Journey Into Stillness: Beginnings & Endings

It has been 40 days since the beginning of our journey into stillness.  Whether you sat beneath a bodhi tree, welcomed the dawn with a favorite mantra, or simply contemplated the idea of meditation, you are welcome here, at the place where one ending and a new beginning meet.

We are surrounded by endings and beginnings, some obvious, some not.  In a world that is constantly shifting, constantly changing, constantly evolving, it is important to mark the transitions, to notice when the gate swings open and we walk into a new life, a new day, or simply a new moment in time.

Breathe into the changes.  Find your sea legs; let yourself bend with the curves.  It is all a dance, and you were born to be a dancer.

Wherever you find yourself in your own journey to stillness, I hope it brings you joy and peace.  As for me, I will continue practicing the ways of stillness.  I will continue watching how one ending flows into a new beginning.  I will continue to fall deeper in love with the moments that hold me, and to share with you what I find along the way.

Namaste.

Athena & The Olive Tree

The Greek goddess Athena, wise and fair, was born from the head of her father, Zeus.  This came to pass because of a prophecy that any child born of Metis, goddess of wisdom, and Zeus, first among gods, would grow to be even more powerful than its father.  Fearing such a fate, Zeus swallowed Metis before she could bear him a child.

Some time later, Zeus began to suffer pounding headaches, which were remedied only when his head was cleaved open by a mighty ax.  Athena leapt forth, fully grown and fully armed, from her father’s head.  She became his favorite daughter, a patroness of the arts and a counselor of heroes.

At the time that the great city of Athens was founded, Poseidon, god of the seas, and Athena each coveted the city.  To determine which god would be granted the city, the citizens decided that both Poseidon and Athena would give the new city a gift; the giver of the best gift would be awarded the city as his or her own.

Poseidon struck the earth with his triton, causing a salt water spring to appear on the dry land.  Although beautiful and impressive, the salty water was of little use to the people.  Athena’s gift was more subtle–an olive tree.  But although the tree was small and delicate, its gifts were great:  shade, olives, oil, wood.  The city was given to, and named for, Athena.

The simplest gifts are often the greatest.  They may be hidden, they may seem mundane, yet these are the things that nourish our lives and give them meaning.

And speaking of beautiful goddesses born fully grown (and armed) from their father’s head… today is Father’s Day and my sister’s birthday.  So this post is both for my father (first among gods, but never afraid of his children’s potential) and my sister (a goddess of fire, passion and creativity if there ever was one).  I love you both.

Sunflowers

How we do anything is how we do everything.

Do everything with love.

It is always a choice, and one that must be made again and again.  Others may not notice.  If they do, they may think that the choice to love, to be patient, to forgive, was easy–easier than battling, easier than fighting.  It is true that it gets easier.  But choosing to love is the path of heroes, not the path of least resistance.

Who we are is expressed in every single thing we do, in each moment of the night and day.  So often we forget who we are and instead react to what is around us–we meet impatience with impatience, anger with anger, rather than letting our true natures shine through.

Think of a sunflower–no matter what is going on around it, a sunflower takes in sunlight and water and turns it into beauty.  It does not bloom for some and not for others.  It shares what it is with everyone.  Be like a flower, spreading love and light–even to those who might not deserve it.  You will feel better, they will feel better, and moment by moment the world will grow in beauty and light.

Do you know someone like this?  My mother is my sunflower–warm and sunny even on a cloudy day.  You can be this way, too.  Just keep turning towards the light, the way a flower follows the sun.  See the clouds as an opportunity to shine, rather than an excuse to despair.  Act always from your true nature, your beauty, your kindness, your truth, and watch love grow around you.

Happy Birthday, Mom, and thank you for being a beacon of light in my life.  I love you.


Of Gods & Goddesses

What makes a god or goddess divine?  If you believe the old myths and legends, the gods were not above pain, not above sorrow.  They could be hurt, they could even be destroyed.  So what made them divine?  Simply this:  Knowledge of their own divinity, and the ability to transform themselves and others.  Nothing is beyond the reach of a goddess, when she moves from love.

A goddess is present.  Aware.  Open.  Sensitive to the heartbeat, the exquisite touch and texture and taste of the moment.  She accepts it all, welcomes it all, knows that she cannot lose herself in any of it.  She delights in the flow, the movement, the dance.  She is willing to change, to grow, to expand in life, in awareness, in love.  She cannot be found for she was never lost.  She simply is, and therefore is all.  She is in everything and everyone.  To find her within is to find her without, and to know that the two are bound, connected, the same, and eternally now.

We all live as gods and goddesses when we claim our transformative powers.  A mother, turning a child’s tears to smiles with a kiss and a warm cookie.  A boss, turning co-workers into a team.  A hostess, turning an ordinary room into a celebration.  An artist, freeing an image from clay.  A woman, creating a sanctuary out of a house.  Any one of us, smiling at a stranger, spreading light.

Know you are divine.  Know the universe as your Beloved.  Know that you can transform yourself and others.  Move from love, and watch the miracles unfold.

Worthy

There is a reason many of us are unable to see how much we are loved, how much the universe supports us, how we are surrounded by beauty.  It is because we don’t think we deserve that much love, that much wonder.  How could we?  We are given every breath we take, we are given the freshness of a new morning, the taste of water, the stability of the earth beneath us.  Why should all this love be ours, what could we ever do to deserve it, and what could we ever give back?

And so we think it isn’t real, or isn’t good enough, or we rush off into a million distractions without appreciating the gift of the moment.  The truth is always with you.  The universe needs you as much as you need it.  You could not exist without sunlight, wind, water, earth; they could not exist without you.  You are precious.  You are irreplaceable.  You are part of the mystery, the dance, the magic.

You do not need to do anything to prove yourself worthy–you already are.  There is nothing you need to do or be.  Notice the love around you, appreciate the gifts you are given and give thanks for the beauty without and within.  Or don’t–they will still be there; truth will not change.  We give because it opens our hearts to more joy, we appreciate the world because it creates more joy and beauty.

This is who you are:  Loved.  Precious.  Infinite.  The more you let yourself relax into that knowledge, the more peace you will find.

Let the beauty you are be what you do.

News: Another post featured by Her Future!

“Decide That What You Have Is What You Want” was selected by www.herfuture.com as one of this week’s Blogs We Dig!  Read all of the featured blogs here.  Thanks, Her Future!

See What You Want To See

It was windy earlier.  White rose and oleander petals are floating in the pool.  Birds are singing to the day, welcoming the promise of rain.  Behind their song, I hear a voice saying see what you want to see.  If you would find beauty, look for it.  If you would find love, open to it.  There is so much to love in the world–is that why we push it away?  Do we fear there is too much and it will overwhelm us?  It won’t.  Our hearts are great enough, if only we will trust them.

What do I love this morning?  White birds flying low across dark mountains.  A hummingbird flying close enough that I can hear its wings beating.  The half-light of a cloudy day.

It was windy earlier.  It will rain later.  But just now there is nothing but beauty.  The beauty was there before; it will be there later.  All we need do is decide to see it.

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