“A weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes,
whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.” ~ Victor Frankl
Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield
but to my own strength.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” ~George MacDonald
“Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness,
or else forgiving another.” ~Jean Paul
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
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?
“It’s been proven that the thoughts we choose
have everything to do with our emotions.
I can tell you that a commitment to feeling good
can take away a stomach ache, fear, depression, sadness,
anxiety – you name it. Any stress signal is
a way of alerting you to say the five magic words:
I want to feel good.
This is your intention to be tranquil and stress free,
and it’s a way of connecting to spirit.”
Wayne Dyer, Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life
“Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” ~ Rossiter W. Raymond
My post from last year on this day of my mother’s passing:
Psalm 147:3 NKJV ~ He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
“We become truly compassionate when we are wise enough to remain inwardly detached from the melodrama of life. True detachment is the ability to allow everything and everyone to be where they are and who they are. It is an ability to remain centered and grounded whether our advice or offering is received or rejected. Detachment is not indifference to the feelings or sufferings of others. It is the quiet understanding that everything is unfolding exactly as it should.” ~ Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery
Always remember this fact:
Sweet One, You Are Loved.
“To remember that you are a part of God, that you are loved and lovable, is not arrogant. It’s humble. To think you are anything else is arrogant, because it implies you’re something other than a creation of God. Love is changeless and therefore so are you. Nothing that you have ever done or will ever do can mar your perfection in the eyes of God. You’re deserving in His eyes because of what you are, not because of what you do. What you do or don’t do is not what determines your essential value – your growth perhaps – but not your value. That’s why God is totally approving and accepting of you, exactly as you are.”
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved you with an everlasting love.
[Images gratefully sourced from Google.com]
“OUR PRAYERS HAVE POWER: Prayer vibrates the etheric web. If we pray for another, a vibration flows out from our intention toward the person for whom we pray. Never underestimate the energy that is stirred and released through prayer. The more comfortable we are with prayer, and the more faith we have that our prayers have power, the greater will be the intensity of the vibration we send forth. Take time to pray. Discover the potency, the wonder that unfolds.” Ann Mortifee, In Love With The Mystery
“We must not conceive of prayer as an overcoming of God’s unwillingness, but as laying hold of His highest willingness.” ~ Richard Chenevix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin
“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
“More things are wrought by prayer
than this world dreams of.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
“God is a frequency. Stay tuned.” ~ Alan Cohen
I pray to have faith in things unseen, knowing Your loving hand sustains me.
Help me keep You in my thoughts, that my world may reflect divinity everywhere I look.
I place my life in Your hands, trusting that You always lead me to my right place and my highest good.
Please click image to visit source in a new page. Unlinked images are from Google.
And now let us welcome the New Year
Full of things that have never been.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
January, the month of new beginnings and cherished memories, beckons.
Come, let winter weave her wondrous spell: cold, crisp, woolen-muffler days, long dark evenings of savory suppers, lively conversations, or solitary joys.
Outside the temperature drops as the snow falls softly. All of nature is at peace. We should be, too.
Draw hearthside. This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Source of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
As you enter this new year, nothing in the past has any power to affect what you do now. You are an entirely new person, different from the person you were. This year has never been lived before, and you have never had the consciousness you now have. You are setting sail on a great adventure determined only by how grand you are willing to think. This year, think big thoughts to create miraculous results. ~ Alan Cohen
You have known us, Divine One, since before the foundation of the world.
You are closer than hands and feet.
Truly, as it is said, in You we live and move and have our being. Yet so often we feel alone, like strangers in a strange land. Although the mind may forget its divine birth, the heart yearns ceaselessly to remember. ~ Joan Borysenko
Let us close our eyes and take a deep breath. Become aware of the deep stillness within. Let us affirm: My Divine Beloved and I are One.
[My warmest gratitude to the creators of these images randomly sourced off the Web]
“Oh, would that Christmas lasted the whole year through, as it ought. Would that the spirit of Christmas could live within our hearts every day of the year.” ~Charles Dickens
“If as Herod, we fill our lives with things and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.” ~Author Unknown
“The image of Christ being born in a manger symbolizes that God comes forth in a place of humility. Spirit seeks not fanfare, human riches or, accolades, but the simplicity of an open heart.” ~Alan Cohen
Wishing each and every one of us, the entire human family that we comprise, a truly peaceful heart and a peaceful loving world. God bless. ~Gina
First image from sandyhaight.com; All others were randomly sourced.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative.
IDENTIFYING NEGATIVE THINKING
Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some forms of negative self-talk:
Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
Personalizing: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
Catastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.
FOCUSING ON POSITIVE THINKING
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you’re creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
Identify areas to change: If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
Be open to humor: Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
Follow a healthy lifestyle: Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
Practice positive self-talk: Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.
Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.
Excerpt from MayoClinic.com. With gratitude to the makers of these randomly sourced images.
Today I am sharing an old poem by the ‘People’s Poet’ and it describes the importance of liking ourselves. This is an essential component of raising our self-worth, and strengthening our self-love.
From this foundation we all can see that challenges make life interesting, and the overcoming of them is what makes life worthwhile. We are strong enough for everything we find in our path.
Remember Victor Hugo’s wisdom: “God doesn’t make fruit grow on branches too weak to bear its weight.” This old adage reminds us that if we are given a challenge it means we are up to it, and the stronger we are sometimes the tougher the obstacle. If we find ourself in a rough patch, let’s hold our head high and know that we must be up to the challenge or it wouldn’t have landed in our lap.
Having faith in ourselves and our abilities is sometimes as simple as the ability to lift our heads up off the pillow. It is another day. A new day. And we are here, with ourself. We must like ourselves. After all, we know ourselves the best, and we know how much we have been through.
Sometimes when I take a moment to remember where I came from and all that I have been through, I cannot help but want to pat myself on the back. ‘Way to Go’, I cheer to myself. ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’. Try saying that to yourself and see how much better it makes you feel.
Written by Edgar A. Guest
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking no one else will ever know
The kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve [people’s] respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
Whatever happens I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
Edgar Guest (1881 – 1959) worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Guest is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics may have occassionally derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the “People’s Poet,” served as Michigan’s poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.
Paul Mark Sutherland found a wonderful verse from Edgar A. Guest. Thanks Paul!
Here’s a couple of my earlier posts with additional poems from Edgar A. Guest: