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Archive for the ‘Present’ Category

Life is meant to be fun! We are here to enjoy the sensual world where we can see, touch, taste, hear, and smell all that is around us. We are here to experience this temporal level of creation with all of our senses and revel in them fully.

There is so much magic to partake of here, but so often, we keep ourselves from it. We worry and stress, and miss the beauty of being a human being. with fear. We avoid the joy that is waiting for us to hold, because we have forgotten how to have fun.

We might see a couple deeply in love and turn away, feeling separate from them and so serious, but this couple is showing us that bliss is possible for us too. This is a sign from the universe, calling you to have this possibility in your life. You see, life sends us signs like this all the time, and all we have to do is follow them.

So follow all the joyous opportunities that are waiting for you, and surround yourself with people who have meaningful fun. These people are showing you how to create heaven here on earth.

Real fun is in the present moment. It is waiting for you to just let go of the past and future. So enjoy this moment right now, because it is the only one that’s real. Embrace true unbridled fun that comes from being spontaneous. We are meant to know the pleasure of peace instead of the rat race of the ego. We are meant to enjoy life without ever wondering if we deserve it.

You deserve every rich experience that your heart desires. You deserve to create the life of your dreams! Joy creates this kind of life, but it must start from within. You must feel the bliss inside you before you can manifest it outside. So feel the deep joy that is already in you, and watch it ignite the world!

Joy is contagious. I recently went to a group meditation that I thought would be very serious and quiet. But slowly, everyone began to pick up on the joy of our meditation guide. Soon, waves of laughter inundated the room and became a chorus so beautiful – so pure and all-releasing, that it created the most profound reverie. Oh what a lightness we felt! We were like children again, and for the rest of the day I walked around elevated with joy.

That laughter was one of the most beautiful sounds that I have ever heard, and every time that I laugh freely now, I remember it. Now, it is obvious to me that laughter will change our world because it is the energy of love. It will help us to build our New Golden Age.

You are meant to fully enjoy your life and to savor the beautiful parts of your unique experience. You will not walk this way again, so enjoy the journey that you are on. Yet, don’t take it all too seriously. This is something that the spiritual path often reminds us of. We can be treading along so seriously in all of our seeking, and the wisdom that comes back might be something like, “Go to that party!” And that is the point. The magical celebrations of life are part of why we are here. We are meant to flourish in fun, together. We deserve all of the joy that is waiting for us to claim and revel in beneath the stars.

 

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How quickly we try to name that which is unnamable. How swiftly we define deep beauty that was never meant to be contained. There is so much magic that we fail to notice because we have categorized it as commonplace. Even the human personality is confining to the soul.

Naming anything limits it. When we name something, we box it in and call it familiar. We don’t see all that is so spectacular and what is really there.

Humankind was given the ability to name everything, but so often we use this gift to own rather than to nurture. The reverence and responsibility that were supposed to go hand in hand with naming have been forgotten along the way. Even the naturalists who championed nature became a part of conquest. Their scientific names took over, forsaking the beauty and mystery of the natural world.

Our dear friend and author James Barrett recently gave me a copy of Adyashanti’s “Falling into Grace,” and I love what it says about naming the animals around us. Adyashanti writes, “as soon as we name {a bird}, we think we know what it is. We see “bird,” and we almost discount it.” He explains that we don’t see the magic of this magnificent being taking flight across the sky. In missing this magic, we cheat ourselves out of exquisite experiences all around. We think that we already know, but we haven’t even begun to look.

Naming anything creates separation. As Shakespeare’s Juliet declared: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet was referring to the name of her family’s enemy, and so often in life, we give far too much credence to names of separation. Let us instead look at the bigger picture, and at each being who, whether they know it or not, already embodies spiritual love.

This is why it’s so incredibly difficult to name a baby. How can we define someone who has come directly from the heavens and become our very universe? You yourself are so spectacular, and so much more than how you’ve ever been defined.

Right now, think of yourself without a name. Close your eyes and sense how immense you really are, far beyond anything you’ve ever been taught. Feel how far you truly extend beyond your body. Indeed, you have no limits. You are not separate from anything or anyone, but are intrinsically connected to all. You are an essential part of us.

Open wide to the magic of you, and to the world all around us. Try to look at everyone and everything that you encounter during the day without names. Rediscover our world and ourselves, and see the divine mystery that lives in all things.

You see, humanity is moving away from the left brain that categorizes experience. We are growing towards simply being in the present moment where we remember that we are love. This love is so immense and integral to the soul, and just like you, it is far too infinite to have a name.

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I want to seize this golden opportunity called life! I want to be completely awake for all that this human experience offers. I know that I chose to be here, and I want to savor every rich moment out loud!

Let us be completely present for life. Let us break through the limits of what’s expected and go for our dreams.

What do you want to do? What do you want to see, and who with? Seize these answers so that your soul has no regrets – so that at the end of your life, you will have done what you came here to do.

What is holding you back? What is your first, immediate response to this question, and can you break free from it? A lot of  times we don’t allow ourselves some of the most basic joys and freedoms. Dare to ask for them! Because you deserve every fulfilling experience there is to know.

These hours are your birthright! Seize them and take your rightful place in the dance of life. Be bold and engage the dazzling moment! Love your life and rediscover its thrill.

See that fun is an essential part of the creative process – of creating your life with utter joy! And believe in yourself as you do what you’ve longed to do.

As my friend Donna says, when we try something daring and new, the universe celebrates along with us. Remember most of all that it’s never too late to seize your life! Appreciate this precious opportunity at this very moment. Enjoy the blooming rose of right now instead of worrying over details that will mean nothing in a year.

So often, we strive to surround ourselves with safety and rationalize that this as the ultimate happiness, but there is so much more out there. We grow immensely when we reach for new experiences instead of suffering through the familiar. We give ourselves the chance to shine!

One illuminating blog, The Hawk’s View, addresses the conundrum of how comfort can seem like paradise, but is really an illusion. The Hawk writes, “Deep within my Soul I am aware that it is fear of the unknown that makes me see this is Eden.” He tells us that the answers we truly seek are only to be found through risk and adventure. When we remove our fears, we are free to grow and to thrive. In The Hawk’s words, we “journey from a false paradise to spiritual enlightenment.”

Embracing change allows us to grow through new adventures. And I have found that when my life gets shaken up, a profound breakthrough surfaces. My soul is freeing itself from limits, and I am offered a chance to thrive at a new, higher level. I feel the thrill of life again instead of being asleep.

Now, I realize that I have the power to re-ignite my life. No one can rescue me the way that I can empower myself. Even God cannot act for us; we must do the physical acting ourselves.

And I leave you with some strong incentive from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

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Living spiritually is all about letting go, but what a challenge it can be! We often hold on to our experiences, and this blocks the spiritual flow of life. These blockages create unhealthiness. They keep us from living fully, but we have the power to let them go.

I have found that when I act separately from the universe by controlling, expecting, and even wanting things, I experience frustration and struggle. When I plan too much, I lose the spontaneity that makes life work.

As writer Guy Finley states, “Anything you have to control controls you” taking away your natural freedom. Control creates a false sense of security that doesn’t satisfy the soul. And it actually wears you down. As teacher Christine Day says, “The effort and energy used to hold on are exhausting you.”

Letting go is the answer. But how do we do this? We have to feel what we’ve been holding on to and then let it go from our beings. We release it and leave it behind.

Instead of creating stress in the future, we can choose to honor ourselves. We can work with the universe instead of fighting it.

I have noticed that when I simply experience life without holding on so tightly, everything seems to work out effortlessly. This became obvious to me as a new mother who couldn’t do it all. I found that it was impossible to plan the day, but if I let go, everything fell into place. I found that when I stopped having expectations, things became more spectacular than I imagined.

It’s ironic that we have more control over fulfilling lives when we let go of control. And when we let go of the weight of the past and future – with all their endless stories and definitions – we free ourselves immensely. Letting go of past wounds and emotions can be very difficult, but it affords immense healing. Forgiveness is the key, and it helps us to remove blame. It gives us clarity for our own sake. Forgiveness enables us to let go of the need to be right even if we were very wronged. It releases our hold on others and allows us to fully accept everyone, exactly as we are.

I have noticed that the beauty in people becomes obvious when we let them go. By letting everything go, we rediscover our trust in the universe and in our deepest spiritual selves. Just thinking about this prompts me to ask, “Am I willing to let go at any moment of all that I’m clinging to?” I have so much to let go of, and when I catch myself feeling tense, I try to remember how it was to be a child running freely outside, laughing, playing and interacting with other children, without a single expectation or obligation. I try to become undefined once again and open to the present moment, where the magic of life resides.

Letting go is a vital part of the creative process. So often we hold onto what we create because it doesn’t feel completely finished or “perfect,” and so we continue to trap it in our minds.  When we are ready to give our work to the world, we must detach from it so that it can be received by others. This is a similar concept to giving one’s dreams and problems up to God, for how can God help us with something if we are still holding onto it?

Last night, I had a dream about letting go. I dreamt that I gathered people around a small and deep swimming pool that was half-filled with water. I stood with my back to the pool and took a long fall backwards into the depths as my strongest voice asserted “Let Go!” The observers applauded and I felt truly liberated. I want to carry this symbol of letting go with me walking forward into life.

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Listen

We all need to be heard, but how many of us are really listening? I am trying to work on my own listening skills, and I’m realizing just how challenging this is.

When I am talking with someone about their life, I find myself wanting to relate to their issues and show that I understand – I want to ease their struggles and even fix their problems, but these are my desires, not theirs. When I jump in to share a similar story or to offer advice, I’m not really helping another. I am speculating about things that only they can solve.

What I think this person needs most is to be heard and valued within the safety of compassion. They certainly don’t need words or interjections. You see, we can communicate so much without saying a thing.

A healthy conversation seems to strike that harmonious balance between giving voice to our authentic selves while truly hearing what others have to say. Listening and being heard then become a kind of mindful exchange. I have been so blessed with friendships that are loving and therapeutic, and what works so well is that we speak from the heart with gentle offerings, not impositions. We give empathy and encouragement, and we are truly listening to each other.

I love the way my dear friend Rosary says that we are holding the space to be present with another. Let us cherish the time with our loved ones by simply listening to the moment rather than letting it slip away amidst distraction. September 11th is such a poignant reminder of this.

But, what about listening that involves negativity? I think it is vital to be discerning about the energy we give and receive, and to strive for the highest exchange possible. If it doesn’t feel elevating, don’t be a co-creator of it (note to self!).

And it’s so important to be aware of ego competition when talking with others, something Garth Stein points out beautifully in his endearing book The Art of Racing in the Rain. He writes from the perspective of a beloved dog who sees that humans continually interrupt one another. We often deflect what others are saying and we steal each other’s stories. Stein reminds us of the importance of being silent so that another can fully express themselves. We are there for them rather than thinking about how our own problems relate. It’s about being secure in knowing that our issues are as important, instead of trying to prove it.

With listening comes the sacred quality of silence, something that I truly crave. We are so crazed in this modern world with our noisy busy-ness, talking endlessly as we move from one stimulus to another. We are swimming in a sea of constant interruption. I want to be more still, and in that stillness, to hear the spiritual world. I want to receive the present moment and pay attention to what God is trying to tell me.

So often, life-changing messages are delivered by the people we encounter, if only we make ourselves open to them. Let us quiet the chatter of our minds so that we can listen to these messages with our hearts rather than our heads. Let us also listen to ourselves by putting the practice of meditation into our lives. We can find peace within this hectic society by stopping to hear our own compassionate voices. This is how we receive the wisdom of our ancient souls.

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Laugh

Blah blah blah, life blah blah, compassion blah grow… blah blah blah.

How freeing it is to poke fun at my search for meaning! How light it feels to laugh at oneself, at life, and at all the petty seriousness. There is a magic to humor that transforms everything – that liberates the mind and bonds us to one another. Struggle becomes lightness and obstacles melt away. What we think is insurmountable becomes but a little hill to climb; what we feel is so important becomes nothing at all.

Humor is the grand equalizer. It has the power to dissolve fear and judgment and to break down barriers. It creates  a universal experience that reminds us that we are all in this same boat.

Humor can unite us in the most positive ways. It takes the seriousness and criticism out of relationships. We can be struggling endlessly, and suddenly overcome our frustration in a single moment through laughter. To me, this laughter says, “Isn’t this funny – this thing that we call life?” Laughter is a breakthrough, a release, and a gift from God.

Humor is so often born out of tragedy, allowing us to cope and to mend. It holds tremendous power to heal. Laughter can literally cure our bodies and is instantly restorative. We are then reminded to enjoy life and to live our moments more fully.

Humor celebrates the spontaneity of presence and is always here for us to enjoy. When the day bogs us down, or when we find ourselves stuck with a problem, we can try to see the humor and notice how the situation becomes lightened. We see how to not take our worries so seriously, but to laugh at them instead. Humor helps us to handle our endless mistakes and our humanity. When we make ourselves open to its possibility and its perspective, everything becomes elevated.

Of course, with this gift comes responsibility, and it goes without saying that humor isn’t meant to exclude or make fun at another’s expense. It is obvious when this happens – when things just don’t sit well or feel right, and another person or group is made separate. We know in our hearts that we must strive to use humor with reverence, and to be compassionate to others, even when we disagree with them.

I think of the Dalai Lama smiling, and I see his beautiful use of humor to communicate peace, compassion, and love. I see how children are the greatest messengers of laughter of all. When I hear my little boys laugh with all of their beings, it brings a kind of therapy to the whole house that is uplifting and contagious. I think about how children arrive here so recently from God’s presence, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that humor abounds in heaven.

It seems to me that laughter aligns us with the divine. I think it is a gateway to love – that transcendent fabric of the universe. And I believe it can deliver us to a higher, more golden existence.

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Present

I am finally remembering how to be present. Like all of us, presence came naturally to me as a child. But eventually, the voices of past and future wound their way into my head – sometime around middle school. These voices gradually took over my ship, and after that, presence became more rare.

That is, until recently. Last week, I remembered presence in its absolute state. And I felt how euphoric it is.

We hear all the time that it’s important to be present. But it can remain an abstract concept. It became clear to me by experiencing its opposite.

I had been learning about the brain from Dr. Jill Taylor’s incredible book My Stroke of Insight. I began to really recognize my left mind. I started becoming hyper aware of the negative and positive loops it was creating – the evaluations of worry and doubt, and reassurance. As I became conscious of this, I got a bit depressed. It was as though the chatter knew that it was being noticed and began posing for the camera. It took over, and I felt stuck.

But then I remembered what Dr. Taylor had written: “It is liberating to know that I have the ability to choose a peaceful and loving mind (my right mind), whatever my physical or mental circumstances, by deciding to step to the right and bring my thoughts back to the present moment.” Little by little, it became obvious to me that I could ignore my left brain by focusing my energy on it’s opposite – the right brain. I could simply be present with joy in the moment, and it would be waiting here for me to choose at any time. I knew that I could decide to love my life right now, regardless of anything else around me. I had the ability to stop spinning stories and simply be, and I could always give myself this gift.

So there I was, feeling very isolated in my own brain, and I decided to choose that moment. I decided right then and there that, instead of tackling all the work on my plate that morning, I was going to (for the first time) practice yoga outside in the garden! I placed the yoga mat down on the pebble path (surprisingly comfortable) and began stretching and breathing. I felt peaceful almost immediately, and downright giddy just by having made this choice. I saw the crescent moon in the silvery sky and gazed at the vibrant green trees. I felt the early summer breeze and smelled the honey scent of pink phlox growing right next to me. I saw the golden sunlight through the leaves and heard the soft songs of birds. I experienced tranquility and the humming energy of all life.

I felt this beauteous scene with my whole being so that I was unified with it. I knew the secret of the universe within my soul, without the articulation of reason. There was no more important moment in my entire life than now. This blissful energy carried me for the rest of the day, and I feel it still.

And now I know that the purest joy I can give myself is the present moment. I think it’s about recognizing the deep connection we have to everything, instead of the conditioned things we tend to focus on in the “real world.” It’s about taking time instead of rushing. I can choose to watch the sun rise with my morning tea, create something in my work that harnesses the artists’ zone, and get lost in play with my children. I can give myself the moment in the car while driving somewhere (which is so symbolic of the journey), exchange the magic of presence with other people, and cherish the love right now with loved ones who remind me of this all the time.

I am finding that the bliss of presence is contagious to other moments – that it builds as I seek out more and more of them. I think presence is the mindfulness and magic behind ceremony and parties. It is the sacred in all of our experiences.

If you haven’t already today, give yourself the gift of being in the moment, right now. Do something magical just for you, and for no one else. Choose joy, and feel the spiritual breath of yourself and of all life. This feeling is always here.

Presence is the deep peace and euphoria that comes naturally to our souls. It is the opposite of accomplishing something, and yet it is the greatest accomplishment you will ever know. It is fully living life by simply being here, right now.

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