“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.”
~ Albert Einstein
Winter is a difficult time for me physically, mentally and emotionally, so I try to find ways to challenge myself. In the past I could challenge the physical elements of snow and ice by just getting out there, shoveling, sledding, driving, photographing, whatever. Now I still try to do those things, but less than before because I have more physical challenges than in the past.
Challenges that limit us can weaken us mentally and emotionally. To strengthen myself I’ve given myself other positive challenges, like yoga. Since I started attending classes last October, I’ve been able to gradually, very gradually, build strength and health physically, mentally and emotionally. It has not been easy and my class attendance was not always consistent for the first couple months, but I have persisted. Now I’m attending classes twice a week and beginning to practice at home as well.
One thing that helped me with my yoga practice was following a beginners yoga challenge on yogajournal.com. I received daily written inspiration on will power, and a weekly video of yoga practice. It was quick, easy, motivational and free.
In March I will be starting a new challenge, and I invite you to join me if you wish. It is a free 21 day meditation course sponsored by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. I know that sounds kind of commercial, but it looks like it could be valuable. Of course, if you’re already a meditation master maybe you don’t need it. But if you are looking for some guidance to start meditating, some ideas on improving your mental or physical health, or just a little inspiration, then why not try it? It can’t hurt, it’s free, and it’s completely accessible at your own time, location, pace and comfort level.
Starts on March 11, 2013. Here’s the link if you care to join in. http://www.chopracentermeditation.com
- Meditation Is the New Yoga: Bringing Mindfulness Into the Workplace (bigthink.com)
- 21 days of Meditation – with Deepak Chopra and Ms Oprah herself (pambustin.com)
- Deepak Chopra (celebrationofnow.com)
- Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra (sebastianhalliwell.wordpress.com)
A timely post as I have been renewing my commitment to health and well being by going to yoga classes, meditating with a lovely smelling candle, and eating healthier.
My Christmas cactus is also experiencing renewal, especially since it didn’t bloom at all last year.
This is my daily morning renewal, my special blend, and it’s a nice afternoon renewal as well. God Bless the coffee bean, may they prosper and grow forever!
“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
”There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.”
Another great post by Brad Stanton at Give Me 5 Minutes. I felt my comment would be too long so I decided to post about it.
The interesting thing is that it’s much easier to have faith in a “force” that is outside of ourselves, than to have faith that the “force” is within. Most of us continue to believe in a God that is somehow separate from ourselves, or that we are separate entities from God. That is what we have been taught, isn’t it?
Theology may have taught us that, but Jesus was trying to teach something more when he said to the Jews who wished to stone him, “Is it not written in your own Law, ‘I said: You are God’s'?” (John 10:34) He was referring to Psalm 82:6 which reads, “This is my sentence: God’s you may be, sons all of you of a high God,…” Through out the Gospels Jesus tries to get his disciples and the Jews to understand that God dwells within, and that only our perverse or divided thoughts and feelings prevent God from manifesting in our lives.
Believing that there is a God, a creator, a force out there, is easy and requires little responsibility. Believing that God the creator, “the force” dwells within us requires taking responsibility for what that means: cleaning up the temple. As Jesus said, “There must be no limit to your goodness, as your Heavenly Father’s goodness knows no bounds.” (Matt. 5:48)*
You won’t often hear me quoting the Bible, not because of lack of belief, but because I feel it’s too often misunderstood and misused. I studied the Bible a lot in my 20′s, and I have referred to it often for guidance, or a reminder and refresher when I’ve become distracted by the illusions of this world. It is so easy to forget who we are and where the power comes from, to lose faith in ourselves and the indwelling of that which is holy.
I really appreciate this post by Brad Stanton as it reminds me once again that “the Force” of creation dwells within, that we exist as co-creators of our lives, and that “faith” has as much to do with belief in ourselves as it has to do with belief in the Original Creator.
* All quotes taken from the Oxford Study Edition of The New English Bible.
Today the sun is shining, the air is cool, the season is changing.
Time to take a deep breath and savor the smells, the new oxygen, the tingling crispness that comes with autumn. Then breathe out the old season, past woes and wishes, letting go of what is gone. Today is a new day with it’s own unique beauty.
Life is full of challenges, thrills, periods of calmness and serenity, all to be enjoyed for the lessons they teach and enrichment they give. Moving forward is easier when we can enjoy the present and leave yesterday’s stress behind. What a lovely day it is when I allow myself to breath in it’s beauty, and breathe out the stress that tends to zap away energy.
All we need for a beautiful life is all around us all the time, it’s always been there and always will be. Do we see it? Do we feel it? Do we allow ourselves to experience it? Or do we focus on what we think we don’t have, or allow problems to constantly cloud our minds? The greatest challenge for humanity is freeing the mind to live fully in appreciation of the beauty and goodness that is inherent in life, the way a child playing in the dirt enjoys the richness of the moment.
If your life is beautiful, help others make their lives beautiful too – whatever way you can.
Yes, take a break now and then, a break from the hectic pace of life. I’m not talking about an all out vacation, that’s different because a lot of planning and activity usually goes into vacations. I also don’t mean a 15 minute coffee break at work. What I mean is to stop all activity and “must do’s” for long enough to give yourself space to breathe, to think, and to be yourself. How long? You decide.
Our culture is very demanding and it’s starts early on in life. You have to go to school, you have to get good grades, you have to dress like others, think like others, get a car, get a career, get the next latest technology, get a raise or a better job, get more, more, more, so you can go more and do more! It has been referred to as the “Rat Race” because if you’re not careful it can become a lot of mindless running around.
So I am advocating for occasional breaks; unplanned, spontaneous, at your discretion, and completely of your own free will – take a break. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do during your break, it doesn’t matter how long or short it is, as long as you are able to clear your mind and find peace, tranquility and personal power by valuing yourself. My husband does this through his daily walks, that works for him. I often read a book, play with my cats, or just lay in the grass on a sunny day with my eyes closed.
Sometimes I need to take a break from the computer and writing (that’s why this post is late). Sometimes it’s the housework or endless errands I need a break from. Sometimes I need a break from work, and sometimes (believe it or not) work is my break from other things. For me, the important thing is to not be driven by some system that was created by our collectively perceived needs and wants, but to live intentionally by my own design. Unfortunately, we all have to live in this society as it is and deal with the way it is on a daily basis, which makes it quite difficult to not be sucked into the “Rat Race” or get trampled on. So I pull myself aside now and then to reflect, refuel my energy and reaffirm my intention, and sometimes just to relax.
You can exercise, meditate, do breath-work, sing, dance, play or do nothing at all to take a break as long as it helps you feel your value as an individual apart from any needs or wants. Your personality will determine what type of break works best for you. In that moment aside from the hectic pace of life the only purpose is to experience the beauty, goodness and peace that exists beyond the craziness of this world, and to rediscover or reaffirm what you truly value in life, because that is what will give you the power to keep going, and to create a life of your own design.
Enjoy the breaks, enjoy the life you create.
“The most ignorant among mankind have some truth in them. We are all sparks of truth.”
Everyone needs a little help now and then. If someone were to say, “I don’t need any help, ever, from anyone”, well they would just be lying – to their self as well as to whomever they were saying this too. It’s just a fact of life that human existence is dependent on helping one another.
Don’t believe me? Think about it, were you able to give birth to yourself and fully care for yourself as soon as you were born? Of course not, and I’m sure your mom appreciated the help she got while giving birth to you. Oh, I know, there are some women who have given birth without assistance, but I’m sure they would have gladly received help if it was available. Although there is a lot of instinct, and natural bodily processes, that move the birthing process along, the mother has to help the baby enter the world through pushing a little. Then the mother helps the baby find her breast, and she keeps helping that baby through all the processes of growth and development until it becomes an adult. That’s at least 18 years worth of all different kinds of help.
Helping one another is a form of love. We are created in love and are meant to exist in loving relationships – at least that’s the ideal even though it may not always be the reality. Human beings are meant to exist in inter-dependent relationships, not co-dependent, that’s something else altogether. We are also not meant to be as independent as we think we want to be. As a matter of fact, if we could achieve absolute independence we would be alone and miserable. Living is about loving and loving takes two.
There are as many ways to help someone as there are to care about another persons well being. We have no shortage of ability to help because even a kind word or a smile might help to make someone’s day brighter. We can help in big ways or small ways, it’s not really something that needs to be measured because it is simply the way life is designed; to give according to your ability and to receive according to your need. No I’m not a raging Communist, but I’ll prove this point.
The entire Universe exists on the basis of inter-dependent relationships, giving and receiving in cycles that support all life. A simple example can be seen in the trees that give us oxygen and we breathe back carbon dioxide. Trees help us in a multitude of other useful ways as well, so wise people fight to preserve the existence and reproduction of trees (and other plants as well). That is not only helpful to the trees but helpful to the preservation of the planet and all life. Oh there are endless examples I could give of how all living things are dependent upon one another to thrive and prosper, but I think you get the point. All life is inter-dependent.
I often wonder why it is that humans are so insistent upon being independent, and often not helping each other. We find it easy to help when it is convenient, or to our advantage, but we don’t often stretch ourselves to help as much as we are capable of helping. We create reasons for not helping and wrap ourselves up in doing what we think we need to do to take care of ourselves and those closest to us. By doing this we limit our capacity to love, which is also limiting our capacity to experience the full value of life.
Striving for independence is something we do as we are growing up and the purpose of this is to become fully functional and capable according to our individual potential. Once we become a fully functional and capable adult, if we are really mature, we realize we received a lot of help along the way and we begin to look for ways that we can give back. We also realize that although we may be very capable and independent, we are not really complete or happy alone, we want someone to love and be loved by.
If we could just take this simple process a step further and project it onto a global scale, I think we might find solutions to the worlds problems. There are enough fully functional and capable adults in the world to help those in need, but we have been focused on our own perceived needs and limitations for so long that we have forgotten our purpose. We have confused wants with needs and created a really ugly system of taking as much as we can get and still wanting more. The world is in a mess because we are looking for fulfillment through “getting what I want, because I want” instead of “giving what I can, because I can”.
Sometimes we need to receive or ask for help, it is natural and there is no shame in it as long as we are doing our best to also give what we can according to our capacity. There will always be times and places and possibilities for giving and receiving because it is the natural design of life, inter-dependence. Unfortunately, the world is very out of balance with it’s own natural design because of human greed, lust, resentment and generally self-indulgent thinking – the world needs a lot of help. You and I can help, by creatively using our time, abilities, knowledge or resources to help those who have serious needs, in your community or someplace else in the world. Join me in striving to live in balance with our natural design, by creating each day with a helping hand toward others.
“Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.”
- Pablo Casals
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather that luxury; and refinement rather than fashion…to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
William Ellery Channing, 1780-1842
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace at all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
This was not a hard one, except that there were too many photos to choose from. So I chose a lot of photos that express together to me. Instead of having you endlessly scroll or click on thumbnails I decided to put them in a slideshow (You have to click here or on the post title to see the slideshow). I hope you enjoy it.
Who knows what brought us together?
What divine providence forms friendships,
families, lovers and comrads?
It doesn’t really matter, does it?
What matters most is that in being together
We love, we live, we laugh, we cry, and
We become the expression of divine love.
A simple random thought or memory draws the corners of my mouth up a bit, and my son might ask, “What are you smiling at?” The twittering of a bird on a tree branch outside my front door draws my attention; I gaze silently smiling as I watch his uncontrollable song. My cat jumps from the table to my shoulders as I pass through the dining room and wraps herself around my neck, rubbing her face against my cheek with a purr – it always makes me smile.
On the other hand there are bills and demands that I find it hard to smile about. There are problems and pressures that make me cry. How not to let those things create my day is what I go to bed praying about, and wake up thinking about. Every morning my husband says “good morning” with a smile and I wonder how he does it; but I remember he was raised with such manners.
Many things make me smile: a plant, a flower or tree, an animal, a beautiful painting or photograph, a friend or family members face, the sunshine and the blue sky, the ocean, the clouds and a soft breeze, lovely memories, and the writings of other bloggers. These are the things that fill my life with joy. I seek them, I find them, and I smile. A smile begins in the heart and spreads to the face sending pleasant feelings of peace through my body. A smile is a powerful thing.
So I think I will try to smile more each day, not in a shallow way, but by finding the smile in my heart. If the world were to end tomorrow I would like to go smiling, by thinking about how beautiful it was. If I wake up to a new morning I would like to wake up like a child that feels loved, wondering what new excitement the day holds. What better way to live than to create each day with a smile?
For another meaningful post on smiling check this out: The Monster In Your Closet
Spring is hopeful, the weather is warming and everything is blooming. Most people feel a renewed sense of wonder or happiness, especially the people living in a place that has cold, gray winters. Finally we can start getting our daily dose of Vitamin D naturally and get rid of the SAD.
However, all the vitamin D in the world will not relieve grief, broken-heartedness, regret or major depression. A walk in the sunshine and smelling the flowers may help uplift the mood for awhile, but sometimes people need a lot of help to find hope. Sometimes we face such trials in life that it seems impossible to go on, or like the world is caving in on us.
When I experience a great difficulty, loss or disappointment and I wonder how I’m going survive, pictures start to flash through my mind. These pictures are the things that moved my heart most while I was growing up and made me wonder how I could help end human suffering. Images of mothers desperately handing their babies to soldiers who were boarding helicopters in an effort to save their babies from the war; a toddler crying next to the dead bodies of his parents in the midst of war; children & mothers starving to death due to oppression or lack of access to resources; people suffering & dying of illnesses that no longer exist in our country. These images never leave me, they fade into the background only to resurface during times of trouble, to remind me of how fortunate I am.
Even still, pain and problems do not go away simply by thinking of the less fortunate. To move forward one has to take a step. Action creates possibilities and possibilities create hope. Hope is the invisible power that motivates us beyond survival.
We desire so many things from life, not just physical things, but we have a great ambition to fulfill our potential, to find love and to be happy. Why then, are so many people let down? Why do we find it so difficult to fulfill our dreams? Why does living and just getting by become such a struggle? Could it be that people have learned to expect too much?
After taking action, it’s necessary to continue the effort, to stay creative and keep doing positive things. However, while making so much effort we can often get caught up in our expectations for the results, setting ourselves up for another let down. The down side of hope is our expectations. To make consistent effort to live virtuously while overcoming adversity and pain is hard enough, but the hardest part of all is letting go of expectations without losing hope.
Real hope comes from knowing that our efforts have value regardless of the result, that life is not all that we see, but it is the state of mind that we create and the love that we give. Hope is rooted in the invisible world of heart, the eternal world of absolute love.
“You have to accept whatever comes along and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962
First Lady of the USA and UN delegate
I was going to title this Create the Day With Endurance, but I decided that persistence was a better word because it involves the qualities of being determined and enduring. I believe one of humanity’s greatest qualities is the ability to persist in the face of incredible odds toward a goal, or an ideal. How fortunate we are to have been created with this characteristic, because without this we would not survive.
I have faced many difficulties in my life and learned that life is not easy. Oh how I would like it to be easy! I would like nothing better that to lounge on the beach, swim and play, day after day. I wonder if I would ever get bored, but something tells me that if I were able to continuously explore the beauty of nature then I wouldn’t get bored. Ha, there is the catch though, that makes life difficult. To continuously do anything takes persistence.
Difficulty is a natural part of existence otherwise known as challenge. If we did not have events and experiences that challenge us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually we would surely get bored and certainly become lazy. We can not reach our full potential as human beings without challenging ourselves, and overcoming or winning a challenge takes persistence.
While difficulties and challenges are good for us, this does not excuse human beings for making life too difficult or harmful to others. Life has enough built in challenges, and our minds are capable of creating positive and productive challenges that we can work on every day, to improve or advance ourselves and the world. When our ambitions and desires cause others to suffer needlessly, we have to reevaluate our goals.
I believe the world is facing such a time when we have to reevaluate our goals in life, and choose to persist in the positive challenge of creating a better life for all people. We each have a part we can play in our families, our communities, our countries and the world, that will promote the well being of everyone. Life is not simple, it is not easy to be unselfish and truly love others, but this is a challenge we must persist in.
Yes, the world has always been full of problems and human suffering. People have persisted in the struggle to survive and thrive for a long, long time. People have even persisted through unthinkable and tragity, suffering and loss. To honor those whose lives have needlessly been crushed by the darkness in others, I persist in spreading light and love wherever I can, whenever I can. I harden my will and gain strength to persist in this challenge called life because of those who have suffered more than I.
Maybe I can not do a lot to change the world, but I can persist in love, in faith, in hope, in unselfish actions, and in helping others to do the same.