Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 31--Completing a Month of Transition

In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are.  --Michael Singer

    As we leave the month of January with the its theme of transition, I leave you with these words of Albert Einstein, giving us the direction where we must proceed in order to ensure both our survival and thriving:
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
    This fits the Singer quote perfectly, doesn't it? Let's free ourselves from the prison of small thinking and limitation, in order to be the loving, expanding, joyful, infinite, interconnected beings we truly are. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

January 30--The Journey of Staying Put

It's good to have an end to journey toward, but it's the journey that matters in the end.  --Ursula K. Le Guin

    Being a person who loves to travel, 2020 cramped my style hard. Planned journeys to Arizona, Colorado, the eastern U.S., and Spain/Portugal were cancelled. Many times I have felt trapped in a much smaller world not so much of my choosing. But 2020 in itself was a journey of "home." With home as our safe place, our base, we tend to take it for granted. 2020 hopefully brought to us deep gratitude for the comforts of home--warmth in cold times, coolness in warm times, running water, those beings we live with (whether person, animal or both), comfort, safety, the ability to cook and eat well, clean water, working plumbing and electrical systems, projects to use our skills, neighbors, the beauty and character of our immediate neighborhood, the opportunity to learn and apply new skills. I've always loved my woman cave. It is my office, creative space and TV room all combined, and I still enjoy hanging there. The journey of 2020 brought us a clearer picture of what we truly value and what we choose to let go. That is "the journey that matters in the end."

Friday, January 29, 2021

January 29--Enjoy the Ride!

Accomplishments will prove to be a journey, not a destination. 
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The fun is in the doing, in the process. Because once we've completed a task, goal or dream, we naturally look for the next one, i.e. the next journey, to undertake. Do we ever, upon reaching a destination, or accomplishing a goal, sit down and say, "OK, that's it, I'm done forever!"? In a universe designed to expand eternally, including the humans in it, there is no destination. It's all about the journey. 
    A couple days ago, I was able to talk myself into going for a lunchtime walk, although it was very cold outside. If all I cared about was the destination, I'd have stayed in my office, because that's where my walk ended up. It was the journey--being outside, moving my body, (sort of) clearing my head--that I was seeking. Similarly, with a barn quilt painting project, while I enjoy the end result, the "destination," it is the journey of creation that delights me--drawing the pattern, taping the lines, adding color after color.
    What journey(s) will today include for you?

Thursday, January 28, 2021

January 28--Dead or Alive?

Things which do not grow and change are dead things. --Louise Erdrich

    "Everything has a lifespan." Those are the wise words of spiritual mentor, Rev. Dr. Chris Michaels. Most importantly, each of us humans has a lifespan. With no idea how long that lifespan may be, why waste it? Growing and changing keep life interesting. Our magnificent planet offers us infinite variety sufficient to keep us exploring and learning and growing for many lifetimes. 
    A dear relative declining over recent years with numerous health problems said recently, "I'm just sitting in my chair waiting to die." In some respects, his spirit already has, as he's lost the impetus to "grow and change." It is sad and painful to witness, but I get it. He is weary.
    Change, like death and taxes, is one of the few things we can be sure of. All life, including planet Earth itself, is continually evolving. Resistance to change simply makes one uncomfortable. There's no stopping it. That's a good thing. Look at all the fun we've had as a result of all the growth and change of our lifetime--easy travel, instant worldwide communication, how-to and DIY information available for virtually every task, wireless phones with cameras built-in, shopping without leaving the house--that's just the start of a very long list. 
    Curious humans do amazing things!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

January 27--Saved? 😉😉

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.  --Buddha

    This is similar to the Jan 25 Mumford quote that "Growth and self-transformation cannot be delegated." Possibly we could replace the word "saves" with "fixes." If life is not to our liking, it's tempting to look all over the place for someone or something to FIX it. Alas, as Buddha states, the fixing or saving is our own work and can't be anyone else's job. 
    I don't consider myself a Christian. I don't have any such religious label that I apply to myself. I have been asked occasionally by a religious (usually professed Christian) person if I have been "saved." My reply is "Saved from what?" I don't believe there's anything out there "keeping score," judging me, prepared to torture me for eternity. The only thing I need saving from is my own self-limiting or self-destructive thoughts and actions, and only I can do that. This "path" that Buddha references IS life, the joy of freedom and expansion that we come here to experience. 
    Let's enjoy the walk,

One can dream...

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

January 26--Integrity

There is no real development without integrity, that is--a love of truth. 
--Frank Lloyd Wright

    Holy cow, is this ever relevant, having just survived four years of a POTUS who consistently and blatantly lied, has no integrity, and not only didn't develop, but deteriorated over the four years into an even more vengeful person. It has been a glaring example of this quote, center-stage USA. 
    So with my verbal finger-pointing, I do note that three fingers are pointing back at me. This quote has likewise been true in my life. As I look back on my early years moving into adulthood and my twenties, I see very much a lack of integrity. Yes, I was "cash-register honest," but there were a lot of secrets. What folks saw on the outside was not matching the inside. There was plenty of personal, internal dishonesty, especially revolving around my addiction. It was in a 12-Step program that I learned the concept of integrity and how to develop it within myself. Like all of life, it's a practice. The more I practice, the more I grow, and the more comfortable I become with who I am. 
    I believe truth is an aspect of love, that love is the only power there is, and that truth always comes out eventually. I'm grateful for that. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

January 25--If Only

Growth and self-transformation cannot be delegated.  --Lewis Mumford

    If they could, there would certainly be plenty of folks looking to offload the work! How silly--if someone else did our spiritual work, we wouldn't learn anything. 
    Speaking from personal experience, growth and self-transformation can be quite messy. Exploring my shadows, seeking to release character defects, striving to recover from generations of addiction--let's just say there has been a lot of angst, tears and snot. There were things that were extremely difficult and/or embarrassing to face, but at no time was my life actually in danger. Growth and self-transformation did not kill me, nor will it kill you. I don't regret a bit of the effort and messiness. It brought me to where I am today, healthy, with good relationships, comfortable in my own skin. 
    Given that our very reason for being alive is expansion, life will make us grow and transform. We can choose to proceed fighting, kicking and screaming all the way--a victim--or curiously enjoy the journey--an empowered being. Being human, we will most likely waver between those two choices, and we'll certainly learn from that which is ultimately the more satisfying approach.
    Staying curious,

Sunday, January 24, 2021

January 24--The Heart Knows

There is no reason not to follow your heart.  --Steve Jobs

    Can I get an "AMEN!"? 😉😉 Science has discovered that the heart has its own "brain," and there is just as much communication moving from the heart to the brain as vice versa. (Check out the Heartmath Experience here.) Getting the heart and brain operating in coherence is what the Heartmath Experience is all about, and it's really not difficult to achieve that state. It is a very potent place from which to operate. 
    Granted, it takes practice to get in touch with one's heart wisdom, and faith and practice to actually follow that guidance. I really believe that there is something within us that knows, and it is most easily accessed via the heart. It's that internal feeling of "yes, this feels right" or "creepy, not good, bad vibes." I expect we've all had a time when we elected to ignore this wisdom, and I doubt the results were pleasing. And vice versa--there's a current of energy that carries us along when we are flowing with the wisdom of our hearts. 
    Love moving through our hearts truly is the only power that exists... otherwise we wouldn't be here. 

Your Miraculous Heart

Saturday, January 23, 2021

January 23--Never!

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.  --C. S. Lewis

    What good news! If we feel too old to set a goal or dream a dream, what else is there? I'm not necessarily talking lofty save-the-world stuff here. There are some days wherein getting out of bed and moving is a big goal. 
    A few years back I had a conversation with a recently divorced woman who said, "I just want to survive." To which I replied, "How about thriving instead?" The ensuing discussion changed her perspective dramatically, which I have no doubt changed the course of her life. Setting goals and dreaming enable us to thrive. 
    Continuing to pursue goals and dreams is inspiring to others. Our older son and his partner are in the process of building and buying their first home. Their excitement is infectious. In this ongoing pandemic, with so much uncertainty about what we may be able to do, it is so wonderful to have the new home to anticipate. It's a big step for the whole family. 
    I am in the midst of my tax season job now, with the aim being to enjoy each day and learn something new. I always have travel and swimming goals. I have been pondering a "new dream" for quite some time. I'm not sure what that is at this point, but I'll know it when it lands on me. The pandemic and events of 2020 have changed life so dramatically, I'm OK with giving myself some time to figure out what's next. 
    I'm not too old, and neither are you!

Barney, fulfilling his role of watchdog 😉😉

Friday, January 22, 2021

January 22--Little by Little

Many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.  --Plutarch

    Those who know me even somewhat well know that house-cleaning is pretty much my least favorite activity in life. Certainly I love the end result, but the process, not so much. The thought of cleaning my whole house at one time has become one of those things "which cannot be overcome." So I have developed the practice of cleaning for one hour. Knowing I can stop in an hour, I get as much done as possible in that time. As a result, typically in three separate hours, I can usually get the house clean. "Little by little" is much less torturous for me. 
    Humans simply can't always see the big picture, and so we have to operate on "little by little." Life is little by little, one day, another day, another. Healing anything--physical, emotional, mental, spiritual--is usually a "little by little" process. Accomplishing a goal or fulfilling a dream involves a multitude of baby steps. "Little by little" is the journey of life. The fun is in the process. 
    Enjoy this day, "little by little!" 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

January 21--Different Every Day

It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. 
--Lewis Carroll

    I love this quote. Each day I have changed from the person of yesterday--I've had more thoughts, interactions and experiences, each one of which changes me somehow. I learned a variation of this in the 12-Step program. One of the steps is about releasing our character defects, those dark, shadowy aspects of our personality that don't serve us. Even though I have released many of them, they will still reappear occasionally. This can be frustrating and annoying, until I remember that I am a different person from the last time I experienced the defect, better able to cope with it and move ahead. 
    This quote also makes me ponder the sudden, monumental events of life such as the death of a loved one, birth of a child, a life-threatening diagnosis, a serious accident, and so on. These events change us drastically and suddenly, and we awaken in the following days a very-much changed person. That different person of yesterday is gone forever.  
    It is a marvelous blessing that we are can't "unlearn" anything, and we are always expanding. We did the best we could with yesterday's consciousness, and we shall do the same today as the different person we've become since yesterday. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January 20--"Git 'Er Done"

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. 

    Actually, the first part is the most challenging for most folks. As a spiritual living coach, when I ask folks what they want to do, be or have, most often I get, "I don't know." It is impossible to "do what you have to do" when you don't know what you are aiming for.

    Let's play.
    I want to be peaceful. Eliminate drama from your life. 
    I want to be financially secure. Use your money wisely, live simply within your means.
    I want to be a writer. Write.
    I want to be a world traveler. Go somewhere.
    I want to be an artist. Paint or play music or sculpt--create something.
    I want to be healthy. Move, eat well, develop your body sense, care for yourself. 
    I want to have more friends. Be a friend, show love somewhere.

    You get the idea. Once you figure out what you would be/do/have, the rest is pretty easy to discern. Not necessarily easy to accomplish, mind you, but easy to discern. 
    I think I can, I think I can,

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

January 19--Life's Music

Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.  --David Bowie

    This is all about enthusiasm for life. Comically, I have heard today coming for nine months. For three months each year, I do tax work, starting today, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. So after a light pace of part-time work, I go full-time and beyond for three months. I thoroughly enjoy the work and my co-workers. I learn so much. My earnings support my travel habit. 
    There is a common question: what gets you up in the morning? My surface answer is "coffee." But deep down, I love my life. Except maybe for a tropical beach, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. My health is great, my relationships are good, I have a great variety of meaningful work and activities that I enjoy, and I thoroughly dig being by myself. I have a rich spiritual practice that nourishes me. I look forward to even the most "boring" of days. My angel dog Barney keeps me moving and laughing. Love enfolds me and moves through me--it doesn't get any better than that, and that is the music of my days. 
    Is your life's music a pleasant tune? 

Monday, January 18, 2021

January 18--BIG Change

Every great change is preceded by chaos.  --Deepak Chopra

    I've referenced this quote recently (see Jan. 10 post). I'm expecting very great change, given the very great chaos we are currently experiencing. Humans generally don't dive into change unless something upsets the balance of one's life. It has taken massive global and national chaos to awaken the whole world to the fact that our current model for living is not sustainable. We've had excellent time for soul-searching and deciding how we each can contribute to the betterment of all. 
    Excited for the future,

Sunday, January 17, 2021

January 17--New Paths

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.  --John Rockefeller

    2020 showed us on billboard scale that "the worn paths of accepted success" are no longer viable, and we must find new paths. The path I want to challenge today is the Trump-incited path of fear and anger. Once again I have been gifted with the perfect words to use, from Henri Nouwen:
Freedom Is Our Goal
While fear and anger are the most natural and most obvious reactions to a state of emergency, they have to be unmasked as expressions of our false selves. When we are trembling with fear or seething with anger, we have sold ourselves to the world or to a false god. Fear and anger take our freedom away and make us victims of the strong seductions of our world. Fear, as well as anger, when we look at them in solitude and quiet, reveal to us how deeply our sense of worth is dependent either on our success in the world or on the opinions of others. We suddenly realize that we have become what we do or what others think of us.
    Living in fear and anger is letting the "others" win, letting the source live in our heads rent-free. That is not the path I care to take. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

January 16--Here for a Reason

These are the days that must happen to you.  --Walt Whitman

    Well, that's rather blunt, but quite true. I sincerely believe that somehow, someway, somewhere, we signed up to be here at this tumultuous time in history. There are no accidents or coincidences. We live in an orderly Universe, whether or not that appears to be the case. Those of us alive now are the ones to lead humanity into a kinder, gentler, more planet-friendly way of living. 
    So much for the "global" scale. The Whitman quote applies to each individual life, too. Life here on magnificent planet Earth depends on cause and effect, choice and consequence. So the choices we have made must lead to the days that are happening to us. If we don't like "the days," the logical remedy would be to change the choices made, choices of thought, word and deed. One of the toughest things in parenting is allowing a child to experience the consequences of negative actions. Preventing that is a huge disservice to the development of the child, because then they fail to learn the "choice and consequence" lesson, leading to frustration, confusion, resentment and inability to cope with "the days that must happen."  
    On the bright side, maintaining an attitude of faith, hope and gratitude tends to lead to good days happening to us. We can most likely look at friends or relatives and see the Whitman quote playing out. My mother believed in her illnesses and victimhood, and died a painful cancer death at age 61. My father was the eternal optimist and lived a mostly good life just shy of age 83. We may not like the way the cause/effect law plays out, but at least we have individual choice of how to use it.
    Best of all, humans are resilient. These "days that must happen" will pass, and human consciousness will expand as a result. Good news!

Friday, January 15, 2021

January 15--With Love and Reverence

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.  --Henry David Thoreau

    In my working life, I have been a computer systems developer, legal secretary and finance manager. It was a bit of a crooked path, but each of those worked in my family's life at the time. I enjoyed most all of it. The finance manager job took a major turn for the worse, and "love and reverence" disintegrated. That led to the leap into my current self-employment, which is very crooked, indeed, but steeped in love and reverence. I hesitate when asked what I do. Which of the following do I offer? Tax preparer, MELT/yoga teacher, spiritual living coach, author, or bookkeeper. Maybe after reading the Thoreau quote, I'll state my occupation as "walking with love and reverence." I love all the things I do, that's why I continue to do them. 
    My absolute favorite path of "love and reverence" has been motherhood. I wouldn't call it a narrow path, but it certainly has had its twists, turns, ups and downs, i.e., "crooked." I've learned more from raising two sons than from anything else in this lifetime. There has been intensive self-learning, great challenge and profound love. I would not give up any experiences I've had on the motherhood path. 
    Where are you walking with love and reverence?
Alan Seeger Natural Area, central PA

Thursday, January 14, 2021

January 14--Huh?

I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today.  --Narihira

    This quote is another of the occasional "head scratcher" variety for me. It could be about realization of a long-held dream. Heck, it could even be about death. The more I ponder it, it seems that we have a general plan for life, but sometimes life surprises us with the unexpected, good or bad. 
    I leave it to you, dear readers, to ponder for yourselves on this lovely Thursday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

January 13--Keep Experimenting!

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.  --Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Sometimes it feels like everyone else came in with a life instruction book, and someone forgot to give me the book. Alas, no one gets the book, as Emerson states. We are all experimenting, or as I learned to view life through yoga, we are all practicing. What if all the great inventors gave up after their first failed experiment? We'd have no light bulbs, phones or electricity, just to name a few. What if we gave up the first time something didn't go the way we wanted? We'd have a long boring life sitting on our duff not willing to experiment further. 2020 gave us an opportunity to figure out new experiments, and that's a good thing. More experiments, more learning, more adventure, more LIFE! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January 12--It Can Be Messy

We spend our lives avoiding the situations that help us grow. It's when we stay with uncertainty and discomfort without trying to fix it that we connect with our own innate joy, wisdom, and love.  --Pema Chodron

    Here's an excellent piece of advice: when you encounter someone who is crying, let it be. Don't touch, speak, comfort or attempt to fix him or her. Doing so displays your discomfort with his or her distress. This was a new concept offered to me many years ago at a retreat, and upon considering it, I have found it to be very wise. If I'm crying, I don't want to be fixed. I just want to do some soul-rinsing, a vital human capability. 
    "Situations that help us grow" certainly can be messy, and it's not unusual to attempt to avoid such. The trouble is, however, that they don't go away. They keep presenting themselves to us until we deal with them, "staying with the uncertainty and discomfort," until we free the pent-up emotional energy that has disconnected us from our inner joy. At 65, having spent decades working on those "situations," I can say I am glad for every bit of effort, no matter how messy. I will have those "situations" as long as I live, but each time one is conquered and released, it makes me stronger and more willing to take on the next. My "innate joy, wisdom, and love" continue to expand. 
    Be brave,

Monday, January 11, 2021

January 11--Reaching for Better

If there were none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach for anything better.  --Florence Nightingale

    I love it when awesome words to share for the day's topic magically appear in one of my morning readings. First we look at the concept of "framing story." This comes from Richard Rohr and Brian McLaren of the Center for Action and Contemplation:
A framing story gives people direction, values, vision, and inspiration by providing a framework for their lives. It tells them who they are, where they come from, where they are, what’s going on, where things are going, and what they should do. While we all have stories that answer those questions on a personal level, a “framing story” dictates the general beliefs of a culture, nation, religion, and even humanity as a whole. Our growing list of global crises, together with our inability to address them effectively, gives us strong evidence that our world’s dominant framing story is failing.
Brian McLaren continues:
If our framing story tells us that the purpose of life is for individuals or nations to accumulate an abundance of possessions and to experience the maximum amount of pleasure during the maximum number of minutes of our short lives, then we will have little reason to manage our consumption. If our framing story tells us that we are in life-and-death competition with each other . . . then we will have little reason to seek reconciliation and collaboration and nonviolent resolutions to our conflicts. . . .

But if our framing story tells us that we are free and responsible creatures in a creation made by a good, wise, and loving God, and that our Creator wants us to pursue virtue, collaboration, peace, and mutual care for one another and all living creatures, and that our lives can have profound meaning if we align ourselves with God’s wisdom, character, and dreams for us . . . then our society will take a radically different direction, and our world will become a very different place.
    Certainly 2020 and just a few days into 2021 are showing great discontent. We have huge incentive to reach for something better. 

Which framing story shall we choose?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

January 10--Chaos

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.  --Sun Tzu 

    To this, I would add the Deepak Chopra quote: Every great change is preceded by chaos. The applicability of these to the past week's events in the U.S. capitol is perfect indeed. It is my fervent hope that at least some Trump supporters wake up and see the completely self-indulgent, destructive, mentally ill man that he is. This is yet another case of a sick cult leader. And yes, I realize that "sick cult leader" is redundant. 
    We have had four years of chaos, and it has generated great opportunity for us to see the direction we do NOT want to go. We have the opportunity for great change. Let's embrace a brighter future!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

January 9--Stuck? Muddy?

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves so that we don't become stick-in-the-muds. --Goethe 

    Let's play with "old." I can do this, because I'm 65, have gray hair and plenty of wrinkles, and I am what a 20-something would say is "old." I giggle when I refer to someone as "old," because I fall in the senior citizen category, too. However, I don't feel old in any way. I'm still curious. I want to go and do and learn. I stay active. I read a lot. Heck, I rode on a merry-go-round just last week! I'm fully into the "renew and rejuvenate" practice--it keeps life interesting, and heaven knows, there is infinite opportunity to explore on our fabulous planet. 
    Most likely, we all know someone whom we think of as a stick-in-the-mud. Someone I dearly love stated recently, "I'm just sitting in my chair waiting to die." Certainly chronic health issues can cause us to lose interest in life. I get that. It's likely that we each have one or more areas in life where we would say we are a stick-in-the-mud. Mine would be clothing/fashion. I have no idea what current fashion is. The whole idea scares me. I hate clothes-shopping. I live in "Life is Good" clothes and jeans or shorts, or yoga clothes. I'm OK with this stick-in-the-mud aspect of myself. I have my priorities relative to expanding in this lifetime, and fashion is not one of them. 😉😉
    We humans are a mixed bag of loving change and fighting it. Loosening up our mental death-grip on how life should be gets us out of the mud. 

An uplift from Brian McLaren: The universe is God’s creative project, filled with beauty, opportunity, challenge, and meaning. It runs on the meaning or pattern we see embodied in the life of Jesus. Newness multiplies. Freedom grows. Meaning expands. Wisdom flows. Healing happens. Goodness runs wild.

Friday, January 8, 2021

January 8--Keep Going

Wherever we are, it is but a stage on the way to somewhere else, and whatever we do, however well we do it, it is only a preparation to do something else that shall be different.  --Robert Louis Stevenson

    Or, as Ana Forrest often stated in yoga teacher training, "Evolve or die." We are never complete. We have never "seen it all." There is always more to experience. We keep on moving, learning, growing. There's no end point, not even death. Death is another transition to "something else that shall be different." This is wonderful. How dreadful it would be if there was a defined end point! 
    Everything that has happened to me, all the relationships, events and circumstances in combination, have brought me to the place and person I am today. Certainly there has been unpleasantness in my history. But life has moved on, and each experience prepared me for the next phase of life. It has been a relatively orderly flow. I enjoy my own company. I look forward to the steady progress of life. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

January 7--Take Time

Time is the greatest innovator.  --Francis Bacon

    I am personally quite fond of the eternal truth, "This, too, shall pass." It gives me hope and encouragement to be resilient. No matter how awful things may appear to be in the moment, humanity does move forward, seemingly at a snail's pace mostly, but forward nonetheless. If adversity truly does make us stronger, I'd say we should all be pretty mighty by now. I'm counting on time, and a very clear understanding of how we DO NOT want life to be, to bring our focus to what we DO want to innovate. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

January 6--Take a Step

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.  --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    This idea of taking a step applies both to the big lofty life-time dreams and the routine of daily self-care. "Baby steps," if you will, get us going, keep us moving. 12-Steppers refer to this as doing the footwork. 
    I can think of numerous examples in my life of taking steps without knowing the end result. I went to a workshop many years ago where I was introduced to some specific stretching exercises which my friend indicated was yoga. I found a beginners yoga class at the YMCA, committed to that, and fell in love with yoga to the extent that I wanted to become a teacher. Those "steps" continued, and in October 2011, I completed yoga teacher training. I've been teaching ever since, and I love it. 
    Then there's the day-to-day steps. I have a list on my phone of the things I strive to do daily that are my baseline for good self-care.  These include such exciting things as taking my vitamins and flossing my teeth, but also spiritual practice, which includes this blog writing. I keep the list to help me remember all the items, not to beat myself up if I don't get all of them done on any given day. The list is fluid. "Hip exercises" is an item now as I strengthen my left side after surgery; that one will drop off the list soon. I know that it is the daily steps of self-care that lead to a contented life. I am worth the effort. 
    What step can you take today to value the unique expression of Spirit that you are?

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

January 5--Change (not coins)

Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.  --George Bernard Shaw

    If you think life is outside you, happening to you, guess what--not so. It's all in your head. We attract somehow everything that comes into our experience. I don't know how it works, and I don't always like the fact. Who wants to take responsibility for attracting "bad things"? Our thoughts are creative, be they conscious or unconscious. And they are magnetic, attractive. 
    Logically it follows that if we don't like what we are experiencing, the place to start for change is in one's mind. As Shaw states, if we can't change our minds, we can't change anything. No one but me has any control over the thoughts in my head. We may argue that we have been influenced by outside circumstances, but that is because we have allowed the outside situations to affect our thinking. With such an understanding of our creative ability, blaming becomes a useless, self-defeating tactic. 
    The ability to change our minds gives us both great power and great responsibility. We tend to dig having that power, but the responsibility--not so much. There's a perfect glaring example in President Trump, who clearly digs his power, but has repeatedly shirked responsibility. Note what a mess that mindset has created. It goes directly against the laws of nature and can never be successful long-term.
    The pandemic has generated much consideration of how we have been thinking, and great opportunity to change our minds for progress. That's a blessing. 
    Did I say changing one's mind is easy? Nope. Control of one's thinking is a practice, like everything in this life. 
    Change is not a dirty word,

Monday, January 4, 2021

January 4--What IS Waiting for Us?

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  --Joseph Campbell

    Flexibility is the name of this game. "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." (Robert Burns) This is not necessarily a bad thing. I have found that when I relax and give up on how I would demand life be, life often hands me something even better. The big example from my life is my plan in my 20s to get a handle on my eating, lose weight and be thin for life. When I gave up that plan in exchange for a 12-Step program, I found the life waiting for me to be one of extraordinary richness, personal growth and health on every level.
    The events of 2020 really did a number on "the life we've planned." And now we wait with anticipation for "the life that is waiting for us." We're still not "out of the woods" yet, but I feel the general sense of new, better, kinder, more creative and more compassionate life ahead. Mercifully, we can't go backwards. 
    This writing by Rev. Christian Sorensen describes my practice for implementing the Campbell quote in my life:
Prayer too often ends up being directed at something outside of the self with a request for a change in conditions. Imagine the difference if your prayer was a communion with the Infinite. You would no longer be petitioning for anything to shift. Your only desire would be to know God better. When practiced in this manner, you are no longer looking for an answer that fulfills a limiting question that fits nicely into one of your preconceived rooms of thought. When you are in tune with the Infinite, you experience the unfoldment of an expanding consciousness that blows the walls out from your box. There are answers to prayer that your requests can’t even begin to articulate, Divine Connections ready to deliver the goods beyond expectations and a love that brings a peace and security only the soul could know.
    Que sera, sera,

Sunday, January 3, 2021

January 3--Choose to Pursue

There is a joy in the pursuit of anything.  --Robert Henri

    Setting the mind to something, with total focus, truly is a joy. My younger son is in the midst of studying and creating plans for customizing a van. I can feel the joy in him as he talks about it. I feel that joy when I get into painting, gardening, traveling, golfing or teaching. My husband and older son experience great joy in cooking and also discussing their efforts with each other. 
    I believe this joy is a result of connecting with our inner flow of creativity, an aspect of Spirit within us. Doing what we love opens wide the channel, and our life energy is super-charged. It feels good. It is wonderful that just as I get joy from the things I mentioned above, there are folks who get great joy from fixing car engines, performing surgery, inventing technology, playing music and studying the galaxies. We wouldn't have the convenient lives we have today if it weren't for humans finding "joy in the pursuit of anything." 
    As we enter a new year, we have the opportunity to figure out those personal "anythings" that we can pursue with joy. What will they be? 

2020, by Leta

Saturday, January 2, 2021

January 2--Seeking Balance

True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice. 
--St. Francis de Sales

    I am so grateful to be alive at this time in evolution. There is an energy shift happening on the planet, bringing more feminine energy into play, seeking balance between the masculine and feminine energies. The reference to "incarnation" in the following passage means (to me) the presence of Spirit/God/Universe coming alive within each of us. This is from Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation:
No incarnation can take place without a very real feminine presence and polarity. We’ve forgotten that reality for far too long, which is why we are witnessing such an immense longing for relational, mutually empowering feminine qualities at every level of our society. Left primarily in the hands of men for most of history, our politics, our economics, our psyches, our cultures, our patterns of leadership, and our theologies have all become far too warlike, competitive, individualistic, mechanistic, and non-contemplative. 
    I would add that our planet has also suffered from extraordinary abuse "in the hands of men." This poem is from the medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179):
The earth is at the same time mother,
she is mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
She is the mother of all,
for contained in her are the seeds of all.
    Please note that I am not "anti-men." Men and women both bring good to the world. Both energies are needed in moderation and balance. Such "true progress" will be good for all. I do, however, like to remind those men who continually attempt to abuse the feminine and take away women's rights, that if it weren't for the generous efforts of a woman, they would not be here. 
    Yes, progress is slow. It may seem like it is "two steps forward, one step back." Evolution, however, is unstoppable. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

January 1--New Month, Year and Theme

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.  --C. S. Lewis

    It's so very appropriate that the theme for January in the "Daily Peace" book is transition. Even though it seems like "just another day," we have flipped the calendar to a new month and year. 
Welcome, 2021, and all it has to offer!

    I finished off 2020 with a tour of Illuminations, the annual light show at Botanica, Wichita's botanical gardens. I LOVE Christmas lights. They make me so happy in a squealing-little-kid sort of way. My inner youngster had a bonus last night with a carousel ride. Surprisingly, there was no line for a ride on the indoor carousel, so I went for it. And I didn't just sit on a bench--I got on a horse, which I could not have done had I not had hip-replacement surgery. Comically, I got on a very low horse, but when the carousel stopped, my horse was at its highest. I had no problem getting off. What a joy to do something that I hadn't done in decades. What a fun way to cap off a most interesting year!
    Looking ahead, I paraphrase one of my favorite lines from 12-Step literature: Each day we live well, we are well, and we embody the joy of living, which attracts others who want what we've found. Let's live this day well, shall we?

Botanica 2020