One thing begets another. Fear begets fear. Love begets love. Hate begets hate. Hope begets hope. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process of begetting fear that we forget we have the power to beget hope. Then something will happen and we will be able to find our way back to being hopeful and being able to give hope to others. This is the lesson behind a story I read in a book by R. Wayne Willis called Hope Notes.
"There's an old Egyptian story about a little boy named Miobi who came to a village where the people were very strange Read More
For the last several weeks, our Wednesday night group has been listening to a five-hour workshop by Pema Chodrom about releasing fear and living with courage and compassion. In it, she has talked about how Bodhisattva training encourages us to give up our separateness and act upon our deep connections with others. Over the course of these conversations, we have focused on how similar we are to each other. Yes, we have things about us that are unique, but we have far more in common with each other then we often times realize. As we practice being compassionate, we begin the process of releasing our resentments and cravings, and opening our minds to new relationships, courage, and compassion for others. Chödrön demonstrates ways to practice the four limitless qualities of loving — kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Last week, we did a meditational practice where we began by breathing in relief for suffering for someone we were close to and exhaling peace and healing in their lives. We could have actually started with ourselves. However, in her workshop she began with those we would want to pray for, then to more neutral parties in our life, and finally with those whom we would resist praying for in our lives. Read More
As many of you know, the theme for March has been about being present and the theme for April is about compassion. This week, I decided to talk about something which blends these two spiritual practices together. Being still is about being present and sometimes being present means that we have to be compassionate with ourselves as well as others.
Those who know me, know that being still is not something I do easily. I am generally always doing something. However, I am intentional about taking time in the morning to meditate, sit, and be still! Read More
Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is our presence. As I shared in this month’s newsletter, Recently, I came across a story about practicing being present in a book by Sandy Boucher, author of Opening the Lotus: A Woman's Guide to Buddhism. She wrote about the practice of being present from a Buddhist perspective. “The word 'practice' covers everything that Buddhists do in their efforts to achieve clear understanding and benefit other beings... Last week I spoke with a Buddhist friend who had just had a baby. ‘How is it caring for a little girl?' I asked. She replied without hesitation, 'It's twenty-four hours a day of practice.' She was being called upon to pay attention to, and to act with compassionate caring toward this tiny human being constantly throughout day and night. And she was attempting to do it, not by rote but, with full presence of mind and spirit. This is Buddhist practice." Read More
About this time last year, I was reminded of a story I had heard once about how the difference between evolving and revolving is an R. When we keep doing or believing the same thing repeatedly, then we are not evolving. It is as if we are trapped in one of those revolving doors, which we often see in department stores. We are just revolving through life and not evolving.
Part of this revolving is our inability to put closure to things in our life. Whether it is putting closure to an old job or an old relationship, if we do not put closure to the feelings and situation, then it follows us with us into the next situation or relationship. Sometimes we need to put closure to some of the beliefs we grew up with in our lives. As we grow and evolve, what we believe also changes. These beliefs only have power over us as long as we agree they are true and give them power in our lives. When we realize they no longer need to reside in our minds, we can say to them, “you are no longer true” and put closure to that part of our belief system. Read More
As we move closer to the holiday season, people’s lives tend to become increasingly hectic. We love the holidays because they are a time filled with presents, food, and time with friends and family and for some people even time off from work. However, sometimes this time with family is not always filled with peace. I was reminded of this recently as an associate shared with me how the holidays are her house quickly turn into a time for arguments and sometimes have been so stressful that she has left and come home. We cannot enjoy the peace of the holiday season when we are arguing with each other and pressing each other’s buttons. Read More
As most of you know, I had a near death experience on November 1, 2014 and have spent quite a bit of time the last 10 days processing everything that has happened in my life. I have learned a number of lessons along the way. One of them is about how opening up is an act of service. One of the most significant aspects of my healing has been my active choice to be transparent about what is happening in my life and jumping into the blessings, which this significant change has brought me. The only way for me to grow in my own personal journey was to work and climb to the next level.
This morning was a real test of my willingness to do that. Read More
Recently, a friend shared a song called Secrets with me. It is sung by Mary Lambert. She begins the song by acknowledging some of her secrets, some of what some might call her dark side. The parts of ourselves that we do not always want to like or own. As Lambert says,
“They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
We are all aware of our dark side. We know when we have had dark thoughts, dark actions, or dark behaviors. I can remember in my own life thoughts, actions, and behaviors that I am not proud of. Like Lambert sings, I was taught to hide those secrets inside myself.” Hiding our secrets, our shadows, our dark aspects only strengthens the power of the darkness in our life. Read More
Forgiving others is one thing. Forgiving ourselves is another. It seems as if every day I become mindful of yet another piece of poison, as Don Miguel Ruiz would call them, that I somehow internalized as a child and have been living with for decades. The lies were all a part of my domestication to the planet. As we evolve and grow, we become mindful of those lies which we no longer agree to and which we must replace in our lives.
Removing them from our lives is one part of the process of healing and evolving. The other part is forgiving ourselves for internalizing them in the first place. Most of these lies, we may not have even realized were lies when we first internalized them. We just ate them because we were told they were good for us. Read More
One of the things I have learned through my studies on Toltec wisdom is that the way we see ourselves is not the way other people perceive us. As don Miguel Ruiz teaches, when we write in our minds the story of our lives, we are the main characters, and others are the supporting actors and actresses. In their stories, we are written in as the supporting roles. How they construct our character in their story may or may not be the way we construct or perceive ourselves. Rarely, are we fully aware of how others perceive us. Even if they share their perceptions with us, they are limited by their ability to communicate their perceptions of us.
When people speak to us, it is a reflection of what they are saying as the character they have created in their minds. How we respond to what others have to say about us is about us. It is this self-awareness of how we respond which can become a tool in our own spiritual healing and growth. What others say to us are just lines from their story. They only have the power to affect us to the extent we allow them to do so. Read More
When I first began to think about the word Q very
few things came to my mind. However, one of my readers suggested quiet. Ironically,
I am sitting here unable to speak as my wife and I are both healing our way
through viral laryngitis, which can take 1-3 weeks to run its course. The second
thought that crossed my mind was a line from a poem I recently was blessed to
hear. In this poem, she wrote about the “symphony of silence” which she heard
while sitting in the garden. This made such perfect sense to me as so often
some of my most powerful moments of enlightenment have come during those
moments of silence, those quiet times where I am so in tune with the Spirit. In
the midst of the quiet, we can hear the symphonic wisdom of our Spirit guides,
the Infinite, and the cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Read More
Michael Beckwith once wrote, “The daily headlines describe a global culture that has been cur off from the soul.” One need not look farther then the headlines on any form of news media for stories about violence, whether it is overt, subtle, verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. We manifest violence through our words, actions, and thoughts. Violence is associated with power, either the misuse of the power one has or an attempt to feel powerful in a world where they have felt disempowered. Violence can be individual or structural. We hear about individual violence in stories of wars, abuse, neglect, murders, rapes, bombings, terrorism, etc. Read More
Zoë and I have lived in our home for about 6 years now. While we have slowly made changes to the inside of our home to make it feel more like us, our yard was another story. I have long felt like somebody should have nominated us for Curb Appeal: The Block. We definitely had the worst yard on the block. Now mind you nobody has said anything, but we knew. The original owners had had over planted and neglected the maintenance. We had continued that tradition and now things were dying because they were overcrowded. With neither of us being gardeners, we were not even sure what to do to enhance the curb appeal of our home. Read More
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called No More Poison! Here I wrote about the need for us to refuse to internalize any message from others that is not of love or to present a message to others that is not of love. When we do this, we are eating or serving emotional, mental, and spiritual poison to others.
I have been thinking a lot about the effect of the global poison of fear, which presents itself in so many different ways in our world. One of the ways this poison presents itself amongst our youth is through bullying and hatred. The news has been filled lately with stories of at least ten young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who had ingested so much poison from their peers and their society that they were no longer able to see hope or joy in life. Read More