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Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE IMPACT WE HAVE

"Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other." 
~ Edmund Burke ~

We don't realize who we touch or how we touch them- of the impact that we have and the memories we create. In some ways, we are not nearly as important as we think we are, and in other ways, we are hugely moreso.
     Our energy affects those we encounter, for good or ill, and so do our words and our actions. So let's be mindful of that as we move about, and be our best self, whatever that looks like on any given day.

I behave mindfully, knowing that what I do affects those I encounter.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

PLAN AND PURPOSE

"Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death- it is form, union, plan- it is eternal life- it is Happiness." 
~ Walt Whitman ~

We learn through difficulty, and challenge strengthens us, so we need not worry or have regrets. All that happens is designed to enlarge us.

I trust my path.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WHAT WE CANNOT KNOW

"Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be." 
~ Thomas a' Kempis ~

I think it's more helpful to be loving and compassionate with others than it is to tell them what they should do to fix themselves. We make our suggestions helpfully and hopefully, as if we are the sudden light in their dark situation. We enthusiastically report how our solution has worked for us, or for our neighbor, or for our distant friend. But feeling sure that it will work for the person in front of us who is suffering, without knowing anything really about their particular situation, is arrogant of us. How can we know without having walked a mile in their shoes?
     Let's give people the dignity of having done their homework and paid their dues, of knowing more about their own struggles and ailments that they have lived with for years than we can possibly know or even begin to understand in a five minute conversation. Let's back off of our helpful suggestions, and simply listen and send love instead.

I share my experience and compassion with others, but don't peddle quick-fix solutions.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER

"With arms outstretched I thank...
With spirit full I live." 
~ Terri Guillemets ~

I love to learn. I love educating myself about all kinds of subjects that interest me. I love expanding my horizons, exploring the world, and opening my mind. I love opening my heart as well. I love the swell of compassion, the tender touch of kindness, the look of empathetic understanding, and the way it feels to do right by others.
     I love sunshine, moonlight, stars, and foggy mist. I love movement and being still. I love the variability of life and the fact that I never really know what unexpected happening might come my way. I love friendship and generosity. I love courtesy, enthusiasm, intellect, courage, passion, and feeling blessed.

When I consider the things that I love in my life, I feel full-up and super-grateful. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

FREE FROM TRAPPINGS

"You are the sky." 
~ Pema Chodron ~

Who are we without our trappings? Without our jobs, our income, our possessions, and all of our identifying stuff? What gives us value? Is it what we produce or who we are? And if it's who we are, then who are we?
     Reduced in this way, in my opinion, we are pure potential, clear light, and everlasting love. So the goal, and the purpose of our being here at all, also in my opinion, is to be these things in spite of our trappings, and not because of them.

I am more than what I do and the things that I own. I open my heart to embrace my true nature.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

THE SNOW EFFECT

"The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread." 
~ John Burroughs ~

One thing about the snow- it's quiet. It softens the earth and stills the noise that whirs around us all of the time that we don't even notice until it's gone. Ours is a loud world. We are busy, active, and ever on the move.
     But the snow falls and accumulates and snugs people up inside together. It keeps us off the roads and slows us down. Sure, we burst out into it for shoveling and romping- the mere experience of going outdoors being a new kind of adventure all its own- but we return to shelter, and warmth. It's a return to what's essential really, and refreshing in that way: survival.
     As we buzz about our lives, we so readily lose track of what matters. We tend to be reckless with ourselves. As human beings, we are resilient, yet fragile, but we forget our vulnerability in the day to day action of our lives and convince ourselves that we have more control than we think. The snow is a great equalizer. Ultimately, it restores us to grace.

I remember how small I am in the face of Nature, and feel grateful for my home to keep me safe and warm.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO

"I dwell in possibility." 
~Emily Dickinson ~

I think we never know for sure what's going to be hardship and what's going to be blessing in our lives. We think we do, and respond accordingly when new information comes our way, but so often, we are wrong. A prospective life partner might turn out to be a thief, or worse, and a diagnosis of cancer could lead us to spiritual awakening. So rather than always being so certain about what things mean, let's live in the space of "don't know," and allow things to come and go as they will.

I catch myself making assumptions about the way things are going to be- whether for the good or bad- and remain curious and hopeful instead. I am often blessed by the very thing that I thought had come to curse me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

THINK BEFORE TOSSING

"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." 
~ American Idiom ~

When something needs fixing beyond our current level of understanding, it's tempting to throw up our hands and abandon the whole project rather than wait patiently for the keys to correction and resolution. Wanting to force a solution before a solution presents itself, and blinded by our frustration, we become unable to clearly see the value of what remains, and we would sooner start over than recover what we can. Ours is a disposable society, and we leave a trail of wreckage and frantic, agitated energy behind us, rather than calmly addressing whatever challenges and situations arise.

I properly value the useful life of all projects, gadgets, relationships, and life experiences.
   

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ADAPTABILITY

"You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler." 
~ Denis Waitley ~

Being adaptable comes easier sometimes than others. If we liked the way things were and they suddenly change, the adjustment can be jarring. But it doesn't have to be without advantages. Anything is workable if we will only look at it in the right way.

I am open to change, even if it doesn't seem to initially suit me. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

UNDERSTANDING OTHERS

"Live in the draft of an open mind." 
~American Proverb ~

Without a willingness to understand where other people are coming from, we are bound to find ourselves at odds with those around us on a regular basis. If we have to win and want others to lose, if we insist on being right, if we are unbending and inflexible, then we will suffer.
     Living with compassion and courtesy is so much more comfortable than contempt and confrontation, and yet, so many of us so frequently bang against others with our stubborn refusal to hear and understand. But there's room for us all, and validity to more than just our own isolated perspective, so it would benefit us greatly to learn how to consciously listen.

I listen with care and make a sincere effort to understand what's actually being said. I am open and receptive to other people's point-of-view.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION

"Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy." 
~ Walt Whitman ~

Things have a way of working out- not my way necessarily, but a way nonetheless, complete with blessings and challenge and take-away lessons. I believe that everything can be used to our advantage and that whatever happens can be fuel for our spiritual evolution. I believe we are bigger than this one life, and bigger than this human drama. I believe that this earth is a classroom for us, and that from whatever may or may not happen, we can grow.

I embrace this life journey and learn from all that I experience.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

SHIFTING OUR SYNTAX

"Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases." 
~ Andy Andrews ~

Rather than trying to be less of something that we don't want- less critical, less abrasive, less controlling- let's shift our syntax slightly and choose instead to be more of what we do want. Let's be more understanding, more willing to live and let live, and more genteel. It makes a difference how we think about it, and it makes a difference how we proceed.

I focus on what I want instead of what I don't want.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

EMOTIONAL POLLUTION

"A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." 
~Oscar Wilde ~

Negativity is an infectious pestilence, a scourge on the earth and in the public domain. We don't have to be Pollyanna and chipper all the time about everything, but let's not suck the air out of a room with a dark, defeated, and dismal point-of-view.

I look for the good in things and people, and purvey hope instead of doom and gloom. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

GOOD MEDICINE

"Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance." 
~ Epicurus ~

I love hearth fires. There is something soothing about the heat, the smoke, and the flickering light. Fires, in this way, are good medicine.
     But out-of-control, they are rapacious and threatening. That something so healing and beautiful can so quickly become such a deadly force is a powerful lesson. It suggests perhaps that there is more to temperance and moderation than we might, initially, want to believe.

I enjoy all things in good measure, and avoid extremes wherever they want to pull me.

Monday, January 11, 2016

THE LIMITATIONS OF FIXED BELIEFS

"Learn to go beyond the jabbering of your mind... to the deeper aspects of your consciousness..." 
~ Swami Rama ~

I can be at peace inside even if it's noisy. I don't think I can, but I can. It's a question of allowing and adjusting, of letting be what is. I fall into all or nothing thinking. I have fixed beliefs and they limit me like a straight-jacket.
     But life is variable and constantly changing. The challenge of this moment is quickly forgotten as we move on to the challenge of the next.

I can be ok with whatever happens. No matter what it is, this too shall pass.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

TIME

"But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day." 
~ Benjamin Disraeli ~

Time is a fascinating thing. We have both more of it and less of it than we think. The key, I am certain, is to simply enjoy it, but we tend to make demands instead. We insist on good times, and hard times, and running out of time. We think in absolutes. We impose ourselves upon it, and want something from it. We expect it to give us something to satisfy us, but time passes on like a winding river making its way, and doesn't seem to care what we expect, or how we feel.
     Desire is at the root of all of our suffering. If we could stop wanting time to be something or deliver something in particular to us, and enjoy whatever the day presents, I wonder how much happier our journey might be.

I relax and experience the rhythm of the day.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I BELIEVE IN US!

"If you hear a voice within you say 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." 
~ Vincent Van Gogh ~

You're worth it. You're worth your time, attention, compassion, energy, and love. You're worth fighting for, worth caring about, and worth investing in. You're worth happiness, worth success, worth soul satisfaction, the manifestation of your dreams, and unending bliss.
     We sell ourselves down the river. We discount ourselves at every turn. We criticize and demean our efforts. We sabotage our progress and stall our hopes. But we don't have to. We have a choice. We can choose to believe that we matter. But if we can't, for whatever reason, then at least know that I am here steadily believing it for us, for however long it takes.

I am valuable beyond measure and worthy of my highest hopes.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CHOOSING A DIRECTION

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." 
~ CD Jackson ~

Lots of people don't want any part of New Year's resolutions, and I understand that, but I do still think we need goals to work towards. Without purpose, our lives lack interest and passion. Without purpose, we are just idling along, maintaining a status quo that is questionable at best. If nothing changes, then nothing changes, and that can go on for years and years.
     Let's establish a direction instead, and get moving. We may not get where we're headed exactly as we envision it, but at least we will have something to aim for.

I give my life meaning by establishing a personal purpose.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CONTROL FREAK

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." 
~ Emmanuel ~

I can be a bit of a control freak. I like things a certain way and when my sense of rightness is interfered with, my first response is distress.  I want things to be the way I want them to be, and when they're not, I feel irked.
     But there's another response, a better one that gives me more peace. It's neutrality. Things are only good or bad because I label them that way. I define my reality. I determine what's satisfying or annoying by the way I think about it. And at any point, in any direction, I can raise my awareness and change my direction of thought.

I stop fighting things beyond my control and let them be what they are.

Monday, January 4, 2016

EARLY MORNING

"Up at dawn, the dewy freshness of the hour, the morning rapture of the birds, the daily miracle of sunrise, set her heart in tune, and gave her Nature's most healing balm." 
~ Louisa May Alcott ~

There are unquestionable advantages to early rising. Morning sun shining on hard frosted grass sparkles like diamonds, and an hour later, it's all melted and gone.

I rise early and relish the day.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

FINDING OURSELVES

"One's action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be a mere rushing on." 
~ DH Lawrence ~

It's easy to get lost to ourselves through addictive behaviors, ambition, obsession, over-responsibility, busy-ness, lust for power, resentment, and the myriad demands of our insatiable ego. To find ourselves again we have to stop and recover through stillness- through listening and sitting and self-reflection. We forget so easily what matters and what we are all about. We enslave ourselves to the tyranny of the urgent.
     Let's not. Let's wake up fresh and start anew; mindfully, courageously, and with our hearts full of love.

I commit to stillness so that I can experience peace.