One of my teachers for decades has been author Alan Cohen, and today I’m sharing a special excerpt from his wonderful book A Deep Breath of Life. May you enjoy, and may all of us learn to live from a place of thankfulness and thereby enrich the quality of our lives, and the world. Namaste. Gina
During prayer, when I go beyond life’s chatter and listen for the voice within that says ‘Be still and know that I Am God’ I fall into love and release attachment… to anything and everything. Through the process of connecting with the vastness of God’s power and love throughout the universe as well as in every fiber of my being, I fully let go and relax.
If I forget to pray, I lose my equanimity and can become grasping and desirous of outcomes. These lower energies are felt in my shoulders and stomach as tight muscles and tension, concern or worry, or even excitement and anticipation. Left undirected and untrained, my mind wanders and generates passionate reactions over this and that, with emotions as unstable as sand beneath my feet.
But when I carve out time to sit and be still, to quiet my thoughts and go deeply within, everything in my life benefits. The time I spend in prayer and meditation grants me a sense of stability that speaks to me of ‘building my house on a rock’.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~unknown
Deepak Chopra shared in an interview that there has not been a quarrel in his family for decades. He has worked on and mastered his inner calm and remains unflustered by outer events. I admire that and work towards it. Whether I am driving in traffic (often a button for me) or preparing a meal for many people, I endeavor to bring the results of my daily prayers to the task. A sense of non-attachment is what I am learning, and from which I have discovered tremendous calm.
As one who used to live amidst perfectionist tendencies, learning to release outcomes has improved my life. I still make lists to help me stay on track. I still plan ahead because it helps set me up for success. And I still visualize the best and highest outcome, yet I now include the phrase ‘this or something better’ and turn it over to God.
Putting it all in God’s hands makes me feel safer than when I used to strive to be in control. Having been on my own from a young age, taking care of all I could was an essential skill. However now it no longer serves but rather limits my true freedom. I’ve learned that when I forget to pray and attempt to control things, events, and people around me, deep within I feel unsafe.
For example, driving alone to attend an evening workshop across the city can generate feelings of fear if I’m only operating from my logical human awareness. I attempt to be in control and know everything: where to park and will it be well-lit; how early should I get there to get a close spot; can I walk out with a crowd to remain safe on the way back to my car; is my car fully gassed up; battery charged on the cell phone; and someone knows where I’m going and when I will return home?
Certainly all these steps help ensure security but they do not help me FEEL any safer. Only prayer helps me feel safe and secure. It is in acknowledging I control nothing that I notice the solid rock beneath me. It is in letting go of my human attachment to control that I truly feel safe. I embrace my trust and celebrate my faith in the One who controls everything.
Matthew 7:24-27 NIV ~ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
This is what prayer and meditation does for me. It is the rock beneath my feet and the awareness that I am truly safe.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. ~Dr. Haim Ginott
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Here are some fantastic one-page articles about teaching and encouraging kindness in children, even when they’re still toddlers. It’s really never too early to begin. May peace prevail. Namaste. Gina
8 Ways to teach kindness to toddlers and preschoolers, by Tabitha Studer at WhatToExpect.com
Kids and kindness: Can you teach compassion? by Holly Bennett at TodaysParent.com
Teaching Children Respect in 5 Minutes or Less, by Julie Hunt at SmartKids101.com
“One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I appreciate you’, ‘I’m proud of you’… whatever you’re feeling. Send random texts, write a cute note, embrace your truth and share it… cause a smile for someone else… and give plenty of hugs.”
Kind people bring out the kind in people.
Daily prayer work creates a context for the transformation of who we are and what we do. Every morning we ask to be made new. Every evening we take stock of how well we did this day, where we rose up in glory and where we stumbled and fell. It’s very powerful to go over the events of our day mentally, as honestly as we can. God is not our judge but our Healer. ~Marianne Williamson, Illuminata
Rather than calling down Creation to fulfill our needs and desires, we must uplift our needs and desires so that Creation itself may be fulfilled.
~Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery
Please feel free to save, print, and share my two posters! These three incredible photographs are from a wordless board of wildlife and nature I’ve created here. Or visit it anytime by clicking Pinterest in my sidebar, and then select the ‘Nature ~ beauty beyond words’ icon once at my Pinterest page. I only have a few boards so you’ll see it quickly. You don’t have to be a member to view, but you will need to close the pop-up offerings to join (a few times per visit if not logged in). I find this album to be jaw-droppingly beautiful, and it speaks to me of God. May it inspire and brighten your heart as well, and may we all cherish ourselves and this world enough to take time, make time, to pray. Let us endeavor to be peaceful and have faith. Namaste
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a wonderful organization who I’ve celebrated before and they deserve repeating. They generate ideas for ways that anyone can share acts of kindness. I’ve provided a link in this image to the page where these kind people have shared hundreds of ideas to help spark our own. May this list give us a great start, and may our visits to their site deepen the realization that the possibilities and opportunities for sharing kindness are practically endless.
Let’s be encouraged and encouraging! Each one of us can make a difference, each and every day.
Related reading you may enjoy from a post I did celebrating this fantastic foundation:
Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act. ~Ram Dass
“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.” ~Voltaire
“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” ~Thomas Jefferson
“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” ~John F. Kennedy
On our human level we may at times get tangled up in our erroneous attempts to be ‘perfect’. Striving for perfection usually generates needless stress and ends up weighing us down and dimming our light. I feel this song affirms our Truth, beyond the inevitable scrapes, bruises and dents from life. Beyond perfection, we are, and always will be, magnificent to our Higher Spirit.
While the first words of this song are “At twenty years of age” (and it’s been a long time since I could say that) it speaks to the very core of my heart. I joyously sing along and my ‘inner twenty-year-old’ celebrates this song frequently by enjoying it with a refreshing Dance Break! I hope you will enjoy Francesca’s poetry set to her upbeat music and please feel free to print the lyrics I’ve included.
We are truly uplifted as we acknowledge how loved we are, right here and right now. Our life is safe in God’s hands, and perched on His shoulders how gloriously we can see!
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
Thanks to video creator Skylar Petersen! Well done.
If you have a great ambition, take as big a step as possible in the direction of fulfilling it. The step may only be a tiny one, but trust that is may be the largest one possible for now. ~ Mildred McAfee
Why wait for inspiration to come? Inspiration may or may not arrive. If it does, it will only come periodically on the winds of chance. But if we court inspiration by setting time aside, if we create an atmosphere of expectancy, inspiration will find us irresistible and will come often. ~ Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery
You came to earth to express your unique gifts; to withhold them because you are afraid other people may not like them is to deny your own purpose here. Do not allow opinions to rule your life. They change with the capriciousness of the wind. Let your destiny be rooted in your heart’s desire, and your actions will bear fruit to nourish generations to come.
~ Alan Cohen, Dare to be Yourself
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
~ Albert Einstein
I have long believed in the power of visualizing what I want to see in my life. This is why I learned to release worry. To participate in worrisome reflections is to contemplate what I do NOT wish to see. Therefore I refuse to worry. I now only look at, and think on, that which I want to experience.
Years ago when my sons were small and went camping with their dad, I permitted the bad mental habit of worry to fester. After waving goodbye I would fight back tears, sometimes outright crying, as I worried about all the dangers lurking in the backcountry.
There were cliffs to fall from, lightning strikes in those high open places, and lions and tigers and BEARS! Oh my! Okay, no real tigers in my part of the world, but worry tore at my mind like claws.
Then the light switch flicked on in my brain as I saw what I was doing: I was visualizing – with emotion! – the worst possible scenarios. A chill ran through me as I suddenly understood I was inadvertently meditating with feeling for an outcome I did NOT want. I immediately began imagining, with great joy, my boys arriving home with happy shouts of “Mommy! Mommy!” I felt their hugs and could hear breathless animated tales of campfires under stars and big fish caught.
Any moment my mind began to wander down a dark pathway about the latest grizzly bear mauling or forest fire started by lightning, I would take a breath, shake off that erroneous use of my creative mind, and replace it with the imagined sounds of happy shouting boys bursting through the front door. And guess which one always came true for me? The young men who are my grown sons now have amazing stories from their youth of the times they hiked and camped in the wild backcountry. And I learned a valuable life lesson to only visualize that which I want to experience. I encourage you to do the same. Maintain the highest viewpoint possible and create a joyous life.
Proverbs 4:23 NCV ~ Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
“The greatest thing a human being ever does in this world is to see something… To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.” ~ John Ruskin
Today really look around at your world: your family, your home, your pets,
your co-workers, and the strangers on the street. Smile at everyone you meet because you can see them. Never forget that the gift of vision was so important that when God created the world, the first command was for Light in order to see, and after the Great Creator was finished with each day’s task, He glanced back on his handiwork and “saw that is was good.” We need to see how good it is, too. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
Psalm 27:1 NIV ~ The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?