The Journey Home

It’s all true.

Everything the lovers and dreamers said about following your heart, your north star, your bliss–it’s all true.  Every bit of it.  I’ve read all the books encouraging it; I’ve hoped and dreamed thIMG_1608at it was true; I was willing to believe it.  I just hadn’t seen it.  Until now.  There really is magic and mystery in following the path your soul longs to take.  Friends do appear to help you; the impossible becomes possible simply to speed your journey.  I have no idea how it works, but I am so very grateful that it does.

And yet, that is not quite true.  We all know that there is something magical and transformative about love.  And so why should it be any different when we fall in love with our path?  When you fall in love with where you are and what you are doing, all manner of things become possible.  You are transformed, and your life along with you.  So of course the lovers and dreamers were right all along.  Fall in love with your life, and miracles will surround you.

It took me a long time to find my path and fall in love with it.  If you are still seeking yours, I would say only this:  don’t give up.  Your journey is leading you to just where you need to go.  You may not realize it–I certainly didn’t, not for a very long time–but you are already on the road you are meant to take.  Every part of your life is part of the adventure.  Every part of it is, somehow, bringing you home.

The place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.

Hafiz

Awakening

These pages are, as Emily Dickinson once said, my “letters to the world.”  But although Emily felt that her letters were to a world that “never wrote to me,” I feel instead that the world is constantly writing to me, with every flower that blooms, every breeze that touches my face, every moonrise and sunset.  With so many letters written across each moment, I want only to write back.  To answer in some way the messages of Love that surround me.

Do I always see the world this way?  Of course not.  My true self, or buddha-nature (“buddha” means “awakened one”), is often sleeping and forgetful.  I am often caught up in fear or desire, asleep to the beauty and abundance that surround me.  But each day, I try to remember.  Each day, I strive to wake up, even if only for a moment.

There is an old saying about enlightenment.  Reaching enlightenment is like throwing a ball into the air, over and over again.  It goes up; it comes down.  But one day, when you toss the ball into the air, it stays there.  The secret is only this:  keep tossing.  Each moment you wake up is a moment transformed.

Wishing you wakefulness,

Jennifer

Endless Love

Love is a gift.  Not a promise.

The only promise is this:  that love will never end.  It may change forms.  It may not appear in the way you expect.  It may surprise you, challenge you, change you.  But it will not end.  All it asks is that you say yes to the gift, without clinging to it.  Clinging to it denies what it is–ceaseless, bottomless, endless–and kills what it might become.

Be grateful for all of the love in your life, whether it comes from a cherished partner, a new friend, or the breeze of a summer day.  The more love you are willing to accept into your heart, the more love will appear.  Cherish whatever form love takes, and whatever ways it grows and changes.  Surrender to the love you already have, and you will never find yourself without it.

We cannot capture time, cannot stop the world.  Savor what is here and now.  Open your heart to what is before you and within you.  Learn to listen and to wait.

Nothing belongs to you.  Why would you want to own anything?  You would only become a slave, rather than a lover.

Loving Now

Would you be happy?  Then love where you are now.  Not later.  Not yesterday.  Not if only something was different.  Now, as it is, in all its imperfect perfection.

Wherever you are, however you feel, there is something to love.  And when you focus on that, rather than on what you think is wrong, you allow your awareness of love and beauty to grow.

When we focus on the love and beauty that is in front of us, we stop sending our energy into the past or future.  We do our part and let the Universe do the rest.  We accept the abundance.  We get out of the way.

The future is not under our control.  But in this moment, we have a choice.  We can appreciate what is, or we can push it away.  What will you choose?

Trust love.  Know that all you have is all you need, and that if what you want does not appear, it is because something better will.  The shadows of the past and future are not real, but this moment is.  This moment is sacred.  Choose to fill it with love.

From Darkness Into Light

There is nothing you cannot love.  There is nothing that does not already love you.

Would you transform darkness into light?  Then find the beauty that already exists around you and within you.  Let your inner wisdom guide you; tap into your spirit, your love and your strength.  That is your true compass, not the shadows you see in the night.

Dare to feel what hurts and what heals.  Don’t cling to life or push it away.   Love what is in you to love.  Do what is before you to do.  Be who it is in you to be.

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.


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.

Beauty & The Beast

Once upon a time, a woman so kind, so pure, so lovely that her very name was Beauty was taken prisoner by a hideous Beast.  Through time, Beauty grew to love the Beast, and her love transformed him into a prince.

Like all true stories, the tale of Beauty and the Beast may be understood various ways.  The first, the most common reading, is that the love of a good woman can turn even a beast into a prince.  This is the secret gift of love–that its presence awakens all of us, brings us from darkness into light.  When we know we are loved, we know we are free to be our true selves, our most authentic, most wise, most lovable selves.  When we feel the touch of love, we are transformed.

Another reading of the story is that the Beast represents a part of Beauty herself, the unknown and denied animal nature within, the subconscious, the primal.  To be fully whole and free, Beauty must learn to accept this part of herself, her darkness as well as her light, as we all must.  Only by accepting and loving the darker parts of herself can Beauty come into her true power and grace.

But I see an ever greater lesson hidden within this story.  As I see it, the Beast represents the whole world, the whole universe.

At the beginning of the tale, Beauty finds herself in a strange world governed, she thinks, by a monster.  Everyone else–her family, the townspeople–tells her that the Beast is a monster and that she is not safe with him.  When she looks at him, she sees what she expects to see, what everyone has told her to see–a Beast.  And yet, the Beast is kind to her.  Gentle.  He gives her everything she could ever wish for, every comfort, every pleasure.  Even, when she asks for it, her freedom.  The reality of the Beast is far from Beauty’s expectation, far from the claims of the outside world.

When Beauty finally sees with her own eyes and heart the reality of the Beast’s love, she sees the truth that was there all along–that the Beast is a handsome prince, and that she is his beloved.

Life is much like this.  We come into the world terrified, and we learn from our family and friends that the world is a cruel place full of suffering.  We are afraid, we think ourselves alone.  And yet, if we only open our eyes and our hearts, what do we see?  We see trees, oceans, flowers–beauty spread across the earth.  We feel the warmth of the sun and feel the arms of our loved ones.  We hear the birds sing and children laughing.  If we look deeper, trust in love rather than in fear, we see there is no end to the beauty and the love that surround us.  We see that even freedom is ours, if we choose it, for the ultimate freedom, the freedom to be our true and authentic selves, has never been denied us.  We see the beauty of the world, and we know ourselves beloved, just as Beauty did.

This is the secret:  We are Beauty.  We are Beloved.  But we can only see what we are.  We must find the beauty within before we can find it without.

Wabi Sabi

Nothing is perfect.  Nothing is finished.  Nothing is permanent.  But everything is part of Love.

The Japanese art and philosophy of Wabi Sabi teaches us to embrace and celebrate the imperfect, the unfinished, the impermanent.  To notice that it is the crack in the vase that gives it character and beauty; that lets in the light.  We suffer when we deny this, when we try to make things fixed, permanent, perfect.  Those of us who reach for perfection, who want to capture time and hold it motionless, miss the glory of change, the gift of evolution.  The magic that lies in the mystery of transformation.

There is no reason to fear change, no reason to force motionlessness on a dancing world.  If you would be happy, learn to appreciate what is unique, what is changing, what is still left undone.  Instead of trying to capture the world, learn to dance with it.

It is the hidden beauty that connects us most powerfully to what is true and divine.  For who can ever know what is perfect and what is a flaw?  A closer look often reveals that a flaw is actually an object’s–a person’s–greatest strength and beauty.  What we call a flaw is merely an invitation to look deeper.

Can you be sure that what you see, hear and feel is a flaw, and not the very essence of beauty?

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.

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