Monday, October 31, 2016

30 Days of Thanks-giving Starts Tomorrow on Twitter!

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse."  --Henry Van Dyke

Every Thanksgiving Day for the past nineteen years my dad has asked us the question: What are you grateful for? But instead of making it general, he makes it specific: What inanimate object are you grateful for? What childhood friend? What live performance? 

During the next thirty days I would like to share this tradition with you. Each day on my Twitter page I will post a question asking you to name one very specific thing you are grateful for. Share your gratefuls with me - and the world - on Twitter using the hashtag #whatRUthankful4?

Here's to following that impulse and focusing on the good! (With thanks to my dad for instilling in us the habit of thanks-giving.) 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Next 30-day Challenge Starts November 1st!

"What if focusing on the good in our lives could lead to an increase in good?" --Karen Lindvig

I came across this quote recently and thought...Yeah, what if? And then I thought...maybe it's time for another 30-day challenge....a Thanks-giving challenge!

So, if you are wondering this too, or if you are just game to give it a try, join me on Twitter, starting November 1st for 30 Days of Thanks-giving. Gobble, Gobble.


#30DAYSOFTHANKSGIVING
#whatRUthankful4?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #8: Substituting Faith for Fear


Just one today, but I think it is a powerful one. And maybe one that explains our whole election...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Writer or Blogger? THAT is the question

Before I took my summer hiatus (which, by the way, lasted longer than I expected, having promised to return in August, sorry about that) I wrote about listening to yourself and for the past few weeks, the phrase "Do you want to be a WRITER or a BLOGGER?" has been staring at me every time I sit down at my desk. This phrase came to me as I was working on Monday's post, "Harmonizing Yes and No," which I started before the hiatus.

This post was to be a continuation of the listening to yourself theme, specifically addressing the difficulties involved in saying YES or saying NO in specific situations. But what keeps coming up for me as I think about starting to write again is this question: "Do I want to be a WRITER or a BLOGGER?" And the answer for me is clear: WRITER. No question.

Conventional wisdom says that these days ("these days" being the days of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and now Snapchat. Actual serious ADULTS are on Snapchat now. Did you know that?) you kind of have to be both, but I am not sure that is possible for me. I spent most of last year writing a book and I have spent most of this year blogging and trying to beef up my social media presence.

Of course while writing my book I did a bit of blogging, and while blogging I have done a bit of writing, but before my hiatus I was not making the progress I wanted to be making on my second book while also blogging twice a week. So it is time for me to get my YES'S and my NO'S in order. To say YES to more writing, and NO to more blogging, and NO to those who would tell me that this is a mistake. 

It may be a mistake for them, but it is not a mistake for me and I know because the Universe told me so. 

So Monday September 19th was the last regularly scheduled Inspire-Me Monday and this post the first of my new blogging schedule, which is to say, I will blog whenever I have time and have something to say or just feel like writing a blog post. 

Otherwise I will be working on my next book (teaser: It's about KINDNESS) and reading great books and collecting inspirational quotes to share with you and just generally living my life. 

I will still be posting stuff on my Facebook Community Page (Being and Becoming) for now and I will still tweet information about my writing and this blog on Twitter (@be_and_become), but I will be posting and tweeting a lot less. If you would like to stay in touch please like my Facebook Community Page or SIGN UP to receive posts via email in the right-hand margin of this blog. 

In the meantime listen to yourself: say "YES!" (with an exclamation point) to that which serves your highest good and "NO." (with a period) to anything that doesn't. 

Lots of love and Happy Fall!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #7: Harmonizing "Yes" and "No"

"Stress is when your mind says NO, but your mouth says YES."The Wallingford Sign

"Give yourself permission to say 'No.' Reclaim the power of 'No' without guilt. It’s a beautiful thing - for you, for the other person and for the relationship. It offers everyone involved the gift of self responsibility. When you have clear reasons and a clear strategy for saying 'No' it becomes a very positive and empowering experience." --Ian Lawton on www.soulseeds.com


"You have the right to say NO."        --The Universe to ME

"The time to say yes is when both your head and your heart freely say yes." --Frank Andrews PhD in his book "The Art and Practice of Loving" 

"...[T]he word 'no' should be the 'end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation.'" --Amy Poehler quoting from Gavin de Becker's book “The Gift of Fear” in her book "Yes Please!"

"Yes without No is appeasement, whereas No without Yes is war. Yes without No destroys one’s own satisfaction, whereas No without Yes destroys one’s relationship with others. We need both Yes and No together. For Yes is the key word of community, No the key word of individuality. Yes is the key word of connection, No the key word of protection. Yes is the key word of peace, No the key word of justice. The great art is to learn to integrate the two—to marry Yes and No. That is the secret to standing up for yourself and what you need without destroying valuable agreements and precious relationships.” --William Ury from "The Power of a Positive No"


 "Saying NO can be the ultimate self-care." --Claudia Black

"Unless someone truly has the power to say no, they never truly have the power to say yes." --Dan Millman in "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"

"Once we know how to harmonize between Yes and No, everything is solved." --Tsoknyi Rinpoche speaking at Nalanda West


Monday, July 25, 2016

A bit of R-N-R

I was going to title this post "Gone Fishing," but I don't fish. Nonetheless I am taking some time off from blogging over the next few weeks to spend time with my family and enjoy the summer before it's gone. I will return sometime in August. If you'd like to be notified when I return, please SIGN UP to receive posts via email in the right-hand sidebar. In the meantime I hope that you are spending the summer doing something you love. PEACE ☮

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Everything You Need to Know

On Saturday afternoon a friend and I headed to the spa for a relaxing soak. In order to do this I had to leave my fourteen year old on his own for a few hours. I have done this before and knew he could handle it, but I wanted to make sure that I had my cell phone in case he needed to contact me. I checked my phone before leaving and the battery was at 32%. Not critical, but low, so I decided to plug it in for a few minutes before I left.

As soon as I made that decision I heard a tiny voice in my head say, "If you plug it in you will forget it. Why not just charge it in the car on the way there?" This was a perfectly reasonable suggestion, one which I decided to ignore.

I walked over to my charging cord, plugged in my phone and sat down on the couch nearby to wait for my friend to arrive. When the doorbell rang I sprang up, grabbed my bag, slipped into my shoes and walked out the door - you guessed it - forgetting my phone in the process. Half-way to the spa I realized what I had done and thought about turning around, but that seemed extreme so I had my friend send my son a text letting him know what had happened and asking him to text her number if he needed anything.

A couple of hours into our soak (around dinnertime) I was lying on a lounge chair snoozing when I heard that tiny voice in my head again, "Call your son," it said. I ignored it for a few minutes and so it spoke again, "Call your son."

"He's fine," I responded, "You are just being paranoid. Everything is fine."

And I really felt that, that everything was fine, however, the voice spoke again, a bit louder this time, "Call your son." And this time, I listened.

I got up, threw on my robe, walked to the front desk and asked if I could use their phone. A very nice woman allowed me to use the front desk phone and I called my son. When he answered I asked him "How are things going?"

"Terrible," he responded.

Alarm bells started going off. What could be wrong? Did he hurt himself?! Did someone break in?! "What's wrong?!" I said, alarm in my voice.

"I can't find my wallet," he replied, "and I wanted to buy some pizza for dinner."

"Whew," I breathed a sigh of relief and then smiled. The Universe was taking care of my boy.

I told him where his wallet was (I had picked it up off of the floor earlier in the week) and he got off the phone happily on his way to pizza Heaven. I went back to the locker room just as my friend came to look for me to see if I wanted to get something to eat. She opened her locker to grab her wallet and quickly checked her phone. "There's a message from your son," she said, "He can't find his wallet."

I checked the text. It had come in twenty-four minutes earlier, right about the time I had first heard the message to call my son. I smiled and said, "It's all good. I called him a few minutes ago." And with that, we headed off to dinner.

At dinner we ordered our two favorite dishes to share and thumbed through some magazines while waiting. My friend's dish arrived first and we dug in. A few minutes later my dish arrived except it wasn't exactly what I had ordered, which was the Bi Bim Bop in a hot stone bowl. They had brought me the cold version.

Bummed I thought about sending it back, but figured there had been a mis-communicatoin and decided to try the cold version instead. My friend stopped me, "Wait, what if they brought you the wrong dish and that one is meant for someone else?" I hadn't thought of that, but it was a possibility. We didn't even have time to try and catch our server's eye before she was back, hot stone Bi Bim Bop in hand, apologizing for mixing up my order with someone else's.

As we tucked in to what we had ordered, my friend looked up and said, "I have no idea how I knew that's what happened, I just had a feeling." 

"I just had a feeling." "Something spoke to me." "I heard a voice." These are all phrases we use to explain the unexplainable, to make sense out of that which does not make sense to our thinking mind. We know something we should have not been able to know, we feel something that turns out to be true, we run into someone we have not seen for ages just moments after we have a thought about them.

The Universe speaks to us in many ways, thoughts, feelings, dreams, phone calls, hunches, signs, and only some small part of the time are we even aware that this is happening. The great news is that we can become more aware. We can choose to listen more carefully. We can heed advice that we only half believe in. And we can even ASK for signs and help when we are feeling confused.

Our intuition is a gift that we have been given, all we need to do is LISTEN TO OURSELVES.

I hope you will be inspired to LISTEN more carefully this week and follow the guidance you are being given. I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Have an intuitive week everyone!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #6: INTUITION OR, LISTENING TO YOURSELF

And here we go again! One theme flows from another as we continue the conversation with each other, with ourselves and with the great and powerful Universe which speaks to each and every one of us if we will but listen.

The theme this week is INTUITION or LISTENING TO YOURSELF. As important as it is to listen to others, it is equally important to listen to ourselves. Here are some of my favorite quotes about listening to yourself. I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire you to pay closer attention to that still small voice inside:

"In our 'doing' society, we have a zeal for sorting out our agenda and implementing it. But in my experience the world is there to guide you at every moment. The world is calling you to come play, to come risk, to come let your heart burn with a passion that will make sense of your life. The world will speak to you as intimately as your mother did when you were a child, if you can allow the body to teach you its different way of listening." --Phillip Shepherd in The Sun magazine
~  *  ~

"If you LISTEN you will know everything you need to know." --The Universe

~  *  ~
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."--Steve Jobs
~  *  ~

"When we practice listening, we become intuitive." --Unknown, Yogi Tea tea bag

~  *  ~

"Intuition is not something you awaken, it's already there, you simply remove the blocks that keep you from seeing clearly." --David Pond
~  *  ~


"Pay attention to the reactions of of your body. It is the wisdom of the self speaking to you. Be aware of concern, of anticipation, of all the feelings that come from the self. They manifest in the body. What is their counsel?" --Maurice in "Maisie Dobbs" by Jacqueline Winspear

~  *  ~

"I think what I've been saying in my songs all these years is: respect yourself; listen to yourself; you are not crazy." --Ani DeFranco in The Sun magazine
~  *  ~
"I don't have to say, 'I don't know.' I can ASK. I don't have to be lost." --Inna Segal
 ~  *  ~
"We all have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be." --Jane Austen from "Mansfield Park"
~  *  ~

For more about listening to yourself, check back Thursday. In the meantime, don't forget to SIGN UP in the sidebar (on the top right) to RECEIVE POSTS VIA EMAIL. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Learning to Listen

"To listen well, we must attend both to the words and the silence between the words." 
--William Issacs in "A Matter of Spirit," the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center quarterly newsletter



Listening well is not easy, but it is a skill that can be developed with a willingness to learn and some practice.

One of the techniques crucial to being a good listener is shutting the hell up. Also known as pausing. It is easy to get on a roll during a conversation and forget to pause and listen to the other person.

This can be especially hard after asking a question. My husband takes a lot longer to answer a question than I do and it can sometimes be excruciating to wait (and wait....and wait....and wait....) for his answer. But it is important to do so.

If you think you may need practice, watch the video above and listen for the birdsong. If it is hard for you to wait to hear it, pausing during conversations with others may be an important skill for you to learn.

Pay more attention than usual during your conversations this week. Do you need to pause more often? If so, try adding a few pauses to the conversation and see how it changes.

Maybe it's the person you are speaking with who is challenged in this area. If so, find a kind way to ask them to shut the hell up once in awhile. (NB When asking someone KINDLY to "shut the hell up" it will be very important not to use the words, "shut the hell up.")

Have fun playing with this listening technique this week. Try not to take it too seriously - and don't take it personally if someone doesn't listen to you well. This usually has far more to do with them than it does with you!

Meditation is, of course, another great way to learn to pause. Sitting for ten or more minutes a day will help you practice the great art of shutting the hell up and also allow you to bring more presence to your conversations. If you would like to try, you can start with this meditation.

Have a great week!

ADDENDUM: In the time since I wrote this post I have learned about something called "Verbal Judo." It is used primarily by police officers to de-escalate highly charged situations, but can be used by all of us to improve our listening skills and our relationships. For more information on verbal judo, check out this blog post or read the book

Monday, July 11, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #5: LISTENING TO OTHERS

The theme this week follows last week's almost magically. Listening is an important part of any good relationship and it is not an easy skill. It is hard to listen without judgement, to listen without interrupting, to listen without jumping in to share or solve. To just listen.

I encourage you to try it this week and hope the quotations I have chosen will inspire you to listen well:


"To listen well, we must attend both to the words and the silence between the words." --William Issacs in "A Matter of Spirit," the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center quarterly newsletter

"The first duty of love is to listen." --Paul Tillich

"Listen to those who open a path to you; listen and don't say a word." --RUMI

"O Great Spirit help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak and to remember the peace that may be found in silence." --Cherokee prayer

"...[Y]our listening ear is more powerful than you can imagine." --Jackson Kiddard

"Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand." --Sue Patton Thoele

"Part of understanding is being willing to listen to each other's stories." --Karen Lindvig

"Most people listen to reply, not to understand." --Stephen Covey

"Usually when you listen to some statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself. You are actually listening to your own opinion. If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not, you will reject it or you may not even really hear it." --Shunryu Suzuki


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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Finding Buddha

Continuing on with the theme for the week - RELATIONSHIPS - I want to share with you another quote that is really speaking to me today. It is from Deepak Chopra's book "Buddha," which is a fictionalized account of the Buddha's life.

In this passage Buddha is speaking to his disciple Assaji:

"When you're obsessed with hatred for someone, it's inevitable that you will return one day as his disciple."
“Master, I just hope he's better when he comes back,” Assaji said doubtfully. 
“He will be arrogant and proud,” said Buddha, “But it won't matter. The fire of passion burns out eventually. Then you dig though the ashes and discover a gem. You pick it up, you look at it with disbelief. The gem was inside you all the time. It is yours to keep forever. It is buddha.” 

I have been struggling this week with hatred so this passage really spoke to me. Earlier today I did a meditation in which I spent time inside my heart feeling the hatred and exploring its origins. As I did I felt anger, I felt sadness, I felt hopelessness, and I felt despair.  I thought it would never end, but I kept at it, lying there, feeling all of it.

Pictures came to me as I meditated on my feelings, past lives filled with hopelessness and despair. Hunger, poverty, starvation, loneliness.

In one of these lifetimes I was a baby, left in the gutter to die, hungry and alone. Abandoned, forgotten, unloved. The feelings rose as I watched this scene unfold. There was no way out. I was trapped in this baby body and I could not help myself. I could do nothing but lie there and starve to death. More anger, more despair, more tears.

Eventually the feelings began to dissipate, replaced by numbness.

I kept my attention in my heart, still feeling like there was no solution, no way out, having made a strange peace with this.

Suddenly I felt someone pick me up. A soft blanket enveloped me in a warm embrace. I was being fed. All was well.

I didn't know what had happened. Somehow I had called and someone had answered. I was no longer alone.

I can't say for sure that this was an experience of my inner buddha, but when I opened the book after meditating, this was the first passage that I saw and it spoke something to me about this experience.

Feeling someone pick me up and hold me, love me, feed me, when I had no hope felt like finding a gem. Realizing I could summon this kind of love and care even in the midst of complete despair and hopelessness felt like finding a gem. I hope it is mine to keep forever.

~  *  ~  *  ~

Apologies if this was not the post you were expecting this week. It was not the post I was expecting either. I have been working on a post about "mitigated" relationships (as teased in last week's post), but it is just not coming together. I will keep at it and hope to post it at a future date. In the meantime, I trust that this is exactly what was needed today. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #4: Relationships

"Opening to the world begins to benefit ourselves and others simultaneously. The more we relate with others, the more quickly we discover where we’re blocked. Seeing this is helpful, but it’s also painful. Sometimes we use it as ammunition against ourselves: we aren’t kind, we aren’t honest, we aren’t brave, and we might as well give up right now. But when we apply the instruction to be soft and nonjudgmental to whatever we see at this very moment, the embarrassing reflection in the mirror becomes our friend. We soften further and lighten up more, because we know it’s the only way we can continue to work with others and be of any benefit in the world. This is the beginning of growing up." --Pema Chodron

"Fucked up people will try to tell you otherwise, but boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments, or betrayals. They are a purely peaceable thing: the basic principles you identify for yourself that define the behaviors that you will tolerate from others, as well as the responses you will have to those behaviors. Boundaries teach people how to treat you, and they teach you how to respect yourself." --Cheryl Strayed, from her book, "Tiny Beautiful Things"

“...[W]hen you live in close proximity with lots of other people, you are going to bump into parts of them that you don't like (and vice versa). We have group discussions, and things get very heated. Sparks fly. We disappoint each other. Some people do more work that others. We want different things, but we are in a community and so we have to reach some kind of consensus. Being intimate with other human beings is HARD WORK." --Satya Robyn, writer, painter, Buddhist Priest, from her book "Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings"

"People are NOT going to do what you want them to do; they are going to do what THEY want to do. You might as well do what YOU want to do too." --The Universe to me while on vacation in Maui, feeling disillusioned by how my husband and kids were choosing to spend their time

"We have to become more sovereign....We've got to meet our own needs. Be our own mother. Be our own father. Be our own best friend.....The more we can really come into relying on our vertical...our spirit connection for our strength, our security, our stability, our warmth, our nurturing our love, the better off we're going to be....We don't need relationships anymore. I don't need you. I've got Spirit. I've got self-love. I'm connected to the infinite flow of the Universe. And the only reason I'm here in this relationship is because I want to be....I receive from all directions." --Kaypacha from one of his Pele Reports

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Trusting Your Equipment

"TRUST YOUR EQUIPMENT. " --Cat Saunders, PhD

Today I want to talk more about one of the quotes I posted earlier in the week for #inspireMEMonday because it was a breakthrough for me in terms of understanding why I sometimes struggle more than I need to in difficult relationships.

As I explained in Monday's post, what this quote means to me is something along the lines of, "listen to yourself, listen to your body." In other words, if - after an interaction with another human being - you feel angry or hurt or yucky, don't just dismiss that, listen to it. That feeling is trying to tell you something.

What I realized in my latest session with my counselor (Dr Cat) is that I have not been listening, for YEARS.

When someone does something that hurts me or makes me angry I feel the feeling, but almost immediately I turn it around on myself and start berating myself: "Don't take it personally." "Let it go." "If you were a bigger person this wouldn't bother you." Etc.

On the face of it this may look like an okay way to go. "Letting it go" is very big in our culture right now and I believe that LIG has its place, but that place is not as soon as you feel the feelings. There is a lot of work to do between being hurt and letting it go.

Dr Cat helped me understand by asking me this question: If someone punched you in the stomach would you say the same thing to yourself, or would you allow yourself to feel hurt? I said that I would not try and talk myself out of feeling hurt if someone punched me.

What if someone stepped on your toes? she asked. **

Same thing, I said, I wouldn't try and talk myself out of the pain.

Emotional pain isn't any different, she went on. If it hurts, it hurts and it is trying to tell you that what that person did is not okay WITH YOU.

The WITH YOU is very important here for a couple of reasons 1) It takes judgement out of the equation. You are not saying that what the person did is not okay ever, just that it is not okay with you; 2) It affirms - for you - that this is true even if the other person does not accept it.

Again, very important, because many people out there (most?) are not willing or able to simply own up to what they have done and leave it at that. As soon as you point out that they have hurt you they are looking for a way out:
"I didn't mean to hurt you." 
"I was (stressed, busy, hungry, insert any excuse here)." 
"You (insert attempt to pin the blame on you, bring up the past, etc.)" 
And while all of these things may be true, in this moment YOU are attempting to communicate your hurt and all of these responses are nothing more than attempts to deflect. EVEN IF - maybe especially if - they are preceded by an apology. As in, "I'm sorry, BUT..." An apology that includes a BUT is no apology at all.

So the first thing to do when you have been hurt is to TRUST YOUR EQUIPMENT. If something hurts, it hurts. If something makes you angry, it makes you angry. If something makes you scared, it makes you scared.

This one, the FEAR one, is SO important because this is an area where we really seem to get off on minimizing our feelings as well as those of the people around us. We do this to kids ALL the time, "Don't be afraid." FEAR, like the pain that comes from a slap in the face, is not a choice. How you ACT in the face of fear absolutely is, and one of the keys to acting with courage is acknowledging your fear, letting it have its say, and working to make the situation safe for you so that you CAN act.

Once you have acknowledged your feelings, felt them and taken care of yourself around them (by talking to a friend, meditating, taking a walk, etc.) then you can act to repair the relationship by communicating your hurt to the other person if you decide you want to and that it is safe to do so. It is not always safe.

If you have made attempts in the past to communicate your hurt or anger to someone and they have responded defensively or dismissively with the classic "I'm sorry BUT...." at some point you may decide that it is not in your best interest to keep trying. Or you may value this relationship so much that you want to try in spite of these responses. Either is a valid way to go so long as YOU don't stop trusting your equipment.

Dr Cat explained it this way, If you had a dance partner that repeatedly stepped on your toes and didn't apologize or made excuses, sooner or later you would stop dancing with them. EVEN IF you liked them. EVEN IF they had other good qualities. 

You don't have to hate the dancer to stop dancing with them. You just have to hate having your toes stepped on over and over (and over) again.

HOW you protect your toes is up to you and depends on the situation. It may involve avoiding certain
situations with this person (the ones in which your toes always seem to get stepped on), or setting a clear boundary for expectations within the relationship. In some cases it may involve ending the relationship. Whatever the specifics of your situation, it all starts with TRUSTING YOUR EQUIPMENT.

~  *  ~  *  ~ 

Next week I am going to write about one technique that works really well for me in situations like this, especially if the "relationship" in question is one you can't so easily get out of (for example with a boss or family member).


** The above conversation is paraphrased and does not include direct quotes from myself or Dr Cat. As such I have italicized it, but have not used quotation marks.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #3: Eight Gems

This is the first week I chose quotes without a theme in mind - and the quotes reflect this to some degree - but as I read over them I hear whispers of an underlying theme....relationships, interactions with others, communication. I hope these eight gems will help you move in the direction of more awareness, more understanding, and more compassion (for yourself as well as others).

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

"May I know what it is to feel the weight on another's shoulders. May I know forgiveness in my heart. May I be given strength to extend my hand across the divide to pull another from the abyss, though that person has wounded me." --Maisie Dobbs, quoting her teacher Maurice in "Journey to Munich" by Jacqueline Winspear

"Dogen-zenji said, 'When you say something to someone, he may not accept it, but do not try to make him understand it intellectually. Do not argue with him; just listen to his objections until he himself finds something wrong with them.'” --Shunryu Suzuki

"The core of authenticity is the courage to be imperfect, vulnerable and to set boundaries." --BrenĂ© Brown

"...[T]he gasoline in the vehicle of ego is fear." --Judith Lief in Lion's Roar magazine

"Walk away from 'friendships' that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire and support you." --Michelle Obama

"TRUST YOUR EQUIPMENT. (In other words, trust your body, trust what you FEEL in your body.)" --Cat Saunders, PhD

"Being aware of our feelings is at the core of it all. Learning to name our feelings, learning to nurture where we are for ourselves, and taking a step back before reacting to others may create ripple effects. I’d like to trust that if we each practice it in our own lives, truly practice it, and show up authentically for others, it could make a difference." --Elisa Balabram in this blog post

"Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. " --Henry Ward Beecher

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

A post in which I try to understand the First Noble Truth of Buddhism (and probably fail miserably)

As I wrote last month before beginning the 28 Days of Abstinence challenge, I have been reading a lot about Buddhism lately. One of the concepts that has stuck with me is this idea that all life is suffering. I both love it and hate it.
I love it because it rings true to me. I read it and something in me lets go - relaxes - the way you do when truth is spoken: "Finally, someone is saying what I have always thought."

At the same time, this idea scares the crap out of me. If all life is suffering then what is the f-ing point? Not what is the point of being here - I don't think any of us knows this for sure and we each have to figure this out for ourselves - but what is the point of living? If all life is suffering, why not just let go, escape, blow this popsicle stand? (Of course Buddhists believe in reincarnation - as do I - so it really isn't a choice. One way or another, you'll be back here eventually. So it's really an "Enlightenment or BUST" kind of situation.)

So this idea that life is suffering both gives me hope and robs me of all hope at the same time, depending on my mood and state of mind at the time I am considering it I guess. Nonetheless, I am fascinated by suffering.

I am fascinated by my own suffering, particularly when it is of the "created in my own head" variety, which so much of it is. I am fascinated by people who don't seem to suffer, people who are living lives I would find unbearable and yet seem to carry a lightness, a sense of purpose and hope, wherever they go. And I am particularly fascinated  by people who suffer unimaginable horrors and yet fight to live. I don't need to tell a story here, there are thousands, chose one that horrified you and think on it awhile. Do the questions overwhelm you as they overwhelm me? WHY? HOW? WHY? WHY? WHY? 

Such horrible things we do to each other. Such horrible things are done daily, cruelly, casually. Such horrible things happen for no reason at all. Accidents that seem too awful to be true and all we are left with is the suffering and the questions: WHY? HOW? WHY?

I try to feel and imagine and empathize with the suffering of others (refugees, victims of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, etc.) but I know I fail miserably. Sometimes I try to imagine that I myself am in a particular situation and I soon have to look away from the images in my own mind. I cannot bear to imagine what others have endured in real life. So what to do?

What can I do? Pray? Donate money? Try to be of service? Write about it? I do all of these and still, the suffering continues. Of course it does. That is life.

Understanding this at its deepest and most unimaginable level is what made Buddha the Buddha. And I know that if I want to become enlightened someday I must too. But sometimes it just seems like too much. Too overwhelming. Too sad. Too hard. Too much.

So the question becomes: Can absorbing the truth that "life is suffering" be the beginning of a greater understanding? Buddha goes on to unravel the mystery of life and to explain it in this way:

"...[D]eath comes from birth, birth comes from deeds, deeds come from attachment, attachment comes from desire, desire comes from perception, perception comes from sensation, sensation comes from the six sense organs, the six sense organs come from individuality, individuality comes from consciousness. --From "Wake Up," by Jack Kerouac

By death here he means not just death itself, but any kind of suffering that stems from the transitory nature of life, “'People from the beginning have erred thus,' he said, 'binding themselves in society and by the ties of love and then, as after a dream, all is dispersed.'" --From "Wake Up" by Jack Kerouac

So if I understand it correctly, it goes something like this: We suffer and die because we were born; we are born because of the things we do (presumably to hurt others or at least to keep ourselves entangled in the illusion of life); we do the things we do because of our attachment to things as we would like them to be, which comes from our desires for these things; our desire comes from our perception, which is our interpretation of something as "bad" or "good" (or perhaps "pleasant" or "unpleasant"). The thing which we are interpreting is a sensation in our body and these sensations come from our six sense organs (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, and mind thoughts), which come from individuality (thinking we are separate from all other people and things) and individuality comes from consciousness.

This last part stymies me a bit - consciousness is supposed to be a good thing, right? But in this case, it isn't. Somehow becoming conscious led us to recognize our separateness (our individuality), which in turn created (or led to an awareness of) our six sense organs through which we feel sensations which we then judge as good or bad and desire those things which make us feel good and then become attached to them and therefore we are born and suffer and eventually die.

This actually makes a lot of sense to me (and is very similar to the interpretation of life taught by the New Thought community of which I have been a part and not all that far removed from the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). We were all a part of the primordial soup and then somehow (the Big Bang?) became conscious.

Once conscious, awareness of individuality arose, which somehow created the six sense organs. (I get lost at this part a little bit - how did we have six sense organs before we were born? - but perhaps there was sight, taste, hearing, touch, smell and mind thoughts before there were "bodies" as we now know them?) Through these sense organs these individual "beings" that came before us (and yet were us) began to feel sensations and to interpret them as "good" or "bad" and to desire the "good." They became attached to the "good" (and to aversion to the "bad") and this attachment led them to perform deeds which somehow led to birth (was this Adam and Eve and was the "deed" sex? One possible interpretation perhaps), which led to suffering and then death.

So how do we get out of this?

"Not by anxious use of outward means had Buddha unveiled the True Mind and ended suffering, but by resting quietly in thoughtful silence." --From "Wake Up" by Jack Kerouac

By resting quietly in thoughtful silence we may eventually - in the words of the Buddha (through Jack Kerouac) - Wake UP! If we all wake up we can end this cycle of birth and death and presumably end consciousness and return to the peace of the primordial soup where there is no suffering. 

This sounds impossible and I am not sure how long it will take (so far it has been a few billion years it seems ~ 4.5 billion years since the Earth first formed and ~14 billion years since the Big Bang), but it's the best idea I have heard so far to end the suffering, "This valley of darts, which we call life, a nightmare." --From "Wake Up" by Jack Kerouac

[As I read this, I am afraid it sounds a little dark and hopeless. And maybe it is to some degree, but I hope you will read it not as a hopeless rant, or an opportunity to wallow, but as an attempt to understand. That is the spirit in which it is written anyway.]

Monday, June 20, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #2: Buddha & Buddhism

"When people asked the Buddha why his followers were so joyful and healthy when they lived so simply, he replied: 'They do not repent the past, nor do they brood over the future. They live in the present. Therefore they are radiant. By brooding over the future and repenting the past, fools dry up like green reeds cut down in the sun.'” --From Why I am a Buddhist by Stephen T. Asma, PhD

"Everywhere is here." --Prince Siddhartha in Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Keruoac

"During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my ascent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me." --Herman Hesse from Siddhartha

"Your enemy is your greatest teacher." --Buddhist saying

"I thought if you could run 100 miles you'd be in this Zen state. You'd be the fucking Buddha, bringing peace and a smile to the world. It didn't work in my case - I'm the same old punk-ass as before - but there's always hope that it will turn you into the person you want to be, a better, more peaceful person." --Jenn "Mookie" Shelton in Born to Run

"You're bound to become a Buddha if you practice. If water drips long enough even rocks wear through." --Shih-Wu

"When we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe. When we discover the Buddha that we are, we realize that everything and everyone is Buddha. We discover that everything is awake, and everyone is awake. Everything and everyone is precious and whole and good. When we regard thoughts and emotions with humor and openness, that’s how we perceive the universe." --Pema Chodron

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly." --Buddha

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Being Ordinary





"This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do. One has just to be. Have a rest and be ordinary and be natural." --Osho





Turns out, I had kind of a hard time RESTING. I kept finding myself DOING. DOING some writing. DOING some Twitter. DOING some marketing for my book. Luckily I had a silent retreat planned for the upcoming weekend.

On Friday afternoon I drove to St Andrews House retreat center to participate in a 40 hour do-it-yourself silent retreat with a group of women from Seattle Unity. We had been planning the retreat for a few months and I was really looking forward to it.

I arrived a bit harried on Friday night, having hit quite a bit of traffic on the way over, just in time for dinner. I threw my things into the last available room and went right to dinner. After dinner was the ritual to begin the silence and it wasn't until this ended that I could really relax and think about what I wanted my 40 hours of silence to look like.

I have done two previous silent meditation retreats, one in 2012 and one in 2013, both at the NW Vipassana Center in Onalaska, WA and both very structured so this is kind of what I had in mind. I was going to be very strict with myself and use this time to my advantage.

I started to plan...I would make a schedule of meditating and breaks and meals and I would stick to it. I would squeeze as much meditation time as possible into this weekend and make a lot of progress on my journey to enlightenment.

The great room at St Andrews. A great place to just BE. 
As soon as I stepped out of the chapel, however, and into the great room at St Andrews, I was hit with the knowledge that this was not a place to DO; this was a place to BE. And after all, wasn't RESTING the theme of the week?

What was needed here was a total lack of structure. I am so good (some would say too good...) at creating structure for myself. I needed a way to let go of structure, to let down the carefully constructed format of my life. To breathe every moment, to BE every moment, no matter what I was doing or not doing.

And it led to a wonderfully unstructured day:
"Hiking Meditation"
  • Drinking tea meditation at 9:00
  • Napping meditation at 10:00
  • Sitting on the porch staring out at the Sound meditation at 11:00
  • Eating meditation at noon

The view from my favorite chair










And it went on from there. There was hiking meditation and reading meditation and listening to the rain on the roof meditation and even some "real" meditation. And it was ordinary. And it was restful. And it was good. 



[NB This post was backdated and posted after the events described occurred due to the whole RESTING thing :)]

Monday, June 13, 2016

Inspire-ME Monday #1: RESTING

Today I am unveiling a new feature on the blog: Inspire-ME Monday!

As you know if you have read my Blogger Bio (see right) I am a collector of quotes and photographs. For the past few weeks I have been trying to come up with a way to share more of both with YOU, my fabulous readers. Inspire-ME Monday is it!

Every Monday I will be posting a series of quotes along with a photograph I have taken. Some weeks the quotes will have a common theme; other weeks they will be a totally random selection of my current favorites.

Starting today I am also taking a one-week break from the "business" of writing and indulging in a little "pre-summer vacation" vacation. (If you are a parent with kids about to be out of school for the summer, you know what I mean ;) So the theme for this week is RESTING.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about taking a REST:

"Not by anxious use of outward means had Buddha unveiled the True Mind and ended suffering, but by resting quietly in thoughtful silence." --Jack Kerouac, from the book "Wake Up"
 ~  *  ~ 
"DO BE DO BE DO" --Amit Gosmawi, PhD, from the documentary, "The Quantum Activist"
~  *  ~
"Sometimes...the most urgent thing you can possibly do is...take a complete rest." --Ashleigh Brilliant
~  *  ~ 
"Daydream more; work less." --Caeriel Crestin, from his horoscope column in MauiTime
~  *  ~
"Physiologically we were meant to be restful with periods of activity, not active, active, active, with periods of rest." --Dr Mark Dunn
~  *  ~
"This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do. One has just to be. Have a rest and be ordinary and be natural." --Osho
~  *  ~
"How beautiful it is to do nothing...and then rest afterwards." --Spanish Proverb
~  *  ~

If you would like to receive inspirational quotes and photographs in your email inbox automatically, please SIGN UP in the sidebar (on the top right) to RECEIVE POSTS VIA EMAIL. I will also be posting quotes on Twitter (@be_and_become), Instagram (be_and_become) and Facebook (Being & Becoming). 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Dawna Markova


For this final post of the Write Your Life! online mini-session, I would like to share a prayer with you. I don't remember where I first read it, but it was written by a three-time cancer survivor and I think it gives great advice. Don't live in fear. Open your heart. Become who you were sent here to become. I hope it inspires you to continue the work you have started by writing your life.

"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. 
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me, 
to make me less afraid, more accessible;
to loosen my heart 
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. 
I choose to risk my significant, to live
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom, 
and that which came to me as blossom, 
goes on as fruit." 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Lao-tzu

"A journey 
             of  
             a thousand miles 
                                begins  
                                with one step." 

                                --Lao-tzu


Don't forget to take 
your "one step" 
today!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wisdom from Jan Phillips

"Our job is to convert the darkness to light. Life is waiting for us to convert the cruelties to light. When faced with darkness, ask yourself: How can I convert this to light? Our job is to convert whatever we encounter to light as quickly as we can." --Jan Phillips

Alternate post for June 7th

"It's not a question of better or worse. The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up. If everything dries up, the world is darkness." --Haruki Murakami

Taking a break from posting happy, happy posts about manifesting. There seems to be so much darkness in the world right now. Just going to let that speak for itself. Feel it. Not to let it take over or to overwhelm, but to have its voice. Maybe the darkness just needs to speak and be spoken and be heard and be shared and be felt by all of us in order to dissipate and be replaced by the light. I don't know, but I do know I can't just post happy, happy today. I just can't do it.

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

To see the previously scheduled and planned post about writing your life, please scroll down. 

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: DOING - Wisdom from Mary Morrissey


"IF I believed it were possible, what step would I take next?" --Mary Morrissey

How did it go? Were you able to take your first step, or did you get stumped or sidetracked? Either answer is ok. 

If you DID take your first NEXT EASIEST STEP in the last twenty-four hours, pat yourself on the back. Great job! Cross that one off and pick your NEXT EASIEST STEP from the list in your journal. Do that within the next twenty-four hours.  

If you DID NOT take your first NEXT EASIEST STEP, pull out your journal and answer this question: What happened? 

Be brutally honest with yourself. Why didn't you do it? Are you afraid? Are you still unsure about exactly what it is you want to do? Do you not believe that what you want is possible? 

Whatever the answer, write it down and then decide what to do next. You may want to redo your life map, or spend a few days repeating the heart-centered meditation. Maybe go back to your list of next easiest steps and choose a different one as your new #1. 

Whatever you do, try to do something every day until you feel like you are ready to take your NEXT EASIEST STEP. 

And remember: I am always available to help via the comments section below or on Facebook

Monday, June 6, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Bonus Week: WHAT'S NEXT?


"You are never given a wish without [being given] what it takes to make it come true."   --Richard Bach

This week is a bonus week - one I hadn't really planned on doing - BUT as I sat and finished the posts for last week on Thursday, I felt like things were incomplete. Like I was leaving you hanging. And I didn't want to do that. 

There IS a fifth chapter in my book and it's called, "What's Next?!?" because it's all well and good to WRITE YOUR LIFE - to draw a new map and listen to what your heart really wants - but after that you have to figure out how to LIVE this new life you have imagined. And that, my friends, takes ACTION. 

Yes, ACTION. 

Stepping out, putting one foot in front of the other and starting to move in the direction of your dream whatever it is. 

So that's what we're going to talk about this week: the DOING.

First things first, grab your journal or a piece of paper. Find a comfy spot to hang out for twenty or thirty minutes and start to brainstorm all the things you need to do to make the life you want to live a reality.

At this stage don't censor or cross out because something seems too big (or too small), just make the list. (I always think it is ironic that I started down this road because I was too addicted to my "TO DO" list and ended up suggesting that people make a, well, basically a "TO DO" list, but I promise this one is a little bit different.)

When you are done, take a look at the list. What jumps out at you as the FIRST thing, the NEXT thing, you need to do? Put a #1 next to this item. This is your NEXT EASIEST STEP. Do it before this time tomorrow.

That's it. Take the first step in the next twenty-four hours.

If you are going, "WOAH, wait a minute! I can't do THAT!" maybe this isn't step #1.

Look at your list again. Does something else need to come first? Or maybe this is the first step, but it needs to be broken down into a bunch of smaller steps. If so, do this in your journal and then put a #1 next to the step that needs to come first.

Now this is your NEXT EASIEST STEP. Do it before this time tomorrow.

Good luck. I know you can do it! Talk to you tomorrow.

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

If you have questions, please leave a comment below or on my Facebook Community Page, Being & Becoming. And, don't forget to SIGN UP in the sidebar at the top of the page to receive posts via email. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - BONUS QUOTE - Wisdom from Shakti Gawain


"We...attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly." --Shakti Gawain

Friday, June 3, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Robert Fritz



"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want and all that is left is compromise." --Robert Fritz

At first glance, this quote may seem to contradict the one from yesterday, but I hope you will spend some time meditating on them as a pair and find the part of each of them that is true for you. 


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Rob Brezsny


"The key to happiness...is in figuring out 
exactly your place in reality, 
and occupying that. 
Attempting to full bigger shoes than yours, 
or cram yourself into tinier ones, 
is just setting yourself up for misery. 
Look at who you really are, 
and be realistic about how much space 
you actually need. 
From the outside it may look rather small 
(or oversized), 
but I guarantee that once you're inside it, 
it'll fit perfectly." 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from RUMI







"Everyone has been made 
for some particular work, 
and the desire for that work 
has been put in every heart." 
--RUMI






MEDITATION: In the Center of Your Heart

The following is a simple meditation that will allow you to start to discover what is in your own heart. What work? What desires? What hidden talents or passions? 

For this meditation you will need a meditation timer and about twenty-five minutes of uninterrupted time. Set the timer for twenty-one minutes, or the longest amount of time you feel comfortable with.  
Start by taking three deep breaths. 
Now shift your attention to the center of your chest, to your heart chakra. Begin to breathe from this place. Breathe IN through your heart chakra; breathe OUT through your heart chakra. 
Allow your chest to expand and contract as you breathe. Notice any feelings or sensations that arise. What desires are in your heart space? What does your heart yearn for? (MORE what?) What makes your heart sing and soar? 
Continue to breathe from your heart chakra for the remainder of the time, listening to your heart. 

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

LAST CHANCE THIS WEEK TO BUY THE BOOK AT SALE PRICES!!!

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING - Wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz



"If you can see yourself as an artist 
and you can see that your life is your own creation, 
why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?"
--Don Miguel Ruiz

Monday, May 30, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 4: BECOMING

"We have to rewrite ourselves again and draw all new maps." --Mary-Louise Parker


This quote is from Mary-Louise Parker's book entitled, "Dear Mister You," in which she writes letters to a number of men who have been significant in her life. I read it while finishing up, "Write Your Life!" and it fit perfectly for the introduction to the penultimate - and perhaps most important - chapter called, naturally, "Write Your Life!"

There is too much going on in that chapter to cover it in one blog post, so I am going to share a different exercise today, one that hopefully will give you a roadmap for where you want to go next.

For this exercise you will need a few sheets of paper (or your journal if you prefer), a pen, and two sessions of about forty-five minutes each of uninterrupted time, maybe a bit less.

Start by taking three deep breaths. Set your meditation timer for five minutes and allow yourself to just BE for a few minutes before you begin.

Now draw a map of your life. Where did you come from? Where have you been? Where are you going? Draw pictures, write notes, whatever works best for you. Draw a map of your WHOLE life, including the parts you haven't lived yet. Have fun with this and let your creativity flow. Try not to censor or react to what you are drawing (and don't judge the artwork, that is SO not the point), just draw.

When you are done, set it aside for at least thirty minutes, up to a day or so.

When you come back to your map, look at it objectively. What do you like about it? What don't you like? (Again, not the artwork, but the content.) What would you like to change?

Take a second piece of paper and draw a new map - the map of your dreams. What do you wish your life had been like? What do you wish it was like now? What do you wish for your future? Again, don't censor or judge, just draw.

When you are done and pleased with your map, find a place to hang it up or keep it where you can look at it often. Allow this "re-do" to infuse your life and guide you in the future.

In reality we cannot change our pasts, but that does not mean we cannot draw all new maps and live "as if" that were our reality. How would this change how you move in the world? How would it change how you see yourself? How you see others? Allow this new map to overlay your original life map and make positive changes wherever possible.

I would love to hear how this experience was for you and am always open to questions about any of the exercises or meditations. Feel free to comment below or on my Facebook Community Page, Being & Becoming. Have a great week!

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

Just a few more days to grab a copy of WRITE YOUR LIFE! at the SALE price of $9.99 for a paperback and $0.99 for the ebook. Pick up a copy here today! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from www.personaltransformation.com

"To awaken to your true nature,
who you really are, 
simply 'let go' of all the stories
and 'be' right now." 

What story do you need to LET GO so that you can BE right now? What story do you need to LET GO so that you can embrace what comes next? 

Spend some time meditating on your "story" and what parts of it are ready to be released. Then release it into the Violet Flame (or with some other ritual of your choice) and LET IT GO! 



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Amara Rose


"Be grateful 
for all the challenging people 
in your life -- 
bosses, co-workers, in-laws, 
children, friends -- 
because they're 
your greatest teachers. 
These relationships are difficult 
precisely because of 
your resistance to the lesson, 
which might be about compassion, 
self-worth, generosity, 
or unconditional love." 
--Amara Rose


This week I am reading the prosperity classic, "The Game of Life and How To Play It," by Florence Scovel Shinn and there are some great reminders in the book. One, in particular, relative to our work this week with RELEASING. 

Here is the affirmation: "I cast this burden of resentment on the Christ within, and I go free, to be loving, harmonious and happy."

Is there someone on whom you have heaped your resentment over the past few days, weeks, or even years? Let it go by repeating this mantra whenever you think of this person. Allow yourself to be free from resentment and anger. RELEASE it to the Christ within. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Gloria Burgess

"What is the story you need to let go of so that you can step into the story that is waiting just for you?"       --Gloria Burgess, PhD, Jazz INC

When I did my own RELEASING meditation, what came to me was the word CONTROL. I need to let go of CONTROL over all aspects of my life. I need to "let go and let God."

This may sound crazy or even fundamentalist, but if you sit back and truly think about it what can we control in this life? Pretty much NOTHING. So why not admit that and live from that reality instead of spending so much time and effort trying to control that which I cannot control anyway?

The physical manifestation of RELEASING, for me, is taking a deep breath. When I take a really deep breath and let it all out in one long AH-H-H....I feel the sensation of letting go and it is such a relief.

I am no longer pretending that I have it all together, that I have all the answers, that I am in control. I am releasing control and it is such a relief.

After my meditation I asked God to take control of my life. To remind me constantly that I do not know what the next second will bring - not to mention tomorrow - and to lead me to do only that which is in my heart and mind right now.

Meditate. Breathe. Put one foot in front of the other and trust that I will be led wherever I need to go as long as I let go of the need to control exactly WHERE that is and exactly HOW it will happen.

This doesn't mean that I don't have hopes and dreams and preferences. Of course I do. And of course the Universe takes this into account, but I am not in control. And it is such a relief.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Write Your Life! - May 2016 - Week 3: RELEASING - Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr.



"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. 
He who is devoid of the power to forgive 
is devoid of the power to love."  
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

As I mentioned yesterday, RELEASING can take many forms, and one form is forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive in order to move forward in your life? 

Try using the Violet Flame Meditation today for forgiveness. As you ask that the Violet Flame be sent from the center of the Earth, place an image of the person you need to forgive in your heart chakra. Allow the Violet Flame to burn away any hurt, any resentment, any attachment, any negative energy you may feel. Release and let it go. 

If you find that you want to do more forgiveness work, click here for Day 1 of my 30 Days of Forgiveness challenge from 2014 or above on the word forgiveness for the 2015 challenge.