Appreciation

Appreciation, finely developed, becomes an art form. It is an art form that emerges from a place of Divine Love and Compassion Within. Expressing appreciation allows another person to see and, hopefully, feel your understanding of their effort or experience.

I am thinking about this today because it is almost Memorial Day. For me, Memorial Day fills me with love and gratitude for those who are committed to protecting my country and the freedom that it promises. I am the daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend and former spouse of military personnel. Many of them are or were career military. My appreciation of their desires and sacrifices fills me with a depth of gratitude I find difficult to express. I know their lives because I lived it daily as a family member for the first 49 years of my life.

As a result, when I see a military member, my heart goes out and, if circumstances allow, I quietly approach and express my gratitude for their service even though it never feels as though my words are enough.

I was in an airport last week when I recognized an active duty backpack being carried by a gentleman waiting to board a flight. I lightly touched his arm and, when he turned, I extended my hand and said, “Thank you for your service. Even though I do not always agree with or like the places you are sent, I am always grateful that you go without question and do what you are trained to do. You go where I would not have the courage to go and I know because my father and former spouse were career military.” As he heard my words, his hand gently shaking mine warmed and he thanked me for saying it. Then he stopped and looked more deeply into my eyes and said, “Thank you for your service. You gave every bit as much as they did. And we can’t do it without you.”

Whew! Time stopped. I felt as though I was in one of those movie freeze frames. The full impact of genuine appreciation filled me with such a depth of Oneness with this “stranger” that I felt the presence of the Divine.

So, dear hearts, think about those who serve in the military, law enforcement, and fire department as we approach Memorial Day. Honor those who gave their lives, of course. Also please appreciate those who still do.

Then, day-to-day, pay attention to those who serve in much less obvious ways so that you can become more aware and find ways to express appreciation. It feels absolutely heavenly to be understood and acknowledged! Are you wondering where to begin? Here are a few suggestions: the school or church janitor, the grocery clerk who puts up with lots of fussy people even if you aren’t one, the garbage man. Please remember as well those that you are related to, live or work with, whether you like them or not. Expressing genuine appreciation for the smallest of things can change the course of someone’s day and, perhaps, their life.

I appreciate each of you for taking the time to read this, for those who don’t know me and for those who do. Be blessed and a blessing today. We need one another more than ever. 💫💖

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All Paths Are Sacred

As I approached my 49th birthday, I realized it would mark the beginning of my 50th year. Conscious desires and choices to create a year of healing and growth brought me to a study by Jamie Sams. She is a powerful teacher, a Native American, and she walks in the beauty and wisdom of the Divine. The book is titled The 13 Original Clan Mothers. I recently came across the journal I kept of that year and am re-reading it.

Below is a short excerpt from my journal as I studied the chapter about the second Clan Mother, “Wisdom Keeper:”

Wisdom Keeper – honoring the Truth of all things

All paths are sacred. There is Truth in every journey. Honor that Truth by seeing the similarities. No need to defend personal viewpoints…or to change others. We are all Children of the Earth and we each have visions, dreams, feelings. All of these combined become the needs of humanity.

Earth Mother’s feelings are made up of these combined desires and emotions. Each life form is part of the Whole. Each views Life from her own Sacred Point of View.

I am keenly aware of the challenge to honor all paths. For me, it is no longer about religion or belief systems. It is about personal choices and behavior to one another. I feel confused by self-destructive choices and wonder why it appears that some do not want to heal themselves. I can be accepting in the abstract but am frustrated when it hits close to home.

I am beginning to understand how others mirror those things that I need to heal in myself…or those things I am not loving in myself. I feel myself on the edge, so to speak, of truly seeing the Sacredness of All Paths.

I wrote that in February, 1995. This is May, 2018. You do the math. I now know these truths in and from the depths of my very Soul. We are one. We are all spiritual beings learning to be human, having a human experience. The moment I feel judgmental about another, I am aware of it! Once aware, I can shift the thought, the energy, the feeling. Then I can look at what part of myself I am still not accepting and loving. That part in myself that I still judge. Then the healing begins, my heart opens to the “other,” and the awareness of our Oneness returns.

I am still on this journey of becoming Divinely Human😍 Blessings 💫💖🙏🏻

Peace Is SO Worth It

The longer I live and practice meditation the more convinced I am that it is the most sure path to Divine Love, Peace, and those are the essence of Enlightenment.

Most of you are familiar with this outer from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken:”

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by.

And that road has made all the difference.

The practice (remember that practicing is doing something faithfully and consistently until it becomes natural to you) of meditation is one of the roads less traveled. It requires a change in one’s daily routine as well as the insight and willingness to retrain the mind. I find thinking in terms of being consistent, rather than telling myself to “get it right,” allows my Soul to invite me to sit in silence regularly.  As my practice becomes more consistent, the benefits flow more regularly and clearly,

For example, meditation supports my spiritual path of non-judgement. It encourages my heart and mind to see that others are like me: spiritual beings figuring out how to be human. The reading I am drawn to more and more guides me into higher understanding of truths I have known for decades. I also encounter beautiful thoughts and phrases that carry me through the challenges of human life.

One of the core teachings concerning creating a successful life is to become aware of where I put my attention in any given situation. As a result, I became aware that, in the past, I used to take the role of a victim when I was hurting. If only that other person had taken better care of me, been kinder, etc. My years of Hatha yoga and meditation helped me be more honest about my responsibility in almost every situation.

This morning I read a verse in the Dhammapada that made my heart open. It is a verse intended to bring awareness to what I can be doing, not an invitation to turn judgement inward….assessment rather than judgement is the key. I realized that focusing more deeply on the meditation side of yoga has internalized a key truth and that I am beginning to truly live it!

Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do. (Verse 50)

The result? PEACE of mind and body as well as the deepest awareness of Divine Love that I have ever known. 🙏🏻📿

Oh yes, dear hearts, that PEACE that passeth understanding is SO worth every ounce of effort, every moment I have taken a seat to be still. Please don’t give up. You deserve to live in peace. 💫💖

Train Rather Than Control

Gautama the Buddha, in the opening of his work titled The Dhammapada, states

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.

In this work, the Buddha sets forth a path to joy in simple, succinct verses. So many of our challenges in this human experience stem from how we think about experiences and people. The conditioned mind can make it difficult to discern and embrace the Truth of Who We Are.

In the section of The Dhammapada titled “Thought,” the Buddha says

Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it wants and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness. The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness. (Translated by Eknath Easwaran)

As you probably know, trying to control the mind, the thoughts is fruitless. What works is learning to train the mind to dwell on those things that lift the heart…in the present moment. Everything before now is gone, the past is a memory. Everything to come is unknown. This moment is known. Please seek your well-being moment by moment, breath by breath, thought by thought.

The most powerful tool for training the mind into the moment, and eventually into thought-less moments, is meditation. Simple, clear, gentle times of meditation that lead you into the stillness within where your Soul awaits your awareness.

Blessings dear hearts. AUM SHANTI

 

The Wisdom of A Child

My darling granddaughter is four years old. She is bright and funny and astoundingly strong-willed.  Around the age of three, she came to my home for a play date. I asked her to start picking up so that we could get her home on time. She silently continued playing as though I did not exist. I then quietly asked her to look at me so that I knew she was listening and she calmly kept playing – again as though I did not exist. I stood there and silently asked my Soul for wisdom. This is what came to mind so I said it lovingly and quietly:

Sweetheart, I have no desire to struggle with you so I am going to finish cleaning up the kitchen before I take you home.

The silence continued from the other room. About five minutes later I peeked into the room and she was putting everything away with great care. We straightened the living room together and had time to walk to her house instead of using the car 💓. This idea of not creating a struggle with her has been a theme ever since.

Very recently I was sitting on her bed with her. She is allowed to watch a short tv show after her nap so I was setting up one of her favorites on an iPad … or so I thought. Nothing was working and I was starting to feel frustrated. She is very intuitive and is often aware of our feelings before we are. She leaned into me and touched my arm lightly as she said

You don’t need to struggle, Gama. Just try again.

Then she kissed my cheek, I thanked her for reminding me and we figured it out together!

Need I say more?

Blessings to you this day. Each day comes as a gift, right? Right!

God, use me.

A prayer from Marianne Williamson’s book titled The Law of Divine Compensation:

Dear God,
I surrender to You who I am, what I have and what I do.
May my life and talents be used in whatever way serves You best.
I surrender to You my failures and any pain still in my heart.
I surrender to You my successes, and the hopes that they contain.
May the Light of Your Love shine deep within my heart,
and extend through me to bless the world.
Amen.