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.

 

What Emanates From Me?

We have all experienced times when a loved one is in crisis. For many of us, our natural instinct is to help. What can I say or do to make this better? What does my loved one need to heal, recover, or be exonerated in this situation? Our heart’s desire is to support, to help, to make it better.

There are situations that are so overwhelming on the human level that I am left speechless. Those of you who know me may chuckle at the thought that I am ever without words! Yet there I am without a thought in my head in response to what I am seeing or hearing. All I have in that moment is “I love you.” Isn’t it interesting that I think that is not enough? Yeah. Think about that for a minute.

I spent many years in support groups learning how to let people live out their own situations. I had to learn to stay in my own life and take care of me so that I could wisely discern when my help was necessary and truly supportive, when a hug or a kind word was my greatest gift, or when quietly showing up with food or a restaurant gift card met an immediate need.

When those closest to me (my children or other family members) are suffering, is when I am most challenged to stay in my own life. Learning about energy and emotions and what love really is has helped me to understand the greatest gift I can give to others. I will try to put this into words with clarity and simplicity.

Love is the Divine Emotion. Like all emotions, It is energy in motion (e-motion). Energy emanates out from my being on all levels of awareness – this is what an aura is. My aura is the energy that emanates out from the physical body that I am currently occupying. My aura fluctuates, sometimes expanding outward without limit and other times moving close to my physical body. Emotions are powerful energies; some are extremely intense. For example, have you ever felt heat emanate off a person who is furious? Anger is an intensely hot energy, isn’t it? Have you ever entered a room where everyone is quietly going about their business yet you can feel tension in the air? Conflict can be felt long after those involved have stopped arguing.

So, what emanates out from my body when someone I love is suffering? What am I “sending” to them when I think about them? I believe that what I am feeling for them goes to them. If one of my children calls me and shares something they are struggling with or hurting over, I remind myself that my response matters – not because I can fix everything for them but because we are so deeply connected that my energy will interact with theirs quickly and even from a great distance. If I worry and fret, that is what they will feel from me and it may cause them not to reach out because they don’t want to upset me. They may also feel that I don’t have faith in their ability to deal with life. Is that what I want? Absolutely not!

Now, my intention is very different from what it used to be. I still hurt when my dear ones hurt; I grieve and am profoundly sad at times. What is different is my awareness that this will emanate out from me to them during stressful times. My spiritual practice becomes clear. I sit with my own emotions and honor my own pain, moving through these feelings as quickly as I can. Then I fill my heart, mind and body with light and love for that person. I envision my love as soft light that bathes them and permeates their being physically, mentally and emotionally. Every time my loved one comes to mind, I take a slow breath and picture them bathed in light and love. I send them blessings and silently tell them that I love them and I believe in them. And I let this be enough. I trust that, when they think of me, the only thing they feel is my love and my faith that this will work to their highest good.

And it is also what I say when given the opportunity: I love you, sweetheart, and I believe in you. I trust you to find a way and I trust the Divine to bring you your highest good.

In the moment, this doesn’t always feel like enough. My experience, however, has shown me that it is enough. Loved ones have come back to me and said they trust me with their struggles because I don’t try to fix everything or give them all the answers. They tell me that they know I believe in them. Whew! The first few times it blew my mind! It still makes me emotional because their highest good is what truly matters to me. And it is grace in action to understand on a deep level that I do NOT know what is best for others in any given moment.

May you be blessed today with the wisdom and understanding of what is best for you. I love you and I believe in you. May your life unfold for your highest good and the highest good of all.

Namaste.

Yin/Yang

The concept of the yin and yang principles bring us back to paradox. Yin and Yang are forces that appear to be opposite or contrary but, in actuality, are complementary forces. In my yoga classes I tend to use two primary examples: female/male and dark/light. In the literal translation of the ancient languages, yin means bright and yang means dark.

In hatha yoga, we use yin to describe practices that are receptive in nature and yang to describe practices that are more assertive in nature. My classes are yin in that we move more slowly and thoughtfully through the asanas (postures), mindful of breath, awareness, and movement. There are elements of yang as we hold and fire builds or as we flow in vinyasa more quickly than usual. In yang classes, vinyasa tends to be the norm challenging us to breathe and move more quickly and strongly through the asanas.

We also define yin as the feminine (receptive) aspect of the Divine in all creation and the yang as the masculine (assertive) aspect of the Divine in all creation. As human beings, we carry elements of both in our makeup: physical, mental, emotional. Finding the balance of yin/yang on all levels is key to our health, happiness and well-being. Yoga and meditation are powerful tools to establish this balance and wholeness. When I first became a yoga student, I had little understanding of what I was doing. It didn’t matter because after about four classes I began to experience results. I remember lying on my blanket (yoga mats really didn’t exist yet) in savasana one night, falling into that sweet space within and thinking, “I will do this for the rest of my life.”

The yin/feminine was obvious in my life. However, that receptive, yielding nature was too dominant, out of balance and often led me into situations that were not contributing to my well-being. As my practice and my understanding continued to unfold, I learned to look to the men in my life to grasp more clearly the male aspect of yang. My father was raised on a sheep ranch in Nevada. He could live alone with a flock at a very young age, taking them to higher ground in the summer heat. He was an Air Force pilot in three wars, a warrior. He was also my Daddy who took splinters out of my fingers with the gentleness only love provides. He sat on my bed the night before my wedding and wept with joy for his little girl and the woman she had become. He taught me to be strong. Other men taught me to be more assertive and use the stronger side of my personality and nature. The balance came in finding the wisdom to be assertive without losing compassion for myself and others. Compassionate strength is powerful.

As I travel this circle of life, I acknowledge that I am designed with a nature and personality that is the foundation of how I move through life. On my path I meet others designed differently. Some move more happily and effectively through life and others less happily and effectively. My intention is to learn from both. My mother told me near the end of her life that she was blessed that, in many ways, I had learned what not to do from her. Powerful, right? From others I have learned what works in bringing balance and wholeness into my life.

For me, the answers are fluid, varied and eclectic. No one method remains consistent beyond its general use. Even with yoga and meditation, my practices constantly change and adjust to what my highest good is at the time. When my father and my nephew were in intensive care at the same time, in different cities, my practice became legs up the wall on a bolster at least three times a day and guided yoga nidra throughout the night because sleep was rare. Today my practice is a combination of asana, walking meditation, living mindfulness, and occasional guided meditation.

I am fascinated by the creativity of visualization boards or lists detailing what a person wants to manifest. My discovery is that, as soon as I use these methods in my life, the flow of creative energy stops. Period, end of story. The energy of manifestation stops. Each of us must find what works for us. Definitive methods work powerfully for many people. Awesome. An internal awareness or vision of how the manifestation will feel without too many details works powerfully for many others. Awesome.

I believe the difference lies in what creates a true balance within each of us. Balance sets us free to manifest our dreams from the True Self within. What balances you and nourishes True Self? Go with that. Give yourself permission to reevaluate your behavior and tools in case your needs change. Give yourself permission to try new and different things that may be outside your comfort zone. Then go with what works.

And always and in all ways remember to play, laugh and love.