When In Doubt

We all have times when we feel lost, disconnected from ourselves and others.  There are many roads that lead us back to peace–here are a few of my favorites.

1.  Move.  Fear, pain and anger get stuck in our bodies.  Dance, walk, hula hoop, swim, practice yoga.  Let your feelings move through you, then set them free.

2.  Sing.  Or laugh.  Or cry.  Or write.  Let yourself express what you are feeling.  You must name it before you are free of it.  When times are hardest, rely on your favorite sources of inspiration–whatever art or music moves you.  When in doubt, try Frank Sinatra.

3.  Meditate.  I once spent several hours letting my mind wrestle with a problem, taking me far from my center, far from a sense of ease.  When I finally sat down, got still, got clear, the problem released me and I saw a solution.  As I came out of meditation, I heard my inner voice say quite clearly:  “Next time, meditate first.”

4.  Find Beauty.  Anywhere you can.  It’s there, waiting for you to notice, here and now, wherever you may be.  Look for it.  Appreciate it.  Savour it.  Let yourself open to whatever love you find.

5.  Scatter Light.  Remember, it’s never just about you.  If you would be happy, help someone else smile.  If you would be healed, ease someone else’s pain.  Get out of your own way, and allow yourself to spread light and love to those around you.

Ask For What You Want

We are divine.  We are spiritual beings.  We are powerful.  But we are not mind-readers.  That is why we must ask for what we want.

No matter how much someone loves you, how long they’ve known you, or how deeply they care, they cannot read your mind.  We often fall into the trap of expecting others to figure out what we want.  We say things like “if you really knew me” or “if you really loved me” you would know what it is I want.  We make it a test of love, a test of faith.  And yet–don’t we usually demand that others figure out what we want because we ourselves aren’t sure?  Or, worse yet, because we are afraid to speak up and be honest about our true desires?

Instead of taking the time to ask ourselves what it is we really desire, we focus on all the things we don’t want, and blame others for not solving our problems.  But who could?  Who could ever know what it is we truly desire better than we do?  No one sees the world quite the same way you do.  No one else has your unique heart, mind and soul.  No one is better equipped than you to determine what you want out of life.

Don’t expect others to be mind-readers; don’t pretend you are one.  Take the time to investigate your true and deep desires, and then ask for what you want.

Beloved On The Earth


And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.

Late Fragment, by Raymond Carver

The whole world conspires to teach you only this:  that you are Spirit, beloved of Spirit.  All your journeys lead to truth; all your wanderings bring you home.  All we seek is to come closer and closer to that realization, to know ourselves and the Beloved more deeply, more fully.

You need not reach for love–you are the body and soul of love itself.  Would you look for music?  Would you listen for sunlight?

Follow love.  Do neither too much nor too little.  There is only one thing we must practice:  how to love more deeply, more openly, more completely.  More fearlessly.  Those who look with eyes of love see more deeply and more truly.

The world loves you as much as you love it; perhaps even more so.  So let yourself love.  Let the world in, and yourself out.

Cracked

There was once a crack in the mirror of a powerful and beautiful queen.  When she looked into the glass, seeking confirmation of her beauty, she saw instead the image of another:  Snow White.  Because of the crack in the mirror–a crack in her own soul–she did not understand what she saw.  She did not realize that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves.

We doubt our power when we forget to use it.  We doubt our beauty when we look for it outside of ourselves.  And so the queen believed that her youth and beauty were gone to another, and determined to kill the young Snow White.  But Snow White was the image the queen saw when she looked into the glass–how could she kill Snow White without killing a part of herself?

As for Snow White, the queen’s pursuit sent her on a journey of discovery.  She began as a victim, alone and hunted through a dark forest, and emerged a queen in her own right, sure of her own strength and power.  Two faces in the glass; two journeys of discovery.  Both are two sides of the same coin.  We all have power and beauty within us.  When we see the gifts of others as a part of our own light, our power and beauty grow.  When we see others as separate, as a threat, an enemy to be destroyed, we can only destroy ourselves.

We are surrounded by mirrors, constantly reminded of who we are and what we have within us.  The beauty you see in others is a reflection of the beauty that is within you.  The power you see in others is a reflection of the power that lies within you.  The whole world is your mirror.  Instead of asking who is the fairest of them all, ask instead to understand that the fairest is the one who sees beauty in others as well as in his or herself.

Of Dragons & Sirens

Peace is not freedom from pain, but transcendence.

Pain can be an invitation, a call to adventure, an opportunity to forgive and to heal.  No one lives free from pain; no one can help but cause pain.  We all must, at times, play the muse to another’s story, whether we intend to or not.  Think of them–the evil stepmothers, the dragons, the sirens.  They are the ones who send the call, who propel the heroes and heroines into the realm of adventure and possibility.  They are the ones who open the door to the bright, messy world we call life.  They are the fire of change.  Why fear playing the part of fire?

Play your part as openly and truthfully as you know how, choose love over fear and be quick to forgive.

Choose Love

Our lives are given shape and meaning by those things on which we choose to put our attention.  We can seek the good, the beautiful, the things that bring us comfort and joy, or we can focus on what causes us pain, what frightens us, what makes us angry.

So often we think we should seek out pain, so that we will be better able to defend ourselves against it.  All that does is allow the pain to expand, to consume us, to drive our actions and encourage us to close our hearts.  It makes us worry; it makes us forget all that we love.  We create the very things we fear.  We all have a choice between love and fear; the trick is to remember to make a choice, rather than be blown about by a changing world.

There is a Native American legend about a wise elder who described the struggle this way:  “Within me, there are two dogs.  One is good; the other is mean and evil.  The evil dog is constantly attacking the good dog.”

“Which dog,” asked a child, “will win?”

After a moment’s reflection, the elder replied:  “The one I feed the most.”

So feed those parts of you that are patient, forgiving and kind.  Search for joy.  Be grateful for the sun on your skin, the rain on the earth, the wind in the trees.  Let yourself love.  Let yourself sing.  Remember how to dance.  Then watch your soul expand, and the world with it.

Echoes

Echoes of the future, echoes of the past, meet here, in the present.  What better home could you have?  What will you create next, along with the Universe?  What game will you play?  How will you love?  How will you dance?  What will you grow into, and what stories will you tell about it?

Wake up, and all things are possible.  Love is endless.  We are divine and free.  In this moment, hold eternity and know its name:  Love.

It is not a mystic’s dream or a poet’s wit to say that all can be found in this moment.  What is this moment but the meeting ground of past and present?  They greet one another like old friends, easy in each other’s company.  In this moment lie all the secrets of the world–of all worlds.  But know this:  you are not the unraveller of secrets.  You are the secret.  This is why there can never be an end to mystery.  You know in your heart that, as with all good secrets, the joy lies in the search, the adventure, the discovery.  What lies at the end of your searching is, whatever else it might be, an ending.  And for heroes, storytellers and dreamers, those are always better left unhurried.

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