Archive for October, 2008

Burning Brightly

October 31, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

At times, we’ve all wanted to crawl under a rock and hide away from the world. We may have preferred to be invisible rather than let other people see us or notice that we exist. This desire not to be seen often happens when we are feeling very hurt, angry, or simply weary of the world. And while we may console ourselves with the defense that we are shy, an introvert, or a loner, we may actually be hiding.

When we hide and make believe that we are invisible, we can think that we no one sees us even though, truthfully, we are only really hiding from ourselves. And while we may try to live life as inconspicuously as possible, we only succeed in becoming more conspicuous because people can’t help but notice that we are trying to hide our light. None of us are meant to hide; each one of us radiates a unique brilliance that is meant to illuminate the world. When we try to dim our light, we diminish the natural radiance of the Universe, and we deprive the people around us of the unique gifts and talents that we are here to share.

Stepping out of the wings and letting your light shine is actually a way to serve the planet. We each have a responsibility to contribute to our community, and we do this when we let ourselves be seen. It doesn’t do anyone any good when we try to hide.  We are all beings of light and we are here to light the way for each other. When we let ourselves shine, we become a bright mirror that others can see their own reflected brilliance through, and they can’t help but want to shine also.  Shine your light out into the world, bless those around you by sharing your gifts, and watch the universe glow.

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Once Upon A Time in Ethiopia

October 30, 2008

A short tale of a Chinese food-aid volunteer in Ethiopia.

We Are All Connected

October 29, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

There are times when we may feel disconnected from the world.  Our actions can seem like they are of no major consequence, and we may feel like we exist in our own vacuum. Yet, the truth is that our simplest thought or action – the decisions we make each day, and how we see and relate to the world – can be incredibly significant and have a profound impact on the lives of those around us, as well as the world at large. The earth and everything on it is bound by an invisible connection between people, animals, plants, the air, the water, and the soil. Insignificant actions on your part, whether positive or negative, can have an impact on people and the environment that seem entirely separate from your personal realm of existence. Staying conscious of the interconnection between all things can help you think of your choices and your life in terms of the broader effect you may be creating.

Think of buying a wooden stool. The wood was once part of a tree which is part of a forest. A person was paid to fell the tree, another to cut the wood, and yet another to build the stool. Their income may have had a positive effect on their families, just as the loss of the tree may have had a negative impact on the forest or the animals that made that tree their home.  An encouraging word to a young child about their special talent can influence this person to develop their gift so that one day their inventions can change the lives of millions.  A poem written “merely” to express oneself can make a stranger reading it online from thousands of miles away feel less alone because there is someone else out there who feels exactly the way they do.

Staying conscious of your connection to all things can help you think of your choices in terms of their impact. We are powerful enough that what we do and say can reverberate through the lives of people we may never meet. Understanding that you are intimately connected with all things and understanding your power to affect our world can be the first step on the road to living more consciously.

The Flow of the Universe

October 28, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

The flow of the universe moves through everything. It’s in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away, the sprouting of a summer flower born from a seed planted in the spring, the growth cycle that every human being goes through, and the current that takes us down our life’s paths. When we move with the flow, rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal current that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live their lives struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening the way they think it should. Others move with this flow like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times. This flow is accessible to everyone because it moves through and around us. We are always riding this flow. It’s just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or resist it. Tapping into the flow is often a matter of letting go of the notion that we need to be in control at all times. The flow is always taking you where you need to go. It’s just a matter of deciding whether you plan on taking the ride or dragging your feet.

Learning to step into the flow can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you.  The decision to go with the flow can take courage because you are surrendering the notion that you need to do everything by yourself. Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and not like anything that you ever expected. When you are open to being in this flow, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.  As a child, you were naturally swept by the flow. Tears of sadness falling down your face could just as quickly turn to tears of laughter. Just the tiniest wave carrying you forward off the shores of the ocean could carry you into peals of delight. Our souls feel good when we go with the flow of the universe. All we have to do is make the choice to ride its currents.

Personal Tales

October 25, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Everyone, at one time or another, has wanted to express his or her story. Writing a memoir to read privately, share with family or friends, or publish is an emotionally satisfying way to gain perspective on your experiences while sharing your unique voice. We’ve all experienced feelings and events in our lives that we are longing to write down. Giving in to that urge can give you an outlet for purging any frustration, anxiety, or long-dormant feelings. No one else has to read it. You may even want to write your story without reading it right away. Satisfying the need to tell your story is not predicated upon your writing ability. It does, however take effort to write down the truth in detail. Your memories, captured on paper as descriptive scenes, sights, sounds, and scents, may at first seem disconnected or incomplete. But rest assured that you possess the ability to shape your recollections into stories.

Everyone wants to be heard. Reading your story to others can meet that need. Writing your story can also help you understand your life experiences. And when you finish writing, you may be surprised at what you have accomplished. Your story can encompass as much or as little of your life as you prefer. You may surprise yourself with new insights, or you may find yourself exploring your roots, your identity, and your future through your words. Allow your writing to guide you and write as truthfully as possible. Don’t worry about what others will think of your personal journey, your style of writing, or your words.

Research has shown that writing a personal narrative filled with feelings and perceptions can create long-term health benefits. As you write, remember to have compassion for yourself, particularly when writing about traumatic events. If you are a young person, you can add to your life story as you grow older. Your writing may help family members know you better, or they may understand themselves more through reading about your experiences. More importantly, you are expressing yourself in a permanent way, giving a gift to yourself, and letting your voice be heard.

Birds fly in a V

October 24, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

As they swoop, drift, and glide, inscribing magnificent patterns across the sky, birds are serene displays of grace and beauty. Long a source of inspiration, birds can be messengers from the spirit realm, or a symbol of the human soul, as they cast off their earthly mooring and soar heavenward. An upturned wing, a graceful flutter, all so effortless and free…  More magnificent still is the inspiring sight of birds migrating, progressing steadily across the horizon in a solid V formation that is a singular pattern too unique to be mere chance.   

Pushing steadily forward, this aerodynamic V reduces air resistance for the whole flock. With wings moving in harmony, the feathered group continues its course across the sky, covering more ground together in community than as individuals. When the bird at the front gets tired, she will move to the rear of the formation where the wind drag is lowest, and a more rested bird can take her place.

By learning from the example of our winged guides, all of us can feel empowered to take on daring challenges as we chart adventurous courses. Feel the strength of others moving alongside you, as their presence lends power to your wings during this journey across the sky of life. When buffeted by unexpected gusts, we can choose to find refuge in the loving shelter of friends and family. We may even marvel as an otherwise difficult day passes by like a swift wind, as a kindred spirit charts a way for us through the clouds and rain ahead. If your wings begin to ache on your journey, look around for somebody else to fly at the front for a while. All of us move faster when we move together. Let your ego drop earthwards as we all soar ever higher.

Finding Answers Within

October 23, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

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 most often found by looking within.  When you realize that you always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need and is meant to act as your inner compass, you can 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.  Now, recall a time when you didn’t trust yourself and the results didn’t work out as you had hoped.  Trusting your own guidance can help you avoid going against what you instinctively know is right for you.

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. The answers that you seek can be found when you start answering your own questions.

Hanging Buddhist Monastery

October 21, 2008

Being Aware is the First Step

October 21, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Life is a journey comprised of many steps on our personal path that takes us down a winding road of constant evolution. And each day, we are provided with a myriad of opportunities that can allow us to transform into our next best selves.  One moment we are presented with an opportunity to react differently when yet another someone in our life rubs us the wrong way; on another day we may find ourselves wanting to walk away from a particular circumstance but are not sure if we can.  Eventually, we may find ourselves stuck in a rut that we can never seem to get out of. We may even make the same choices over and over again because we don’t know how to choose otherwise. Rather than moving us forward, our personal paths may take us in a seemingly never-ending circle where our actions and choices lead us nowhere but to where we’ve already been. It is during these moments that awareness can be the first step to change. 

Awareness is when we are able to realize what we are doing.  We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions, and choices as if we were a detached viewer. Awareness is the first step to change because we can’t make a change unless we are aware that one needs to be made in the first place. We can then begin understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Afterward, it becomes difficult not to change because we are no longer asleep to the truth behind our behaviors. We also begin to realize that, just as much as we are the root source behind the causes for our behaviors, we are also the originator for any changes that we want to happen. 

There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle where there is no escape, we begin to see that we very much play a hand in creating our lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. Our past and our present no longer have to dictate our future when we choose to be aware. We are then free to move beyond our old limits, make new choices, and take new actions. With awareness, our paths can’t help but wind us forward in our lives while paving the way for new experiences and new ways of being. It is through awareness that we can continue to consciously evolve.

The Sound of the Human Voice

October 18, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Whether listening to the low muted murmur of a confidential whisper or the proud declarative boom coming from behind a mic on the podium, there are few sounds more evocative than the human voice. Each human being’s voice has a unique tone that is all its own. Carrying their own signature traits and idiosyncrasies, no two voices are alike.

Yet so often, we neglect to hear these resonances under which our spoken words are floated over. A lover’s voice vibrating with tenderness can feel like a warm caress touching the body; words spoken over an angry voice can seem like bullets hitting one’s auric field; and a voice tinged with laughter can’t help but fill us with good feelings. And then there are the voices of other people we encounter. The radio announcer’s soothing baritone that accompanies us during a long ride, the cheerful chatter of children playing on the street, and the dulcet hum of a yogi in mid-mantra are just a few of the voices we may be blessed to hear on any given day. Taken together, they’re like a wondrous symphony of mellifluous notes.

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us. And, like the words that we use when we speak to people, our voices can communicate what we are feeling, what we desire, and what we really mean. There is no hiding our truth that can be felt through the sound of our voices. Timidity, desire, pain, and love can all be expressed and felt through the human voice. Our voices also have the power to heal, to hurt, to love, and to transform others. When we are aware of the impact our voices can have, we can consciously choose what we are expressing.  Remember that what you communicate when you speak goes beyond words. Take responsibility for the power your voice has to impact the space and the people around you, and let your voice be a sound that creates harmony and compassion in the universe.

Your Special Gift

October 16, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Each of us is born with a specific genius that was bestowed upon us so we can do our part to make this world a better place. All of us have a role that we’re uniquely suited for. Imagine our planet without trees, oceans, or clouds.  In this same way, when one of us doesn’t develop or use our special gift, a cosmic void takes place.

This unique talent or ability may be hidden from your own sight like a golden treasure buried under shifting sands. Often, we spend so much time dazzled by the talents of others that we can overlook our own gifts. It may even be that our unique ability is something we view negatively. Perhaps we find it difficult concentrating on any one subject for long; meanwhile, others are thrilled by our ability to weave various ideas throughout our conversations. Or, you might think of yourself as “frivolous,” when it’s likely your charming approach to life casts a light of inspiration that others can’t help but follow. It’s important for all of us to try to find our special gift and discover how we can best express it. Ask others to name what they think is your most overlooked talent or character trait. Their answers may change your life.

Explore these riches that are yours to express, and you may find yourself helping others discover and develop their own blessings. Acknowledge and appreciate the gifts you see in those around you. Tell your neighbor that loves to garden how much her green thumb enlivens the whole block. Thank your coworker for always greeting your days together with a smile.  Tell your close friends that their ability to listen makes your world a better place. Our unique gifts are like golden rays of expression that can encircle the world with light.

Blue Skies

October 15, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

When we refer to a “beautiful day,” we are often describing a day that is sunny, clear, and without a cloud in sight to mar a sky that is a brilliantly perfect blue. We find ourselves bouncing along, light in spirit, free from worries, and enjoying the moment. That is, until the clouds begin to form. The sky may turn grey, and a fog may roll in. Puffs of white take on whimsical, darker shades, and our beautiful day disappears along with the sunshine… or so it seems.

A clear blue sky often inspires in us good cheer, bringing on a lighter, more carefree day. We may find ourselves spending time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and basking in the warmth of the sun. Yet should clouds appear to wash the sky with shadows, we may let this change of weather decrease our energy and enthusiasm, pulling us into our own cloudy funk. Darker days are just as much a part of life as are the days graced with sunshine. They show us a different perspective of our world, while helping us appreciate the moments of illumination that inevitably follow. A rainy day with clouds helps to clear the air, washing away stagnation. Still, it’s hard not to feel gloomy or think that the day has been ruined when there are clouds hanging over us. Yet if you can remember that these shades of grey won’t last forever, and that hidden behind the clouds is the blue sky, you will find that the beauty of your day is merely playing a game of peek-a-boo with you. Like the mishaps and interruptions that occasionally block the brilliance that is our own lives from shining through, clouds eventually clear away so we can open up to a brighter horizon.

The next time you wake up to a cloudy day, remember that these shades of grey in life are there just for the moment.  And that no matter how hard the rain falls or how chilly the fog is, the clouds will go away, the sun will break through, and you will be able to see the sky that has always and forever been a beautiful and brilliant blue.

Cherishing You

October 14, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Many people, in seeking out love, tend to look outward rather than inward. Yet falling in love with yourself can be just as wonderful an experience as falling in love with someone else. While the idea of falling in love with ourselves may be perceived as conceited or selfish, choosing to fall in love with who you are is a powerful act of self-love.

When you fall in love with yourself, you can’t help but experience a wonderful sense of discovery. You begin to look at yourself again through fresh eyes, becoming more attentive to the little details that make you so unique. Once you discover how much there is about you to fall in love with, you can’t help but want to treat yourself as lovingly and respectfully as you would treat anyone who is special to you. You start to give to yourself more because you become more attentive to your own needs and desires.

Choosing to fall in love with yourself is a very personal process that takes time. There is no magic wand you can wave to make this just happen. But there is the magic of your intention and the power of your actions, whether you are taking the time to do the activities you like, speaking to and treating yourself with respect, taking inventory of all your wonderful qualities and accomplishments, or nurturing yourself with plenty of rest and self-care.  When you fall in love with yourself, you begin to see yourself more positively, appreciate your unique outlook on life, and treat yourself in a more nurturing way. In loving yourself, you are acknowledging that you are special and deserving of love. Best of all, you are giving yourself one of the greatest gifts you have to give another. You are giving yourself the gift of your love.

What Lies Beneath

October 11, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Each one of us has experienced situations where we’ve found ourselves lashing out at someone without meaning to. We later berate ourselves for losing control and feel guilty for treating the other person badly.  And while it is human nature that our emotions and moods will get the better of us from time to time, we can learn to navigate our feelings and negotiate difficult situations without losing our center.

Often, when we lash out, it is because we are having a difficult time containing the emotions that are coming up inside of us. We may be feeling overwhelmed, afraid, frustrated, stressed out, or angry. Having these feelings boiling up inside of us can be very uncomfortable, and it is natural to want to release them. But when we release our feelings from our body by directing them outward and toward someone else, they inevitably impact the “innocent bystander” to whom we are directing this energy.  They not only get the brunt of our anger, frustration, or stress, but also they can actually experience this energy as a physical force hitting their bodies.

When you find yourself in a situation where you are about to lash out at the person in front of you, try to center yourself by breathing slowly and deeply. A few slow inhales and exhales can help dissipate the intensity of your feelings before they escape you. Later, when you find yourself in a more reflective state, sit down for a moment; recall the feelings in your body just before and during your outburst; note where you feel sensations coming up in your body; and ask yourself if they are connected to any core issue or experience from your life.  If nothing comes to mind, then revisit the situation again, exaggerating the details of what happened by indulging in outlandish “what if” fantasies. Exaggerating events after the fact can help expose the unconscious subtext behind your heated response. Understanding the motivation behind your reactions can help you avoid lashing out again when a similar situation comes up. In learning to navigate around your emotions, you are giving yourself the tools to feel better the next time your emotions start to boil. In doing so, you will be taking care of yourself by alleviating your own uncomfortable feelings while respecting and protecting those around you.

Taking Responsibility For Your Destiny

October 10, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

There are those of us who believe that our lives are predestined and that we should resign ourselves to our lots in life. Yet the truth is that it is up to each one of us to decide what that destiny will be. While each of us is born with a life purpose, it is up to us whether or not we will say yes to fulfilling it. And just like when we choose what to eat, who to keep company with, and whether to turn right or left when we leave our home everyday, choosing to say yes to your destiny is a decision that can only be realized when you take action to make that choice a reality.

Whether you believe it is your destiny to be a parent, an adventurer, an artist, a pioneer, or a spiritual guru, saying yes to your destiny is only the first step. While manifesting your destiny starts with knowing what you want and believing you can attain your goals, there are then the actions that must be taken and the decisions to be made before your destiny can truly happen. When you take responsibility for fulfilling your destiny and begin acting with the intention of doing so, you not only take fate into your own hands, but also you become the hands of your own fate. Doorways inevitably open for you to step through, and every choice you make can be a creative act toward realizing your goals and dreams. You begin to follow your instincts and intuition, recognize opportunities when they are presented to you, and seize those golden moments. You also begin to recognize the decisions that may not serve this greater picture and can more easily push them aside. 

Remembering that the decision to fulfill your destiny is always a choice can be empowering. Knowing you are fulfilling your destiny because you want to, rather than because you have to, can make a huge difference. When you are freed from obligation, obstacles in your way become challenges to be overcome, and the journey becomes an adventure rather than the obligatory steps you are being forced to take. Your destiny may be waiting for you, but whether or not you meet your destiny is up to you. Your fate is in your hands.