On this site I offer Tips, Tricks, and Wisdom for Living Life!

To Live is to be Vulnerable

To Love is to be vulnerable

I cannot really say, with any accuracy, how many times I have heard someone say, “I am never going to love again!” following some heartbreaking-breakup between this pained lover and some other person.

My advice is always the same and it goes something like this: “What is the use of living if you choose to live without risk?”

Thanks to Olessya on Pixabay for this photo

Thanks to Olessya on Pixabay for this photo

Consider these well known words from C. S. Lewis’s book, Four Loves:

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken’ it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Closing our heart off, in an effort to keep ourselves from experiencing the pain associated with disappointment, is like killing a part of ourselves off. It is impossible to be fully alive and to have one’s heart closed down. Besides, what real harm comes from having your “heart broken?” Does our heart really break?

Of course not! In fact all of the world’s leading metaphysicians insist that exactly the opposite is true. It is by keeping our imagined heart closed, out of the fear of some perceived hurt, that we cause the physical heart to literally shut down. No one has ever died because of disappointment, but people die all the time from hardened arteries, a possible physical manifestation resulting from a hardened heart.

Thanks to unsplash for this photo

Thanks to unsplash for this photo

Even if there were no physical problems caused by the refusal to take the risk of loving another, what quality of life can a person afraid of loving possibly experience?

Without the ability to love, I would have no desire to live. It is through loving and being loved that life is worth living.

The safest way to love is to learn to fully and completely love ourselves. Then we are free to be completely vulnerable to everyone else with no risk of feeling devastated when the other being fails to return our love. We can learn to become so full of love that we have no needs for others to fill.

What is remarkable about learning to love ourselves in this manner is that the minute we have no need of love from external sources, an abundance of love, which is everywhere present around us, becomes available to us. It’s one of life’s many paradoxes. When we need love from others we find it very hard to obtain, but when we are whole and complete, filled with the Love which flows, unimpeded, from the Universe, in and through our hearts, others find it very easy to love us, just as we find it easy to love them.

Love becomes a complete circle, blessing everyone whom it graces.

Thanks to sathyatripodi on Pixabay for this photo

Thanks to sathyatripodi on Pixabay for this photo

If I could draw I would show it graphically with Love coming from the Field in which we are perpetually immersed, filling us up, and flowing out from us to everyone we meet. Then in a boomerang fashion, that which we give, returns to us so that we are never depleted.

There is absolutely no risk involved with truly loving another. The only risk that is ever felt is when we have strings attached to the love we share. And that is not love at all. It is a misidentified idea of love which bears no resemblance to Divine Love.

Thanks to takmeomeo on Pixabay for this photo

Thanks to takmeomeo on Pixabay for this photo

Neediness is only attractive to other people who are also needy. This type of connection is fraught with disaster.

True Love erases all need.

And that says it ALL.

Set a Positive Intention for Each New Day

Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue had a strong influence on me in the early days of my spiritual journey. When I read or listened to him read his words, I felt them move straight into my heart without bouncing around in my head or my ears. That was not a typical experience for me.  Every word I ever read from this insightful, illumined Being inspired me, almost feeling as though they had been written just for me.

Today I am going to share his Blessing for a New Day, from the book To Bless the Space Between Us, one of his many writings which touched me in ways that defy description.  May these ideas bypass your mind and find a home in your heart, as they have in mine.

sunrise 10Blessing for a New Day
by 
John O’Donohue

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work
You do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those
Who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden you.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams,
Possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

blue clouds

I wrote this blessing out on a 3 x 5 card and read it to myself every morning, first thing, upon rising. This established a powerful intention for my whole day. I strongly urge you to consider finding some way to experience his loving message, either utilizing my method or selecting any other option which feels right to you. If you choose to follow this advice, I am confident that you will feel John O’Donohue touch your soul, from the eternal sphere where his Spirit now resides.

Have an amazing Independence Day if you are in America or an equally enriching weekend if you do not.

Know that you are forever Loved, just as you are, because you are LOVE itself.

It Always Comes Down to Letting Go

Today, I have much to do in order to get ready for our upcoming annual Independence Day celebration, so I will share with you an example of one of my shorter writings. I keep a file of interesting quotes and thoughts that I have read for the purpose of exploring and expounding upon the concepts for this blog. I felt compelled to share this wisdom from the Dalai Lama found in the book, A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night, which I read some five years ago.

I chose this selection because several of my friends have expressed feeling overwhelmed by the challenges which have appeared in their lives. To those friends and to anyone else experiencing upheaval in your lives, I urge you to carefully consider these wise words:

The view of interdependence makes for a great openness of mind. In general, instead of realizing that what we experience arises from a complicated network of causes, we tend to attribute happiness or sadness, for example, to single, individual sources. But if this were so, as soon as we came into contact with what we consider to be good, we would automatically be happy, and conversely, in the case of bad things, invariably sad. The causes of joy and sorrow would be easy to identify and target. It would all be very simple, and there would be good reason for our anger and attachment. When, on the other hand, we consider that everything we experience results from a complex interplay of causes and conditions, we find that there is no single thing to desire or resent, and it is more difficult for the afflictions of attachment or anger to arise. In this way, the view of
interdependence makes our mind more relaxed and open.”

I have always found that much of what disturbs the calm peace of my soul are external events over which I have absolutely no control. Many years ago I decided that if something happened, which was beyond my ability to change, my only power was to be found in how I chose to react to that situation. Since I knew that it was insane for me to resist that which I had no power to affect, I made a conscious decision to stop fighting.depressed man

I have heard people say, “But Elliott, it is not that easy.”

To which I respond, “You are right it is not that easy, but why isn’t it?”

The simplest answer is that we are conditioned to react because life begins hypnotizing us before we are cognizant of the fact that we have a choice. Consequently, we think, as the Dalai Lama pointed out, that one outer event or another creates our unhappiness or our stress, when in fact it is the desire for life to be “other than it is” that causes our dissatisfaction. This disappointment, unexplored, becomes frustration and can lead to anger and depression if we are not willing and able to let it go.

As children, when life happens, which is contrary to our wishes, we stomp our feet, cry, and get angry at our parents, care givers, or other children which we perceive as being the creators of the situation. As adults, we no longer have our parents, teachers, relatives, or other children to blame so we get mad at life or in many cases get angry with the God we believe in. Instead of stomping our feet and directing our anger outward, we tend to internalize our reactions to life’s perceived unfairness, creating stress disorders, depression, and all types of medical issues.

This is why it is so very important that we examine every aspect of our lives, paying special attention to how we choose to react when life knocks us off-balance.depressed girl

I could, quite honestly, write fifty pages on this single issue, and I am sure that I already have and will continue to do so in the future, but I promised this would be a short Secret so I am going to leave you to consider these words from Gangaji, someone who has helped me immensely:

“As I fell into what initially seemed like an abyss of hopeless despair, the fulfillment and peace I was searching revealed themselves to be here, to have always been here, with no possibility of ever leaving. Most shockingly, I saw that I had always known it! In that instant I realized that everything I could ever have wanted was already here as the ground of pure, eternal being. All of the suffering I had called “me” or “mine” had actually taken place in shining pure beingness! Most importantly, I saw that the truth of who I am is this beingness. This same beingness is present everywhere, in everything, visible and invisible.happy girl

Ultimately this is the salvation we are all seeking when we resist whatever appears in life. For in this Truth lies the peace which surpasses understanding. When we truly Know who and what we ARE, life’s power to disrupt our joyous experience vanishes. And while this is not really easy, it truly is simple. We only need to let go of everything which is not this TRUTH.

Creativity and Expression

Starting today, July 1st, I am prepared to recommit to sharing my writing each weekday. As I have written in the past, it feels like a piece of me is missing when I do not share my thoughts, even if no one opens my emails, even is no one visits the blog. There is something which compels me to offer my perspective to the world, whether it appeals to a wide variety of people or if only my mother finds it agreeable.

I am not sure what that drive is, which I think we all possess, to share what we create with the world. Hopefully, it is somehow the Divine expressing through me and not just some narcissistic desire to see my views expressed in print. John O’Donohue, one of my favorite writers and philosophers wrote: “The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh said,
“To be dead is to stop believing in
The masterpieces we will begin tomorrow.”

Artist

I can certainly relate to this. I know that I feel like an aspect of my personality is dead or dying whenever I am not expressing my creativity. I think we all have a need for creative expression and that a part of our expression includes a willingness to share that, which we create, with our fellow humans. I believe this to be true for any art form which feels authentic to the creator. I also think that in order to fully complete the cycle of creation that which is made manifest must be offered to the world.

I do not think it is necessary that said creation seek the approval of anyone other than the artist, but there is some profound wisdom which is gained when we overcome our fears and expose ourselves, in all our vulnerable glory, to our fellow humans. I never really considered my writings to be much of an art form, having reserved that distinction for great poetry or literature, but I have since changed my opinion. I now believe that anything we create and share is art, be it a painting, prose, poetry, music, or any of the hundreds of other ways we find to express their unique vision, gifts and/or talents with the world.

flower painting

It scares me to commit to sharing my writing every day. It frightens me because I worry about not being able to meet this self-issued challenge. What I know about myself, however, is that I need deadlines. I need to create time parameters for my goals or else I just let the days slip by with my desires and dreams still looming off somewhere in an unnamed future. What I also know is that I agree with John O’Donohue who says, “Creative human thought adds to the brightness of the world.”

I am excited about giving myself this opportunity for expression, once again. Back in 2006, I wrote seven days a week and I loved it. I got up each morning, early, did my morning meditation and then wrote whatever was on my mind for that day. My writing was all over the map, because my attention could be pulled in many different directions, but that was part of the fun of this exercise.

I have an ongoing challenge, in my life, of completing tasks that I start. I have had this issue as far back as I can remember in my life. I have always loved starting new projects. As an example, right now, I have at least five projects started around my house that need “Elliott the finisher” to appear, just as I have at least four books started, in various stages of completion. I am not sure why I have such a struggle completing things. One thought is that I just have never developed the habit of completing what I have started.

carving

As a child my dad always warned that I needed to complete each project that I had begun, before moving on to another project, but he demonstrated action which was contrary to this teaching, and as kids we always mimic what we see, not what we hear. I am not blaming him for my lifelong pattern, it is merely an observation.

Some would say that my tendency to bounce from new project to new project is because I am a seven according to the Enneagram, someone who is addicted to new and exciting shining objects, but who lacks the self-discipline to be a skilled finisher. I don’t necessarily embrace that wisdom either, although I think the concept has some merit.

The funny thing, about my personality, is that I absolutely love finishing things. I love the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I put the final piece of tile in a new wall or floor, or the last piece of trim on a room remodel. I can go on citing examples, but I am sure you get the idea. It is ironic to me that someone who finds such pleasure in completion would have so much trouble maintaining the inertia needed for said completion. But, here I am, once again committing to a project when I have dozens of others needing my attention. Yet, there is no denying how important this feels to me.

Yesterday I was working on a quote file I create for posting on Twitter and I read this from Sark in her lovely little book entitled Living Juicy:
“The key to a habit of completion is to suspend judgment about what form that completion takes. Often we have a critical picture inside that dictates how the completion should look. So we delay the completion in hopes of avoiding self-criticism or criticism from others. Learn to communicate with those sabotaging voices and bravely try new pathways. Judgment loves to leap up and knock over all your joy. Full attempts. Remember – you are a nurturing parent to yourself and don’t allow that language in your home.”

I really like this as I would never beat up one of my children the way that I hammer on myself for my lack of completion. Instead I would try to be loving and nurturing, gently nudging them in the direction of their dreams. I think I need to be that kind person when dealing with myself and my habit of non-completion. I know that Sark is spot-on about my judgments and my fears about doing something “right” stopping me in my tracks. Sometimes one little aspect of a job will create a roadblock which can take me several years to overcome. It is silly, but it is (or perhaps I need to say ‘was’) my life.

digital art

So, feeling inspired to share whatever grabs my attention, I am setting out to write every weekday for the next year. I fully expect that some of my posts will be very brief and some, like this one, will be more verbose.
Like Brian Tracy, I truly believe that “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”

Regardless whether I reach my goal of sharing 260 writings over the next year or if I find myself unable to share my thoughts tomorrow, know that I am always so grateful for your presence here, whether you are someone who has been with me since 2005 or someone who just found my blog for the first time. I love and appreciate each of you and welcome your thoughts here or in any of the many other places I am available. Together may we explore what it feels like to be the creative expressions of the LOVE we are.

Letting Go – – Questions, Thoughts

Today I was researching Hazrat Inayat Khan because I saw a quote of his, which really spoke to me, and realized that aside from knowing he was a Sufi, I knew very little about this mystic. As I searched the internet for PDF files, which I could download to read, I encountered the preface to The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word. The first two sentences of this book caused me to sit with them, in quiet reflection. Consider these words and share your understanding with me, if you feel so inclined:

“I gave up my music because I had received from it all that I had to receive. To serve God one must sacrifice what is dearest to one; and so I sacrificed my music.”guitar

It was this second sentence which gave me pause. Do we really need to sacrifice what is dearest to us in order to serve God? As I processed this statement I had the following thoughts:

  1. I do believe that we must give up all identity with the self in order to open the heart to discover Self, which is a realization the mind cannot grasp. Was he writing about this type of sacrifice?
  2. Next, I thought: I have seen jazz musicians, completely lost to any sense of self as they allowed something greater than themselves to flow through them, expressing as unique and sometimes exquisite music.
  3. I have seen other artists and athletes who seemed to lose all sense of self as they entered a “zone,” that place where no thought was involved, and life just seemed to express through them. In fact, I have been there myself.

Sometimes when I write it seems my brain is disengaged, completely, and the words just flow through me. Other times it is obvious that my mind is trying to do the writing. During these times I struggle to compose thoughts that adequately convey what is in my heart.writing hand

At first it was hard for me to comprehend what Khan was saying. Surely he was not suggesting that I needed to give up my writing in order to serve God. I have always felt and believed that I was serving the Universe when I wrote what I discovered in my heart while exploring my journey. Then I suddenly understood that this was the point. Writing from the heart instead of from the head was, in essence, giving up that censor, that believer in an “I” which could somehow be separate from God.

Finally, I felt I could comprehend what Inayat Khan meant. Paraphrasing In my own words I think he was suggesting that we must live, move, and express from our hearts and not from our heads. I don’t think he was suggesting that everyone must give up what they hold dear in order to serve Life, but instead we must give up that which identifies its source in our ego-created minds. I came away from my period of reflection with the idea that perhaps he was teaching the same thoughts as was expressed by Jesus in the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward: the idea that we cannot serve two masters.

Inayat Khan found that when he released the self who played music and surrendered to the ONE Self, he became the instrument for the Divine. By releasing all sense of a separate individual who “did” something he became the music himself.musical notes

I am going to reprint Khan’s complete preface here. Please read it and share your thoughts with me, either by the comment system on this blog or by my email which is etetersjr@yahoo.com

“I gave up my music because I had received from it all that I had to receive. To serve God one must sacrifice what is dearest to one; and so I sacrificed my music. I had composed songs; I sang and played the vina; and practicing this music I arrived at a stage where I touched the Music of the Spheres. Then every soul became for me a musical note, and all life became music. Inspired by it I spoke to the people, and those who were attracted by my words listened to them, instead of listening to my songs. Now, if I do anything, it is to tune souls instead of instruments; to harmonize people instead of notes. If there is anything in my philosophy, it is the law of harmony: that one must put oneself in harmony with oneself and with others. I have found in every word a certain musical value, a melody in every thought, harmony in every feeling; and I have tried to interpret the same thing, with clear and simple words, to those who used to listen to my music. I played the vina until my heart turned into this very instrument; then I offered this instrument to the divine Musician, the only musician existing. Since then I have become His flute; and when He chooses, He plays His music. The people give me credit for this music, which in reality is not due to me but to the Musician who plays on His own instrument.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

I think Khan’s offering is spot-on. I strive to be the Universe’s eyes, feet and hands so that which is in my heart flows through me, directly from the Oneness of Self. I must learn not to be a filter, not to restrict this flow by my incessant thoughts, but to be an open vessel of Love in all of the manners Self chooses to express through me. It is my Truth that this is ultimately the one purpose for living.swirling light

I feel very blessed to have found this preface today. I hope his words speak to you and allow you to hear whatever it is you most need at this moment in your life. Life has an amazing way of speaking to us when we are open and willing to let go of that precious self-identity, which is ultimately what we hold dearest.

When I Finally Loved Myself

When I finally learned to love myself I stopped looking to others for validation. Instead I looked for those who still sought approval from others and attempted to be an example for them; not in an egotistical way but as I imagined a loving, caring friend would act.

When I finally loved myself, I found it easier to also love everyone else in my life. As this love evolved and became more unconditional, I was able to stop judging others, which freed up incredible amounts of space in my heart for my healing Light to grow and expand.hand heart

When I finally loved myself enough I stopped the self-deprecation routine I had so skillfully mastered in my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. I learned to stop the demeaning stand-up routines in mid-sentence and to replace them with thoughts someone who loved me might say.

When I began to love myself enough I was able to realize that most of the stories, I had stored in my memory, about who and what I was, were false. Many of these narratives contained voices I had never questioned; teachers who had filled me with many lies, despite my trust that they always did the best they could.

When I learned to love myself I also learned to love my moment-to-moment experience of life. I decided to let go of the stories I had carried of the past; memories based on tainted recollections. I also discovered that it served me to release all fear about the future; learning through my exploration, that by being Right Here, Right Now it was easy to love myself. After all, what is not to love if investment in the past and trepidation about the future are set aside?

As my self-love has grown, I have learned to really appreciate my amazing body. I took it for granted, treating it like was a throw-away for much of my early adulthood. Today I am committed to loving it, nourishing it, and nurturing it, to the best of my ability. My mind still wants to beat me up about my earlier choices, but that is not what love does, not how love behaves. So, when I notice its desire to admonish, I release it, letting it float away, as if it were a butterfly in a dream. monarch butterfly

As I have learned to love myself more, I have let go of the idea that anything external to myself can bring me greater happiness. Since understanding this, I have quit buying things that I do not need, content to find fulfilling that which I already possess. When something is absolutely necessary, for me or my household to function smoothly, I may purchase it, but only if I have the money to pay for it. Love has taught me that debt is a prison which no longer serves me. Love always offers freedom, in all of its various manifestations. Hopefully this short writing has already conveyed this truth.

I love these thoughts on love from Peterson’s version of the bible, (The Message) 1st Corinthians, 13 5-7:

I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up…
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

As I have moved in the direction of loving without conditions, I have learned that we are LOVE itself, and as such, there is no value in playing small. In learning to love myself, I have discovered that my true nature (Self) is greater than my mind is capable of comprehending.

While I am still exploring what it means to live each of these truths, I feel free. I feel unlimited. I have had glimpses of the LIGHT that dwells in and flows through me and each of my beautiful friends and acquaintances. In the words of Whitney Houston: “Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all.” I agree with her: Learning to love ourselves is truly the  greatest adventure life has to offer. It certainly has been for me.Light in the sky

In closing, I want you to know that there is no truth I have discovered for my Self which does not also apply to you. May you join me on this incredible journey as we apply these Truths to our daily experience. Every time one of us moves toward Self-mastery, the consciousness of the entire planet expands and blesses everyone.

Authors Speaking to Me

I always pay attention whenever I receive information from multiple sources in the same day. Sometimes the repetition comes by hearing something, perhaps in a podcast or on a YouTube video or maybe in a conversation. Other times I read two distinct authors or books in which the same information presents itself to me.

The latter was the case yesterday as I read in John Powell’s book, The Secret of Staying in Love. He said that people live satisfying lives in direct proportion to their level of self-esteem. Powell, citing the book Reality Therapy by Dr. William Glasser, suggested that a lack of self-love creates a very painful life which manifests in one of four different ways:

1.   Depression – Spares a person from the agony of his deeper pain, protects him from the full impact of his unbearable life situation.

2.   Anger and antisocial behavior – Acting out the bitterness which accompanies the sufferers sense of failure and frustration.

3.   Insanity – Both a choice and an escape, a liberation from a very uncomfortable world and life.

4.   Physical sickness – The most commonly chosen way of dealing with such a dysfunctional life. The psychological pain of living life is transformed into physical illness. alone by the sea

Powell stated that the pain of low self-esteem leaves people seeking “relief by distraction, living like barnacles on the TV screen or dissolving themselves in work or play.

As I read this chapter in Powell’s book I could definitely see myself, if not so much now, certainly earlier in my life. I have, at different times, manifested my lack of self-love in each of the four ways described by Glasser and discussed by Powell.

Later, yesterday evening, I opened a file I keep as idea starters for future Secrets to Peace and I found this quote from Aldous Huxley in Doors of Perception: “That humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with Artificial Paradise seems very unlikely. Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul. Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H. G. Wells’ phrase, as Doors in the Wall.

While Huxley, in the quote I had saved, did not specifically address the reasons why we live pain-filled lives, it still resonated with me as similar to the information I had read earlier in Powell’s book.facing left prayer

I have worked on learning to love myself ever since I recognized that it was a problem for me; some thirty-five years I would guess. While I have made great strides in self-acceptance, I occasionally still hear an inner voice which is not totally convinced that I deserve the fruit of my efforts. It is not a conscious voice, but one that shows up when my actions cause less than pleasant surprises. While I have not used drugs or alcohol for many, many years as escape mechanisms, there are times when I feel tempted, even if only for a hot minute.

While I believe we all value happiness, we are often not aware that our thinking is what creates most if not all of our problems. Until we understand this truth, we tend to blame others or our environment for all the pain we experience. While this post is not the perfect venue for dispelling this understanding, I do want to list just a couple of thoughts worth considering:

  1. Unless there is some compelling medical condition which is creating one’s depression, the continual thinking about one’s self only increases our sadness and anxiety. I know some believe that chemical imbalances are the cause of depression, but my experience has proven to me that if I can just take my awareness off of myself, my chemical imbalance seems to take care of itself.
  2. What we focus on grows. When we are down, telling our story does nothing to help our condition. There is no value in telling others about your pain; you only intensify it by telling others about it. Rather than picking up the phone and telling your friend about your latest misfortune try finding some way to serve others, preferable anonymously. Or, if that idea does not sound feasible, try finding some form of exercise where your mind must be occupied by the activity itself instead of being focused on the perceived object of your discomfort.
  3. Finally, self-acceptance is not something that needs to be verbalized. It is self-evident by the way that we treat ourselves and others. If we are always building others up and tearing ourselves down, we are not demonstrating love, we are testifying to our own dysfunction. Love begins with acceptance. Realize that you are worthy and only programming, over which you probably had little to no control, could ever convince you otherwise. If you are demonstrating any of the above-listed four behaviors, allow yourself to change your beliefs. You may do this by spending time in the quiet until no thoughts of self-hatred exist, or you could work on it with a professional therapist. One way or another, you deserve a life that is free of the pain which accompanies low self-esteem.holding hands

In closing I want to offer these three things which John Powell says love does:

1.   Love esteems and affirms the unconditional and unique value of the one loved.

2.   Love acknowledges and tries to fulfill the needs of the one loved.

3.   Love forgives and forgets the failings of the one loved.

If you do not believe you are worthy of at least these three promises of love, find a way to make a change. You are valuable and you deserve to be loved, just as you are, for you are a unique expression of the One True Power which underpins all of life. Live like you know this to be true, even if you do not just yet.

It’s About Time and …

This year, I promised myself that I would write more often and that I would share more of these writings. At one point, I even had dreams of sharing a post every day, something which I did back in 2007.  Now February is almost over, and I find I have not shared a single post.
2015 new yearLife is moving so very quickly, unless I stay on-task and have my priorities very clear, life seems to slip through my fingers, leaving many of my dreams as mere ideas. I do not mean to imply that my life is not fulfilling, because it is.  It is just that many of the dreams and goals I had for last year (and some for years before that) are still pending. I have failed to keep these objectives at the top of my “to-do” lists each day. Unless I find a way to focus on the things I wish to accomplish, this year, I will be repeating this same disappointment when 2016 rolls around. Trust me, I know of what I speak.

I would like to say that I am constantly reinventing myself, but that would not be completely honest. While I do strive to live each moment fully present in this “now,” time passes and I eventually find myself examining my wish-list with regret instead of enthusiasm. I need to find a way to live in balance. I must dwell in the now, because I find it so much easier to be at peace here, while at the same time exercising the discipline to achieve some of my life’s goals. If I am to be a writer, I must find the courage and tenacity to write. If I am to be an online marketer, I must make plans and work towards the accomplishment of those plans.

balanceWhile I dearly love the freedom of simply doing whatever shows up in my life, as some sort of perpetual adventure, I also love the rewards that accompany dedicated self-mastery. Life constantly reminds me that anything worth having is worth the effort to accomplish. Balance is truly the key to my happiness. Perhaps that is why I was born a Libra.

While this blog is only one aspect of my overall ministry, it is one that will receive more of my attention this year. I will be posting more often, even if I only have a quote that is speaking to me.  So, if you are one of my reported eight subscribers, know that you can expect more thoughts to be forthcoming for the rest of this year. Together, perhaps 2015 will be the year when we find the strength and dedication to accomplish more of what is important to us.

Unwrap Today’s Gifts

I was reviewing some of my old reflections and I discovered a piece of prose which I shared back in 2002. This interesting short writing was included by Og Mandino in his book The Greatest Mystery in the World. I invite you to read this and consider it carefully.

YESTERDAY

By Dr. Frank Crane

I am Yesterday. I am gone from you forever.

I am the last of a long procession of days, streaming behind you,
away from you, pouring into mist and obscurity, and at last looking back 1 400 pix
into the ocean of oblivion.

Each of us have our burden, of triumph, of defeat, of laughter,
of bitterness; we bear our load from you into forgetfulness;
yet as we go we each leave something in your subconsciousness.

We fill your soul’s cellar.

I depart from you; yet I am ever with you.

Once I was called Tomorrow and was virgin pure; then I
became your spouse and was named Today; now I am Yesterday and
carry upon me the eternal stain of your embrace.

I am one of the leaves of a growing book. There are
many pages before me. Some day you shall turn us all over
and read us and know what you are.

I am pale, for I have no hope. Only Memories. looking back 2 400

I am rich, for I have wisdom.

I bore you a child and left him with you.
His name is Experience.

You do not like to look at me. I am not pretty.
I am majestic, fateful, serious.

You do not love my voice. It does not speak to your desires;
it is cool and even and full of prudence.

I am Yesterday; yet I am the same as Today and Forever
for I AM YOU; and you cannot escape from yourself.

Sometimes I talk with my companions about you. looking back 3 400
Some of us carry the scars of your cruelty.
Some the wretchedness of your crime.
Some the beauty of your goodness.
We do not love you. We do not hate you.
We judge you.

We have no compassion; only Today has that.
We have no encouragement for you; only Tomorrow has that.

We stand at the front door of the past,
welcoming the single file of days that pass through,
watching Tomorrows becoming Todays and then enter
among us.

Little by little we suck out your life, as vampires.
As you grow older we absorb your thought. You turn to us
more and more; less and less toward Tomorrow.

Our snows cumber your back and whiten your head.
Our icy waters put out your passions. Our exhalations
dim your hopes. Our many tombstones crowd into your
landscape. Our dead loves, burnt-out enthusiasms,
shattered dream-house, dissolved illusions, move
to you, surround you.

Tomorrows come unnoticed. Todays slip by unheeded.
More and more you become a creature of Yesterdays.

Ours are banquet halls full of wine-soaked tablecloths,
broken vessels, wilted roses.

Ours are empty churches where aspirations were,
where only ghosts are.

Ours are ghastly Pompeiian streets, rich galleons
a hundred fathoms deep, genealogical lists of sonorous
names, mummies in museums, fragmentary pillars of battered
temples, inscriptions on bricks of Nineveh, huge stone
gates standing amidst the tropical landscape of Yucatan,
Etruscan wine jars now dry and empty forever.

From us comes that miasma of inertia that holds
humanity in thrall; from us comes the strength of war-makers,
monarchs, and all the privileged.

We reach up long, sinewy, gray arms of custom and hands reaching 335
tradition, to choke Today and impede Tomorrow.

We are the world’s Yesterdays. If you knew enough
to put your feet upon us, you might rise rapidly. But
when you let us ride on your backs we strangle and
smother you.

I am Yesterday. Learn to look me in the face,
to use me, and not to be afraid of me.

I am not your friend. I am your judge
— and your fear.

Tomorrow is your friend.

There are no chains which bind us to yesterday. While the idea of starting with a clean slate, today, can seem impossible there is no reason, other than habit, to carry any emotional baggage from the past.

Today is all there is, and even an hour from now is not guaranteed.

This is why being fully present to this moment is so essential. It is also why we cannot put off, until tomorrow, anything which needs to be said or done today.

Today is our friend. The only value yesterday holds is the knowledge and wisdom gained though its experience. Wipe your slate clean and begin, this moment, with new eyes. Allow each instant to unfold without the pain of yesterday’s memories and you may be amazed at what treasure’s await discovery.

I Wish For You …

Last night at Spiritual Cinema we watched the beautiful movie, I Am by Tom Shadyac. There were a couple of quotes, which inspired me, in the movie but I had not taken any notes, so I went to the director’s website to search for them. Instead of finding the exact ideas I was seeking I discovered these from Hafiz:

“When all your desires are distilled relaxing in the grass
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy”

*
“I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being.”

These two thoughts really capture the theme of this thoughtful movie well. I do not think there is anything I can add to these profound words. Hafiz’s wishes are my own and they point to the reasons I feel compelled to write and share my insights. If I had one wish for anyone who may read this it would be that you might discover that you are LOVE and that everything in your world reflects your awareness of that Truth.

As an interesting side note, no one present last night had read yesterday’s post, yet the first thing we discussed as soon as we stopped the movie was the importance of doing work you love. What is serendipitous about this was the fact that it was not me who initiated this aspect of our discussion. I love the way life unfolds.

Life is a beautiful dance when we listen to the music within us. Thank you for sharing this dance with me.