Paradox

Paradox is defined as “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth” (dictionary.com).

I was taught from a very young age that it is important to live in such a way that I gain God’s approval and love. I was also taught that I am a child of God and that God is Love and loves unconditionally.  If the latter is true, why do I have to “gain God’s love?”  God needs me to be a certain way before loving me? That is absurd!

So, which is it? Am I loved because I exist or do I have to earn it? It can’t be both, right?

Years ago I read a quote (and must apologize because I do not recall the source):

The motivating force of the universe is love.

All that exists emanates from Divine Love, that which is perfect, unconditional, indefinable, eternal and all-encompassing.

In the ancient Judeo-Christian writings, Moses meets God in the burning bush and asks “Who are you?”  The answer, to my understanding, is unpronounceable in Hebrew and is considered too sacred to be spoken aloud anyway. In English bibles it is spelled “Yahweh” and sometimes “Jehovah.”  The closest we come to its meaning is “I Am That I am.”

Native American teachers have said that their languages have similar words that do not translate well into English. The closest meaning to their name for God is “All That Is.”

If what we call “God” is All That Is, the Great I am, and I exist, then I am intrinsically one with that which we call “God.” If God is love, I am love.

Sit with this. Feel it rather than over-thinking it. Once you recognize who you really are, there is nothing to prove or earn. When you remember the essence of your True Self, your life will unfold from that, from the Source of Love that you are. It isn’t about living in a way that gains God’s approval. It is about living in a way that allows Divine Love to manifest through you.

Perhaps it is time to stop trying so hard to be what you already are.

This is my blessing for you today:

You are eternally and unconditionally loved.

You are love manifested in the world.

You are love in form.

 

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Contentment

What is the difference between contentment and happiness?

It is rather simple:  happiness is a response to circumstances outside myself and contentment is a growing or enduring sense of wellbeing and joy within.

I experience happiness when I receive a call from a friend I haven’t spoken with in years or when one of my children or grandchildren gives me a hug or makes me laugh.

I have been growing in contentment for 45 years.  Contentment is that state of being I find in the very core of my being.  Life can be raging all around me but when I stop for just a moment and turn my awareness within I find peace and tranquility.

Where does it come from?  I believe it simply is; it is my natural state of being. The process of “finding” it is really trusting that it is my true nature, learning to experience it, and living from that inner peace rather than letting life bounce me off the walls.

Let Life Be Easier

On the opening page of his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck says:

Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

What are the illusions that have given birth to your expectations of yourself, others and life itself? Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that “someday” everything will be perfect? Are you always waiting and hoping for what lies out in the future somewhere?

A young sage once said to me as we walked through a farmers’ market on a crisp sunny morning,

This, this is the essence of life: Do what you love doing. Do it with people you love. And let it be easy.

Sitting on a quiet beach on the Emerald Coast of the Florida panhandle, I watched the gulf waters. The water was so still it looked more like a lake. A few weeks earlier it had raged, sending huge waves crashing across the highway into the small bay behind me. In that moment I realized that water is consistently true to itself whether it is quietly lapping at the shore or ripping into that shore so deeply that it is forever changed. I could see that because water is consistently true to its own nature,  it is able to shape the continents and I was looking at a different Florida coastline.

Life is like that. It is consistently true to itself, ever-changing, relentlessly being what it is. Life ebbs and flows. At times so quiet and peaceful I want this moment to last forever. Other times it rips and tears at the fabric of my being. It dares me to resist its flow, to deny its very nature and, in the process, to deny my own and be taken down and devastated by its storms.

M. Scott Peck is right. The only way to embrace the very nature of life is to accept the reality of its true nature. When I surrender my illusions, I set myself free to ride the waves. World class surfers travel the globe, following storms and ocean surges, looking for the fiercest waves in order to ride them! I want to ride the waves of life with that kind of confidence and openness of mind and heart. Like my young sage, I want to let life be easy.

So when life is a challenge, I sit down and breathe. I breathe slowly and quietly until I remember that this is the nature of life. I am not being punished or tested. Life is what it is. I meditate and pray for guidance. I wait for the inner voice of wisdom. The challenges don’t disappear but they look different to me then. I know that, when this storm passes, the waters of my life will be calm again while I rest and restore my energy.

It won’t be the last storm so I rest in knowing that I am more adept at embracing all of life’s experiences. I seek out the quiet within when everything around me is raging. My own true nature carries me as I flow with life rather than fighting it, even when it hurts.

This moment is enough for me no matter what it contains. Blessings can be as overwhelming as challenges. Looking to some future that may never come is not the answer. This moment is all I have. Whatever this moment contains, I choose to be present in it because I can let this one moment be easy.

Just for a moment

Peace, who doesn’t seek that for themselves?   Where and how do we even begin? First of all, remind yourself that trying to change everything at once never works. I want to suggest something simple and quick that can begin improving the quality of your life almost immediately. Here we go.

 

Just for a moment, stop and take a slow inhale. Feel your rib cage and abdomen open up to that inhale.

Let the exhale release just as slowly and feel your body relax inward.

Now, do this 5 times with your eyes closed and simply feel what your body is doing.

When you open your eyes, notice how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.

 

That took less than 5 minutes. What if you did 3-5 breaths before you start your car?  Or right after you brush your teeth? What if you did this several times a day and before you fall asleep at night?

Seems like an easy place to begin.

Balance

Here is my first blog entry from September, 2014. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of these while I am preparing for certification as a Chopra Center Educator. Enjoy my journey and may it inspire you on your own!

I was the mother of two young children when I was in my late 20’s. The importance of maintaining personal balance (physical, mental, emotional) quickly became apparent to me. My spouse was military and we were living in Goose Bay, Labrador. It was 1972 so information and resources were scarce in remote places.

Without family nearby or even easily accessible by phone, my participation in bible studies and prayer groups led me to women with more life experience. Their friendship and guidance helped me begin to discover the things that would bring me into a healthier, more balanced way of life.

Many years later I discovered hatha yoga, which surprisingly met a spiritual need that seemed to have no answer. I had read about and tried to meditate but was not able to achieve the deep, lasting results others reported. In yoga I learned that body chemistry, especially imbalances, keep the mind and emotions from settling down and this can make meditation frustrating and unfruitful.

The very essence of hatha yoga is balance. “Yoga” is similar in meaning to the word “yoke.” Draft animals often work in pairs and come into harmony and balance through the use of a yoke. When they are equally yoked, they can move as one and achieve the work set before them.  In yoga we seek that balance and harmony of body, mind, and emotions that allows us to be one with ourselves and others.

Hatha yoga defines this more specifically. “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon.”  These represent the yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) aspects of life. In hatha yoga, the physical practice (asanas or postures), combined with breathwork (pranayama) and mindfulness, bring the practioner into personal balance and harmony. When I am in harmony with myself, it is more likely that I will be in harmony with others.

For me, one of the early gifts of my practice was the quietness that began to emerge in my thoughts and feelings. I found that I could actually sit in stillness, without restlessness or circular thinking. After 15 years of searching, something was working for me!

Desires + Intentions = ?

Hey there, I know it has been awhile. Playing with grandchildren transcends a lot and is way fun!!

This morning I’ve been thinking about manifesting my dreams. Yes, even at the tender age of 72 1/2 I am still dreaming! Here’s what I’ve had on my mind:

 

When heartfelt desires

create clear intentions,

the fulfillment of my visions and dreams

can manifest well beyond what

I can envision and dream…

when I surrender the details

to the Divine.

 

🕊💫💖