Blessings and Curses

Beliefs. Isn’t it amazing that our core beliefs – which color the way we see the world around us and everything in it – are the true genesis for most of what we consider to be our blessings and curses?

Am I blessed or cursed? What day is it? Who just pissed me off? Who just said something complimentary – a little love coming my way? Who is ignoring me? Who is smothering me? Whose expectations are way to high – their own codependent self searching for a target? Life. I’m sure you can add your own experiences to the list.

The point is no matter what is happening out there in the world, no matter what other people or life is bringing us, it is all filtered through our own beliefs.

Do you love yourself? Look into the mirror, look into your own eyes – say with honest, true feeling “I love you. You are an amazing person.” How does that feel? Does it feel true or false? Can you even do it? That simple little exercise will give you a lot of information concerning your beliefs about yourself, relationship and love.

If that was difficult or felt false, then you may feel cursed in relationships. You can only feel the love others are giving you to the exact measure you genuinely love and accept yourself. Healing, therapy, maturity and wisdom have a lot to do with learning self-acceptance and self-love.

Conversely, if you believe you are a good person and really love and like yourself, then you will likely feel blessed by others in the world around you. And, you will probably surround yourself with people who are nourishing to you. When a person comes into your life who doesn’t love themselves, sparks are likely to fly. You are living in two different worlds from a basic beliefs perspective.   They will always feel cursed and you will always feel blessed.

Can you help them? No. Only they can help them. You can suggest a good therapist or other wise person. The hard work of learning to love themselves is theirs alone.

Here I’ve used self-love and relationships as an example of how our basic beliefs color our world. Some other areas you might want to explore: Do you live in an abundant world or a scarce one? Do you feel the world is a safe or a frightening place? Do you feel the boss is fair or unfair? When life brings you difficulty, are you a victim or a powerful, problem solving person? Do you live in love or fear?

Blessings and curses – it often depends on what we expect based on our core beliefs.

Namaste.

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Jumping Off Cliffs

images5G6ZHG81“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Creativity isn’t just for artists! We each create our lives.  A good friend recently gave me a sign that says:  “Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”  How very true!

Creating ourselves begins with dreaming and imagination. What new do I want to create in my life – what will bring me joy, happiness, peace?  How do I make room for the new?  Consider taking some time – dream – its fun.

I think Kurt Vonnegut is right – creating is about “continually jumping off cliffs.” What are the cliffs in your own life?  What do you in your heart of hearts want to do and yet are not doing?  Where are you perched on a cliff  and afraid to jump?  Once you have discovered those things, now its decision time.  To jump or not!

Here is where trust comes in. And, having the courage to trust. It can be incredibly difficult for we humans to trust in life.  Trust our hearts and souls to know.  Trust our own inner guidance.  Trust our own intuition.  Trust we will be “developing our wings on the way down.”  Trust in a safe landing in a new, happy, peaceful, joyful place.

For a little encouragement, here are Martha Graham’s thoughts: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”

Namaste.

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Love Is A State of Being

imagesTTD5SGTH“Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.” – Eckhart Tolle

Love as a noun – I am love! Very different from love as a verb – I love you, you love me.  Both are great.  Love as a noun – I am love – is what Tolle is talking about in the above quote.

Actually, I think until we each realize we are love – it might be difficult to truly love another.  Most of the philosophical teachings over time have taught this in some form.  I’ve heard it described as your “ground of being”.  “God is love” was the mantra of the ’60s.  Some people feel enlightenment is the realization you are love.  Right now.  Nothing to do.

Another’s love can be withdrawn. The love we are is always with us – supporting, holding and guiding us.  Once we discover this foundation within, the winds of change here in this material world tend to pass on by.  We know, at our core, we are fine and will live to shine another day.

I wonder why it is difficult for us to realize we are love – god, source, the universal energy – pick your favorite word – manifesting on this beautiful planet – bringing our own uniqueness to the human community?

I conclude with my favorite poet, Rumi: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you built against it.”

Namaste.

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Enlightenment is a Destructive Process

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” – Adyashanti

So many of us are on a spiritual path, intending to live more authentic lives. Hopefully along the way we will find more peace, joy, love, freedom, your own favorite. I’ve heard and read lots of people describe their understanding of enlightenment. Adyashanti has a very different way of explaining the process. It has to do with seeing through the illusionary world we have created. And, while its true we may have beautiful, magical experiences in meditation, nature or a retreat, that’s not it.

In his book The End of Your World Adyashanti explains enlightenment as being destructive. It destroys everything about us that is not true. We all have thoughts, ideas and beliefs about who we are. Once we awaken – even if it’s just a momentary glimpse – we see beyond the dream we have constructed, the false self.

One way to begin is to become more aware of your thoughts. Thoughts are in two categories. First are the thoughts that are practical. They help us get through life on an everyday, material level. Bills must be paid, chores must be done, we earn a living – our minds and thoughts are a great tool when used in this way.

The second category is where we spend most of our time. Those random, almost monologue thoughts that are constantly drifting by. Some of them are like Velcro, we get caught by them and here we go. These kinds of thoughts are like a fiction novel. They are not true. The never-ending story. When we can disengage from them and see them as just a fiction novel, everything begins to shift. Just consider – how many times in a day are you stressed or doing something you really don’t want to do because you followed a random thought that isn’t even true? Once we begin to be aware, its somewhere between hilarious and frightening.

Then there are all the roles we’ve played. Many of us feel we must be somebody to be accepted and loved.   As we look deeper inside, each of those roles are destroyed – they fall apart. In my case my children are grown. I still love them dearly and yet they no longer need me in a mother role. That part of me was needed at one point and is now gone. I am no longer a wife. I am no longer a career woman. I am no longer an artist. I am no longer a crafter. I no longer sew quilts. The list goes on. All roles I’ve played at different points in my own evolution. All necessary, maybe. And, all destroyed. Gone.

When spiritual teachers talk about letting go. This, in part, is what they are talking about. Letting go of all the roles we constructed, played and identified with. Those roles are not who we are. They never were. And, letting go of all the never-ending story thoughts, the novel you are constantly listening to.

As you awaken from the dream, the illusion, you can be left empty, disoriented, without purpose. Congratulations! You are getting closer to the truth and are identifying less and less with the dream. Somewhere right about here we begin to realize on a feeling level we really are One. It’s a slow, subtle process for most of us. Awakening maturing into enlightenment. And, many illusions destroyed along the way.

Now what? The title of Jack Kornfield’s book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry pretty much says it all. We are still right here living our lives. And just maybe for the first time ever we are completely aware and awake to what is going on, what is actually true for us. No shoulds, coulds, trying or role playing. No longer living in the fiction novel of our random thoughts. Can you imagine your life lived from this completely aware place?

Namaste.

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Radiating Like the Sun

“As you dissolve into love, your ego fades. You’re not thinking about loving; you’re just being love, radiating like the sun.” – Ram Dass

I watched the solar eclipse earlier this week. In my area, the Sun was 99% covered by the Moon. I was amazed at how much light the Sun continued to shine onto the Earth. What power.

The Gayatri mantra is referenced in The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum under the rune of Sowelu which signifies Wholeness, Life Force and The Sun’s Energy.

Sowelu counsels opening yourself up, letting the light into a part of your life that has been secret, shut away. To accomplish this may call for a profound recognition, for admitting to yourself something that you have long denied.”

Spirit, god, goddess, the universe, your own name for the Unseen is asking us to go deeper within to embody the wholeness of who we truly, completely are as spiritual beings having a human experience. From the perspective of astrology the energy of this eclipse may be calling you in these ways for several months.

Consider adding the Gayatri mantra shown in Ralph Blum’s book to your daily meditations. While reciting the Gayatri, visualize the sun’s rays streaming forth into the world, entering your heart, then streaming out from your heart’s center and back into world.

“You who are the source of all power

Whose rays illuminate the world

Illuminate also my heart

So that it too can do your work.”

Namaste.

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Mercury Retrograde

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” – Albert Einstein

The planet Mercury has gotten rather famous in recent times. It seems a whole lot of people know the term “Mercury retrograde” and they believe it means something ominous. So, I decided to shed a little light on this planetary phenomenon.

Mercury went retrograde here in the eastern part of the United States at 9:01 pm on Saturday, August 12, 2017. It will go direct at 7:30 am on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

In the astrological world, the planet Mercury symbolizes mind, thinking, communication, interpretation, intelligence, reasoning capacities and the ability to perceive relationships and gather facts.

The Mercurial qualities include being adaptable, intellectual, attentive, perceptive, clever, versatile, inconsistent, hypercritical, argumentative, sarcastic, cynical, excitable, impressionable, nervous or prone to worry.

Mercury narrates, talks, argues, debates, writes, analyzes, memorizes, studies, travels, sells, reflects and expresses itself through the hands as well as the tongue.

In Greek mythology Mercury (Hermes) is known as the “Messenger of the Gods.” All communication is ruled by this planet – speaking, writing, educational capacities and manual skills.

Mercury is especially active in the astrological signs of Gemini or Virgo. Ask someone who is talkative if their sun sign is Gemini? A good chance you are right. If you know someone who is very analytical, they may have a Virgo sun sign. The energies displayed in any person’s astrological chart are complex and interact in a myriad of ways, so this isn’t always true. Often it is.

All planets from time to time appear from our vantage point here on Earth to move backwards in the heavens. This is retrograde motion. When we look up into the night sky we see the fixed stars and the wandering stars or planets. If you become an astute observer of the sky you will notice the wandering stars move along a path relative to the fixed stars then, at certain times, they appear to stand still and then appear to retrace their path – they appear to go backwards – they retrograde.

Have you ever been in a car going 70 miles an hour down a highway and a car moves up right beside your car. Now you are both going 70 miles an hour, side by side. Then the car beside of you begins to go slower than your car. It can be disorienting for a moment – you feel like the second car is going backwards! It can be a visceral feeling in your body. You feel like something is wrong. You can feel confused. That’s a good metaphor for a retrograde planet. Likewise, in the sky the planet is still going forward, but due to its position relative to the position of the Earth, it appears to go backwards.

In the case of Mercury, it goes retrograde three times a year for about three weeks each time.

So, with all that background, how do we humans here on Earth experience a Mercury retrograde time?

I think of it as our mind and our thinking and communication abilities are slightly off line. We may be indecisive or our plans may change. We may be certain we have thoroughly analyzed a situation or planned a strategic move only to find out all sorts of balls were dropped. Anything you must do at a retrograde time requires you check, double check and triple check your facts, communication with others and analysis.

It is a good time for research, planning, examination of resources and completion of projects already begun. Avoid beginning new projects during this time, if possible.

Since we can’t all put life on hold three times a year, a great way to navigate your way through a retrograde period is to rely more heavily on your intuition. How does something feel as opposed to what do you think about it? I believe this is one of the purposes of Mercury retrograde time. We get to practice tuning in to our intuitive selves. Let our intuition lead and give our mind a chance to take a secondary position.

Since we are right in the middle of a Mercury retrograde time, you might want to consider practicing tuning in – how do you feel about the challenges you are facing right now? What does your gut say? How does your heart feel? Or, the small voice inside that never steers you wrong – what is it saying?

Good luck!

Namaste.

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Gifts and Challenges

Free will. Most of us like the idea that we have free will. I get to choose pretty much every nano second of every day how I want to live my life. The word in that sentence that gets us into trouble is “I.”

Who we really, truly, in our heart are is something many of us never discover. We so often become who we think we should be. We construct a version of ourselves we feel will be acceptable to the world. A version that helps us feel safe and loved by parents, teachers, friends, religious leaders, society, employers, your own favorite. We want to be somebody in the eyes of anybody. Will you love me now? Am I good enough yet?

So, in our desire to please and be accepted we give away our true free will. We honestly believe we are making choices from our own soul. Many times this just isn’t so. Consider stopping and asking yourself some hard questions. Do I even know who I truly am anymore? In my heart of hearts is this what I really want to do? What roles am I playing? Do I feel I must earn love from others or do I feel I’m good enough just as I am? Where in my life am I trying?

How often do we exercise our free will in ways that harm us? What foods and drinks do I choose? Are they healthy? How do I choose to spend my time? Who is in my life, are those relationships nourishing? Do I get an adequate amount of rest? Do I listen to my body and soul?

Conversely, how do I care for, honor and nourish myself? What makes my heart sing? Can I joyously spend time alone? Do I slow down and tune in? Can I be OK with who I am if no one else in the world is OK with who I am?

So, free will, is one of our gifts and challenges as we walk through this life. We can be like teenagers who just left home and are now out in the world on our own. At last, we get to do exactly as we choose! Problem is we have limited choice making experience. Some of us are awake, aware and learn from our choices. Some of us never seem to look in the mirror and realize most of our problems came to us from choices we made. Making choices and gaining wisdom – maybe the purpose of free will?

Namaste.

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Consider Choosing Happiness

“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.” – Mildred Barthel

I agree happiness is a choice like so many other aspects of life. When we are going through a time of ease and joy, happiness is an easy choice. Although, I have known several people who never choose happiness no matter how beautiful and magical their life. My Daddy’s take on people like this was: “With some people if you gave them a brand new TV, they’d bitch because you didn’t give them an easy chair to sit in while they watched!” I guess we all know people who respond to the world in that way. Or, maybe in certain situations or with certain people we might fall into the same thinking. Sometimes it’s really difficult to choose happiness even when it appears happiness is the obvious choice.

Then there are the times in our lives when everything has fallen apart. Major life changes bring us sorrow, grief, despair. Something is ending. Our ego selves are forced to let go of a person or group we have held dear, an identity, a role we have played, a feeling of safety or security. Happiness is almost impossible to choose at times like these.

When something ends, something else begins. Transformation. The snake sheds its skin. A new day. The process – the time it can take to fully complete the ending – varies according to the magnitude of the life change. While choosing happiness may not be possible during this time, it is very helpful to remember something is also beginning. You may be able to choose happiness very soon! Any day!

For many of us on most days we are simply rocking along – life is pretty good. On those days, consider taking the time to consciously choose happiness. It really won’t come knocking on your door – it’s up to you to choose it.

Namaste.

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Explorers

“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” – Pema Chodron

Isn’t it amazing how much just plain courage it takes to live in our society? It seems we all hope for some sort of fairy tale life and often deny reality.

We want friends who are always upbeat, go along with whatever we want, never ask any more of us than we want to give, never hurt our feelings, always agree with us, you can add your own wishes to the list.

Perfect parents. That is a fairy tale! Somewhere I read we are all wounded children having been raised by wounded children. Most parents, not all, do the best they can from their state of awareness. It’s almost like life is set up for us to learn some of our greatest lessons from our parents’ mistakes. I know I certainly have. And, I expect my children have.

Our spouse or partner is a human being doing the best they can to make it through life. Just like us. They are not a prince or a princess in a fairy tale. Just a human being. Screwing up. Doing brilliant things. Filled with love. And, fear. Happiness and remorse. They are the source of great joy and great pain. And, the whole range of human behavior and emotion.

We are all total and complete. Lacking nothing. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The good witch and the bad witch. Heaven and hell. Dark and light. Truth and fiction. Clarity and illusion. You get the idea.

Sometimes we choose the path of courage – sometimes the path of denial or escape.

And, through it all “we are drawn to discover what’s out there.”

Mostly, courage is needed to face ourselves. That’s always the hardest part.

If I perceive I’ve been harmed, how am I coping with that perception? Do I become a victim and carry the hurt with me my whole life? Does the hurt become who I am? Do I learn, become stronger, happier and more at peace? Choices. Responsibility. Sounds harsh. And, I guess, coming from the place of wanting life to be a fairy tale, it is harsh.

It’s also the only way to healing, happiness, peace and joy.

Namaste.

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The Spiritual Path

Some of us have chosen to follow a spiritual path rather than a religious one. I read an article recently concerning what is meant by “spiritual.” The article touched on many aspects of that way of life. The one that jumped out at me since it isn’t normally discussed in articles like this one – is the withdrawal of projections.

Projection is a psychological idea. Whenever I don’t want to own something as a part of me, I give it to you – I project it onto you. Let’s say for whatever reason I don’t own my normal, natural anger. I will tell you I am not an angry person. And, for the most part that’s right. However, I do get angry at times. If I can’t see my own anger, I give it to you. I criticize you. Look at that person, they are always so angry. I take the high road in my own mind and believe you are wrong to express your anger.

And, the way this whole dance works, I’m likely to attract people to me who do display more anger than most. It’s as though my inability to own my anger creates a magnetic attraction to anger out here in the world. I’m not exactly sure how a therapist would view this, in my own experience it’s as though I’m presented with people and life situations that force me to express my own anger. To claim it as mine and to withdraw my projection onto you.

Back to the spiritual path. It’s about taking responsibility for ourselves – all our parts. The ones we judge good and the ones we judge bad. Once you can accept you and stop projecting parts of yourself onto others, then you are on the road to seeing more clearly, being more real and accepting others just as you are accepting yourself.

It’s a very simple concept. And, very difficult to live. So, the next time you hear yourself criticizing another for some trait, stop and see if you accept that very trait in yourself. If not, I wonder why you so easily see it in another and find it difficult to see in yourself? No judgment, just some healthy curiosity.

Namaste.

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