“If you are not willing to feel and experience the pain of your life you will never know peace fully. We cannot have one without the other and if you resist pain then you cannot embody peace. You will only have glimpses and then fall back into the darkness. True peace comes from the understanding that pain is necessary, not a punishment. Can you see pain today as an opportunity to grow and change? It is only by changing to this perception that you can begin the journey to lasting peace.”
Short and Sweet #3 – Finding Stillness
“You cannot create stillness, just be receptive to it, it is always there like the sun obscured by the clouds. Reaching this stillness is not about doing, it is about letting go. The noise of the world permeates our minds. This is why you have trouble meditating and being in the moment. You are trying to create something that already exists. You just need to let go and fall into the stillness of the Divine. When we show up without judgment or expectation the stillness will arrive one day just like the clouds parting to reveal the sun. This will happen in its own time, not yours. Then you will fall deeply into the stillness and the arms of the Divine. Life becomes easier when we stop trying to make things happen and we allow the guidance of the Divine to be revealed. So just show up each day, take a seat and wait to see what happens. Slow down!”
Short and Sweet #2 – Creating Change
“Letting go is not always easy, it requires several things, one is facing the very thing(s) that we thought were dealt with in the past but really were just stored away. In addition, we must face our pain both emotional and physical; we must be able to say thank you for showing me the way, I Love You. It is only through accepting our weakest parts that we are able to let go. It is by taking these small steps one at a time and letting go inch by inch that we make our greatest changes. This action and change allows for a deeper connection to the Divine.”
Short and Sweet #1 – Resistance
“Many things keep us stuck in resistance; in fact, the list is very long. Here are a few: anger, frustration, boredom, hate and blame. When we point to another for our problems or to something outside ourselves, we are lost, we are stuck in resistance. We must recognize the problem is in us and nowhere else. From this recognition, the heart opens and we can see how much those we feel injured us need our love and compassion, for they are lost and stuck in resistance too. With this truth revealed we can then offer the love and compassion they need and just as important we can offer that love and compassion to ourselves to release the resistance and find our way back to the Divine.”
Healing in Difficult Times
Something powerful that can change your life is the recognition that whatever you perceive as negative or bad in your life is there to help you, not hurt you. This even includes the things and people who make you miserable.
When you realize that the intention behind these experiences is for your highest good, it will open a door to transform the experience and lead to less suffering and healing. Once you can develop a cooperative relationship with the experience, your problems transmute into opportunities for healing and transformation.
Each moment of life is designed for transformation and change to take place and it is up to you to set your intention, develop your awareness and be willing to change. With this in place, life will only get better and better with time no matter what state you are in at this moment. Trust that the Universe is conspiring for you and not against you.
Say NEVER MORE to NEVERLAND
We have all been to NEVERLAND at one time or another. This is not the Neverland in the fairytale. It is a place of broken dreams and forgotten possibilities. We have different size properties, some lease others buy. Some stay for a short while and others spend a lifetime. How do I know this is true? Because I have been there, just as birth and death are part of the human experience so is visiting Neverland, at least for now. This is why no one escapes experiencing it; in fact, part of you may be there right now.
What is Neverland you ask? When someone says something to you that is not for your highest good, something that you come to believe is true, your life trajectory changes and your experience of the world becomes clouded. Each time you are told something that diminishes your soul’s fullest expression you acquire more space in Neverland.
For example, have you ever been told that you were not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or perhaps you were told, like me, that you would live in pain the rest of your life. When a person of authority like a doctor, parent, teacher or even a friend tells you something that is not for your highest good and which you believe to be true, then part of your energy ends up in Neverland. Just keep in mind that no human being knows with one-hundred percent certainty the direction or outcome of your life, not even you. Only focusing on the highest outcome and keeping a positive attitude throughout will guarantee you the best possible results with the least amount of suffering.
Once the hurtful words are said and we believe them to be true, we begin to create a story based on these words. The story reinforces the “truth” of what we were told and then we begin to tell ourselves this story repeatedly until it becomes our new reality. This re-shapes our experience of the world and we begin to make different choices. This leads our life in a different direction, we feel less empowered, less capable, and we feel stuck. We may even feel like the world is conspiring against us.
We can cause this same shift in trajectory by having our own destructive thoughts, for instance, I am not worthy, I am fat, lazy or any other limiting belief. Do not be fooled, this is just as destructive as hearing it from someone else and will keep some part of you captive in Neverland. You will have difficulty manifesting anything else because you believe the story you have created and nothing exists outside of this story.
In order to avoid this outcome you must not take the damaging information as absolute truth and remain open to manifesting something different. If you follow your own inner guidance, intuition, and stay awake and aware, you will be presented other options on your journey.
You may be wondering how do I become more aware, reconnect with my intuition and become more awake. These questions can be answered in many ways. There are no great secrets here; it requires an unbending intention and commitment to change. Once you step on this path and never give up, the universe will support you all the way, I guarantee it and you will never regret it for one second.
OK you have created the intention and are on the path, now what? Let’s talk about a few things you can do to develop these qualities. Just remember to pay attention as much as you can because whatever is for your highest good will show up to help you because the universe is always communicating to you in some form or another. Do not take these suggestions as the only way because there are many ways. However, if you resonate with something then go for it. Find what works for you and let the rest go, keep moving.
First begin to ask your higher self, God, your angels to help you. Pray, talk to them aloud or to yourself, whatever feels right and comfortable.
I believe meditation to be one of the most important and effective ways to develop your awareness, intuition and to begin awakening. There are many misconceptions about meditation these days and most people get frustrated when they first try it. If you have experienced that you cannot meditate because you cannot quiet your thoughts, know this is a normal part of the process and that thoughts flow continuously. The idea is to not attach to them. This takes practice; it could take weeks, months or even years. A consistent and regular practice will eventually bring you the peace you seek. Just notice your thoughts, note that you cannot quiet them, without any judgment.
There are different ways to meditate. Finding a form that works for you is very important. You do not have to sit is a seated pose, like lotus position with your legs crossed to meditate. Find a qualified teacher or read a book about it. Explore the various types and ways to meditate thoroughly before discarding it just because you think you cannot do it or you do not like to do it. Your perception of what it is and how to do it may be wrong. If you have investigated thoroughly and still do not find it helpful then do not worry, as I said there are many ways on the path and something will show up.
In addition, I believe the body plays a major role in our spiritual growth and it is rarely talked about. I will go into more depth about this another time. For now just know that deep transformational bodywork can help. I am not talking about a regular gentle massage, this type of message offers its own benefits. What I speak of requires a practitioner who is very intuitive and can do deeper work physically and energetically.
I would like to share what I call body scanning. This is a simple exercise which, when used regularly, will begin to bring awareness back into your body. Remember no matter how relaxed you think you are you can always go to a deeper, more relaxed state.
Find a quiet place to sit or lie down. If you lie down do not fall asleep. This exercise requires you to aware and awake. Turn the phone off and make sure you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and begin to scan your body. Find the one place that speaks the loudest to you, maybe it is your low back. It may feel painful, tight or uncomfortable. Most people will not be able to relax this place. In fact, the more attention you place on this spot the more it will tighten up or hurt in most cases. Begin to scan away from this point looking for other places in your body that are tight that you can relax. For example, maybe you can relax your arms, feet or jaw. Continue to look for new places that you can relax moving through the body continuing to look for the next place. Circling back through the body, you re-check the places you found before to see if they have tightened back up. If you find they have and you probably will, relax them again and then resume looking for new places.
After several minutes of this, check in with your original spot to see if it feels more relaxed. Often it will because everything in your body is connected so whenever you release tension in one area it will affect the entire body not just where you feel it. You will receive benefit even if you are not able to discern the change by doing this exercise.
If you continue to practice on a regular basis, you will become proficient enough to do it at any time and in any situation. You can even diffuse an uncomfortable situation like an argument by relaxing your body in the moment. Of course, you will need to practice for some time to be able to have this kind of awareness in an argument, most people are completely out of their bodies and unaware of how their energy is effecting it until after the argument is over.
This exercise, which is also a form of meditation, will bring more peace and ease into your body and life. Over time, it will retrain your muscles and body to be more relaxed and you will find other benefits as well with continued practice. Connecting deeper like this with your body and developing your awareness will once again open the door to infinite possibilities.
Finally, if you have already created a story that does not feel like it is for your highest good then it is within your power to create a new story, one that is for your highest good. At all times we are aware of our soul’s truth, but we must be willing to face our fears and begin reconnecting with our soul’s guidance. You are ALWAYS being supported and guided, you just have to quiet the mind, fall into the heart and listen. Always know that you will never be given more than you can handle. You have already experienced the truth of this statement in your life. Therefore, the choice is yours at any given moment to take up space in Neverland or to say NEVER MORE to Neverland.
Surrender vs. Giving Up
Many people do not see a difference between surrender and giving up. Do you see a difference between these two concepts? Please think about it before continuing. What is your honest answer?
For me there is a huge difference. I always choose surrender first when I have the strength. The difference between surrender and giving up is the difference between suffering (giving up) and being at peace (surrender). It is the difference between being lost and finding your way.
Let’s look at a few of those differences. First, remove your mental glasses. This means we are not using a dictionary to define these words but taking a deeper look through our spiritual glasses.
If you have difficulty liking or accepting change, then removing your mental glasses may not be easy at first. I guarantee the more you do it the easier it will get. If you are serious about your spiritual development (and I know you are or you would not be reading this), then adopting a positive attitude toward change is a requirement because without it you will struggle. All life is in a constant state of change so adopting a positive attitude toward change goes a long way towards alleviating suffering.
Implies a lack of action
Is resistance to what is
Says no to life (you curl up into a ball on the bed)
Fuels your suffering
Moves you away from God
Is acceptance of what is
Says yes to life (you hold your arms wide open ready to receive)
Fuels your happiness
Move you closer to God
See if you can come up with some of your own ideas of how surrender is different from giving up. Moreover, the next time you feel stuck and feel like giving up try surrendering to what is and allow the grace of God to fill your life with the blessings of your birthright. Would you be there for your son or daughter no matter what? Then why would God not show up for you?
Change Your Perception From Problem to Opportunity
As long as you see the challenges of your life–even the smallest difficulty–as a problem you will suffer. The only thing that makes you suffer is your perception about the event, not the event itself. Nothing on the outside can make you suffer; suffering begins from within. All challenges can bring you closer to God or take you further away. The choice is yours based on your perception. Change your perception from problem to opportunity and this will change your experience.
Even if another person says something hurtful to you, you do not have to get upset; recognize these hurtful words come from someone who is focusing on their problems and is suffering. Their intention is not to hurt you, but to relieve their own suffering. Their unconscious act is the best that they can do in their present state.
If the suffering comes from an outside event, you must recognize that the point of this event is not to cause you pain or problems, but it has arrived to teach you something about yourself. This includes all events in our lives, from physical injury to emotional hurt and even the death of a loved one. Let me say this another way, there is and always will be opportunity in all of life’s experiences including the most tragic. In fact, our most tragic events present our greatest opportunity for change.
We still will experience sadness, grief, loss or other emotions, but in that moment when we have the clarity to look for opportunity, our life begins to flow again. We can lose ourselves in our problems or we can find ourselves through our problems by looking for the doorway called opportunity. With this change from problem to opportunity, we once again become congruent with the creative energy of the universe.
The “Ups and Downs” of Life
I have been going through what some would call a very difficult time in life and others call a dark night of the soul.
This is not the first time I have dealt with major challenges and changes in my life. Let me share just a bit, of what has been happening since November 2009. First, I was sick with the flu most of November, and unable to work. Then my father became ill and ended up in the hospital in early December so I traveled to my parent’s home in Orange County CA to help. He never recovered completely and on January 15, 2010, he passed away. Then on January 20, the day before leaving to go back to Ohio for the funeral, I tore my meniscus. I went back on crutches for his burial. On January 23, I returned to Orange County and saw an Orthopedic Surgeon. I had knee surgery February 1 in Orange County. After the surgery, I returned home to northern California February 7 to recover. Just a few weeks later when my mom fell on the driveway and was admitted to the hospital, I returned to Southern California. Once she was in the hospital, it was clear that she would no longer be able to live alone. Of course, this brought on another set of challenges and major life changes for the whole family, most of all for my mom.
Throughout life we find ourselves subjected to what Shakespeare called “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” I would call this the “Ups and Downs” of life. And even though this is a natural part of our journey, we often fail to realize this fact and struggle with difficult times when we could choose to experience things differently.
There are advantages to growing older, like more wisdom and increased awareness. The very things I thought were hurting me turned out to be some of the greatest gifts I have ever received, like my alcoholism and back injury. Perhaps even more importantly, I have come to understand that without the difficult times of life I would not have the same appreciation for the “up” times in life. As Neale Donald Walsh puts it, “It is this very contrast that creates our known experiences. It is Contrast that creates the Context within which anything at all can be known Experientially.”
We often do not acknowledge the ebb and flow of life and we can find ourselves seeking a very distorted view of our experiences. This distortion says that perfection somehow means that nothing ever goes wrong. What does “going wrong,” mean anyway? Could we have a distorted view of that as well?
For instance, I lived with alcoholism and a severe back injury for many years. From the outside, these look like wrong or terrible events, but these very things guided me into the work I do today. So, were they bad things or were they perceived bad at the time and now should be perceived as good? What do good and bad really mean? We have attached or defined labels to them, we do this with everything in life using the five senses and our minds. Aren’t bad and good really just two words which describe an event or thing based on a perception? Isn’t it true that two people can have the exact same experience and one person can see it as awesome and the other think it is the worst experience of their life? For example, how about a rollercoaster ride or eating Brussels sprouts? Isn’t it true that we all see things slightly different from one another all the time? So who is correct then, are you for seeing my alcoholism as terrible or me for seeing it as good?
Can something be perceived as wrong and later realized to be in perfect order? Can we recognize that without the perceived wrong experience the right experience would never have happened? Moreover, does this mean that everything that is happening right now is in perfect order? Making a judgment based on a perception in the moment is not a factual representation of the event unless we let it fully unfold.
Making judgments like good/bad and right/wrong block us from connecting to the essence of others and situations. And this is where we get into trouble. Our minds begin to create a story based on what we perceive is happening and then we make judgments based on that perception. These judgments are created from our past experiences and have nothing to do with what is happening in the moment. What if we paused and changed our perception, admitting to ourselves and our mind that we don’t really know what’s going on. We may think we know what is happening, and we may to some extent, but we are rarely privy to the full picture.
“What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.” — Epictetus
All things in the universe are made up of energy. And there is always a counter energy to every force. In Chinese philosophy it’s called the yin and yang, which are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects and we can feel this energy any time, which is just another example of how everything is energy. For instance, love and hate, now you may say these are emotions and not energies but they do have energy connected with them. We can all feel this energy anytime by paying attention to and sensing our body while we feel these emotions.
“To live a balanced life, we must be able to flow outwards when necessary, and to center inwards when necessary.” – Eknath Easwaran
The next time something happens in your life that is challenging or painful take a pause and ask yourself if you really know why it is happening or that you know what the outcome will definitely be. Then let go and take a different perspective and see if something changes or maybe everything will change. Can you possibly see something good arising from something perceived to be bad?
Each moment brings with it the rise of a new dawn and like the phoenix rising from the ashes we all have the opportunity to begin anew at any moment we choose. We can stand on that three-meter platform without fear and dive fully into the soul, leaving behind the baggage of the past. Release the fear of the future and remain present in the moment, fully rejoicing in the love of our creator.
Edited by Elaine Baskin