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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

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A couple of hundred days ago, I decided I would affirm my daily blessings on Facebook.  Although they may not always be statements of gratitude, they are a means of bookmarking and honoring the day with the language of love.  Here is today’s blessing:

Today is day 1 of having executed two major decisions.

Is my energy completely pure around these decisions?

No.

Is it the path of my heart?

Yes.

Am I committed?

Hell, yes.

Do I have the guidance and wisdom of Spirit to lean on as I journey this path?

Always.

Allow me to continue trusting in that, even if Life takes a turn through the “wrong neighborhood”.

Then remind me what I came here knowing: there are no wrong neighborhoods.

“First love, then think
First love, then speak 
First love, then look
First love, then act
First love, then choose
First love, then give
First love, then live”
Robert Holden

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Image by CED-Leah  

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Excerpted from The Essential Rumi – translated by Coleman Barks

I post this because it is such a great follow-up to my recent “letting myself have” post.  The practice I talk about in letting myself have is now my spiritual practice of pure acceptance with whatever arises.  So this poem really seems a great complement to that practice.

There’s often so many things I read that sound good on paper (like The Guest House), but I want to know ‘gee, how does one attain that’?  I need tools, that’s me, it’s how I roll.  Tools lift these lofty ideas into something tangible, real, doable and useable.

I woke up for a couple of nights in a row, drenched in sweat, heart pounding over some big fear dream.  The old me would say: it’s over, let’s get a shower and your heart will calm down momentarily.  Let’s just not think about it, it will go away.  This time I laid in bed letting myself have the fear, the pounding heart, the vulnerability, the not feeling in control.  I sat with it and breathed with it and when it was ready it moved on.  It came to re-visit me again in the next night, i did the same practice and again it moved on.

Every don’t want, shouldn’t be, I can’t, I won’t, this should not be happening, you can’t make me … all of them, I can let myself have all of it.  And why should I?  Because suffering is the only other option.

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We are now past the 10 day Hay House global summit.  It’s Day 11 and Louise Hay has an hour session with her CEO.  Below are highlights:

Louise Hay speaking on Bruce Lipton’s idea: When we think in a conscious manner we are only using 5% of our brain, and the other thoughts we are thinking are downloads of thoughts we are thinking that were projected on us when we were very little children.  So it’s all other people’s opinions.  So in other words, most of the thoughts are all other people’s opinions and if you are thinking thoughts that are making you feel bad you are not thinking your own thoughts, you are thinking thoughts that you learned as a child.

Now me interjecting: We pick up other people’s thoughts from all over the place all day long every day.  We don’t know whose thought it is: is it the neighbor’s, the guy that’s in the grocery line in front of you, is it your father’s, your mother’s, your school grade teacher’s, your sister’s, your brother’s, the peer that embarrassed you.  We don’t know where it came from, but we know one thing: if it doesn’t make you feel good … then stop, just stop, it’s not *your* thought.  It’s a thought you adopted unwittingly as your own but it belonged to someone else.  Send it back to the ethers.  It doesn’t belong to you.  If it’s not a thought that takes you back to Original Grace, it’s not yours.

More from LH: So you can say to them, these thoughts are not mine! (Me again: Sonia Choquette has a great idea to take thumb and forefinger together as a means of anchoring, while affirming these thoughts are not mine.)

More LH — Now, give yourself a lot of positive affirmations:
I am loving and lovable.
I deserve the best.
All is well in my world.  People love me;  I love people.
I have a job that really satisfies me.
I live in a beautiful home that is wonderful for me.
I have great friends.
My health is good and getting better all the time.

You want to fill yourself with the right messages.

LH: Deep down you know that you are wonderful and you are worthy of living a good life.  All is well.  I like to get people to say over and over again:

Life loves me, life loves me.  I love life. If you woke up every morning saying life loves me and every time you step out your door you say life loves me and every time you open a door you say life loves me. Every time you meet with people, or meet new people you know, you say life loves me and you get that ingrained in your consciousness … your life is going to be so much better.

Life loves you.  All is well.

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Choose your rut carefully:  you will be in it for the next twenty-five miles. 
~unattributed

You are closer to glory, leaping an abyss, than upholstering a rut. 
~James Broughton

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. 
~M. Scott Peck

The first unattributed quote came from a longer piece spoken by Norman Vincent Peale.  He’s quoting a sign outside an old farmer’s piece of land.  He continues on to name the rut dwellers a “sad and pathetic lot”.  My, my … you can see why I didn’t include the totality of that.  I bring it up to illustrate how everyone speaks from their own perspective.  Perhaps someone would find brow beating a motivator.  I have a used “brow beater” for sale, if anyone needs it.  I’ve put a lot of miles on it, but a little oil and she’ll be good to go for hundreds more at least! 

The second quote is part of a much longer poem “Easter Exultet” by James Broughton.  It ends with the words “honeymoon with big joy!”  I used to carry that poem in my wallet.  Yes, JB, if I am going to get in bed with a feeling, let it be big joy.

Yet sometimes one doesn’t have access to big joy.  Sometimes we land in what feels like a rut.  Maybe we do upholster it, hang the pictures on the wall, break open the fridge, uncork the wine, grab the cupcakes, and just for good measure, set up a fruit bowl on the kitchen island. 

But now, I am looking for the love that’s always present.  It’s there before the rut, it’s there in the rut, it’s there after the rut.  It’s there in the sleepless hours.  It’s there in the room that I walked into forgetting what I came for.  It’s there while I distract myself with the wine and the cupcakes, and the smartphone.  It’s there in the letter I meant to write.  It’s there in the joy and the sorrow.  It’s there in the flowers I arranged just so, a prayerful homage to their glory, even in my upholstered rut.  It’s there when the day inevitably vanishes into night.  It’s there in the words I meant to say, but never did.  It’s there when there are no words left.  It’s there in the silence.

Ah, yes … I remember …

It’s right here.

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Welcome to the field of infinite possibilities. 

Sit, rest in an easy chair and watch as this world unfurls before your eyes. 

Here, nothing is ever lost, nor perishes, everything transforms.

There is no leaving, there is only coming home to more of yourself. 

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You never got it wrong. 

There’s no invisible bar of expectations you haven’t reached quite yet. 

There’s nothing just beyond your grasp. 

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Your whole being is now aglow in speechless wonder. 

This is the totality of who you always are.

Feast here, for it is your true sustenance forevermore.

 

 

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Flavors

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One night this week I had one of those lucid dreams where you are very aware that you are dreaming.  I was advising myself that fear was a flavor, and guilt was just a flavor, too.

I woke up and started thinking about the big buckets of ice cream at Baskin Robbins, 30 some odd flavors.  They provide little pink spoons so you can sample them.  Some of those flavors don’t make my taste buds do a happy dance.  Just like some of those flavors of emotions, don’t allow my spirit to soar either.  If anything they deflate my spirit, especially if I let myself sit down with the whole bucket!

During the night, I received an email, I instantly picked up the spoon and took a bite out of “Bethie’s a bad girl”.  That’s the not-so-premium flavor of shame.  I almost bellied up to the entire bucket…

Until…

I remembered…

Dear sweet Bethie, you intended no harm, you can put the shame bucket back behind the case.  You do have a choice.  It’s not your flavor anymore,

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“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  ~ Frederick Buechner

I believe, in between the pages of all of our lives, is invisible Grace.  Undeniable grace is at work always.  It doesn’t need our belief or faith in it to be made visible … but be made visible, it surely will be, if you are willing to see it.  

There was a morning I was shook awake by a loud bang.  I eventually made my way downstairs, opened the front door, and found a car on my porch.  I would come to see there were three cars spilled out like so many colored dice across my lawn.  As dawn broke, I would hear the songbirds herald the day – that was Grace.  

One day just before I started this blog, my son was in an ambulance racing to the hospital.  I hurriedly followed along in my car, rounded a bend, and saw Mt. Rainier in all her rapturous glory.  I wept with true gratitude in that moment.  That was undeniable Grace.

Look back on your life and see how it’s always held you, guided you, and somehow … against all odds … picked you up and set you down on the shores of calm water.  This is life’s golden promise and gift to you.  

Grace, simply is and always will be.

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Mandala

 

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“Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our mandala, down to the teenager checking messages on her iPhone and the homeless man slumped in the corner. We go for a hike in the mountains, and everything as far as we can see is our mandala: the clouds, the trees, the snow on the peeks, even the rattlesnake coiled in the corner. We’re lying in a hospital bed, and the hospital is our mandala. We don’t set it up, we don’t get to choose what or who shows up in it. It is, As Chogyam Trungpa said, “the mandala that is never arranged but is always complete.” And we embrace it just as it is.

Everything that shows up in your mandala is a vehicle for your awakening. From this point of view, awakening is right at your fingertips continually. There’s not a drop of rain or a pile of dog poop that appears in your life that isn’t the manifestation of enlightened energy, that isn’t a doorway to sacred world.”
(From Pema Chodron’s newest book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change)

The above was posted on Pema’s Facebook wall this week.  I have her book and I highly recommend it.

Our lives are an ever unfolding, ever widening mandala – the landscape of our lives.  It’s rich, it’s all encompassing, and I wouldn’t trade a single part of it.  It’s emblazoned with all of me: my shame, fear, doubts, my hope, faith, dreams, wisdom and so much more.  It’s warm, pulsing and teeming with triumphs, crescendos, and the rawness of sadness and pain.

If you want to know the one thing I know for sure … here, in this rich, vibrant mandala of my life, nothing, not a thing at all, needs my mending.

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“And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.

And it’s this:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman

Are you all in with life?  You see, the only thing that really stops us from taking risks, being all in, and making mistakes, is fear.  But did you know underneath that cloak of fear, is you?  It’s your courage, it’s your trust, your insight, your wisdom, and your dreams.  It’s the well you draw from, the will to overcome your greatest fears.  All those resources are there for us to tap into, just below that layer of fear.   Beyond the field of your greatest fears lies a vital, grounded, pulsing life force.  That is who you really are!

“There’s a moment when fear and dreams must collide.  Someone I am is waiting for courage.  The one I will become, will catch me.  So let me fall, I will dance so freely, holding onto no one.  You can hold me only, if you too will fall…away from all these useless fears and chains.”  Cirque du Soleil lyrics to Let Me Fall

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Inevitable Change

So funny how a few hours can change everything.  Ok, well not everything but I can go from a high of such inspiration to the lows of midnite, 2am, 4am, etc. worries and no longer any consolation in invisible grace.  How swiftly I can become caught up in the worries of being a mother and worst case scenarios.  And then this morning a tree that is awash in deep pink blossoms can make me cry because, for a moment, I remember invisible grace now made visible.  How hope does spring eternal and how spring always comes ’round again.

And then just as easily back in worry, fear and sitting right by my computer my eye catches the print out of “she let go…” which I shared here a few weeks ago.  And for another moment, I am again lost in equal parts of the stillness in letting go and the exquisite heart break of spring upon me once again.

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