connect to the energy source of the universe, from which nothing can be lacking. It could be that we have been energetically starving ourselves but trying to feed the need physically, outwardly. Once we make the decision to reconnect, we have the ability to examine the behavior from a higher place within ourselves. We can look, without judgment, at the thoughts and feelings that occur before and after our indulgences to find a pattern. We may want to keep track of these observations in a journal so that we can go back if we lose our way.
Often boredom is the main cause for the desire to eat or shop. But when we connect to our center, our intuition can more clearly guide us to the places where our energy can best be used. We can replace the boredom with a meditation practice, a class, a project, seeking a new job, or getting involved in a charity. We may even want to begin planning an adventurous trip. Whatever inspires us tells us the direction we should go. When we find the place we are meant to be, we become so consumed by its constant creation that the frivolous filling of an imaginary void becomes a thing of the past.
When casting the Runes you will find illumination in the unlimited possibilities laid out before you.
Many millennia ago in northern Europe, ancient peoples sought a means to understand their roles in the world at large. They created runes—an alphabet of symbols that served both as a functional writing system and as a unique system of divination. Though the symbols themselves were little more than varying combinations of straight lines carved on natural mediums such as wood, stone, or bone, these individuals devised a method of comprehending the past, making sense of the present, and interpreting the future using the runes as guides. The significance of each symbol was a product of its general orientation once cast and its location with respect to other runes. In the present, runes can play the same role in our lives that they played in the chronicles of distant history. Through them, we open ourselves to a form of universal guidance that helps us help ourselves.
There are many casting styles, each of which serves an individual function. Casting a single rune can help you answer specific questions or choose a daily meditation subject. Three runes, cast during confusing or distressing situations, provide you with insights into the past, present, and future—as represented by the first, second, and third runes cast, respectively. A nine-rune cast can help you understand where you are on your spiritual path. The runes that land face up relate to your current circumstances and the events leading up to them, and any runes touching are read as concurrences. Rune readings, however, are by their very nature subjective and open to interpretation. Your casting style should reflect your intuitive knowledge of your needs. Grabbing a handful of runes to cast at random can be just as effective as choosing a set number to cast.
Whether you buy your runes or carve them yourself is less important than your sincere desire to understand the messages conveyed to you via this alphabet of enlightenment. Your intentions will have a direct impact on the wisdom you receive while casting. The runes are representative of forces outside of the realm of human understanding, so your intent will act as your anchor. By simply reading the runes, you will find illumination in the unlimited possibilities laid out before you in each new cast.
When in nature we often forget we are moving into another realm, one that asks us to drop our baggage and surrender.
For better or worse, much of the world we experience is dominated and controlled by human beings. We spend our days in houses, cars, and buildings, and inside these structures, we are in control. We assert our wills and manipulate our environment. Within the context of the human world, this is natural. However, we often carry this attitude with us into the world of nature. We forget as we enter the forest, or sit on the edge of a pond, that we are moving into another realm, one that asks us to drop our baggage and surrender to a different sense of order and meaning.
When we move from our everyday world into the world of nature, we may not even notice at first. We might continue talking loudly into our cell phone or to a friend that is with us. We might walk quickly as if we are on a busy city street, our eyes downcast, our thoughts hectic and hurried. In the best case, if we are sensitive to our environment, we will soon notice that it has changed. We may hear ducks calling, or wind moving through the leaves on a tree. If we notice the shift, we will naturally shift as well. If we don’t, we may get all the way through a beautiful park without having lowered our voices. Next time you find yourself in the presence of wildlife—even if it’s just a duck pond in the midst of urban hustle—try to move into a receptive state of openness and listening, no matter how much or how little time you have. Allow yourself to be captivated and calmed by the energy of the wildlife that covers this earth. Teaching our children to be respectful of nature and to stop and observe is a gift they can always cherish
We preserve pockets of nature in our urban centers and large expanses of nature in our national parks because of the magic we feel in its presence. It reminds us of our smallness and calls us back to a deeper, quieter part of ourselves. When we honor nature by being respectful in its presence, we honor the mystery and wild beauty of our origin.
Performing a Hindu puja ritual is a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.
Forging a spiritual connection with the divine is the ultimate goal of many forms of worship. In our devotions, we transcend the limitations of our humanity using prayers, rituals, and invocations, or we seek the celestial in sacred items such as statuary, imagery, or natural objects. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings can enjoy communion with one another. Though participants show reverence for their chosen deities, puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Performing a puja ritual is thus a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.
There are no limits as to whom may serve as the focal point of your puja. You need only choose a spirit guide to commune with and an object to represent them. Preparing for the puja ritual, however, can take some time, depending on the number of devotional acts you will perform. A classic puja includes 16 acts, including meditation, chanting, the reading of sacred texts, offerings of food and drink, and cleansing. You may also wish to present gifts of incense, flowers, and jewelry during the ritual. An altar or table covered by an altar cloth provides space for the representation of the divine and the seat of the puja. To begin, prepare your offerings and place them to the right of the altar. Then center yourself and release any stress you may feel—the puja is meant to be a joyful experience. Typically, the ritual begins with the ringing of a bell and an invitation, and progresses from chanting to the cleansing and dressing of the deity to the offerings to meditation. You can modify your puja in any way you wish.
Though the elaborate puja rituals performed in Hindu temples take place at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight, puja performed in the home primarily takes place in the mornings and evenings. When your intention is to invite your spiritual guides into your home and heart, however, the time of day matters little. With practice, you will create a direct path to spiritual oneness that allows you to experience an amazing sense of closeness that reinforces your connection with the divine.
How to Create a More Loving Relationship From the How to Create a More Loving Relationship On-Line Course
by Gina Lake
The following is an excerpt from the "How to Create a More Loving Relationship" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.
One of the most powerful things you can do to improve any relationship and to increase the amount of happiness you feel is to not get involved with your judgments. Be aware of judgmental thoughts (notice them when they arise in your mind), accept that they are there (don't think they shouldn't be there), and then choose to not dwell on them or give voice to them. Judgments are probably the one thing that interferes most with love and sustaining relationships. Judgments and the criticism that flows from them kill love. Even small doses of criticism when engaged in day in and day out can poison a relationship. They kill the love that is there and leave anger, resentment, and hurt in its place. So the very first principle for a more loving relationship is to ignore your judgments and don't express the criticism that is the natural result of judgment.
There are a several reasons why judgments are difficult to ignore. First of all, because they arise in our mind, we assume our judgments are true and meaningful representations of "our truth," while judgments actually come from a small, petty, and unwise part of ourselves: our conditioned self, or ego. Judgments never reflect our true nature, our essential self, or what I like to call Essence. We assume our judgments serve a purpose, but they don't achieve what we hope they will achieve, which is changing someone or something. People rarely change because they are judged, and if they do, that change comes at the expense of love and trust. Judgments are a way of bullying our partner to change in ways we want him or her to change, and that is not a loving act.
If love and relationship are important to you, which they must be, since you are reading this, love and relationship have to become more important than having your way, more important than your conditioning and how you like things done. The way you put love first is to refuse to get involved in the judgments that pop into your mind and, above all, don't speak them. The reason to not get involved with your judgments mentally is that doing so leads to believing them and speaking them. The more you dwell on a judgment, the more real and true it seems. Judgments cause us to feel bad about someone (and bad about ourselves), so we naturally want to do something to change that person so that we no longer have to feel bad.
There is a better and more effective way to feeling good, and that is to realize that you don't have to change anything or anyone except your relationship to your own thoughts. All that has to change is your relationship to the judgments that arise in your mind. You can believe them and try to change the world to fit them, or you can see the truth about them, which is that they have no intrinsic value or truth. If a judgment arises, notice it, recognize it as a judgment and as therefore not worth your attention, and then leave it alone. Put your attention on something else, like something you appreciate about your partner, or about anything else.
Another reason judgments are hard to ignore is that they give us a sense of being right and being better than or superior to another. This superiority and self-righteousness feels good to the ego. That is the payoff for judging and one reason we judge and continue to do so even when we see that judging and criticizing is not getting us what we want from the other person, including that person's love. When we choose to judge someone, we settle for this feeling of superiority and self-righteousness instead of love and the good feelings that come from being loving, kind, accepting, and understanding.
We tend to make this choice instead of being loving because it is our default position as human beings; it is the path of least resistance. We are programmed to not make the most loving choice, oddly enough. So to get what we all really want, which is to be loving and to be loved, we have to learn to overcome some of the negative programming we have that keeps us making choices that are destructive to our relationships.
A big reason we don't ignore judgments is that most of us are not that aware of what is going on in our mind. We tend to accept the thoughts that go through our mind and act on them or speak them without questioning them first. We don't tend to ask ourselves if what we're thinking is true or useful. We often don't question what the result will be if we believe our thoughts and act on or give voice to them. The trouble with this is that our thoughts are often unkind and untrue, and responding to them without evaluating them first results in a lot of trouble and pain to ourselves and others. Becoming more loving is largely a matter of becoming more conscious of what we are thinking, and then choosing a more loving response than the automatic one, which is likely to be the ego's response.
The ego is a primitive aspect of ourselves that is shortsighted and out for itself. It doesn't see the whole picture or value love's very important role in life. It is, in fact, the enemy of love. The ego's point of view as well as our conditioning are reflected in our thoughts about ourselves, others, and life. The ego's voice is the mental commentary we all are so familiar with, which seems at times like our own voice and at other times like someone else speaking to us. This aspect of the mind that chatters on and on is often called the egoic mind, and it reflects the false self, not Essence.
Another thing that makes judgments difficult to ignore is that we assume that judgments and criticism are a perfectly acceptable and valid form of communication, since they are so common. It is part of our culture to judge, to express opinions about anything and everything. It almost seems like it's our duty to judge, as if we are not being discriminating if we don't point out the flaws of something or someone. However, the truth is that pointing out flaws, criticizing, and having an opinion are the easiest things in the world to do. What's difficult is being loving, accepting, and moving beyond our judgments, beliefs, and other conditioned ways of being. That is our challenge as human beings—to become more loving, not to complain, judge, and try to change others to suit our preferences. Loving is a matter of moving beyond our personal preferences and judgments enough to let love flow to another, enough to allow ourselves to see another's beauty, not the flaws.
The truth is that judgments don't just hurt others, they hurt us to have them. When we are feeling judgmental and critical, we feel small, petty, unhappy, angry, and unkind, even though we may enjoy the feeling of being superior or right. Judging and criticizing others leaves us feeling bad about ourselves, and this may drive us to tear others down even more, creating a vicious cycle of negativity. This is not how we want to feel, and it isn't how we want to make others feel; and yet, that is what happens. Our judgments cause us and those we're judging to feel unhappy and unloving. That is the opposite of what we all want!
Notice how you feel the next time you catch yourself judging and criticizing someone, including those you aren't even close to, such as people in the media. Judgment and criticism don't feel good, and you don't have to feel that way. We have the power to choose not to judge and criticize (internally or externally), and when we make that choice, it is possible to get in touch with who we really are—with Essence. Essence is an experience of contentment, peace, joy, happiness, awe, love, gratitude, and wonderment. That is who we really are, and the only thing that can obscure our true nature is believing the ego's negative evaluations and stories about everyone and everything. Change in the world can still happen without our judgments because the wisdom that is our true nature moves us to act wisely and lovingly in the world. Our judgments only interfere with that.
Because judging and criticizing is the path of least resistance, it can take some practice to choose to be loving and accepting over the usual criticisms. But the more you choose love, the easier it becomes to choose it again, and the weaker the habit of criticism becomes. If you fully absorb this first principle, it will change your life. You don't need your judgments. You have never needed your judgments. They have never served you, but only obscured and undermined the love, wisdom, and happiness that are possible. Love and happiness are possible because it is your true nature to love and to experience happiness, peace, and joy.
Practices: To be done throughout the week:
1. Whenever you feel an urge to judge your partner, examine the conditioning (e.g., desires, beliefs, opinions, preferences, fears, expectations, demands) behind that judgment. Every judgment is a disguised "should" or "should not." What "should" or "should not" are you imposing on your partner? Our judgments are an attempt to get our partner to change his or her behavior so that we don't have to feel the discomfort that our own conditioning is causing. When others do things we don't like, that is, when they don't conform to our conditioning, we feel afraid, angry, ashamed, or embarrassed. In an attempt to get rid of these feelings, we try to change our partner by judging or criticizing him or her: "If only he or she would change, I wouldn't feel this way!" Notice how your judgments are an attempt to ease the discomfort that is caused by your own conditioning—not by your partner, but by your desires and demands that your partner be a certain way.
2. If a judgment arises, just let it be there without doing anything about it. What is that like to just let that judgment be there? Your ego won't want you to stay with this exercise. It may try to talk you out of just being with the judgment, or it might offer a more concealed judgment or one that sounds a little nicer. Are there feelings that accompany this judgment? Just let them be here as well without doing anything else with them. The more you practice noticing your judgments and feelings and just letting them be there without doing anything else, the weaker these judgments and feelings will become. What empowers our thoughts and feelings is acting them out. If you don't want to be at the mercy of your negative thoughts (judgments) and feelings, then just let them come and go in your mind without identifying with them or giving voice to them. Don't fight with them or push them away, but allow them the space to come and go, as all thoughts naturally do. Your thoughts come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere. You have the ability to empower them by giving them your attention or dis-empower them by not giving them your attention, which is accomplished by giving your attention to something else.
Explorations: Do just one of these explorations a day. When you've finished all three explorations, go back to each one and see if you can uncover any further insights.
1. There are certain judgments and criticisms you have about your partner that come up again and again and are probably causing conflict, stress, and a shutting down of love between you. What are they? Take some time to contemplate this. Make a list of them. What if you didn't have these judgments and the feelings that go with them? What would that be like? And what if you never expressed your judgments or criticisms? What would that be like? How would you feel? How would that change your relationship?
2. Look carefully at any resistances you may have to ignoring and not speaking the judgments and criticisms you have. What are you afraid will happen if you give up judging and criticizing? Are you afraid you will be a doormat, you will be unhappy, you will be taken advantage of, you will not be in control, you will lose power in the relationship? Is it your way of being strong? Is it your way of being smart? Is it your way of proving that you are an individual? How do you believe your judgments are serving you? What are you getting out of judging and criticizing? Spend at least ten minutes contemplating this question because it is a very important one. There are reasons, although mistaken ones, for clinging to our judgments and criticisms. Once we really see how ineffective and destructive our judgments are, they lose their power to capture our attention and make us do their bidding.
3. What are the negative ramifications of judging and criticizing? Does your partner fire back with criticisms? Does your partner withdraw, disengage? How does judging and criticizing make you feel about yourself? What is your self-image like when you are criticizing someone? Are you The Bitch, The Complainer, The Whiner, The Martyr, The Wronged One, The Raging Maniac, The Self-Righteous One, The Mother Hen, The Drama Queen, The Emasulator, The Boss, The Avenger, The Victim, or some other image? Our ego takes on these personas, but we are not our ego, and we can choose to not identify with and act out these personas. Our judgments cause negative feelings within ourselves and others—anger, resentment, hatred, desire for revenge, and even guilt and shame—and negative feelings are not only exhausting, but also can lead to physical illness. They shut down our own heart and the hearts of those around us. What price are you paying for your judgments and criticism? What is the cost to your relationships? Is it worth it?
A Gift of the Heart Letting People Know You Love Them
by Madisyn Taylor
If you love someone, let them know.
It’s easy to take our feelings for granted and to assume that the people we care about know how we feel about them. But while those we love are often quite cognizant of our feelings, saying “I love you” is a gift we should give to our loved ones whenever we can. Letting people know you love them is an important part of nurturing any kind of loving relationship. Few people tire of being told they are loved, and saying “I love you” can make a world of difference in someone’s life, take a relationship to a new level, or reaffirm and strengthen a steady bond. Everyone needs to hear the words “I love you.” Three simple words – I - Love - You. When you declare your love for someone you admit to them that you care for them in the most significant way.
It can be difficult to express your love using words, particularly if you grew up around people that never expressed their affection verbally. But you should never be afraid to say “I love you” or worry that doing so will thrust you into a position of excessive vulnerability. It is important to share your feelings with those that matter to you. Part of the fulfillment that comes with loving someone is telling them that you love them. Besides, love exists to be expressed, not withheld.
If you love someone, let them know. Don’t be afraid of the strength of your emotions or worry that your loved one won’t feel the same way. Besides, the words “I love you” are often best said to another without expectation of a return investment. As each one of us is filled with an abundance of love, there is never any worry that you’ll run out of love if your expression of love isn’t said back to you. Saying “I love you” is a gift of the heart sent directly via words to the heart of a recipient. Even though it may not always look that way, love from the heart is an offering that is always unconditional and given without strings attached. That is the true essence of the gift of “I love you.”
It is only when we actively seek to work through our issues that we can lighten the load and our souls can evolve.
From the moment we are born, our souls may feel heavy because they are carrying the weight of all we have lived, loved, and learned in our past incarnations. It is only when we actively seek to work through our issues that we can lighten the load and our souls can evolve. Divesting ourselves of what no longer serves us, such as unwarranted fear, the inability to feel empathy, or self-limiting behaviors, are just some of the many challenges we may face in this lifetime. While some issues we face are easier to deal with because they are the final remains of residue from a past life, other issues offer greater challenges because we are meant to work through them throughout this lifetime.
Often, we expect ourselves to recover quickly from difficult or painful circumstances. When we do not or cannot, we may feel emotionally inept or hopeless. The evolution of the soul, however, is an ongoing process that can take many lifetimes. It is a matter of accepting that even when we do our best there are going to be situations, people, and outcomes that we cannot control. It is also important to remember that your experiences now may be setting the groundwork for future healing—whether in this lifetime or the next one. The more you release in each time, the more you grow and the more your soul will evolve.
Although it is not always possible to work through all of our issues in a single lifetime, it is important that we confront what we are called to face in this life and do the work we need to do. It is also important to remember that the most effective way to let your soul grow is to be an active participant in life. Be present in each moment and your soul will do this work for you.
Traveling can be hard on sensitive souls; routine and a few favorite items can make your journey easier.
The journeys we take are often as exhausting as they are exhilarating. The thrill we feel as we travel to a new environment may be undercut by our sensitivity to change, strange surroundings, and forced shifts in our usual habits. Air, road, and sea travel can be extremely taxing, and many people find sleeping soundly in a strange bed exceedingly difficult. There are, however, numerous ways of taking the stress out of both short voyages and lengthy sojourns. Since much of the comfort we feel in our day-to-day lives stems from the fact that we enjoy the regularity of routine, adapting your typical customs to correspond with your travel schedule can alleviate the unease you experience while away from your home. Likewise, when you ground yourself by honoring the rituals that are a part of your daily life, you’ll no longer feel like you’re out of your element.
If you find yourself disconcerted by the foreignness of your surroundings when traveling, packing a few reassuring items from your home in your luggage can help you stay balanced. Photographs of loved ones, a favorite tea or snack, soft slippers, or even your own pillow can soothe the rigors associated with travel by plane, car, train, and ship while en route. Holding a crystal, gemstone, talisman, or medicine bag in your hand during particularly stressful periods of travel can help you stay relaxed and alert. Items imbued with healing or calming energy can help you de-stress once you reach your destination. As you unpack your travel altar, light a stick of sweet-smelling incense, or bask in the glow of a meditation candle, you’ll gradually begin to feel more grounded and serene in your new location.
During the course of your journey, try not to forget to indulge in those activities that center you and sustain your emotional equilibrium. If you tend to sleep and wake at the same time each day, maintaining that schedule will ensure you stay strong and healthy. Taking time out of your voyage agenda to write in a journal, meditate, do yoga, or walk can help you reconnect with yourself in an alien setting. However you restore your tranquility, your conscious choice to surround yourself with comforting possessions and focus on your well-being will make traveling a joy.
Maybe you are using a desire you can't fulfill to distract you from truly engaging the blessings you already have.
When it comes to the things we want, there always seems to be an endless list. No matter how many times we get something off that list, we add new things to replace it. In life, this drama of wanting and getting and wanting is all part of the dance. The things we want motivate us to get up and get them.
And yet, at the same time, we can torment ourselves with our wanting, especially when we want something we can’t have or can’t find. It is in cases like these that it might be fruitful to entertain the idea that maybe what you really want is right in front of you. Maybe you are using this desire you can’t fulfill to distract you from truly engaging the blessings you already have. It may seem like that doesn’t make sense, yet we do it all the time. It may be easier to see in other people than to see it in ourselves. We have all heard our friends wishing they were more this or less that, and looking at them we see clearly that they are everything they are wishing they were. We know people who have wonderful partners and yet envy you yours. We wish we could give these people a look at their situations from our perspective so that they could see that what they want really is right in front of them.
It’s not too far-fetched to consider that we might be victims of the same folly. It can be scary to have what we want. We get caught up in the chase and forget to enjoy the beauty right in front of us—like a child who never wants the toy she has in her hand but always the one just out of her reach. Take a moment today to consider the many things you are holding in the palm of your hand and how you might best play with them.
Thank you. I'm trying. Sometimes mine comes with anxiety and I have to distinguish between anxiety from the senses and just regular nervousness (I hope that makes sense).
Pounds lost: 18.0
Posts: 23,095 2/10/14 5:16 P
Perceiving the Infinite Using Your Psychic Gifts
by Madisyn Taylor
People often have difficulty accepting that they have been blessed with psychic abilities.
Psychic experiences are a natural part of our everyday lives. People often have difficulty accepting that they have been blessed with psychic abilities because without a frame of reference it is almost impossible to identify an extrasensory experience and to distinguish psychic sights, sounds, and sensations from the projects of the unconscious mind. To some extent, every human being on the planet is clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient, although most people discover that they are naturally adept at one more than the others. When you trust in and take steps to hone your innate clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience, you will enter a new realm of being in which the universe, your higher self, and your spirit guides lovingly conduct you toward a more aware existence.
Clairvoyance, or clear seeing, is the ability to see with the mind’s eye. An individual who has honed their clairvoyant abilities may be able to see in their mind’s eye events in a remote location; to witness incidents that have yet to occur; or to perceive shapes, colors, and other images that are physically invisible. Clairaudience, which means clear listening, is the ability to hear sounds not physically audible. A person with the gift of clairaudience perceives psychic information as auditory resonance and may hear angelic voices, music, or other sounds. A clairsentient, or clear feeling, individual is able to sense physical, emotional, and spiritual energy in the form of seemingly unearthly scents, touches, and movements. Each of these psychic abilities can manifest themselves within us voluntarily or involuntarily. It is natural for us to have these abilities; we need only practice.
Developing your psychic talents is a matter of releasing your fear of seeing, hearing, or feeling inexplicable or disquieting stimulus. Before you attempt to consciously tap into your gifts, ground yourself to anchor your mind in the present to disconnect from any involuntary psychic experiences you may be having. Concentrate on your intuitive responses to the world around you and notice any sights, sounds, or feelings that enter your mind. If you trust your perceptions, you’ll discover that each psychic impression you receive will be in some way relevant to your experience—even when that relevance may not be immediately recognizable.
Our best chance of getting what we need is to communicate by converting our inner voice to our outside voice.
Each of us has developed an internal filtering process that helps us choose which parts of our constant inner monologues get voiced outside of our heads. Sometimes the choice is based on what we consider to be polite or appropriate, using subtlety instead of directness to try to get our point across. Other times the choice is made based on our expectations of the other person and what we feel they should know about us, our feelings, and our needs. But our best chance of getting what we need is to communicate specifically by converting our inner voice to our outside voice.
This may seem unnecessary sometimes, especially when we think the other person has the same information we ourselves are working with, but we have to remember they also have their own inner voice, evaluating what they hear in light of their own issues and needs. With so much to consider and sift through, we are truly better off if we communicate precisely. Not only does doing this minimize the chance for misinterpretation, but voicing our thoughts it is an act of creation. We convert thought and imagination to sound, releasing it from the chamber of our minds into the outside world. This carries energy and intention with it, making our thoughts, wishes, and even dreams come true.
When we have the courage to speak our minds and use our voice to send the desires of our hearts from our inner world to the world outside, we take a bold step in making them happen. By removing fear of what others may think and expectation of what others should understand, we free ourselves and our thoughts from the bondage of the mental chamber and let loose our desires onto the canvas of the world. Next time we become aware that we have a choice about how to communicate, we can choose to use our outside voice and watch its creative power at work.
Your thoughts and actions are like stones dropped into still waters causing ripples to spread as they move outward.
In a world of six billion people, it’s easy to believe that the only way to initiate profound transformation is to take extreme action. Each of us, however, carries within us the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. Everything we do and think affects the people in our lives, and their reactions in turn affect others. As the effect of a seemingly insignificant word passes from person to person, its impact grows and can become a source of great joy, inspiration, anxiety, or pain. Your thoughts and actions are like stones dropped into still waters, causing ripples to spread and expand as they move outward. The impact you have on the world is greater than you could ever imagine, and the choices you make can have far-reaching consequences. You can use the ripple effect to make a positive difference and spread waves of kindness that will wash over the world.
Should the opportunity arise, the recipient of a good deed will likely feel compelled to do a good deed for someone else. Someone feeling the effects of negative energy will be more likely to pass on that negative energy. One act of charity, one thoughtful deed, or even one positive thought can pass from individual to individual, snowballing until it becomes a group movement or the ray of hope that saves someone’s life. Every transformation, just like every ripple, has a point of origin. You must believe in your ability to be that point of origin if you want to use the ripples you create to spread goodness. Consider the effect of your thoughts and actions, and try to act graciously as much as possible.
A smile directed at a stranger, a compliment given to a friend, an attitude of laughter, or a thoughtful gesture can send ripples that spread among your loved ones and associates, out into your community, and finally throughout the world. You have the power to touch the lives of everyone you come into contact with and everyone those people come into contact with. The momentum of your influence will grow as your ripples moves onward and outward. One of those ripples could become a tidal wave of positivity.
Simplifying your schedule and busyness of the day may be crucial to avoid burnout.
For many, life is a hodgepodge of never-ending commitments. Yet few of us can be truly healthy or happy without regular periods of downtime. While there is nothing inherently wrong with busyness, those of us who over-commit or over-extend ourselves potentially face exhaustion and burnout. When you feel overwhelmed by your commitments, examining your motivation for taking on so many obligations can help you understand why you feel compelled to do so much. You may discover that you are being driven by fear that no one else will do the job or guilt that you aren’t doing enough. To regain your equilibrium and clear the clutter from your calendar, simplify your life by establishing limits regarding what you will and will not do based on your personal priorities.
Determining where your priorities lie can be as easy as making two lists: one that outlines all those obligations that are vital to your wellbeing, such as work, meditation, and exercise, and another that describes everything you do that is not directly related to your wellbeing. Although there will likely be items in the latter list that excite your passion or bring you joy, you may discover that you devote a large portion of your time to unnecessary activities. To simplify your schedule, consider which of these unnecessary activities add little value to your life and edit them from your agenda. Remember that you may need to ask for help, say no firmly, or delegate responsibility in order to distance yourself from such encumbrances. However, as you divest yourself of non-vital obligations that cause you stress, serve no purpose, or rob you of opportunities to refresh yourself, you will feel more energetic and enthusiastic about life in general.
If simplifying your schedule seems prohibitively difficult and you still feel pressed to take on more, try imagining how each new commitment will impact your life before saying yes. When you consider the hassle associated with superfluous obligations, you may be surprised to see that your schedule is impeding your attempts to grow as an individual. Your willingness to pare down your agenda, no matter how gradual your progress, will empower you to retake active control of the life that defines you.
As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, money is neither good nor bad.
At its most basic, money is a tool that enables us to meet our individual needs. As a form of potential energy that empowers us to generate change, it is neither good nor bad. Yet many people react emotionally to issues concerning finances, unconsciously condemning currency itself, the manner in which money is spent, and people who live lives of financial abundance. Individuals who are rich in gifts such as high intelligence are acknowledged for their positive traits while those who have acquired material riches or aspire to become wealthy are frequently judged harshly. However, wealth is not a trait upon which judgment can be legitimately passed. It tells us nothing about how a person lives, what they believe in, whom they care for, or the scope of their values. Like any blessing, wealth is merely an instrument of purpose that can be used both constructively and destructively.
From an early age, people learn to court wealth while simultaneously associating money with greed, selfishness, and unethical behavior. Consequently, this idea becomes entrenched in their hearts as envy. To attain a balanced and rational comprehension of money, as well as a fairer perspective of wealth, we need to recognize that outward manifestations of wealth tell us little about the individuals enjoying those blessings. When we feel the finger of jealousy prompting us to draw unflattering conclusions about people whose lives seem more financially secure than our own, we should remind ourselves that there are many elements of their circumstances we cannot see. Their wealth may be the result of long hours of taxing labor, they may donate a large percentage of their resources to charitable causes, or their bounty may be an incidental aspect of a life spent doing what they love. Ultimately, we can heal our hurtful associations with money by turning a blind eye toward both wealth and poverty when interacting with others and instead focusing on the individual before us.
If you take a moment to consider you own feelings regarding money and wealth, you may discover that you equate financial prosperity with happiness, power, security, independence, or self-indulgence. Money itself, however, is none of these things. You can begin developing a healthier view of wealth by simply accepting that while some possess great wealth and others do not, we all have the potential to create lives of beauty, substance, and wisdom using the resources we have been granted.
No matter what our weight, we can use the cues from our physical and mental selves to judge how healthy we are.
Health is not a numerical concept and cannot be defined using statistics. Human beings, however, tend to want to quantify well-being into easily understandable figures. We feel compelled to ascribe numbers to every aspect of wellness, from the qualities of our food to our fitness levels to the physical space we occupy. As a consequence of social pressures, we turn our attention away from health and focus instead on the most contentious of these figures—weight—checking our scales to see how we measure up to our peers and role models. Yet each of us is equipped to gauge our relative healthfulness without any equipment whatsoever. When we have achieved a state of wellness, we feel buoyant and energetic. Some of us are naturally slim, while others will always be curvy. No matter what our weight, we can use the cues we receive from our physical and mental selves to judge how healthy we really are.
When you throw away your scale, you commit to a lifestyle that honors the innate wisdom that comes from within your body and within your mind. It is logical to examine how you feel while considering your health—a strong, fit, and well-nourished individual will seldom feel heavy, bloated, or fatigued. If you have concerns regarding your weight, remind yourself that at its proper weight, your body will feel buoyant and agile. Movement becomes a source of joy. Sitting, standing, walking, and bending are all easy to do because your joints and organs are functioning as they were meant to. When you are physically healthy, your mind will also typically occupy a place of well-being. Mental clarity and an ability to focus are two natural traits of whole-self health. Surprisingly, promoting this type of easy-to-discern wellness within yourself takes no special effort outside of satisfying your hunger with nourishing, wholesome foods and moving your body.
The numbers you see on the scale, while nominally informative, can prevent you from reaching your healthful eating goals by giving you a false indicator of health. You will know when you have achieved true health because every fiber of your being will send you signals of wellness. When you choose to listen to these signals instead of relying on the scale, your definition of well-being will be uniquely adapted to the needs of your body and of your mind.
Create a soft place to land in your home a refuge from the stress of the day.
Our day-to-day demands can quickly take their toll on our well-being if we are not vigilant about caring for ourselves as best we can. One way we can ensure that we have an opportunity to relax and recuperate each day is to create a soft place to land when we arrive home. This landing pad, whether it is an entire room or merely a small corner of a larger area, can provide us with a safe and comforting refuge in which we can decompress and recover from the day’s stresses. There, we are enveloped in feelings of security that transcend other issues that may be unfolding in our homes. Our landing pads also act as way stations that enable us to shift our attention away from our outer-world concerns and back to our inner-world needs.
To create a soft place to land in your home, begin by scouting potential locations. Or perhaps your entire home is your landing pad in which case you may only need to declutter. Your habits can often provide you with insight into the perfect spot, as there may be an area of your home you gravitate to naturally when you are in need of comfort. Any space in which you find it easy to let go of stress and anxiety can become your landing pad. A basement or attic, spare room, or unused storage area, furnished with items that soothe you, can give you the privacy you need to unwind. If you appreciate the elements, you may find that spending time in a section of your garden or outdoor patio helps you release the day’s tensions. Preparing these spaces can be as easy as replacing clutter with a small selection of beautiful objects that put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Remember to consider noise and activity levels while choosing the site of your landing pad. If you know that ordinary human commotion will distract you from your purpose, look for a secluded spot.
The soft place to land that you create should inspire within you the mantra, “I can breath here. I can relax here. I know I am safe here.” When you return to your home after braving worldly rigors, you will feel a subtle yet tranquil shift occur inside of you as you settle in to this most personal of retreats and feel centered once again.
Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of our individuality.
Most of us express our distinctiveness in many ways throughout our lives. Although, as we proudly share our offbeat traits and preferences with the world, we take great pains to downplay those eccentricities we ourselves deem odd. Instead of living lives colored by these quirky impulses, we seek out socially acceptable outlets for our peculiarities. We may not realize that we are editing ourselves in this way because our individual societal awareness is unintentionally attuned to the attitudes of the people we encounter each day. Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of individuality. To rediscover and embrace these buried traits, we need only ask ourselves what we would do if we knew for certain that no one would judge our choices.
Visualizing this day without judgment can help you better understand the idiosyncrasies that are an important part of who you are but seldom manifest themselves in your existence. Perhaps you secretly dream of replacing grown-up, conservative clothing in favor of a changing array of costumes. You may envision yourself painting your car electric-green, hugging the trees in a crowded local park, singing joyous songs as you skip through your community, or taking up an exciting hobby like fire spinning. Try not to be surprised, however, if your imagination takes you in unexpectedly simple directions. In your musings, you may see yourself doing things such as breaking out in dance or dying your hair a fun color. Regardless of the nature of your suppressed peculiarities, ask yourself what is really stopping you from making them a part of your life, and then resolve to incorporate at least one into your everyday existence.
Life as we know it is so short. Making the most of years we are granted is a matter of being ourselves even though we know that we will inevitably encounter people who disapprove of our choices. When you shake your tail feathers like no one is watching, you will discover that there are many others who appreciate you because you are willing to let go of any inhibition. By doing this you help others know it is okay. No one else in the world is precisely like you and, each time you revel in this simple fact, you rededicate yourself to the celebration of individuality.
Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you.
Our feelings can sometimes present a very challenging aspect of our lives. We experience intense emotions without understanding precisely why and consequently find it difficult to identify the solutions that will soothe our distressed minds and hearts. Yet it is only when we are capable of naming our feelings that we can tame them by finding an appropriate resolution. We retake control of our personal power by becoming courageous enough to articulate, out loud and concisely, the essence of our emotions. Our assuming ownership of the challenges before us in this way empowers us to shift from one emotional state to another—we can let go of pain and upset because we have defined it, examined the effect it had on our lives, and then exerted our authority over it by making it our own. By naming our feelings, we claim the right to divest ourselves of them at will.
As you prepare to acknowledge your feelings aloud, gently remind yourself that being specific is an important part of exercising control. Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you. If you are afraid of a situation or intimidated by an individual, try not to mince words while giving voice to your anxiety. The precision with which you express yourself is indicative of your overall willingness to stare your feelings in the face without flinching. Naming and claiming cannot always work in the vacuum of the soul. There may be times in which you will find the release you desire only by admitting your feelings before others. When this is the case, your ability to outline your feelings explicitly can help you ask for the support, aid, or guidance you need without becoming mired in the feelings that led you to make such an admission in the first place.
When you have moved past the apprehension associated with expressing your distressing feelings out loud, you may be surprised to discover that you feel liberated and lightened. This is because the act of making a clear connection between your circumstances and your feelings unravels the mystery that previously kept you from being in complete control of your emotional state. To give voice to your feelings, you must necessarily let them go. In the process, you naturally relax and rediscover your emotional equilibrium.
The question of who we are is a seed that can bear much fruit if given the chance to unfold.
At some point in our lives, or perhaps at many points in our lives, we ask the question, “Who am I?” At times like these, we are looking beyond the obvious, beyond our names and the names of the cities and states we came from, into the layers beneath our surface identities. We may feel the need for a deeper sense of purpose in our lives, or we may be ready to accommodate a more complex understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves. Whatever the case, the question of who we are is a seed that can bear much fruit.
It can send us on an exploration of our ancestry, or the past lives of our soul. It can call us to take up journaling in order to discover that voice deep within us that seems to know the answers to a multitude of questions. It can draw our attention so deeply inward that we find the spark of spirit that connects us to every living thing in the universe. One Hindu tradition counsels its practitioners to ask the question over and over, using it as a mantra to lead them inevitably into the heart of the divine.
While there are people who seem to come into the world knowing who they are and why they are here, for the most part the human journey appears to be very much about asking this question and allowing its answers to guide us on our paths. So when we find ourselves in the heart of unknowing, we can have faith that we are in a very human place, as well as a very divine one. “Who am I?” is a timeless mantra, a Zen koan ultimately designed to lead us home, into the part of our minds that finally lets go of questions and answers and finds instead the ability to simply be.
What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.
At its simplest, food is fuel. Though our preferences regarding taste and texture can vary widely, we all rely on the foods we eat for energy. Most people are aware that it is vital we consume a diverse assortment of foods if we aspire to maintain a state of physical well-being. However, the intimate connection between diet and our mental well-being is less understood. Just as the nutritional components in food power the body, so too do they power the mind. Some foods can impair cognitive functioning and sap our energy while others heighten our intellectual prowess and make us feel vigorous. What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.
Food allergies, which don’t always manifest themselves in forms we recognize, can also play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health. Thus, for most of us, even a simple change in diet can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to explore whether anxiety, muddled thoughts, or inexplicable tension can be linked to a food allergy or food sensitivity can empower you to treat your symptoms naturally. The benefits of a healthier, more personalized diet are often felt immediately. Sugar, saturated fats, wheat, and dairy products are frequently allergens and can stress the body. For people that are allergic, consuming them can cause imbalances in the physical self that have a negative effect on the body’s ability to nourish the brain. Water, fiber, nuts, unprocessed seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, and vegetable proteins, on the other hand, support physical and mental functioning by providing those nutrients we do need without additional substances we don’t.
A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Intellectual clarity and agility is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment. Even those individuals who are blessed with the ability to consume almost any food can benefit from a healthier and simpler diet. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, we must feed each the foods upon which they thrive.
The Skinny Thinking Thought Diet From The Skinny Thinking Thought Diet On-Line Course
by Laura Katleman-Prue
The following is an excerpt from the "The Skinny Thinking Thought Diet" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.
My name is Laura Katleman-Prue and for most of my life, I've had a really wacky relationship with food. I've tried and failed at most of the diets on the market, gained and lost hundreds of pound, kept four different sizes of clothing in my closet, and felt tremendous shame and sadness about my relationship with food and inability to keep my weight in line. Now, after following the inquiry process that I chronicled in Skinny Thinking and training myself to go on this same thought diet, I'm thin without worry or effort and I know I'll never gain the weight back. Why? Because I can't. I don't think about food anymore and if I don't think about it, I can't desire it and if I don't desire it, I won't eat too much of it, and I won't gain weight.
I really want to commend you for embarking on this journey with me. It is a courageous choice to change habits that have caused you to suffer. I call it the hero's journey. As you venture forth, you uplift yourself and everyone around you. It is a truly courageous and generous act to embrace your own growth and evolution. This thought diet is spiritual journey that will lead in the direction of true happiness and deeper into the cave of your own heart.
Without further ado, let's get started.
Here is the wonderful news I want to share with you! Yes, it is possible to be free from obsession with food and bodyweight! It is possible to live without worrying about what you will eat next, whether it will make you fat, or whether you'll have the willpower to eat in a way that keeps you from busting out of your jeans.
The subject of this course is seeing the whole truth about food and what's been going on in your relationship with it. No matter how long you've been struggling with food, you don't have to take your eating, weight, and body image issues to your grave. You can free yourself of them for good. All you have to do is follow the Five Steps by incorporating the daily five-minute exercises into your daily routine. How hard is it to find an extra five minutes a day? Aren't you worth it? You can do this!
The Ego and Essence in the Battle of the Bulge
The epic battle enacted under the guise of the battle of the bulge is the struggle between the ego, that negative chatterbox in our heads, and Essence, the spark of divinity within each of us. It's the suffering caused by this battle that moves us to break free from our unconscious patterns and conditioning and instead live in our natural state of Essence. In this state, we experience the peace and joy available in each moment and that can never be taken from us. This is the battle: resistance versus acceptance; the ego versus Essence; self-delusion versus the evolutionary impulse for Truth; the ego's small sliver of truth about food and the body rather than the whole picture.
In our struggles with overweight, the ego in the form of the Relentless Critic is the judgmental voice inside our head, berating the way our body looks, telling us: "You're too fat." "Your legs are too skinny." "You're out of shape." "You'll never attract the kind of relationship you want unless you get into better shape."
When it comes to food, the ego, in the form of the Pleasure-Seeking Child, causes us to gain weight by telling us things like: "You've been working so hard and deserve a slice or two or three of cheesecake." "You should live a little and give yourself a treat." "Eating a bit more won't hurt even though you're already full." "You've had a lousy day, so why not make yourself feel better with a little Pleasure Food?" "Indulge now and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow."
Now that we've seen the villain in our story, it's time to meet our hero. Essence is our true self, what we were before we started listening to and believing in the ego. It's that internal place of calm and serenity that we've all visited in moments when the mind is quiet. Think back to a time when you've felt completely at peace. That delicious feeling is Essence. Even though we may not be aware of this consciously, each of us touches into it every day!
Connecting with Essence means entering the thought-free state. Although meditation is the most common way to move out of the mind, it can happen anywhere, anytime, as long as we're not caught up in thoughts or feelings. We can be noticing the clock on the wall, the leaf floating in the breeze, or our hand as we turn the page.
Any information that comes to us from the senses, unfiltered by thoughts, takes us to Essence. If we are to break the habit of listening to the negative mind, the habit that's responsible for our food issues, we have to cultivate a new habit of moving into the thought-free state, ideally for at least 10-15 minutes every day.
For more information visit The Skinny Thinking Thought Diet On-Line Course
Women’s circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Women’s circles are formal or informal gatherings in the interest of bonding, sharing energy, and creating ritual. The origins of women’s circles are ancient, but their applications are as modern as the women who participate in them. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to form a women’s circle or how to run one. Some circles invent their own agendas, rituals, goals, and ceremonies, while others borrow ideas from sources as far-ranging as Buddhist or Native American cultures. Some circles are open to new members at all times, while others prefer to practice with a set number of members, closing the circle once that number is reached.
In a typical gathering, the women who are present sit in a circle. Generally, for the sake of cohesiveness, one woman is chosen to lead the circle each time. Allowing a different woman to lead each meeting allows for a multi-perspective approach to the process. One circle leader may choose to create and teach a ritual involving using the voice to release negative energy, while at the next meeting another leader may feel inspired to lead a silent meditation. On the other hand, a circle may choose to be more focused over the long term and gather around a particular intention, such as working together to determine a course for healing Mother Earth. When the healing feels complete, the women may choose to stay together with a new focus for their work, or the circle may disband.
At their best, women’s circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The work that can be accomplished within the loving embrace of our sisters is far more powerful than what we could achieve on our own. If you are not already part of a circle, you may want to start one. Follow your intuition as to the women with whom you’d like to work, reach out to them, and set a date to begin. After that, you can simply allow the circle to create itself. Men need not be forgotten when it comes to circles and they, too, can come together to form their own circles and create strong bonds and healing in a way that is specific to all men.
Running Away versus Moving Forward Facing Problems
by Madisyn Taylor
Make sure you aren’t running away from your problems, always moving towards something.
There are times when change - moving to a new city or a new home, or changing careers - is the right thing at the right time. But there are also times when the urge for change is really just a desire to run away from problems that need to be faced rather than avoided. These are the kinds of problems that recur in our lives. For example, issues with coworkers that seem to arise at every job we take, or repeatedly getting into unhealthy relationships. A move might temporarily distract us, and even cure the problem for a time, simply by taking us out of the situation in which the problem fully manifested itself. However, the problem will eventually appear again in our new situation.
One way to make sure you aren’t running away from your problems is to notice whether you are moving towards something that is exciting in its own right, as opposed to something that is appealing only because it is not where you are now. For example, if you are leaving a city because you feel you can’t afford it, you could be reinforcing poverty consciousness, and you might find that you are unable to make ends meet in your new city as well. It would ultimately be less of an effort to stay where you are and look more deeply into your beliefs about money. You may discover that as you address these issues, you are able to make more money simply by changing your mindset. You may still decide to move, but it will be an act with a positive intention behind it and not an escape, which could make all the difference.
Any pain involved in facing our issues is well worth the effort in the end. When we face our problems instead of avoiding them, we free our energy and transform ourselves from people who run away into people who move enthusiastically forward.
When we rush through our days and lives, we fail to notice the simple beauty of living.
Throughout our lives, we are taught to value speed and getting things done quickly. We learn that doing is more valuable than merely being, and that making the most of life is a matter of forging ahead at a hurried pace. Yet as we lurch forward in search of some elusive sense of fulfillment, we find ourselves feeling increasingly harried and disconnected. More importantly, we fail to notice the simple beauty of living. When we learn to slow down, we rediscover the significance of seemingly inconsequential aspects of life. Mealtimes become meditative celebrations of nourishment. A job well-done becomes a source of profound pleasure, no matter what the nature of our labors. In essence, we give ourselves the gift of time—time to indulge our curiosity, to enjoy the moment, to appreciate worldly wonders, to sit and think, to connect with others, and to explore our inner landscapes more fully.
A life savored slowly need not be passive, inefficient, or slothful. Conducting ourselves at a slower pace enables us to be selective in how we spend our time and to fully appreciate each passing moment. Slowness can even be a boon in situations that seem to demand haste. When we pace ourselves for even a few moments as we address urgent matters, we can center ourselves before moving ahead with our plans. Embracing simplicity allows us to gradually purge from our lives those commitments and activities that do not benefit us in some way. The extra time we consequently gain can seem like vast, empty stretches of wasted potential. But as we learn to slow down, we soon realize that eliminating unnecessary rapidity from our experiences allows us to fill that time in a constructive, fulfilling, and agreeable way. We can relish our morning rituals, linger over quality time with loved ones, immerse ourselves wholeheartedly in our work, and take advantage of opportunities to nurture ourselves every single day.
You may find it challenging to avoid giving in to the temptation to rush, particularly if you have acclimated to a world of split-second communication, cell phones, email and overflowing agendas. Yet the sense of continuous accomplishment you lose when you slow down will quickly be replaced by feelings of magnificent contentment. Your relaxed tempo will open your mind and heart to deeper levels of awareness that help you discover the true glory of being alive.
Saying No to somebody when we are used to saying Yes can be challenging as we fear we will be rejected.
Many of us, from childhood on, are taught that saying yes is right and saying no is wrong. We learn that acceding to demands allows us to avoid conflict and criticism, please people, earn praise, and prove that we care for the important people in our lives. Yet the right to say no is indelibly intertwined with the ability to make choices. When we sense we are limited in our options, compelled to say yes even when doing so is not in our interests, we are effectively robbed of our ability to choose. Growing out of this tendency to say yes even when we desperately want to say no can be challenging because we suspect that others will reject us for our assertiveness. But the reward we receive upon facing this challenge is true freedom of choice.
When others ask you to take on work or do favors, consider their requests carefully. If you feel pressed to say yes, consider whether you are acquiescing out of a desire for approval or to stave off disapproval. Remind yourself often that the ability to say no is an important aspect of well-being, as it is an indication that you understand the true value of your energy, talents, and time. As you learn to articulate your personal power by saying no, you may feel compelled to explore the myriad consequences of the word by responding negatively to many or most of the requests put to you. The word “no” may even become your default response for some time. When you see that life moves forward without interruption, however, you will grow more comfortable saying no and will resume making decisions from a point of balance.
There is nothing inherently wrong with acceding to the requests others make of you, provided these requests do not infringe upon your health or your happiness. Keep in mind that it is only when you feel you have the legitimate right to say no that you can say yes with utmost certainty, sincerity, and enthusiasm. While saying yes almost always has a cost, you can feel good about offering your agreement when your reasons for doing so are rooted in your individual values and your appreciation for the appeal before you.
All of the events in our lives lead to other events, they are all connected.
Sometimes we have an experience that we don’t understand, but if we look deeply, or wait long enough, a reason for that experience will usually reveal itself. All the events in our lives lead to other events, and all that we have manifested in this present moment is the result of past events and experiences. We cannot easily tease apart the many threads that have been woven together to create our current reality. Experiences that don’t make sense, as well as any that we regret, are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as “good.”
This is especially important to remember at times when we feel directionless or unsure of what to do. It is often at times like these that we take a job or move to a place without really knowing if it’s the right thing to do. We may ultimately end up leaving the job or the place, but often during that time we will have met someone who becomes an important friend, or we may have an experience that changes us in a profound way. When all the pieces of our life don’t quite make sense, we can remember that there may be some hidden gem of a reason that we are where we are having the experiences we are having.
It’s fun to look back on past experiences with an eye to uncovering those gems—the dreadful temporary job in a bland office building that introduced you to the love of your life; the roommate you couldn’t tolerate who gave you a book that changed your life; the time spent living in a city you didn’t like that led you into a deeper relationship with yourself. Remembering these past experiences can restore our faith in the present. Life is full of buried treasures. Chances are, you’re sitting on some right now.
21 Day Yoga Body! From 21 Day Yoga Body! On-Line Course
by Sadie Nardini
The following is an excerpt from the "21 Day Yoga Body!" on-line course. If you would like to enroll in the course, click here.
Whether you're trying to lose a few pounds, find inner peace, heal your heart or anything else, you might have to fake it till you make it. Even if you don't feel as strong, fit, balanced or capable as you would like, you're going to act like you are. You will literally take the actions of healthy, happy people until you're one of them. And then you will be.
As you begin this process, as easy as it may be to do what I'm suggesting, you need to be aware of one pitfall I've seen people fall into with other programs. Not this one! We're going to sidestep this baby before it gets a chance to stop you in your tracks.
Whenever you're making the decision to go to that next, best level of yourself (and boy, are you ever in the right place for that!), you can count on one thing: self-sabotage.
Even if you really, really want an incredible body, a mind focused on your goals and a heart that's free from old dramas, you may find that on other programs or in general, you've lost willpower easily, suddenly find yourself having that big dinner or extra dessert, skipping days of the course, falling back into familiar but dark ways of behaving or otherwise limiting your own success!
That's because old habits are strong. In yoga, we call them samskaras (saam-scar-ahs), the ruts, or places where we get stuck thinking and doing things that take us off our best path instead of keeping us on the fast-lane to transformation.
We all have them, though they express themselves differently for each of us. Some common samskaras are:
• Excuses for why you can't do your transformative work today • Truths you believe that cause you stress, anxiety and limitation • Ways of seeing your experiences that promote lack, not abundance • Allowing other people's needs to come before your own • Stories you're sticking to that make you the victim of your life instead of the master
Luckily, since we created these grooves in our thinking and actions, that means we can unstick ourselves, too, but it takes more effort at first than it will later on. Today, get ready to push yourself out of the muck and onto a new path that serves you the best.
Whatever your ruts are, you must stay vigilant against them creeping back in to slow your progress. Any time you want to grow and change, they will rise up and attempt to stop you. This may have worked for them in the past, but not now.
What I'm here to help you do is to not let self-sabotage win. You CAN eat well, stay focused on your fitness and reach your ultimate body and life goals. It's all up to you, and with my guidance, you will create miracles.
Hold your own hands right now, look into a mirror, and make a promise to Self:
We can do this!
Ready to begin? Let's go!
Note: The following action steps can be done in a row, or throughout the day, unless I specify a certain time.
TRANSFORMATIVE EATING TIP DAY 1:
Simple Morning Detox:
Each morning before breakfast is a prime time to clean out your filters, like the kidneys, liver and GI tract. This means that in just a couple of minutes, you can make a huge difference in how your body processes your food the rest of the day. This makes for less fat storage, easier digestion and a more efficient metabolism.
Instead of expensive, messy detox powders or fasts, all you need is a cup of lemon tea!
8 oz of hot water (a small tea or coffee cup is fine) Add juice of 1/2 lemon Add honey to taste
Drink this yummy brew 20 minutes before eating any food, and let the skin-clearing, calorie-burning bonfire begin!
CORE YOGA SEQUENCE DAY 1: WHITTLE YOUR MIDDLE
About Your New Yoga Practice:
Here's how this part works: as well as you work it.
If you want to change your body, you'll have to commit to moving it in new ways. You'll feel at times wonderful, uncomfortable, sweaty, hot, blissful and a host of other sensations and emotions. These are all appropriate signals of transformation. Welcome them all! They are leading you straight to the body you really want.
What's more, my style of yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, is the only style to give you this much body-changing in less time, due to the addition of deep body core muscles and the focus you put not only on the poses, but the transitions between them as well. Where most other styles have you doing two poses, I have you doing three, and from the inner body as well as the outer. Just follow my instructions and cues, and watch your body, mind and spirit totally transform.
Remember, the yoga sequences are the core of your transformation practice. 10 minutes per day is the minimum and of course, the longer you can do your postures, up to 60 minutes a day, with one or two days scaled back to 10 minutes for a rest-- the more transformation you'll see.
About Your First Sequence:
SEQUENCE 1: LIGHTING YOUR FIRE
This is a series of moves I designed specifically to light the calorie-burning bonfire of center the yogis call "agni" or "belly fire". Sparking agni is what most exercise forms neglect that rely more on the arms and legs. The heat you create is more superficial, and the workout will stop burning calories when you stop moving.
If you start your day or workout session with poses that focus on the deeper belly area, you'll trigger your metabolism to fire up as soon as you do it, and run hotter all day long. You will notice increased energy, smoother digestion, and your body will transform faster than a day begun without igniting your agni.
What's more, you get a host of other benefits from these moves, from better sex to detoxification to self-confidence, many of which I've included below.
This sequence should take you up to 5 minutes to do once through, but I encourage you to repeat it 2-3 times for maximum effect.
POSE: BELLY SUN BREATH
Often, we don't breathe using our deeper core muscles. This is a problem, as breathing without core support means we're missing out on stoking that inner heat all day long. Let's change that starting today, shall we?
• Instantly lights agni, and fires up your metabolism • Promotes more energy and detoxification through deeper breathing • Calms and focuses your mind, busts anxiety • Brings new circulation to the belly area, improving digestive and reproductive health • Tones the pelvic floor diaphragm, which can prevent loss of bladder control, uterine prolapse and BONUS: also strengthens orgasms along with your core!
How To: Come to sit on the floor or in a chair. Place your hands on your knees.
Sit up tall. Begin to breathe a bit more slowly and deeply through the nose. You don't need a ton of oxygen here, so don't pump the breath too hard. Keep it slow and easy.
NOTE: Beyond the Belly Sun visual you're about to practice, I want you to get acquainted with the Yoga Detox Breath (yogis call it "Ujjayi (oo-jai-ee) or "Ocean-Sounding Breath). This is the common yoga breathing that you will want to use during all your active yoga poses until we rest at the end.
To do it, as you exhale, open your mouth and act like you're fogging up a windowpane. This makes you contract the back of your throat and vocal diaphragm a little. Keep this action in the throat as you close your lips and continue to inhale and exhale through this smaller space in the throat.
It might feel weird at first, but it's a brilliant breath, one that, just like lifting weights, will provide resistance to tone your cardiovascular system and abdominal breathing muscles all practice long. This Yoga Detox Breath also gives you proper intra-abdominal pressure so your spine stays supported.
• Now, as you use the Yoga Detox Breath, let's add the visualization that turns it into the Belly Sun Breath. Close your eyes and imagine a heavy sun sitting in the center and base of your pelvis. It's not touching the floor, but is a few inches higher, about halfway between the navel and floor. • On your inhales, let the sun drop a little lower, softening your pelvis and infusing it with heat. • On the exhales, without activating any of the muscles closer to the floor, but using the ring of muscles inside your pelvic bones, try and hug around that sun and lift it up behind your navel. Note: especially if this is a new practice to you, or you've had children, the pelvic diaphragm muscles might be elusive at first. Don't worry, they will build in time, and you will begin to feel them, at first subtly, then more obviously. You might try squeezing the muscles of the more superficial pelvic floor, like you're trying not to go to the bathroom, but eventually you want to localize the muscular action higher than that.
Do this breath for 1-2 minutes, then move on to the next pose, BUT make sure to use this breath throughout every pose in this sequence, unless instructed otherwise. It's also a great breath to do while you're walking or even sitting at work, to spark a belly fire and keep that metabolism burning hotter.
POSE: SEATED SPINAL ARCH/CURL
• A safe, total body strengthener that releases an incredible amount of stress and tension from your hips, lower back and shoulders. • Sculpts and strengthens the abdominal muscles, sides and back waist.
AMP IT UP: To get more benefits much more quickly from this pose, we're going to Superset it, by moving in a more concentrated way than usual.
• Come to sit on the floor or in a chair. • Place your hands on your knees. • Inhale deeply through your nose, and arch your back. Draw your shoulders back and lift your chest. Keep your neck long. Hold for three more breaths. • Exhale, lean back and round your back. You want to firm your low belly in and up as if trying to put on a too-tight pair of jeans, but don't push out your lower back curve. We want a toned belly, not a strained back. This is more about keeping a lift out of your low back and opening space behind your heart and between the shoulder blades. Lower your chin towards your chest and pull your shoulders forward. Firm those hands down into your knees. Hold for 3 more breaths.
Repeat the sequence 4 more times, then take a few, one breath each Spinal Arches and Curls for one minute to reset the body.
POSE: SEATED SPINAL TWIST
• Works your Oblique muscles, the abs that help your waist get smaller while your spine gets taller! • Cleanses your inner organs, importantly, the liver, kidneys, stomach and GI tract, to help you process out old, yucky toxins and stimulates your digestion to work better. • Releases serotonin, the "feel-good" chemical, to help you feel more relaxed and centered
How To: Come to sit on the floor or in a chair. If on the floor, cross your right foot and bent knee over the left bent leg.If in a chair, cross your legs.
• Ground your seat down and sit tall through your spine. • Keep your spine long as you lightly place your left hand or elbow (if sitting) onto the right knee. • Inhale, get taller. • Exhale, spin your chest and face to the right. Note: Your lower back isn't supposed to twist, so keep your movement coming from the mid-back and higher. • As you hold the twist and breathe, inhales lift your chest, exhales spin you a millimeter more. Instead of yanking with your arms, almost don't use them at all. Work farther down from your side abs and back muscles as you let the left ribcage area generate your movement.
Hold your Twist for 30 seconds to one minute on each side. When you're finished, fold forward over your legs for a moment, then fold to the left and right to counter-stretch your back.
• Sculpts your upper back, chest and shoulders • Works your side waist and back muscles • Releases lower back tension • Amps up your inner heat and raises metabolism • Lifts your energy and your mood
Hold this position for up to one minute or until your shoulders begin to burn. Then switch legs and sides.
POSE: SEATED SIDE STRETCH
• Stretches your rib muscles and obliques, to allow you to build more lean muscle there, making you stronger and longer! • Opens your ribs for greater lung capacity so you detox and breathe more fully. • Opens your hips and lower back muscles so you transform pain and tightness into freedom.
How To: Come to sit on the floor or in a chair.
• Place one hand or forearm on the side of the chair or floor. • Reach the other arm up and over your ear. • Keep the long spine, as always, and this time press your top ribcage (the more open one) towards the sky so each inhale stretches it more. • On your inhales, stretch the ribs. On your exhales, turn your chest a little so it looks forward instead of down.
Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.
When you're finished with the whole sequence, fold forward over your legs and breathe to release your lower back.
CORE ACTION STEP/DAY ONE: Create a Total Transformation Journal
I'm a writer, and I find that myself, and so many of my clients make more powerful, lasting changes when they can see their truth on paper.
I want you to get a journal. It should be inspiring, and something that you feel like writing in. This way you will literally write the book on how and what you need to transform and you can both see the bigger picture form as you write it, and refer back to it again and again anytime you need to remind yourself of what your own Core Values and answers are.
Here's your first entry:
Remember those old habits, or samskaras we talked about?
In black or blue ink, I want you to write on a piece of paper your Top 3 Samskaras, habitual actions you take or ideas you hold about yourself that keep you from reaching your weight loss or happiness goals.
Then, take a red pen or marker, cross out the parts of your story that diminish, demean or block you from success, and re-write them into something that builds you up, makes your goals possible, and are something you can begin to believe instead of the old ways.
For example, "I have no willpower and can't seem to lose weight" might become "The skill of willpower is something I'm dedicating to strengthen in myself." Equally as true, but more empowering, giving you the fuel you need to keep a positive outlook and make shift happen.
Tack this list up on your fridge or mirror. Put it somewhere you can see it repeatedly throughout the day. Whenever your mind defaults to old ways of thinking, repeat your new truth out loud three times. This is an old mystic trick that will negate the samskara and begin to soften the scars that only you can heal.
For more information visit 21 Day Yoga Body! On-Line Course
Getting Back to Wellness Seven Quick Fixes to Feel Better
by Madisyn Taylor
Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing.
The signals our bodies use to tell us we need to cleanse ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally are multifaceted and often mirror symptoms we associate with illness. If we heed these signs, we not only feel better quickly but also stave off poor health before it can start. These quick fixes for common ailments can get you started.
1. Applying pressure to the acupressure point between the thumb and forefinger can release blockages causing pain, tension, and fatigue. You can relieve a headache naturally by squeezing for 20 seconds and releasing for 10 seconds, without letting go, four times.
2. To breathe freely, irrigate your nasal passages with a neti pot and warm salt water. As you clear and soothe the sinuses, congestion associated with allergies or infection will gradually disappear.
3. Apple cider vinegar is a powerful purifying and detoxifying agent. Soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath infused with two cups of apple cider vinegar pulls toxins from the body and can clear blocked energy.
4. The foods you eat can have a profound impact on your outlook and mood. Eating a small yet satisfying meal rich in complex carbohydrates can lift your spirit and help you let go of feelings of anger, irritability, and depression.
5. Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing because concentrating on the breath enables you to refocus your attention inward. You can ground yourself and regain your usual calm by taking a series of deep belly breaths as you visualize your feet growing roots that stretch miles down into the earth.
6. Though tuning out can seem counterproductive, a few minutes spent lost in daydreams or listening to soothing music can help you see your circumstances from a new angle when you feel frustrated.
7. If you feel ill health coming on, brew a wellness elixir. Simmer three sliced lemons, one teaspoon freshly grated ginger, one clove freshly minced garlic, and one quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper in five cups water until the lemons are soft and pale. Strain a portion into a mug and add honey by tablespoons until you can tolerate the taste. Drinking this potent mixture of antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients three times each day can ensure your symptoms never progress into a full-blown illness.
An Invitation to Comfort Creating a Happy, Serene, and Healthy Home
by Madisyn Taylor
Include all 5 senses while making a home, doing so provides safe haven for your evolving body and soul.
Your home is your oasis. Through your efforts, your house or apartment can become both a private sanctuary and a welcoming, serene, and healthy place to live in and visit. An organized and comfortable home can have a calming effect on you, your family, and guests, as well as be your personal escape from the rest of the world. Creating this nurturing space isn’t difficult. Even a household that includes young children or multiple animals can be a serene and peaceful place. In just a few minutes, you can make a number of changes that can turn your home into a safe and comfortable haven that you can be proud to share with your loved ones and friends.
One way to fill your house or apartment with calming energy is to imbue it with a peaceful ambiance that nurtures all five senses. Soft lighting and soothing colors like blue, purple, and green can make a space feel warm and inviting, while pleasant and calming aromas such as lavender and vanilla can positively affect moods. Peaceful sounds, such as running water in a fountain or gentle chimes can uplift and clear the space, while clearing clutter and making the most of open space can ease internal turmoil and dispel negative feelings. The physical objects in your home as well as your home itself can retain the energy of previous owners and the object’s creator. You can give your household’s energy a lift by visualizing white light surrounding our home, symbolically sweeping out residual energy, or smudging your home with cleansing sage.
The changes you make to your home can be as unique as you are and may involve utilization of space, lighting, new furniture, decorating, feng shui, or ritual. But what you do is not as important as being clear in your intention to set up your household as a soothing and refreshing place to be. Make your home a place of comfort, and you will feel nurtured and cared for whenever you are there.
All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, teach us exactly what we need to be learning.
Many of us long to find a spiritual teacher or guru. We may feel unsure of how to practice our spirituality without one, or we may long for someone who has attained a higher level of insight to lead the way for us. Some of us have been looking for years to no avail and feel frustrated and even lost. The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you—that is your life.
The people and situations we encounter every day have much to teach us when we are open to receiving their wisdom. Often we don’t recognize our teachers because they may not look or act like our idea of a guru, yet they may embody great wisdom. In addition, some people teach us by showing us what we don’t want to do. All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Patience, compassion, perseverance, honesty, letting go—all these are covered in the classroom of the teacher that is your life.
We can help ourselves to remember this perfect teacher each day with a few simple words. Each morning we might find a moment to say, “I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life. May I be wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today, and may I be open to receiving their wisdom.” We might also take some time each day to consider what our lives are trying to teach us at this time. A difficult phase in your relationship with your child may be teaching you to let go. The homeless person you see every day may be showing you the boundaries of your compassion and generosity. A spate of lost items may be asking you to be more present to physical reality. Trust your intuition on the nature of the lesson at hand, work at your own pace, and ask as many questions as you want. Your life has all the answers.
When you make a leap of faith you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.
Many people, in heeding the guidance of their souls, find themselves contemplating goals that seem outrageous or unattainable. In the mind’s eye, these individuals stand at the edge of a precipice and look out over the abyss at the fruit of their ambition. Some resist the urge to jump, paralyzed by the gap between their current circumstances and the life of their dreams. Others make a leap of faith into the unknown, unsure of what they will encounter but certain that they will gain more in their attempts than they would bowing to self-protective instincts. This leap can be exceedingly difficult for individuals with control issues because the act of embracing uncertainty requires them to trust that surrender will net them the rewards they seek. Yet when you make a leap of faith, believing without a doubt that you will land safely on the other side, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.
There have no doubt been times in your life when you chose to go where the universal flow took you. Yet you may encounter instances in which your objectives require you to step outside of the boundaries of your established comfort zone so that you may freely and actively jettison yourself into a new phase of your life. While you may fear what seems to be the inevitable fall, consider that in all likelihood you will find yourself flying. A successful leap of faith requires your attention, as it is the quiet and often indistinct voice of your inner self that will point you toward your ultimate destination. Understand that the leap across the chasm of ambiguity may challenge you in unforeseen ways but you will make it across if you trust yourself.
If your mind and heart resist, you can dampen this resistance by building a bridge of knowledge. The more you know about the leap you are poised to take, the smaller the gap between “here” and “there” will appear to be. Your courageous leap of faith can lead you into uncharted territory, enabling you to build a new, more adventurous life. Though you may anticipate that fear will be your guide on your journey across the abyss, you will likely discover that exhilaration is your constant companion.
A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize the hidden potential for fulfillment in every event.
There is no secret recipe for happiness and contentment. The individuals who move through life joyously have not necessarily been blessed with lives of abundance, love, success, and prosperity. Such people have, however, been blessed with the ability to take the circumstances they’ve been handed and make them into something great. Our individual realities are colored by perception—delight and despair come from within rather than without. Situations we regard as fortuitous please us while situations we judge inauspicious cause us no end of grief. Yet if we can look at all we have accomplished without dwelling on our perceived misfortune and make each new circumstance our own, the world as a whole becomes a brighter place. A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize and unearth the hidden potential for personal and outer world fulfillment in every event, every relationship, every duty, and every setback.
The universe is often an unpredictable and chaotic place, and the human tendency is to focus on the negative and assume the positive will care for itself. But life can be no more or no less than what you make of it. If you are working in a job you dislike, you can concentrate on the positive aspects of the position and approach your work with gusto. What can you do with this job that can turn it around so you do love it. When faced with the prospect of undertaking a task you fear, you can view it as an opportunity to discover what you are truly capable of doing. Similarly, unexpected events, when viewed as surprises, can add flavor to your existence. By choosing to love life no matter what crosses your path, you can create an atmosphere of jubilance that is wonderfully infectious. A change in perspective is all it takes to change your world, but you must be willing to adopt an optimistic, hopeful mind-set.
To make a conscious decision to be happy is not enough. You must learn to observe life’s complexities through the eyes of a child seeing everything for the first time. You must furthermore divest yourself of preconceived notions of what is good and what is bad so that you can appreciate the rich insights concealed in each stage of your life’s journey. And you must strive to discover the dual joys of wanting what you have. As you gradually shift your perspective, your existence will be imbued with happiness and contentment that will remain with you forever.
Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes.
When we enter a room or see an object for the first time, our minds register its color before any other detail. The colors our eyes can perceive are like words that form a subtle language of mood, energy, and insight. Color can exert a gentle effect on the mind and the body, influencing our dispositions and our physical health. Color has the ability to trigger our emotions, affect the way we think and act, and influence our attitudes. You unconsciously respond to the color of the walls in your home, your car, your clothing, and the food you eat based on your body’s natural reactions to certain colors and the psychological associations you have formed around them. The consequences of the decision to paint a room or wear a specific article of clothing therefore goes beyond aesthetics.
The colors you encounter throughout your day can make you feel happy or sad, invigorate you or drain your vitality, and even affect your work habits. Throughout history, cultures spread over many different parts of the globe have attributed varying meanings to different colors. In China, blue is associated with immortality, while people in the Middle East view blue as a color of protection. There is also evidence that human beings respond to color in a very visceral way. Red excites us and inflames our passions. Too much red, however, can make us feel overstimulated and irritated. Pink tends to make people feel loved and protected but also can cause feelings of lethargy. Yellow represents joy or optimism and can energize you and help you think more clearly. Bright orange reduces depression and sadness. Blue and green are known to inspire peaceful feelings, and people are often able to concentrate better and work in rooms painted in soft blues and greens. The darker tones of both colors can make you feel serious and introspective.
There are ways to integrate color into your life that go beyond picking the hues of your décor and your wardrobe. You can meditate with color by concentrating on the colors that make you feel peaceful or using a progression of colors to symbolize a descent into a relaxed state. Color breathing involves visualizing certain colors as you in inhale and exhale. Choose to surround yourself with the colors that you are attracted to and make you feel good, and you can create an environment that makes you feel nurtured, peaceful, and uplifted.
Curative Attentiveness Being Aware of Your Thoughts
by Madisyn Taylor
We seldom accept negative comments from others, however, we so often accept our own inner negative chatter.
Few people enjoy the company of individuals whose attitudes are persistently negative. Yet many of us tolerate the critical chatter that can originate within our own minds. Since we are so used to the stream of self-limiting, critical consciousness that winds its way through our thoughts, we are often unaware of the impact these musings have on our lives. It is only when we become aware of the power of such thoughts that we can divest ourselves of them and fill the emptiness they leave with loving, peaceful affirmations. Many people, upon paying careful attention to their thinking patterns, are surprised at the negativity they find there. But when we take notice of involuntary thoughts in a nonjudgmental way, we initiate a healing process that will eventually allow us to replace intimidating and upsetting self-talk with positive, empowering thoughts.
While the occasional downbeat or judgmental thought may have little impact on your contentment, the ongoing negativity that passes unnoticed can have a dampening effect on your mood and your outlook. When you are aware of the tone of your thoughts, however, you can challenge them. Try to be conscious of your feelings, opinions, and judgments for a single day. From sunup to sundown, scrutinize the messages you are feeding into your subconscious mind. Consider your thoughts from the perspective of a detached observer and try not to judge yourself based on the notions that come unbidden into your mind. Simply watch the flow of your consciousness and make a note of the number of times you find yourself focusing on gloomy notions or indulging in self-directed criticism.
As you become increasingly aware of your patterns of thought, whether positive and negative, you will gradually learn to control the character of your stream of consciousness. Endeavor always to remember that the images and ideas that pass through your mind are transient and not a true representation of who you are. In training yourself to be cognizant of your thoughts, you gain the ability to actively modulate your mood. The awareness you cultivate within yourself will eventually enable you to create a foundation of positivity from which you can build a more authentic existence.
Nothing happens in our lives and in the world without purpose.
The path that speeds us toward our dreams can be a challenging and complex one, so it’s easy to get bogged down in confusion and insecurities. We often hesitate at the start of that path, questioning our purpose or our capabilities. Yet we should be moving forward joyously, eager to discover what destiny has in store for us. The universe has plans for us that eclipse anything we have dreamed of thus far. Though we must work diligently to fulfill our potential and to accomplish our individual missions, the universe is aware of both the quests we chose before birth and the goals we have formulated in adulthood. If we accept that it us watching over us and believe that it will facilitate our eventual success, the universe will provide us with the assistance and opportunities that enable us to make significant progress on our journeys of ambition.
Nothing happens without a purpose. Whether we attract success or repel it depends on our willingness to stay open to a wide range of possibilities and to embrace concepts like synchronicity. The universe is always ready to care for our needs, but we must not write off its loving attention as mere circumstance or chance. Likewise, we must endeavor to ensure that our egos do not become a barrier that prevents us from recognizing that even perceived mistakes and strife can be profound lessons that smooth the progress of personal evolution. When we understand that we only need to enthusiastically try our best to realize our objectives, the universe will take care of the details, propelling us forward in its unstoppable current. We may not always immediately understand the significance of certain experiences, but our trust will help us choose wisely at each crossroads.
The universe wants to see you accomplish your goals. No matter how long you’ve dallied or hesitated, it will always be there to put its plan for you in motion at the first sign of your faith. You can make the most of this aid by acquiescing to it rather than fighting it—nurture your dreams but do not attempt to micromanage every detail along the way. The universe will provide you with guidance and, if you heed that guidance, you will find your formerly stressful quest for success will become a journey of great joy.
Using a pendulum is a simple way to clarify messages from intuition or inspiration.
Using a pendulum is a simple way to clarify messages from intuition or inspiration. With its minimal construction of a weight, or bob, allowed to swing freely from a piece of cord or chain, it gives us a visual understanding of the subtle energies that influence us. When we ask a question using the pendulum, we may receive answers from our own intuition or from our spirit guides or angels. The process, known as “dowsing” or “divining,” is also useful to check our energy centers or even to find lost articles. Whether it is our energy or the whispers of our guides creating the motion, the pendulum helps us better understand the secret language of spirit.
Your pendulum can be anything that feels right to you: a crystal pendant, wood or metal ornaments, a seashell, an item with sentimental value, or even an acorn on a string. The key is that it must be balanced so it can swing freely. Before and after each session, you may want to purify your pendulum, perhaps by using salt water or burning sage or incense. Focus on becoming still and choose who you would like to answer your questions, your higher self or your spirit guides or guardian angels. By asking questions whose answers you already know and watching the corresponding movements, you can learn what “yes” and “no” look like. Your pendulum may move forward and back for “yes” and side-to-side for “no,” or perhaps a variety of circular motions will be your indicators. For some people, movement comes easily as they are more in tune with working with energy, but do not give up if you do not get movement right away. Determining a neutral state, which may be stillness or another distinct motion, can help avoid confusion as well. Once you are familiar with your pendulum, you can use it to check the energy of a room, or use a pendulum over your chakras to see if they are blocked or open.
When we make a practice of listening to our spiritual guidance, we find it more accessible to us in general. The use of a tool like the pendulum can only help us gain mastery in this understanding, allowing us to transform our lives into playgrounds for manifesting our gifts and dreams.
If you can't get away on a vacation, turn your home into an instant vacation place.
Throughout our lives, most of us are led to believe that relaxation is best pursued outside of the home. As a result, we spend months anticipating weeklong vacations, seldom fully appreciating the leisure time we are blessed with on a more regular basis. It is possible, however, to reexperience the same utterly relaxed state you slip into while on holiday within your home’s walls. The feelings of serenity you enjoy during a vacation are a product of your outlook rather than your locale. You give yourself permission to enjoy yourself and unwind while on vacation. Granting yourself the same privilege while at home allows you to experience complete relaxation, even when surrounded by routine.
Our homes can be distracting places as most survival tasks are addressed there. Reviving the tranquility you felt on holiday is as easy as creating an atmosphere that helps you relax. First, divest yourself of the notion that messes must be cleaned up immediately and reaffirm that relaxation is as vital as physical nourishment. Then, set the mood. Music that reminds you of a beloved vacation destination can put you in a vacation mind-set. The exotic flavor of a tropical beverage or the spiciness a favorite ethnic dish can transport you to a more restful mental space. Finally, put aside your projects and commit to doing only what you consider truly pleasurable. Your responsibilities will wait as you put up your feet and revel in peacefulness that comes from within.
If you find it difficult to ignore the temptation to simply fall back into your usual schedule, consider that relaxation should occupy a prominent place on your to-do list. You deserve to take “you time” and to care for yourself, even during life’s busy periods. While you may not always be able to get away from it all, you can still nurture yourself and regain your peace of mind.
Living in large cities can be draining, but there are steps that can be taken to make it all work in harmony.
The cities we reside in have souls. Our cities consume, create, evolve, and breathe much in the same way Mother Nature does. Each city is unique, defined not only by the individuals who call it home but also by the energy it exudes. Some cities are suffused by an aura of unshakable calm while others seem continually frenetic, even during the early morning hours. Many inspire creativity within us or arouse our curiosity. A city’s energy is dependent on many factors, including the geography, the people, the industry, and the culture. Residing in a city full of warehouses and factories feels very different than one living in one populated by artists and museums. Some cities elevate the soul while others seem to squash it, and fate may lead us to either.
If the urban center you presently call home feels oppressive or robs you of your vitality, consider relocating to a locale that is more nurturing. You may find that leaving your city is an impossibility, however, if circumstances in your life compel you to remain or the universe has plans for you that involve your staying put. To cope with the stress of working and playing in an environment you have an aversion to, first ask yourself how the city you live in makes you feel. Then take steps to cleanse your home, your work spaces, and your life of the energy that is dragging you down. Try smudging your personal and professional spaces with sage or sweetgrass to dispel negativity. Keeping a quartz crystal on or near your person can ensure that there is always positive, loving energy nearby that you can draw from when you feel affected by your city. And you can do your part to promote widespread good energy by sending love and white light from your heart out into the city each morning and night.
As you become increasingly aware of the way your city makes you feel, you can refine your cleansing efforts to meet your individual needs. If you seek out others who feel driven to purify your city’s energy flow, your combined efforts can become a larger movement that promotes healing and goodwill. You may find that, after a time, you are gradually drawn to those aspects of your locale that energize you, helping you come back into balance.
When you feel you are in the thick of things, tapping into your own inner resources will help bring strength.
When we are “in the thick of it,” overwhelmed by too many things that need our attention, it’s important to remember that we are never given more than we can handle. When life’s challenges make us question this, our best coping mechanism is to follow the reliable and well-known course to our calm center and anchor ourselves there. It is for these times that we have been practicing regularly, so that our mind, body, and spirit will know how to find the peace within. Even in the midst of seeming chaos, a deep breath can help us turn within to find the space to work from, the calm at the center of the storm.
Tapping into our inner resources we begin again, bringing our focus to the needs of the present moment. Asking “why?” shifts our energy away from the task at hand. We can seek answers to those questions once we get to the other side of the present challenge. For now, we accept what is. Once we have collected scattered energy and created space, inspiration will strike, help will arrive, and what seemed impossible will either become possible or we will find it has become unnecessary. The flow of the universe and its perfect order has room to move in our lives when we get ourselves and our extraneous thoughts out of the way.
After the thick has become thin again, we have the opportunity to learn from the situation with a better idea of our true capabilities. We can now ask ourselves the “why” questions with the goal of fine-tuning our lives. Perhaps we have taken on more than is ours to do or made commitments out of obligation rather than insight. It could just be the ebb and flow and life, or we may be receiving life lessons on a fast track in preparation for something wonderful to come. But when we have a chance to make new choices, we know the best ones are made when we work from center.
Anything really worth doing in our lives will always have some fear attached to it.
Anything worth doing will always have some fear attached to it. For example, having a baby, getting married, changing careers—all of these life changes can bring up deep fears. It helps to remember that this type of fear is good. It is your way of questioning whether you really want the new life these changes will bring. It is also a potent reminder that releasing and grieving the past is a necessary part of moving into the new.
Fear has a way of throwing us off balance, making us feel uncertain and insecure, but it is not meant to discourage us. Its purpose is to notify us that we are at the edge of our comfort zone, poised in between the old life and a new one. Whenever we face our fear, we overcome an inner obstacle and move into new and life-enhancing territory, both inside and out. The more we learn to respect and even welcome fear, the more we will be able to hear its wisdom, wisdom that will let us know that the time has come to move forward, or not. While comfort with fear is a contradiction in terms, we can learn to honor our fear, recognizing its arrival, listening to its intelligence, and respecting it as a harbinger of transformation. Indeed, it informs us that the change we are contemplating is significant, enabling us to approach it with the proper reverence.
You might wish to converse with your fear, plumbing its depths for a greater understanding of the change you are making. You could do this by sitting quietly in meditation and listening or by journaling. Writing down whatever comes up—your worries, your sadness, your excitement, your hopes—is a great way to learn about yourself through the vehicle of fear and to remember that fear almost always comes alongside anything worth doing in your life.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself.
We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important. It seems to say, ironically, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to keep putting self-care off—easy, that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can even encourage yourself by saying “I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others” or some other mantra that will encourage you. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be composed of massively time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.
Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off in spades for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.
Looking at only one side of our life can make us blind to the many other ways of looking at our situation.
Whenever we examine our lives, we examine them from a particular side or angle. Most of us tend to favor one side over the others. For example, we may tend to look at things from an emotional perspective rather than a financial perspective, or we may prefer to think in terms of details rather than the big picture, or vice versa. To a certain degree, this is not a problem, and these tendencies add color to our individual personalities. However, they can also make us one-sided, blind to the many other ways of looking at our situation. Even if we have decided that we are most happy when we focus on one particular side of things, it is always worth exploring the other sides. When we do, we become well rounded, more understanding of other viewpoints, and even more solid in our own.
Perhaps you are a person who tends to see your life in terms of your spiritual well-being. As a result, other concerns such as financial comfort or social standing may not be prominent in your mind as you make decisions. However, taking just a moment to consider those angles will help you in several ways. One, it will enable you to see more clearly what your priorities are and how they influence your life situation. Two, it will enhance your sense of confidence, because you will see your situation from all sides, even as you choose one. And three, it will help you communicate with others about who you are and what you are doing, because you will come from a place of understanding that your own biases and tendencies are unique as are theirs.
Most of us instinctively come at things from a particular angle, and in many cases this is the right way for us. Still, understanding the other angles only strengthens us. When we look at our lives from all sides, we shed light on the big picture, giving ourselves access to many points of view and highlighting more clearly the one we have chosen to take.
Your earthly existence provides you with ample opportunity to explore your purpose and use your gifts.
The gifts we are born with and those that we work to develop throughout our lives vary in form and function. Some we find use for every day while others are only useful in specific circumstances. Yet many times we overlook opportunities to share our unique gifts with others. It may be fear of criticism that holds us back or the paralyzing weight of uncertainty. Ultimately, we doubt that our innate talents and practiced skills can truly add value to others’ lives. But it is the world as a whole that benefits when we willingly share our gifts. Whether you have been blessed with the ability to awaken beautiful emotions in others through art or industry, or your aptitudes transmit more practical advantages, your gifts are a part of who you are. As you make use of those gifts as best you can, be assured that your contribution to worldly well-being will not be overlooked.
Your personal power is defined in part by your gifts. To use your talents is to demonstrate to the world that you understand yourself and are truly attuned to your capabilities. Your earthly existence provides you with ample opportunity to explore your purpose, to utilize your skills in a life-affirming way, and to positively touch the lives of others while doing so. Yet you may feel that your gifts are not as valuable or worthy of attention as those of others and thus hide them away. However, every gift lying dormant in your soul has the potential to fill a void in someone else’s life. Just as your existence is made richer by the love, support, friendship, aid, and compassion of others, so, too, can you add richness to their lives. Your natural ability to soothe hurt, inspire compassion, bake, dance, knit, organize, or think outside the box can be a boon to someone in need.
As you embrace your gifts and allow their light to shine, you will discover that more and more opportunities to make use of them arise. This is because your gifts are a channel through which the universe operates. By simply doing what you are good at and also love to do, you make a positive difference. The recognition you receive for your efforts will pale in comparison to the satisfaction you feel when fulfilling your innate potential.
When you establish a den of peace within your core, you empower yourself to act rather than react in distressing situations.
For many people, apprehension manifests itself in the physical self as a potent feeling of heaviness or nausea situated in the depths of the lower abdomen. And it is there, at the seat of the second or sacral chakra, that we must lovingly and deliberately confront the anxiety. By rooting down into the deepest physical reaches of ourselves, we can cleanse ourselves of unease and replenish the space it has left behind with tranquil awareness. Much of what we encounter in our daily lives has the potential to awaken feelings of nervousness within us or make us question whether we are truly in control of our lives. When you establish a den of peace within your core, you empower yourself to act rather than react in distressing situations. Your balanced second chakra helps you respond productively to the turmoil around you while your inwardly directed attention steadies you.
There are many ways to restore your strength and clear negative energy from your core. To ground yourself and regain your emotional equilibrium, concentrate on the second chakra, picturing it as a funnel of vivid orange light. Reach down toward that light with your awareness and channel your breath into the space it occupies. As you balance the chakra, you will become more adaptive and thus better able to stand strong when faced with rapidly changing conditions. You can channel healing energy into your core by visualizing the area below your belly button as an open space into which you channel white, loving light. Like light and air, sound can be a wonderful tool that helps you find your center. Your voice, when drawn from your core in the form of a deep roar or loud shout, can be the vehicle upon which your anxiety is conveyed into the ether. Take a low stance, much like a football player, root your feet into the earth, and then roar like a lion. Really feel it in your belly. It may sound silly, but chances are you will feel much less anxious and much more grounded into your body.
A situation that seems hopeless when viewed from a perspective colored by fear may become easily manageable when approached with a serene heart and mind. As you root down into your core, you’ll discover that the trepidation and helplessness you feel within you is not invincible. Rather, it will respond readily to your efforts to eradicate it, leaving you feeling peaceful and capable of calmly handling any challenging circumstances that arise.
Revising the Holidays Rediscovering Your Joyfulness
by Madisyn Taylor
If holidays are hard for you, choose right now to shift into a state of joy.
The holidays can trigger the blues for a lot of people. We all have associations with the music, the decorations, and the foods that are so pervasive at this time of year. We may look back on a happy childhood and feel that our present situation doesn’t measure up. On the other hand, we may be reminded of what we wanted but didn’t get as children. Either way, our real lives are unfolding in the here and now. This is a new holiday season altogether, and we can find joy in the fact that we can make it our own and let it be new.
One key way to reinvigorate your holiday is to let go of feeling obligated to engage in rituals or situations that make you feel unhappy. It is easy to get lost in the trance of tradition and lose track of who you really are and what serves you as you are now. But there is a wonderful payoff if you take the time to touch base with what you really want and give it to yourself. When you take care of yourself, your capacity to give to others expands exponentially, and so does your innate joyfulness.
The first step is taking time to sort through any baggage that’s nagging you. If sad memories present themselves, know that you are not alone. It is well-documented that many people suffer from depression at this time of year. The key is to face these feelings, hear them out, and fully process them so that you can be free again. Try giving yourself the space and time to consider what will be truly healing for you this year. Perhaps you’d rather go on vacation to a tropical island with friends than go back home to a dysfunctional family. Maybe you’d prefer not to exchange gifts. Maybe you want to change-up the traditional dinner fare and make something profoundly healthy or exotic. As you infuse this holiday with new energy, you will feel your blues lightening and your joyfulness steadily on the rise. Try to make this holiday season about who you are now, not what you were in the past. Enjoy.
Every person fulfills their purpose when the time is right.
Since human timetables quite often do not correspond with universal timetables, it’s common for people to feel that life is progressing too slowly or too quickly. We draft carefully composed plans only to find that they fall into place when we least expect. Or, conversely, we are thrust into roles we believe we are not prepared for and wonder how we will survive the demands imposed upon us by unfamiliar circumstances. When delays in our progress kindle pangs of disappointment within us or the pace of life seems overwhelming, peace can be found in the simple fact that we are exactly where we need to be at this moment.
Every person fulfills their purpose when the time is right. If you have fast-tracked to success, you may become deeply frustrated if you discover you can no longer satisfy your desires as quickly as you might like. Yet the delays that disappoint you may be laying the foundation for future accomplishments that you have not yet conceived. Or the universe may have plans for you that differ from the worldly aspirations you have pursued up until this point. What you deem a postponement of progress may actually represent an auspicious opportunity to prepare for what is yet to come. If, however, you feel as though the universe is pushing you forward at too fast a clip, you may be unwittingly resisting your destiny. Your unease regarding the speed of your progress could be a sign that you need to cultivate awareness within yourself and learn to move with the flow of fate rather than against it. The universe puts nothing in your path that you are incapable of handling, so you can rest assured that you are ready to grow into your new situation.
You may feel compelled to judge your personal success using your age, your professional position, your level of education, or the accomplishments of your peers as a yardstick. Yet we all enjoy the major milestones in our lives at the appropriate time—some realize their dreams as youngsters while others flourish only in old age. If you take pride in your many accomplishments and make the most of every circumstance in which you find yourself, your time will come.
Your honest word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
Promises are easily made. Keeping them often proves more difficult because when we are pressured to strive always for perfection, we find it simpler to agree to undertake impossible tasks than to say no. Likewise, there is an infinite array of circumstances that conspire to goad us into telling falsehoods, even when we hold a great reverence for truth. When you endeavor to consistently keep your word, however, you protect your reputation and promote yourself as someone who can be trusted to be unfailingly truthful. Though your honesty may not always endear you to others—for there will always be those who fear the truth—you can nonetheless be certain that your integrity is never tarnished by the patina of deceit. Since frankness and sincerity form the basis of all life-enriching relationships, your word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
When we promise more than we can deliver, hide from the consequences of our actions through falsehoods, or deny our true selves to others, we hurt those who were counting on us by proving that their faith was wrongly given. We are also hurt by the lies we tell and the promises we break. Integrity is the foundation of civilization, allowing people to live, work, and play side by side without fear or apprehension. As you cultivate honesty within yourself, you will find that your honor and reliability put people at ease. Others will feel comfortable seeking out your friendship and collaborating with you on projects of great importance, certain that their positive expectations will be met. If you do catch yourself in a lie, ask yourself what you wanted to hide and why you felt you couldn’t be truthful. And if life’s surprises prevent you from keeping your word, simply admit your error apologetically and make amends quickly.
Since the path of truth frequently represents the more difficult journey, embarking upon it builds character. You can harness the power of your word when you do your best to live a life of honesty and understand what motivates dishonesty. In keeping your agreements and embodying sincerity, you prove that you are worthy of trust and perceive values as something to be incorporated into your daily existence.
I know well how difficult it can be to have strangers in our home. I'll try to remember this the next time someone comes over.
Pounds lost: 18.0
Posts: 23,095 12/22/13 8:43 P
Strangers in Our Sanctuary Sharing Peace
by Madisyn Taylor
Having strangers in our homes can be difficult, but we can choose to treat their energy as an exchange of gifts as well as an exercise in acceptance.
When we have created a sanctuary in our home, it can be jarring to have the outside world come in. It is easy to share our space with those we know well, but often strangers are asked in as household help, contractors, or technicians that help us make our homes more comfortable. Acquaintances of our spouses or children also bring something new and different into our space. If we resist their presence, treating it as an intrusion, we restrict the free flow of energy and may miss the gift they bring. Instead, we can choose to treat their energy as an exchange of gifts as well as an exercise in acceptance.
Before their arrival, we can prepare by envisioning light surrounding our bodies and radiating outward from the core of our homes. We may want to create a calm and welcoming environment by playing meditation music or lighting incense. We can remove tension for all involved by putting away our valuables. Then when they arrive, we claim our boundaries by guiding them through their visit—asking them to remove their shoes, offering coasters or a place to set down tool boxes, and indicating by example to speak softly or not use harsh language. If something still causes stress, we can remember that what begins as an irritation to an oyster becomes a pearl. After they depart, we can burn sage and clear our space if we like but not without first finding the pearl.
Finally, remember that we learn about life by relating with others. People may have been sent to our homes because we ignored some of the universe’s messengers outside. Our homes need not be a way to keep people out but can be the place where we are ourselves while accepting and allowing other’s choices. When we share the joy of our homes, we radiate our light rather than hide it behind closed doors. The more we do this, the more the outside world can become like the sanctuary we’ve created inside.
We do not need to suffer or live in poverty to be a spiritual person.
The idea that we have to suffer or live in poverty in order to be spiritual is an old one and can be found in the belief systems of many philosophies. Most of us carry this idea around subconsciously, and we may be holding ourselves back from financial or emotional well-being, believing that this is what we must do in order to be virtuous, spiritually awake, or feel less guilty for the suffering of others.
While it’s true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, it is rarely intended to be a permanent or lifelong experience. What we are meant to find when material or emotional resources are in short supply is that there is more to our lives than the physical realm. Intense relationships and material abundance can distract us from the subtler realm of the spirit, so a time of deficiency can be spiritually awakening. However, once we recognize the realm of spirit, and remember to hold it at the center of our lives, there is no reason to dwell in poverty or emotional isolation. In fact, once our connection to spirit is fully intact, we feel so compelled to share our abundance that lack becomes a thing of the past.
If you find that you are experiencing suffering in some area of your physical life, perhaps your spirit is asking you to look deeper in your search for what you want. For example, if you want money so that you can experience the feeling of security but money keeps eluding you, your spirit may be asking you to understand that security is not to be found through money. Security comes from an unshakable connection to your soul. Once you make that connection, money will probably flow more easily into your life. If relationships elude you, your spirit may be calling you to recognize that the love you seek is not to be found in another person. And yet, ironically, once you find the love, your true love may very well appear. If you feel stuck in suffering to live a spiritual life, try to spend some time writing about it. The root of the problem will appear and it may not be what you expected. Remember, the Universe wants you to be happy.
Because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion.
It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons.
This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular.
Sometimes we need to be our own village, utilizing all of our skills and learning more.
Simple survival requires us to be in possession of many skills. The pursuit of dreams requires many more. Most individuals rely on the support of a village, whether peopled by relatives or community members, to effectively address the numerous ways we need assistance. This can mean anything from asking favors of acquaintances and leaning on loved ones for support to paying a skilled artisan to handle specialized tasks. However, each human being is born with the capacity to be their own village. We embody many roles throughout our lifetimes, all of which are representative of our capacity for self-sufficiency and self-determination. In different moments in our lives, we are our own counselor, janitor, caregiver, cook, healer, teacher, and student. Our willingness to joyfully take on these roles grants us the power to maintain control over the direction our life’s journey takes.
In times past, human beings learned all of the skills needed for survival. Today, the majority of people specialize in a single discipline, which they hone throughout their lives. Thus, many of us feel uncomfortable standing at the helm of our own existence. We question our ability to make decisions concerning our own health, happiness, and welfare, and are left feeling dependent and powerless. But the authority to take ultimate responsibility for our lives is simply a matter of believing that we have the necessary faith and intelligence to cope with any circumstance the universe chooses to place in our path. Proving that we can each be our own villages through action enables us to accept that we are strong enough to exist autonomously. Cooking, cultivating a garden of fruits and vegetables, undertaking minor home repair, or adopting a healthier lifestyle can help you reassert your will.
Being your own village does not mean embracing isolation, for a balanced life is built upon the dual foundations of the inner and the outer villages. Rather, being your own village is a celebration of your wondrous inner strength and resourcefulness, as well as an acknowledgment of your innate ability to capably steer the course of your life
Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul.
Life is the province of learning, and the wisdom we acquire throughout our lives is the reward of existence. As we traverse the winding roads that lead from birth to death, experience is our patient teacher. We exist, bound to human bodies as we are, to evolve, enrolled by the universe in earth school, an informal and individualized academy of living, being, and changing. Life’s lessons can take many forms and present us with many challenges. There are scores of mundane lessons that help us learn to navigate with grace, poise, and tolerance in this world. And there are those once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives. The latter can be heartrending, and we may wander through life as unwilling students for a time. But the quality of our lives is based almost entirely on what we derive from our experiences.
Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul, as well as the intellect. The scope of our instruction is dependent on our ability and readiness to accept the lesson laid out before us in the circumstances we face. When we find ourselves blindsided by life, we are free to choose to close our minds or to view the inbuilt lesson in a narrow-minded way. The notion that existence is a never-ending lesson can be dismaying at times. The courses we undertake in earth school can be painful as well as pleasurable, and as taxing as they are eventually rewarding. However, in every situation, relationship, or encounter, a range of lessons can be unearthed. When we choose to consciously take advantage of each of the lessons we are confronted with, we gradually discover that our previous ideas about love, compassion, resilience, grief, fear, trust, and generosity could have been half-formed.
Ultimately, when we acknowledge that growth is an integral part of life and that attending earth school is the responsibility of every individual, the concept of “life as lesson” no longer chafes. We can openly and joyfully look for the blessing buried in the difficulties we face without feeling that we are trapped in a roller-coaster ride of forced learning. Though we cannot always know when we are experiencing a life lesson, the wisdom we accrue will bless us with the keenest hindsight.
Days of Affirmation Sending Love Ahead to Your Day
by Madisyn Taylor
Send love to your day ahead and remember to stop and catch the miracles.
Upon waking, many people consider the coming day with trepidation. Because of the natural human tendency to focus on what we fear or dislike, it is easy to unwittingly send a message of unease into the future that negatively impacts the quality of your day. However, while our lives are busy and frequently replete with challenges, they are also rich with joy and experiences worth savoring. We can attract this natural bliss into our lives by starting each day with a message of love. When you send love ahead to your day, that love will manifest itself in your interpersonal interactions, your professional endeavors, and your domestic duties. Tasks and circumstances once made trying by your own anxiety are transformed by your love, and you will find yourself approaching life’s subtle nuances with great affection.
Each morning, when you have cast off the fog of sleep, take several deep, grounding breaths and reaffirm the love you have for yourself. Speaking a loving, self-directed blessing aloud enables you to access and awaken the reservoir of tenderness in your soul. Before you leave the comfortable warmth of your bed, be sure to tell the universe that you are eager and ready to receive the blessings it has set aside for you. Then as you prepare to meet the day, visualize yourself first saturated by and then surrounded with a warm and soft loving light. Gradually widen the circle of this light until you are able to send it ahead into your future. If you are commuting to work, send love to the roads upon which you will drive, your fellow commuters, and your parking space. If you have colleagues who arrive at your workplace before you, send them love. Likewise, a day spent being a parent or addressing household chores can benefit from the sentiment that precedes you. Sending love ahead to everyone you will meet and everything you will do can ensure that your day is suffused with grace.
If you have difficulty sending love to those situations and individuals you deem particularly frustrating, consider that the warmth and tenderness you project can change your life for the better. Each morning, in sending this love, you will exercise your power to control the ambiance of your existence and to color your day with positivity.
Putting People on a Pedestal Allowing Our Loved Ones to Be Human
by Madisyn Taylor
When you put somebody on a pedestal it is giving away your power and saying you are not good enough.
When we fall in love with someone or make a new friend, we sometimes see that person in a glowing light. Their good qualities dominate the foreground of our perception and their negative qualities. They just don’t seem to have any. This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. Often times we put spiritual leaders and our gurus on pedestals. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as we remember that no one is actually “perfect,” the pedestal phase of a relationship can be enjoyed for what it is—a phase. It’s when we actually believe our own projection that troubles arise.
Everyone has problems, flaws, and blind spots, just as we do. When we entertain the illusion that someone is perfect, we don’t allow them room to be human, so when they make an error in judgment or act in contradiction to our idea of perfection, we become disillusioned. We may get angry or distance ourselves in response. In the end, they are not to blame for the fact that we idealized them. Granted, they may have enjoyed seeing themselves as perfect through our eyes, but we are the ones who chose to believe an illusion. If you go through this process enough times, you learn that no one is perfect. We are all a combination of divine and human qualities and we all struggle. When we treat the people we love with this awareness, we actually allow for a much greater intimacy than when we held them aloft on an airy throne. The moment you see through your idealized projection is the moment you begin to see your loved one as he or she truly is.
We cannot truly connect with a person when we idealize them. In life, there are no pedestals—we are all walking on the same ground together. When we realize this, we can own our own divinity and our humanity. This is the key to balance and wholeness within ourselves and our relationships.
Different Ways of Navigating We’re All in the Same Boat
by Madisyn Taylor
We are all on this earth together learning and teaching together in many different ways.
We're all in the same boat. We just have different paddles, and perhaps we find ourselves on different rivers. We all live in human bodies. These are the vehicles in which we move through our world. We are all made of flesh, blood, and bone, with brains, hearts, and lungs to power us. Our paddles - the tools we use to move through the world - vary, as do the bodies of water - the environments - in which we find ourselves.
Some of us use our high IQs to get where we want to go. Some of use our smiles, others use kindness, a gift with language, or athletic ability. Some of these qualities we were born with and others are skills we have learned. Considering this metaphor in light of your own life can be very enlightening. What tools are you using to get from point A to point B in your life? Chances are, you and the people you know have used many different tools in various combinations throughout your lives to get where you needed to go. Just as with oars or paddles, a balanced approach is best. If you rely too much on one thing, like beauty, to open doors, you fail to be well-rounded and you may eventually lose your equilibrium. And if you lose that one quality, you have no paddle at all. This is inspiration to develop multiple tools to navigate your world.
Some of us may be moving along paths that are like rushing rivers; others may be on a large, still lake. We have all felt, at one time or another, tossed about on a stormy ocean. Through all this, we are never really alone, even though it might seem that way. There is inspiration all around us in the form of other people making their way through the world, in the very same boat. Remember to look around you for role models, companionship, and encouragement.
Imagine a world in which we all shared our gifts and bounty with each other rather than focusing on self preservation.
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets—indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep to them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone.
Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same. The reward is a banquet that can nourish many.
Working with a shaman can be a great puzzle piece in the process of becoming whole again.
Since time immemorial, certain men and women have felt called to heal the sick, to safeguard knowledge, to guide the lost, and to commune with the spirit world. These unique individuals, known as shamans, were mystics and seers, repositories of wisdom, and keepers of herbal lore. During those periods when ignorance loomed large in the world, shamans across the globe bided their time, peacefully practicing their practical yet refined arts in the jungle, mountains, deserts, and tundra that protected them from those who misunderstood shamanism. Today, however, shamanism has reemerged, as modern men and women feel the same call to service that their ancestors felt long ago. Also, as more individuals explore the notion that healing necessarily involves the soul as well as the physical self, people are consulting shamans in their search for wellness, wisdom, and guidance.
The word shaman literally means “he or she who knows.” Shamanism is an art that has not changed in any quantifiable way for millennia and is not bound to any particular form of spirituality. It is grounded on the principle that the visible world is saturated with unseen forces that influence the lives of human beings. Shamans, in addition to acting as fonts of wisdom, are dedicated to diagnosing and curing human suffering—whether emotional, physical, or spiritual. To treat an illness, a shaman may communicate with the spirit world in order to connect more directly with the soul of their patient or with the force causing ill health. They often work closely with animal guides, plant and earth spirits, or your spirit guides, and may make use of use of herbal remedies to supplement other forms of treatment. Shamans, as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual realms, recognize that all objects are in manner alive and retain information that can be utilized to heal.
Shamanism is powerful in part because its practitioners tailor healing to the individual needs of those who seek them out. A shaman manipulates energy, giving you power where you have lost it and removing misplaced energy lurking within you. When you seek out a shaman, they will endeavor to know and understand you before treating you. In this way, they can provide you with therapies that act on your whole being, positively influencing your body as well as your soul.
Ceremony of Welcome Welcoming a New Member to Your Family
by Madisyn Taylor
A welcoming ritual for a new family member creates a lovely energetic bond for all involved.
Just as our inner landscape is constantly shifting and changing in response to the world around us, the dynamics of the families we belong to evolve over time. When we welcome an individual into our family—whether that individual is human or animal—a transformation takes place, a shift in the energy of your family unit. The birth or adoption of a child, the introduction of a spouse or stepparent, or the choice to bring a pet into your home can mark a new direction in the life of the family as a whole. A simple welcoming ritual can serve as the platform upon which every member of the household, old and new, gathers together to joyfully mark this new phase of family life. Encouraging every member of the family to take part in the ritual will foster a sense of unity and help members come together to grow into the new family paradigm as a group.
The transition from one family dynamic to another isn’t always straightforward. The needs and desires of new members of a household may not always correspond with those of other members of the household. It is precisely because the introduction of a new family member can interrupt the flow of energy upon which the family previously thrived that it is so important to respect the change and honor the induction of the new addition. When welcoming an adult into your family, a sand ceremony can reinforce each member’s individuality and symbolically integrate the newest family member into the whole. During the ceremony, parents, children, and extended relations are given sand of a different color or texture and, one by one, pour it into a thoughtfully chosen container. The rainbow of sand can then be displayed as a reminder of family unanimity. To honor the introduction of a child, parents can hold a ritual during which they formally introduce their child to the other members of the family and invite each to speak a blessing over the child. Welcoming a pet can be as simple as coming together in the presence of your new friend and articulating your intention as a family to provide it with a loving and secure atmosphere in which it can flourish.
As each family is different, you may feel more comfortable using a ritual or ceremony of your own design to welcome the new member of your household. However you choose to honor your new family member, know that your decision to acknowledge the manner in which your household has grown will make the transition a beautiful and memorable event in your family history.
An aware traveler sees each new journey as an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of humanity.
As the technology of travel grows ever more refined, the world grows smaller. Whereas a journey of a hundred miles once took many days, we can now travel across the globe in mere hours. The four corners of the earth are accessible by plane, train, and ship, and there are few pleasures in life as soul-stirring and transformative as travel. In a new land, the simplest of joys can be profound—meditation takes on a new quality because the energy in which we are immersed is unfamiliar. Our sensory experiences are entirely novel. Yet the relative ease with which we can step out of our own culture in order to explore another means that we are ambassadors representing not only our own way of life but also the culture of the traveler. As a conscious citizen of the world, you can add value to the locales you visit while simultaneously broadening your own perspective.
A truly aware traveler sees each new journey as an opportunity to improve international relations, spread goodness, and gain a greater understanding of humanity. To immerse yourself in foreign cultures is to open your mind to fresh ways of being. Your natural curiosity can help you navigate the subtleties that define a culture. While you may not agree with all the traditions or laws of a country, abiding by them demonstrates that you understand and respect their value. Staying centered in another culture is often simply a matter of learning about your destination, being patient with yourself and others, and accepting that people may treat you as an example of your country’s attitudes. New worlds will open to you when you take part in the everyday life of a locale—the reality of a destination is in its markets, its streets, and its people.
Traveling presents a wonderful opportunity to practice being open-minded and grounded. The voyages you make help cultivate a worldwide community in which we as humans can acknowledge and appreciate our differences as much as we recognize and appreciate our similarities. Though you will eventually return home, the positive impression you leave behind will remain as a testament to the respect and amicability that marked your intercultural interactions.
There is much we can learn from the ocean as we have a similar inner landscape within us as well.
Like us, the sea is ever-changing. And, like us, the earth’s vast oceans appear at a distance to be stable and homogenous. But beneath the mask of solidity that both we and the sea wear, there lies unpredictability, sensitivity, and power. There is much we can learn from the ocean, representative as it is of our inner landscapes. The rough sounds of the sea’s waves are spiritually soothing, and its salt can purify our physical selves. Yet not everyone has the luxury of living by the shore or even visiting the coastlines where water and land meet. The ocean, however, exists in our conscious minds, put there by images we have seen and descriptions we have read. Wherever we are, we can access that mental image and use it as the starting point from which we can help to heal our emotions by meditating on the sea.
To begin, gather together any ocean artifacts you may have on hand. Seashells, a vial of sand, beach glass, stones rubbed smooth by the pounding surf, or a recording of ocean sounds can help you slip more deeply into this meditation, but they are not necessary. Sit quietly and visualize the ocean in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your senses to participate in your mental journey. Feel the tiny grains of sand beneath your feet and the cool spray of mist; hear the sea’s rhythmic roar as the waves meet the beach and retreat; smell the tang of salt in the air. Watch the sun’s rays play over the ocean’s surface, creating shifting spots of teal, cerulean, cobalt, and green. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins or whales frolicking in the waves—they are there to assist you. Spend a few minutes drinking in the ocean’s beauty and appreciating its vast splendor.
Once you are fully engaged with the setting before you, visualize yourself sitting on the beach, facing the ocean, and watching the waves advance and retreat. As each new wave of seawater approaches, imagine it carrying healing energy toward you. The magnificent ocean in your thoughts is sending you light and love while the sun supports your healing efforts and Mother Earth grounds you in the moment so healing can occur. When you feel you are finished, grant the ocean your earnest gratitude for the aid it has given you. Thank the sun, the sand, and any other elements of your visualization that offered you guidance. Perform this meditation daily or monthly in order to rid yourself of negativity and reestablish emotional equilibrium. Just as the ocean’s tides sweep the shores free of detritus, restoring balance, so can the waves in our mind’s eye cleanse our souls of what no longer serves us.
Being open-minded means that we are willing to question everything, including those things we take for granted.
A lot of people feel threatened if they feel they are being asked to question their cherished beliefs or their perception of reality. Yet questioning is what keeps our minds supple and strong. Simply settling on one way of seeing things and refusing to be open to other possibilities makes the mind rigid and generally creates a restrictive and uncomfortable atmosphere. We all know someone who refuses to budge on one or more issues, and we may have our own sacred cows that could use a little prodding. Being open-minded means that we are willing to question everything, including those things we take for granted.
A willingness to question everything, even things we are sure we are right about, can shake us out of complacency and reinvigorate our minds, opening us up to understanding people and perspectives that were alien to us before. This alone is good reason to remain inquisitive, no matter how much experience we have or how old we get. In the Zen tradition, this willingness to question is known as beginner’s mind, and it has a way of generating possibilities we couldn’t have seen from the point of view of knowing something with certainty. The willingness to question everything doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t believe in anything at all, and it doesn’t mean we have to question every single thing in the world every minute of the day. It just means that we are humble enough to acknowledge how little we actually know about the mysterious universe we call home.
Nearly every revolutionary change in the history of human progress came about because someone questioned some time-honored belief or tradition and in doing so revealed a new truth, a new way of doing things, or a new standard for ethical and moral behavior. Just so, a commitment to staying open and inquisitive in our own individual lives can lead us to new personal revolutions and truths, truths that we will hopefully, for the sake of our growth, remain open to questioning.
Your worth is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, or how much you have accomplished.
Though much of who and what we are changes as we journey through life, our inherent worth remains constant. While the term self-worth is often used interchangeably with self-esteem, the two qualities are inherently different. Self-esteem is the measure of how you feel about yourself at a given moment in time. Your worth, however, is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, your good works, or how much you have accomplished. Rather it is immeasurable and unchanging manifestation of your eternal and infinite oneness with the universe. It represents the cornerstone of the dual foundations of optimism and self-belief. Your worth cannot be taken from you or damaged by life’s rigors, yet it can easily be forgotten or even actively ignored. By regularly acknowledging your self-worth, you can ensure that you never forget what an important, beloved, and special part of the universe you are.
You are born worthy—your worth is intertwined with your very being. Your concept of your own self-worth is thus reinforced by your actions. Each time you endeavor to appreciate yourself, treat yourself kindly, define your personal boundaries, be proactive in seeing that your needs are met, and broaden your horizons, you express your recognition of your innate value. During those periods when you have lost sight of your worth, you will likely feel mired in depression, insecurity, and a lack of confidence. You’ll pursue a counterfeit worth based on judgment rather than the beauty that resides within. When you feel worthy, however, you will accept yourself without hesitation. It is your worth as an individual who is simultaneously interconnected with all living beings that allows you to be happy, confident, and motivated. Because your conception of your worth is not based on the fulfillment of expectations, you’ll see your mistakes and failures as just another part of life’s journey.
Human beings are very much like drops of water in an endless ocean. Our worth comes from our role as distinct individuals as well as our role as an integral part of something larger than ourselves. Simply awakening to this concept can help you rediscover the copious and awe-inspiring worth within each and every one of us.
When fate brings old friends back into our lives, there is always a reason.
Every person that passes through our lives makes a contribution to our life stories. There are those who play large roles and make deep impressions, but sometimes a brief special appearance before life takes them in another direction creates a meaningful connection. It is a rare gift when they suddenly reappear in our lives after a long absence.
Though the world may seem full of more people than we could ever know, we are often drawn to people with similar energy, which brings us together time and time again. On first meeting, the characters in our life stories may seem familiar. We may know each other from past lives or perhaps we merely recognize the energy of a kindred spirit. But when fate brings old friends back into our lives, there is always a reason. They may act as messengers, reminding us of a part of ourselves we have forgotten to nurture. They might appear to give us a chance to react in a new way to an old situation. They may even bring up unresolved issues so that we may complete them, giving us the chance to move forward on our life path. Whether old friends, previous romances, or once and future partners, their reappearance is more than mere chance. They may never know what they bring into our lives, but the renewed contact is a gift.
If this hasn’t happened to you, maybe you are meant to initiate contact by seeking out old friends. If old friends come to mind or into your dreams, use their appearance as an excuse to get in touch. If an old song or movie reminds you of them, reach out to share the gift of renewed contact. Wherever you fall in the circle of connection and reconnection, be sure to look beyond the surprise of the moment to enjoy the deeper gift that this revelation brings.
Remembering to say thank you to our guides and helpers is important for the completion of the assistance they have given.
We may have become accustomed to asking for help from the unseen world—whether from angels, guides, or ancestral spirits—but sometimes we may forget to close our connection afterwards with a thank you. When we connect to these energies for assistance, it is much like a phone connection. Forgetting to close the conversation with a proper “goodbye” is like not hanging up. While that line is still connected, others can have trouble getting through, while in the meantime, batteries are being drained. Saying “thank you” is a way of releasing our concerns into trusted hands and getting out of the way so that the universe’s divine order can work on our behalf.
As spiritual beings, we may talk about “staying connected,” but our connection needs to be with our source. We can plug in and recharge, but we run on batteries in between, and every connection we make utilizes some of our personal power. Even being surrounded by people that energize us has its limits, and at some point we will feel ready to go off on our own to do what is ours to do. Instead of trying to be constantly connected, we can turn to these beings for help in a way that is more like placing an order. We contact them, ask for what we need, and then say thank you and goodbye.
Beings of light don’t require our gratitude; it is an energetic acknowledgement of trust and release that benefits us. When we bring ourselves to a sense of being grateful, we affirm that what we have asked is already done. Then we can move forward with confidence to do the things we are meant to do, while knowing that all will be well.
Our gratitude deepens when we begin to be thankful for being alive during this time and living the life we are living.
Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.
It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.
We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.
It is said moonstones have been imbued with mystical properties that extend the fabled powers of the moon into daytime.
Moonstones, gems named for their resemblance to the familiar glowing orb in the night sky, offer us more than mere beauty. Their association with moon goddesses throughout the world may explain why moonstones’ qualities seem to reach out to assist all those who find themselves under the moon’s light, from travelers and those at sea to lovers and dreamers. Throughout the world, moonstones have been imbued with mystical properties that extend the fabled powers of the moon into daylight hours.
In India, they are thought to give sweet, beautiful dreams by night but have gained a reputation for enhancing intuitive sensitivity and spiritual vision of the “third eye” at any time of the day. This connection to the subconscious was also recognized in the Middle Ages in Europe, where it was believed that gazing into a moonstone would cause you to fall into a deep sleep that allowed you to see the future. This extends to the power of fertility, where in Arabia, women sew moonstones into their garments to enhance their fertility. This association with fertility even extends to the fertility of crops, which is why moonstone amulets have been seen hanging in fruit trees before harvest. To further enhance the power of your moonstone, try putting them outside in the light of the full moon.
Moonstones, sometimes likened to a raindrop or tear, have long reminded people in Asia that the moon cannot be seen during the rain, just as it is difficult to see through our tears. By bringing love and abundance into our lives today and helping us to see the future, moonstones allow us to bring the hope of all good things into our lives.
Frequently, in walking through our fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of sync with reality.
The situations, activities, and individuals that frighten us remain static. Their relative intensity does not change. Fear, on the other hand, self-magnifies. It is when you are afraid and envisioning all that might go wrong that the energy underlying your fear grows. A tiny flicker of anxiety can easily develop into a terror that manifests itself physically and eventually paralyzes you into inaction. Though frequently, in walking through that fear, we discover that the strength of our fright was out of synch with reality. And we learn that doing what frightens us can lead to great blessings. Confronting your trepidation head-on will help you accept that few frightening scenarios will ever live up to the negative disasters that we sometimes play out in our minds.
Though fear is literally an evolutionary gift meant to sharpen your senses and energize you during times of great stress, it can nonetheless become a barrier that prevents you from fulfilling your potential by causing you to miss out on rewarding, life-changing experiences. During the period before you face your fear, you may have to deal with a barrage of negative thoughts and emotions. Walking through it, whether your fear is public speaking, taking part in an activity that makes you nervous, or asserting yourself when the odds are against you, may be equally as difficult. But once you have emerged unscathed on the other side, which you will, you will likely wonder why you assumed the worst in the first place. As you spend time worrying about what might happen, it’s good to know that your fear probably won’t happen at all. It may feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and you will likely feel a sense of passionate pride. Walking through your fear can mean taking risks and can require both practice and patience. Since it is challenging to act when you are gripped with fear, start small.
Each step you take into fear will strengthen you and help you confront future fears with poise, courage, and confidence. You will also find that when you are willing to stare your fear in the face, the universe will always offer you some form of aid or support. When you see the heights of accomplishment and personal evolution you can attain when you walk through your fears, your faith in yourself will grow, allowing your next step to be easier.
Permission to Simply Be Working through Transitions
by Madisyn Taylor
During the pause between achievements, many people begin to question what their life is about.
The elation we feel when we have learned an important lesson, achieved a goal, or had a big breakthrough can sometimes be met with a period of downtime afterward. During this period of transition, we may feel unsure and not know where to turn next. Many people, during the pause between achievements, begin to wonder what their life is about. These feelings are common and strike everyone from time to time. Human beings are active creatures—we feel best when we are working on a project or vigorously pursuing a goal. But there is nothing inherently wrong with spending a day, a week, or even a month simply existing and not having a plan. Just be. It won’t be long before you embark upon your next voyage of growth and discovery.
The quiet lull into we which we fall between ideas, projects, and goals can make life seem empty. After accomplishing one objective, you may want to move immediately on to the next. However, when your next step is unclear, you may feel frustrated, disconnected, or even a mild depression. You may even perceive your lack of forward momentum as an indicator of imminent stagnation. To calm these distressing thoughts, try to accept that if your intent is personal growth, you will continue to grow as an individual whether striving for a specific objective or not. Spending time immersed in life’s rigors and pleasures can be a cathartic experience that gives you the time you need to think about what you have recently gone through and leisurely contemplate what you wish to do next. You may also find that in simply being and going through the motions of everyday life, you reconnect with your priorities in a very organic, unforced way.
The mindful transitional pause can take many forms. For some, it can be a period of reflection that helps them understand how their life has unfolded. For others, it can be a period of adjustment, where new values based on recent changes are integrated into daily life. Just because you’re not headed swiftly to a final destination doesn’t mean you should assume that you have lost your drive. The stage between journeys can become a wonderful period of relaxation that prepares you for the path that will soon be revealed to you.
You can channel your pain into helping others and spreading a tide of curative energy throughout the world.
Pain is a fact of being and one that permeates all of our lives to some degree. Since the hurt we feel may be a part of the experiences that have touched us most deeply, we are often loathe to let it go. It is frequently easier to keep our pain at our sides, where it acts as a shield that shelters us from others and gives us an identity—that of victim—from which we can draw bitter strength. However, pain’s universality can also empower us to use our hurt to help others heal. Since no pain is any greater or more profound than any other, what you feel can give you the ability to help bring about the recovery of individuals whose hurts are both similar to and vastly different from your own. You can channel your pain into transformative and healing love that aids you in helping individuals on a one-to-one basis and spreading a tide of curative energy throughout the world.
The capacity to heal others evolves naturally within those who are ready to disassociate themselves from their identity as victims. In fact, the simple decision to put aside the pain we have carried is what grants us the strength to redeem that pain through service. There are many ways to use the hurt you feel to help others. Your pain gives you a unique insight into the minds of people who have experienced trauma and heartache. You can draw from the wellspring of strength that allowed you to emerge on the other side of a painful experience and pass that strength to individuals still suffering from their wounds. You may be able to council individuals in need by showing them the coping methods that have helped you survive or simply by offering sympathy. A kinship can develop that allows you to relate more closely with those you are trying to aid and comfort.
Helping others can be a restorative experience that makes your own heart grow stronger. In channeling your pain into compassionate service and watching others successfully recover, you may feel a sense of euphoria that leads to increased feelings of self-worth and optimism. Your courageous decision to reach out to others can be the best way to declare to yourself and the world that your pain didn’t defeat you, and in fact it helped you heal.
Relationships can become out of balance and one-sided if we don’t occasionally check in with each other.
One of the most beautiful qualities of an intimate relationship is the give and take of energy that occurs between two people. In the best-case scenario, both people share the talking and listening, and the giving and receiving of support, equally. Occasionally, within any relationship, the balance shifts and one person needs to listen more, or give more. Generally, over a long period of time, even this exception will take on a balanced rhythm; we all go through times when we take more and times when we give more.
However, there are also relationships in which the balance has always felt one-sided. You may have a friend whom you like, but you have begun to notice that the conversation is always about their life and their problems and never about yours. You may also have a friend who seems to require an inordinate amount of support from you but who is unable or unwilling to give much in return. Over time, these relationships can be draining and unsatisfying. One option is simply to end the relationship, or let it fade out naturally. Another option is to communicate to your friend that you would like to create a more equal balance in which your concerns also get some airtime. They may be taken aback at first, but if they are able to hear you, your friendship will become that much more sincere. They may even thank you for revealing a pattern that is probably sabotaging more than one relationship in their life.
A third option is to simply accept the relationship as it is. There are many one-sided relationships that actually work. One example of this is a mentor relationship in which you are learning from someone. Another example is a relationship in which you are helping someone who is sick, disabled, or otherwise needy. In these instances, you can simply be grateful that you are able to help and be helped, trusting that the balance of give and take will even out in the big picture of your life.
You Are Who You Are, Not What You Do Becoming Your Wrong Decisions
by Madisyn Taylor
We are not our decisions and no decision is wrong because we made the choice with the information at hand.
Our perception of the traits and characteristics that make us who we are is often tightly intertwined with how we live our life. We define ourselves in terms of the roles we adopt, our actions and inactions, our triumphs, and what we think are failures. As a result it is easy to identify so strongly with a decision that has resulted in unexpected negative consequences that we actually become that “wrong” decision. The disappointment and shame we feel when we make what we perceive as a mistake grows until it becomes a dominant part of our identities. We rationalize our “poor” decisions by labeling ourselves incompetent decision-makers. However, your true identity cannot be defined by your choices. Your essence—what makes you a unique entity—exists independently of your decision-making process.
There are no true right or wrong decisions. All decisions contribute to your development and are an integral part of your evolving existence yet they are still separate from the self. A decision that does not result in its intended outcome is in no way an illustration of character. Still, it can have dire effects on our ability to trust ourselves and our self-esteem. You can avoid becoming your decisions by affirming that a “bad decision” was just an experience, and next time you can choose differently. Try to avoid lingering in the past and mulling over the circumstances that led to your perceived error in judgment. Instead, adapt to the new circumstances you must face by considering how you can use your intelligence, inner strength, and intuition to aid you in moving forward more mindfully. Try not to entirely avoid thinking about the choices you have made, but reflect on the consequences of your decision from a rational rather than an emotional standpoint. Strive to understand why you made the choice you did, forgive yourself, and then move forward.
A perceived mistake becomes a valuable learning experience and is, in essence, a gift to learn and grow from. You are not a bad person and you are not your decisions; you are simply human.
If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away.
There are times when gloom or darkness causes us to momentarily lose sight of the light. Although it is at these times when the thought of the sun can help us. Its warm, glowing rays brighten even our thoughts, and it’s good to remember that despite appearances the sun is shining right now. We may not be able to see it at this very moment, but if clouds block our view, they are only filtering the sun’s light temporarily. If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away, and it’s only a matter of time before it will shine on us again.
When we remember that the sun is still shining, we know that things are still in motion in the universe. Even if life feels like it is at a standstill, sometimes all we need to do is have faith and wait for the time when everything is in its perfect place. Or we can we can choose to follow the cues of the sun and continue doing our work and shining our light, even when we can’t yet see results. In doing so we exercise our patience, making sure we are prepared when opportunity knocks and all other elements are in their right and perfect places.
The sun also reminds us that our own shining truth is never extinguished. Our light shines within us at all times, no matter what else occurs around us. Though the sun gives us daily proof of its existence, sometimes our belief in our own light requires more time. If we think back, however, we can find moments when it showed itself and trust that we will see it again. Like the sun, our light is the energy that connects us to the movements of the universe and the cycles of life and is present at all times, whether we feel its glow or not.
Emotional pain is at the root of our tendency to withhold, and this causes pain to the people subjected to it.
The most common form of withholding is what we commonly call “the silent treatment,” but withholding encompasses any unwillingness to express your true feelings. It also includes an unwillingness to give support, praise, or positive attention to the people you love. We have all known someone who is impossible to please, and many of us have suddenly found ourselves at the other end of a chilly silence with no explanation. At the same time, many of us will recognize our own tendency to withhold our emotions rather than express them. Most of us have seen both sides of the withholding dilemma. Emotional pain is at the root of our tendency to withhold, and withholding causes pain to the people subjected to it. It is a dysfunctional pattern that creates a breakdown in communication and understanding.
No one deserves to be subjected to withholding. Feeling ignored, disrespected, or shut out, and to not know why, is a terrible feeling. The first thing to remember if this is happening to you is that you are not to blame. You are caught in someone else’s pain pattern. This person does not know how to express feelings in a healthy way probably because this is what they learned when she or he was a child. The second helpful thing to remember is that the withholder is acting out of pain. They are stuck in a habitual mode of response that is self-defeating and alienating to the people they love. Remembering this will help you feel compassion for the person hurting you. However, if you have suffered too long with this pattern, you may need to get some space. Take some time to look at your own patterns and understand why you have taken part in this drama. If you are dealing with people in a family situation, you can step up to the plate to help break the chain of this behavior pattern.
If, on the other hand, it is you that tends to withhold, understand that this is a learned response and it can be unlearned. Find safe places to begin to express all that you’ve been holding back. Begin to make an effort to say what you’re feeling and thinking. Give praise to someone you love. The more you do this, the healthier you and your relationships will become. What was learned over a course of a life cannot be changed overnight—remember, one day at a time.
The Ecology Around You Finding Nature in Your Neighborhood
by Madisyn Taylor
Nature is all around us and there is a plethora in every neighborhood, one only needs to become still and watch.
Because both cities and tightly packed suburbs offer wildlife bountiful nooks and crannies in which to hide, it can be difficult to spot the animals that live in our midst. Many thrive among paved streets, sidewalks, buildings, parking lots, and high-rises. There are animals in abundance burrowing in the soil of center medians and tiny backyard gardens, making nests in the trees that line broad and busy avenues, and buzzing round the flowers that beautify our parks. To find these creatures, we only need to stop, look, and listen. Nature’s drama is continually playing out on the window ledges where weary birds stop to roost, in the shadowy places where cautious nocturnal mammals wait for night’s mantel to fall, and the fountains where playful waterfowl splash and frolic. In observing the animals that share our habitat, we become a part of their beautiful, complex, and exciting world.
Season by season, cities offer diverse ecosystems for you to explore. If your search for urban and suburban wildlife is challenging, try to look at your community with an animal’s eyes. Where there are shrubs and flowers, insects such as butterflies, ladybugs, beetles, and spiders can usually be found. The insects, in turn, attract the birds who feast upon them. Even the smallest green spaces are hosts to squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and moles. Decorative awnings offer falcons a place to raise their young. At night, a different community of animals wakens to the world. Raccoons, skunks, and possums emerge to examine our human leftovers for edibles. Even pets feel the call of the wild—it’s not uncommon for well-fed cats in colorful collars to stalk the streets in search of prey. Signs of habitation, like nests or hives, and audible evidence, like chirps, will help you find them.
Recognizing that you share your city with a wide range of animals can make you feel like a part of the grand circle of life and help you appreciate the importance of a healthy urban environment. You can admire the hardiness and adaptability of the urban animal while developing a sense of stewardship that inspires you to become their champion. The shrill calls of birds, the hum of bees, and the sweet squeaks of city-dwelling mammals can be a symphony that help you develop a deeper connection with the nature world.
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