Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Adventure of Making Yourself Yours

"You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours." Anne-Wilson Schaef

     How do we claim the events of our life? We start by learning to own who we have been and what we have done. It's easy to bury and forget the aspects of life that have been painful. When, as children, we are ridiculed, forgotten and/or pushed aside, criticized, disrespected, and abused or bullied, we learn to function in life by burying the sorrow and creating a false self. We disassociate from self in order to survive.

     If we want to own our self, we must be willing to open the doors to the hidden sorrow. This is not an easy task, but it is an adventure well worth taking, because the result of re-connecting with self is authenticity. When we're authentic, we belong to our self.

     What's the difference between belonging to self and belonging to others? When we belong to others, we're likely to live our life being who others think we should be, and doing what they think we should do. We give up our ability to follow our heart and march to the drumbeat that we hear, which is uniquely ours.

     Today is a good day to claim yourself. Are you ready to do this, to see who you are and to walk a path of authenticity?  This is not a onetime exercise. Getting to our core is like digging for buried treasure. We dig down one layer at a time. We are the excavator, so we have to do the work required.

     Are you ready for the greatest adventure of your life????

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy the beautiful fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains where I live. There is nothing that stirs such awe and gratitude in me, then seeing the leaves turn color and fall to the ground. Sometimes, the beauty is so overwhelming all I can do is cry.

In October, 2005, while sitting one day watching the leaves fall, I wrote this poem in celebration of nature.

AUTUMN LEAVES
                                                                                                          
Red, orange, gold, and rust leaves
start their journey from high in the trees
to the earth.
They don't all just fall-
some spiral and swirl and dance
as they make their descent.

Twirling orange and red.
Dancing yellow and rust.

They dance alone in their free fall,
each a separate entity,
yet all from the same source.
But, when they land,
they touch each other.
And together transform the brown and green earth
into an artists' pallette,
rich with vibrant color.

The wind blows and they dance some more,
and as they lay down and become still
the earth becomes their canvas.
If I could frame my yard,
I would have a masterpiece.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Human Beings vs. Human Doings

"When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind." Seneca

     We are all born as complete humans with a purpose for being here. As we grow, life begins to chip away at us until we identify more with what we do and have, than who we are. Before we know it, we're wanderers, not knowing for sure why we're here or where we're going. We get up every day, and go through the same routine, without a deep sense of purpose and direction.

     What matters, is going back to who we are, instead of being caught up in what we do. The goal is to develop fully into a human being, not a human doing. We find our purpose and direction by learning to be fully with self, which is accomplished by connecting to our Spirit in silence. When we do this, we soon realize our life is coming into focus.

     Take five minutes today to find a quiet place, take a few deep breaths, and connect with Spirit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Project

I did not realize that it's been almost three weeks since I've blogged on this site. I'm not sure what I've been doing, besides being gone on vacation, that kept me from my blog. Anyway, I'm back. I have decided to change this to a once a week blog, so you should be getting something new every Thursday from blogspot.

I was going to write about deliberation, but after reading the following poem, I decided to share it instead. It touched my heart and made sense to me as it reminded me that all I need to do is be still and be present. I hope you find as much meaning in Nicole's words as I did. 

The Project

You turn every step
Of the Pathway to Enlightment
Into a project
Something to achieve
To Conquer
Or to procrastinate over...
You try to turn
Love Itself
Into an object to obtain,
Grabbing at it,
Missing the whole point.
You have managed to take
Oneness
(Simple enough-there is only ONE)
And twist it into
Twos and Threes and Fours.
It's always about YOU and
Then God I suppose
And everyone else,
The ones on your side
And the ones who are fighting you.
So much work
So much paranoia
So much self-importance.
Now take a deep breath and
Listen:
What if you are seeing this
All wrong?
Maybe
It's just not that complicated.
Maybe there is
Just LOVE-
Love that is in every particle of existence
That IS every particle of existence.
You are made of that love
And if you are
Very quiet
And still
If you stop stirring up the water
Obscuring it with all that swirling sand
You will finally
SEE
And understand.
Oh...
You will say,
I,
The center of my own universe,
Don't even really exist
Not in the way I thought.
Oh God...
There is only
Love.

Written by Nicole Grace, a Buddhist monk and author who teaches Buddhism, mysticism and meditation to students around the world. Excerpted from Truth of Consciousness magazine, August 2011 edition.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part V

"I'm responsible for my life--I'm at source--I'm responsible for my own sense of peace and contentment." The author, Brenda Marroy

This is the last in the five part series on "Peace of Mind."

Suggestion # 5 for finding and maintaining peace of mind is:

Be willing to surrender to what is and go with the flow

     Whatever is happening is just "what is", and it's going to be whatever we say it is. We have choices in how we hold whatever is going on in life at any given moment, and sometimes we can change things, other times we just have to be with whatever is present.

     Being present to what is does not mean pretending there is no suffering, strife, anger, or war, or whatever. What it does mean is accepting whatever is, and calling it by name, as we stay present to how we feel about it. Pretending a snake is not a snake, does not change it into a cute, cuddly bunny. It's still a snake and it needs to be acknowledged for what it is. Maintaining peace of mind in the presence of the snake is not about denial, it's about being fully present to the possible danger of the snake, and doing whatever needs to be done to maintain life and peace.

     Being present, and finding and maintaining peace in the presence of chaos, takes courage. I appreciate The Serenity Prayer because I believe it speaks to the topic of peace,courage, and presence.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, (it's a snake for sure), the courage the change the things I can; (I can get the hell out of here), and the wisdom to know the difference." (I know I need to protect myself from an encounter with this snake.)

     As I write this blog, I'm in the middle of practicing being present to something I cannot change. It's not always easy to accept what is, but it is possible. Maintaining peace in my heart in the midst of insanity is taking all the courage and energy I can muster, as I remind myself to keep breathing and follow my own suggestions for finding and maintaining peace of mind.

     I remind myself that I cannot control the insanity, I see the bigger picture of an unhealed child trapped in an adult body, and I pray for the emotional healing of the child. There is no either/or and I don't have to win anything or any argument. I've already forgiven, the forgetting will be an ongoing process, and I'm surrendering to the hurt in my heart and just being with it.  


Peace to all as you go about your day.  


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part IV

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Mother Teresa

Suggestion # 4 for finding and maintaining peace is:

Be willing to forgive and forget

     To have the courage to forgive someone, and to act on that courage, is transformational to both the forgiver and the forgiven. We are all connected in this universe. We are a part of the whole, so when we forgive others, we reap the benefits also. Holding onto anger and resentment is not healthy, and we cannot have true peace until we're ready to give up the anger.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

     Is it worth giving up my own peace, so I can hold someone hostage to my anger?
     Have a found a way to justify my anger?

     Forgiveness is not about the other person; it's about setting Self free from a cancer that can eat away at our soul. We pay a price for lack of forgiveness because when we harbor resentment, we subconsciously bring the anger and bitterness into all of our relationships. Without realizing it, actions by another can easily become a personal affront to us, and we wind up exploding all over others, who are many times our loved ones. We can get so used to "being mad" and justifying our feelings, that we forget we're carrying that stone around our neck. 

   Forgiveness is a decision to let go of anger and thoughts of resentment. Forgiveness does not excuse the act, nor does it deny the other person's responsibility for hurting us. It's seldom easy to truly forget a wrong against us, but the key to letting it go is to remember the wrong graciously. To hold on to a hurt not only robs of us our peace, but it also creates physical illness.


"Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on." Steve Maraboli

Click on video to listen.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Peace of Mind, Part IV

"Peace is not something you wish for; it is something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away." Robert Fulghum

Today we will cover suggestion # 3 for finding and maintaining peace.

Be willing to step away from black or white thinking.

      We live in a polarized world where we're taught that everything has an opposite; however, life is not always black or white. Many times, it can be gray.

     Polarization creates opposition and division, and is about extremes, but life is not. We don't have to live in one extreme or the other. We can be in a neutral place and find common ground. This doesn't mean that I give up my belief or you give up yours. What it means is we agree to disagree, with the realization that we could both be right, and therefore, not making the other one wrong.  

     If we are so rigid that we can't bend to see the other side, we may break. When we're stuck in either/or thinking, we can wind up feeling defeated, threatened, or angry, if we don't get our way. When we're neutral we can be unattached to outcomes and can roll with the punches.

     The antidote to polarization, which has the potential to separate us into a right or wrong society, is compromise. A question I've learned to ask myself when faced with a polarizing situation is, "What's more important? That I win and get to be right, or that we agree to disagree and maintain our relationship?" Another good question to ask is, "What is it about me that makes me think I have to be right?" When we have to win at any cost, I think we may be stuck.

     If I choose the relationship, we both win and we do not have to sacrifice our peace in the process.

Peace and Harmony by Full Circle. Click on video to listen.