December 31, 2008

Ending the Year, Not Our Story

This has been a difficult year for many of us. And although very good things can come from adversities, it's not easy to keep our minds anchored in expectation of the good to come. For me, seeing difficulties as "growing pains" provides me with hope....the "vitamin" of life.

You can write your story any way you want to, but you'll have more fun if you make it into a comedy rather than a tragedy. If that's a bit too much of a stretch, consider this. Whatever your story is, it's not the end! Only the calendar year is ending....nothing else. If it has not been the best year, don't stop your story now.

Orson Wells

December 28, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

When our next best course of action seems unclear,
any dilemmas we face can appear insurmountable. Yet there is nothing we cannot overcome with time, persistence, focused thought, help from others, and faith.

Whatever the situation or problem, there is always a solution. And if you remember to look within even as you search around you for the "right" course of action, you will be able to center yourself, clear your mind, and see that nothing has to be impossible.

The first step in overcoming any obstacle is to believe that it CAN be overcome. Doing so will give you the strength and courage to move through any crisis. The second step is to make a resolution that you can prevail over any chaos. Don't discount ideas just because they may seem impractical or unrealistic, and don't keep searching for the "best" alternative. Often there is no "best" choice....there is only a choice to make so we can begin moving beyond whatever is obstructing our path.

You have within and around you the resources to find a solution to any problem. And remember that if a solution or choice you make doesn't work, you are always free to try another. Believe that you can get through anything, and you will always prevail.

(from the Daily OM)

I reach for an inspirational message purely randomly, and, amazingly enough, the messages are just what I need myself at the time. This one is no exception. I had an emergency with my sweet kitty over Christmas, and I was completely bereft until I remembered that I didn't have to make a perfect decision.....that if I kept him alive, I could decide otherwise later. Almost always, we have choices.

December 25, 2008

Christmas Blessing

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the Light that shines in our heart.

(Chandogya Upanishad)

December 23, 2008

Bring Your Own Love

Imagine drinking a cup of tea with your family without attempting in any way to get love, approval, or appreciation. This holiday, bring your own love, approval and appreciation!

You invite inner peace when you stop trying to force yourself either to change your relatives or to think of them as sane. Allow them to just BE. Allow yourself to just BE. When you acknowledge your own value, you'll also see more value in others just as they are. By giving yourself the gift of unconditional acceptance you thought you needed from your family, you will find true freedom.
Based on Byron Katie's writings.

December 21, 2008

Open Your Heart to Love

The greatest wealth we can ever hope to have lies not in material possessions or things, but in loving relationships with others. When we feel loving, we are able to grow and expand our viewpoint and our concept of what is possible.

When we don't feel loving, we can easily become obsessed with righteous anger about what or who has wronged us, and worries about what may go wrong in the future.
(Cynthia Sue Larson)

If you find yourself feeling less than loving, it can be too big of a jump to go from that to one of loving all. Rather than expect that of yourself, all you need do is reach for just one small step on the ladder of emotional feeling. If you can manage to feel only a tiny bit better, congratulations! Now, can you reach for just one another small step to feeling more loving? Congratulate yourself on reaching each step!:-) As you feel better and better, your heart will open a bit more with each step.

December 20, 2008

Blame free

Those who behave in ways that displease you are sending out their disharmony toward you because that is what they have to give away. Hating them is akin to hating moss for growing on a tree.
Wayne Dyer

December 18, 2008

Not Taking Things Personally

Every time you interact with others, you have the choice to listen to, acknowledge, and let go of their words, or you can take what they are saying personally. In order to take something personally, you must read negative intent in an individual’s words or actions. But what people do and say has no bearing upon you and is usually based on their own experiences, emotions, and perceptions.

If you are tempted to take a comment or action personally, creating some distance between yourself and the other person can help you. Try to determine what is at the root of your feelings. Ask yourself if the other person’s words or actions are just reinforcing some insecurity within you or if you can really be sure that an offense was intended.

You may even want to ask them what they meant. Finally, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Instead of taking their words as the truth, or as a personal affront, remember that whatever was said or done is based on their opinion and is more reflective of what is going on inside of them, rather than having anything to do with you.

When you recognize that what anyone says or does doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you, you will no longer feel hurt or attacked. While it’s easy to take things personally, you should never let anyone’s perceptions or actions affect how you see yourself or your worth. (from the Daily OM)

I'd like to add that this is very difficult to do as we have all been brought up to make what other people think about us our business. I have found, however, that having the above words firmly in my brain helps tremendously. I still do the twist emotionally, but now I get over it fairly quickly.

December 16, 2008

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace , love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:? "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

December 15, 2008

Are You Free?

Give your attention to what you are wanting.

Withdraw your attention fromwhat you are not wanting --
and live in the freedom that is absolutely yours,
the freedom that no one, under any conditions, can ever take awayfrom you,
no matter how hard they try.
If their words can bother you, you are not free.
If you allow their words to bother you, it is the words thatbind you.

December 13, 2008

Inspirational quotes from Eckhart Tolle

“Through allowing, you become what you are: vast, spacious. You become whole. You are not a fragment anymore, which is how the ego perceives itself. Your true nature emerges, which is one with the nature of God.”

“When you are present, when your attention is fully in the Now, Presence will flow into and transform what you do. There will be a quality and power in it. You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”

“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. This spiritual truth is diametrically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave.”

December 12, 2008

This is IT!

Your life is right now! It's not later! It's not in that time of retirement. It's not when the lover gets here. It's not when you've moved into the new house. It's not when you get the better job.

Your life is right now. It will always be right now. You might as well decide to start enjoying your life right now, because it's not ever going to get better than right now--until it gets better right now!


December 10, 2008

Thoughts on Acceptance

Don't try to become free. Don't look for peace. Don't look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Instead try these three exercises:

***The moment you completely accept your nonpeace, your nonpeace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there....will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.

***When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.

***You don't need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong in a particular undesirable situation. It may be time for you to get out of it. If so, you can recognize fully that you want to get out of it. Then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labeling it in any way. No judgment, no resistance, no emotional negativity. Then you can take action and do all that you can to leave that situation.

Eckhard Tolle

December 9, 2008

Using Your Inner Compass

For most of us this is a quite a challenge. Not too many of us were taught that not only were we able to think for ourselves, but that we could do so and come up with excellent answers. Asking others, and relying on their wisdom may have become habit.

Though it will be uncomfortable at first, begin using your excellent inner compass. It's o.k, I think to be curious about how others see things, but they are not experts about us. We are the experts.

Many of us seek the answers to life’s questions by looking outside of ourselves and trying to glean advice from the people around us. But as each of us is unique, with our own personal histories, our own sense of right and wrong, and our own way of experiencing the world that defines our realities, looking to others for our answers is only partially helpful. The answers to our personal questions can be found by looking within. You always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need. Stop searching outside of yourself. If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life.

Trusting your inner wisdom may be awkward at first, particularly if you grew up around people who taught you to look to others for answers. We each have exclusive access to our inner knowing. All we have to do is remember how to listen. Remember to be patient as you relearn how to hear, receive, and follow your own guidance. If you are unsure about whether following your inner wisdom will prove reliable, you may want to think of a time when you did trust your own knowing and everything worked out. Recall how the answers came to you, how they felt in your body as you considered them, and what happened when you acted upon this guidance.yourself .

When you second guess yourself and go against what you know to be your truth, you can easily go off course because you are no longer following your inner compass. By looking inside yourself for the answers to your life’s questions, you are consulting your best guide. Only you can know the how’s and why’s of your life.
(based on the Daily OM)

December 7, 2008

Just Do It

Say yes to whatever it is.

Because if you say yes to it and then you get in the middle of it, and you say, "Uh oh, this isn't really turning out the way I wanted it to," then out of that is born another desire. And as you say yes to that, then it turns out. And you say, "Well, it's still not quite right." So you have another desire... Until eventually you get it exactly right. You cannot get it wrong. No creation is ever complete. Just do it.

December 5, 2008

Innate Warning System

Whether you call it "a gut feeling", "intuition", or, as I do, your "higher consciousness".....I believe we are wise beyond our wildest imagination. All we have to do is pay attention and to trust what we small thing, because for most of us, these kinds of instincts were trained out of us, and we learned to question our perceptions.

Just as the universe wants to provide for our needs, it also seeks to protect us from dangerous situations, destructive relationships, and even minor inconveniences. Frequently in our lives, perhaps everyday, we encounter psychic red flags warning us of potential problems or accidents. We may not always recognize the signs. However, more often than not, we may choose to ignore our intuition when it tells us that "something just isn’t right."

Red flags often come in the form of feelings urging us to pause for a moment, listen to our intuition, and reconsider. We may even experience a "bad" feeling in our bellies. This is a red flag letting us know that there may be a problem. We may not even know what the red flag is about. All we know is that the universe is trying to wave us in a different direction.

We just have to pay attention and go another way. We may even wonder whether we are paranoid or imagining things. However, when we look back at a situation or relationship where there were red flags, it becomes easy to understand exactly what those warning signs meant. It is the universe’s way of informing us, through our own innate guidance system, that our path best lies elsewhere.

We may try to ignore the red flags waving our way, dismissing our unease as illogical. Yet it is always in our best interest to pay attention to them. For example, we may meet someone who outwardly seems perfect. They are intelligent, attractive, and charming. Yet, for some reason, being around them makes us feel uneasy. Any interactions we have with them are awkward and leave us feeling like there is something "off" about the situation.

This is not necessarily a bad person. But, for some reason, the universe is directing us away from them. Red flags are intended with our best interests at heart. No harm can ever come from stopping long enough to heed a red flag. Pay attention to any red flags that pop up. The universe is always looking out for you. (The Daily OM)

December 4, 2008

Is It Possible to Not Judge?

The words of some people envelop me as if they were a warm, soft blanket. One such person whose words affect me in this way is Eckhart Tolle. I share with you a reader's question, which happens to be the same which I have asked myself a thousand times, and Eckhart's gentle answer.

Question: I have been told that I am a judgmental person and I agree with that. Since becoming aware I have been working on that and my ego everyday. What are your thoughts on being judgmental and is it really possible to not judge anyone or any decision ever?

Answer: You are not a judgmental person. Your mind does what it has been conditioned to do, that’s all. The most important thing is that you are already aware of what your mind is doing. A truly judgmental person is someone who doesn’t know he/she is judgmental. They are so identified with their mind that they completely believe in every thought (judgment) that comes into their head.

Awareness is the key. Most judgmental thoughts are of a negative kind, of course. So notice as much as you can your negative thoughts (about other people, individuals or groups, yourself, a place, a situation you find yourself in, something that is happening but “shouldn’t” etc.) Notice the mind’s tendency to find fault with people and situations, to complain, to pronounce righteous judgment.

Gradually, the dimension of awareness will grow and those mental habits will weaken. Negativity is a dreadful burden to live with. It tends to be reflected back to you through negative situations and people and prevents your life from unfolding with ease. But don’t try to suppress your judgments. Have compassion with your mind. A judgment is harmless if you immediately recognize it as such and don’t completely believe in it anymore. Then, gradually, awareness dissolves the judgmental mind.

Yes, it is possible to live without judgment. Becoming friendly with the present moment is the key. There are two books you may find helpful. One is A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie. This book gives you a sense of what it is like on a daily basis to live without judgment. The other book is called The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Blessings, Eckhart

December 3, 2008

Honoring Our Own Feelings

Every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset about comparison....seems like "small stuff".

While awareness of the pain of others in the world can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people's emotions leads to denial and repression.

Over time, an unwillingness to experience your own feelings leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others. Keeping our own feeling suppressed also requires a tremendous amount of energy.

Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity. We honor and value the human condition when we fully inhabit our bodies so we can experience and feel life fully. Accepting our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel them connects us to all human beings.
(based on the Daily OM)

December 1, 2008

Taking Responsibility

There will be times when other people will disappoint us - either intentionally or because of indifference or incompetence. If we have been counting on them, their nonperformance can cause us real anger and frustration.

Such let-downs are part of life. While never losing trust in others, we must accept them as fallible people. Their mistakes and lapses come from the human shortcomings all of us have.

Our best course is to live without expecting too much from others. They are not here to please or satisfy us. It's possible, too, that we've been unrealistic in some of our expectations and have set ourselves up for disappointments.

Our personal responsibility is to do our best even when others fall short of our expectations. At the same time, we can grow by becoming more reliable and dependable ourselves.