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
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.
“Destiny is a personal adventure. Just as no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, every soul comes into this world for a unique purpose. Each of us manifests good according to our own strengths and intentions. Never compare your worth to that of others because you did not accomplish what they did; you were never supposed to be like them. Your highest purpose in life is to be true to yourself. If you honor your personal gifts, intuition, inclinations, and visions, you will fulfill your destiny and serve many others in the process.” ~ Alan Cohen, A Deep Breath of Life
Marianne Williamson has written that loving ourselves isn’t selfish; it’s humble. To think that we are not worthy of our own love is to forget that we are a child of God. This isn’t suggesting we’re not flawed, but rather that we offer love to ourselves while we are learning better, while we are improving. We can decide to love our self right now, right here. Just the way we are.
There are goals I’m striving for and ways I’m inspired to keep learning. And there are times I fall down and feel too hurt to get back up. But I always do, because I know every wound carves me into a larger being, a wiser heart, a deeper spirit.
The life-long, on-going process of ‘growing up’ keeps me wildly interested in life. Our world is fascinating, terrific, terrible, upsetting, awe-inspiring and heart-breakingly beautiful. Life is incredible, all of it, and accepting and loving ourselves helps celebrate that!
Loving yourself does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others…
Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. - Margo Anand
Believing in our hearts that who we are is enough is the key to a more satisfying and balanced life. - Ellen Sue Stern
You can’t build joy on a feeling of self-loathing. - Ram Dass
It’s not your job to like me… it’s MINE! - Byron Katie
Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world. - Marianne Williamson
(As always, my gratitude to the creators of these images, randomly sourced off the Internet)
While I mull over and continue with a couple of upcoming articles, these images and wise words raise my spirits and remind me of the unlimited strength I have, if only I remember to ask. May we all remember how blessed we are, and that we are not alone as we journey through life. Blessings and Light and Love is all around, surrounding us and giving us Strength. Namaste.
It may sound idealistic at first to most people, but that’s how we can turn the world upside down.” From fellow blogger Jimmy on his post ‘How To Change The World’
Cartoon Source: Jimmy shared with me that he found this cartoon at Jay Bakker’s Facebook page. Other posters randomly sourced off Google.
Inside ~ Outside
Inside and out
Words waiting to write
But hidden in doubt
Until I remembered
This light of mine
Has much to share
And sometimes needs time
And spend time within
Being gentle with self
Letting go of chagrin
Accepting the tears
Yet knowing I need
To get out of my head
Let my dog intercede
And straight down the block
To the huge grassy park
For a brisk morning walk
I let the ball fly
And she runs like the wind
Helping blues rescind
She runs the most
But I do as well
Feeling my heart pound
Kissing sadness farewell.
Copyright © 2012 Professions for PEACE
First 2 images open stock ~ Dog image source: photographer and blogger at Pamlane.blogspot.com
I am delighted to share with you all, my dear readers, that today is the perfect day for me to release from the development stage and out onto the worldwide web my new blog. Particularly because today marks the 40th anniversary of the World Environment Day led by the United Nations. I welcome you to visit People Excited About Co~Existence to read more.
A blog about helping us all to live more green and make informed choices ~ http://peopleexcitedaboutcoexistence.com
I will share in all honesty that my perfectionist tendencies have been delaying my release of this new project of mine. It really is a dream I’ve had for decades, finally being realized and released. It feels HUGE to me. I really want to offer something helpful, a resource filled with links and information for people to access and browse around easily. I know that blogging is indeed quite a bit like gardening, in that it’s never really finished, but I have taken a deep breath and let go of my attachment to the outcome, and have made my new blog public. As I mentioned in my earlier post about awards and all the lessons they offer me, I can know that “I Did My Best” and that is good enough!
A couple of days ago I was overjoyed to discover two dear writers whose blogs I admire had nominated me for the same award. The image for The Sunshine Award is a beautiful photo of an orange gerbera daisy against a blue sky. Gorgeous! And as I read on, it’s described as being for “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” How lovely is that? Then I noticed a huge difference in how each of my nominators presented this award and I smiled. A perfect example of what I have written about in my two previous awards: that awards are generated to share kindness and encourage visiting other blogs. That’s it.
With my first award I learned, yet another, lesson from a favorite teacher of mine: Myself. Since I was very new to blogging I hadn’t had much time for finding and following a lot of other blogs yet, so I had to go searching for fifteen inspiring blogs. That’s awesome! Or was it? After an hour or more of getting lost in the blogosphere and being completely in my head, my back gave a good twinge as if to say ‘hello?’. I suddenly realized how tense I was. Stepping away and spending several moments relaxing my body and mind allowed me to see how much stress I’d accumulated. Where was this coming from? Certainly not the award itself. It was coming from my self-imposed perception of ‘doing it right’ and following all the points to the letter. I still did all the steps as presented to me, but gently. When stress tried to pry me away from my true purpose, I would stop and relax. Take a deep breath, and remind myself: do this if I want to, and if I really want to, then do it with joy. I remembered to stay present and enjoy the journey of seeking out blogs that inspire.
After I posted my list of fifteen and the ‘Seven Things About Me’ I breathed a sigh of relief that it was finally finished, then started browsing around for that award on others blogs. I discovered different lineages, if you will, of that particular award with highly varied steps to follow. Some said 15, some said 7, some had the ‘Things About Me’ list and others did not. The more I investigated all kinds of awards, the more I discovered how varied they are. It not only depends on what line they are from, it depends on the individual nominated blogger and how they ‘pass it on’. I say, Hooray for individuality!
I have learned to follow the steps to the letter if it feels fun, and to share the blogs I want to share not necessarily the number on the list. I certainly mean no offense to originators of awards and those recipients along the way who do all the steps with care and attention. However, what works for me, is to be relaxed about the process. When I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” the answer had better be “To have some fun! To share love and joy.” and certainly not “Because someone told me to. Because I have to.”
What I have learned about awards is do what you love and do it with joy.
Oh, and the actual award itself? More on that coming soon to a post near you….
Image source: “I Did My Best” Smiling Ribbon Award (package of stickers; search item p13857) at Scholar’s Choice http://childcare.scholarschoice.ca/
As much as I enjoy inspirational material, for me it’s always more nourishing and valid when the author shares their own journey and the inherent stumbles along our shared path of learning and living.
I recall a story by author Marianne Williamson when she was immersed in studying the word of God, trying to think as He thinks, trying to see as He sees, during a vacation with her occasionally trying mother. She’d had an argument with her mom earlier in the day but was putting it out of her mind to enjoy a gorgeous European landmark. She did an inward prayer asking God to help her see with His eyes. At that moment, as she was looking around, she caught sight of her mom in the distance and realized that in no way was God looking at her mom and saying, “That Sophie is such a bitch!”
I laughed out loud when I read that, and then cried, as I often do when something strikes me as perfectly profound. That she could relax her judgment of her mother by really understanding what it means to see with eyes of God, helped me relax around my own mother. To not be attached to what I felt were her small-minded ways of viewing the world. I made a decision to just be with her, to not try and change or enlighten her, and instead to see if and when I could make her laugh. To know she may not like to do what I like to do, but that I could play cribbage with her because I liked it enough and I knew that she loved it. My last years with my mother were thankfully filled with laughs due to my appreciation of her wit, and minimal arguments due to my insistence on viewing her as God would see her. It helped.
A story without personal experiences and too much of ‘do this; don’t do that’ while possibly still helpful, just doesn’t resonate as much as those writers who share of themselves. If an article feels like a textbook stating, This Is The Way It Is, it makes me want to ask the author: Why are you sharing this? What is your intention? Where is your experience? What is your story?
When a writer feels driven to help readers by offering insights, it’s a highly worthy goal. Let’s take it one step further. I encourage all of us so driven to inspire others to include our own viewpoints, perhaps along with those mentors we admire. Involve our own stories next to theirs. Put it into context. Then we, as the reader, can enjoy feeling the experience along with you and more fully allow the learning in.
Remember ~ in a world where you can be anything ~ be yourself.
Discovering what it really means to become a blogger is an exciting endeavor. However I’m discovering, as a neophyte in this realm, I have some inner fears lurking. I want to offer something substantial. I want to provide thought-provoking material. And then fear surfaces: But… but… what if I am not good enough… what if no one likes it… what if it is of no use… and what about… what if… !?
As I have learned to do with fear, I relax and breathe through it. Robert Frost wrote, “The best way out is always through.” That’s true with walking through forests, as well as in moving through situations that we find fearful. I choose to notice the tension that fear creates, take a deep breath in, and consciously relax with a deep exhalation. Watch tension subside. Repeat as required.
Fritz Perls taught us, “Fear is excitement without breath”. As someone who went through giving birth twice, I can personally attest to the tremendous power of breath in overcoming fear. Ask yourself, Am I really afraid, or just incredibly excited and forgetting to breathe through it?
An amazing lesson witnessed by all people who go through a birth is that it’s natural for humans to tense our muscles and stop breathing when we feel fear. We tighten up and hold our breath. Ancient triggers are at work. However, these triggers can and must be overcome. A woman birthing must recognize her natural reaction to fear and pain, and decide (remember) to consciously relax, breathe deeply, and be in her power. By being soft. Relaxed. It feels like going against everything the fear is screaming at us to do. However all humans can override this ancient wiring. Women have been using this natural relaxation birthing technique for millennia, and it still works today for any one who wishes to use it.
In a moment of fear or stress, notice the tightness in your body. Feel how your muscles have tightened and your breath has become shallow, or even held. We tend to hold our breath when we feel fear. Ancient programming. Perfectly natural. However let’s decide to rise above our ancient biological wiring and choose to relax. Take a deep breath and let the fear wash over you. Your eyes are clear and you can see the situation from a brighter viewpoint. Relaxation gives you strength.
Alan Cohen wrote that fear is like a crimp in a garden hose. We hold the flow of energy back, and feel blocked. But in an instant we can decide to open up, release our hold on that folded garden hose, and let the force of life flow through us.
Breathing deeply and filling our lungs oxygenates our blood and provides a physiologically calming effect. So let’s remember this when we are in fear, pain or stress: Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Relax the muscles. Feel the tension releasing.
This is worthy and important work. Studies have been proving comprehensively how damaging stress is to the body. Yet these studies tend to invoke fear and often fail to provide solutions. My humble suggestion: Remember to take a deep breath. Choose to consciously relax your muscles. These simple steps add joy and health to our lives.
I have been breathing through my fear of becoming a new blogger. I am opening that garden-hose crimp. I choose to breathe through any fears of inadequacy or imperfection. Through breathing and relaxing I can return to my Truth: Just be me. Write the things I want to share, from a place of honesty and integrity and love. And from this place of calm fearlessness I know that this blog is meant to be. It is a story of me. To you. Namaste.