Posts Tagged "presence"

Musings on My Faith Journey

A recent lesson: When I say yes to the Universe, a spiritual vortex activates and I can absolutely trust that whatever I think about my perceived lack of time gets nullified. God steps in, says, “I’ve got this,” and I just show up. Thank you Kathryn and Christie.

One of my recent aha’s has been around how I’m the only one making choices for my good. It seems like a simple idea, yet one that is so hard to consistently execute! I even have the bonus of working a 12-step program that allows me the ultimate freedom to stay on the spiritual beam and yet I still spend too much time face-planted in the mat.

However, a recent meeting reminded me that being present to the 12 steps is something I forget–regularly. I get waaayy too busy and full of my self-importance to put God ahead of my plans.

The voices I hear in the shadows of doubt and the storms of news cycles sometimes make it hard to come back into the sunlight of the spirit. I wonder if that happens to anyone else.

When I say I’m a sensitive sort, I don’t just mean that I tend to get my feelings hurt easily. I mean that I get drawn in to others’ drama and chaos and pain, not in a let-me-fix-you way, but in a way that my soul absorbs angst and hurt and lets those things affect my present moments.

I don’t like this one little bit because feeling hopeful in those moments is nearly impossible and without hope, I really have nothing.

Oh, what to do, cries my tortured psyche! The answer is simple, but not easy . . .

Plugging into my spiritual connection, which includes living in the sunlight of the 12 steps, keeps me God-centered. I am grounded. I function where my feet are planted.

I become much less prone to worry and stress because I am trusting God in all things. My purpose is to be right here, right now, and to affect others with my good energy. If God and I are in sync, what I’m presenting are God traits of sweet love, compassion and joy.

The sunlight of the spirit is available to me all the time. Even when I forget. Even when I fall into the world’s stresses or get caught up in politics or social media or, man’s inhumanity to man.

These days, there is a channel for spreading hate that seems vicious and loud and always on. At times, it drowns out the Love Channel where soothing voices tell universal stories of redemption and truth.

Is it time to turn up the volume on our stories? Or convince others to share their personal stories?

I think so because the voices of doom and gloom are insidious and they come from bullies who believe they can shout us into silence, wear us down with their intentional divisiveness.

Standing and amplifying our voices is hard work. It’s easier to just go along, but that choice is becoming less acceptable, not when we’re in a war for love and kindness. Instead, lets get familiar with each other’s stories and raise the energy of peace and empathy for our fellow travelers.

Ready to walk? Say yes!

Shenpa and Learning to Listen

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In Tibetan, shenpa describes aggression or craving. Pema Chödrön writes that shenpa is “the root of all conflict, all cruelty, oppression and greed.”

Not to sound judgy, but there is enough shenpa in the world right now to fill an ark, two-by-two and squared.

Although the actual translation is attachment, Pema says she thinks of shenpa as “getting hooked,” while one of her teachers describes shenpa as the “charge,” like an electrical current, behind our thoughts, words and actions.

An example of shenpa is your response when someone criticizes you. The charge fires and you have to respond. You have to say something. You’re hooked.

Someone sends you a snippy email (or one you perceive to be snippy).

You’re running late and someone cuts you off on the interstate.

Your flight is delayed—six times—and then cancelled.

Do you feel that flare? That instant of “Oh my God! Seriously?”

That flash of emotion that scales up from annoyance to outrage and beyond? That’s shenpa.

Shenpa can be managed—that’s the good news. But it takes the consistent and frequent practice of presence.

Here’s an idea.

What if shenpa could be drastically reduced in homes, schools and communities by improving how we listen?

We are obsessed with talking. If we’re not talking, we’re thinking about what we’re going to say when it’s our turn to talk.

Now, I’m not implying that you don’t listen or that you’re not a good listener. But what if you began to practice radical listening?

Listening is the gift that grants peace, whether during a meaningful conversation or a solo stroll along an empty beach.

Quiet digesting of words and thoughts make up the truths and ideals that pull us back from insanity. I’m certain of it.

Listening lets you explore the edges and margins of life so as not to judge or draw conclusions, but to inquire and become more aware.

Listening provides connecting points and intersections of clarity or confusion, sometimes both. We learn to question who we are and what we want—and then how to invite our most cherished qualities of life to those points of connection.

Think of these virtues: love, compassion, forgiveness.

Let’s listen for them today. And then, let’s watch how shenpa—that snap-your-fingers nasty attitude behind so much of today’s snarly public discourse, fades to black.

Who knows? Maybe listening becomes a new cultural phenomenon—the very one that overtakes our distracting obsession with our gadgets. Stranger things have happened!

Photo courtesy of elephant journal

19 Selfless Qualities of Self-Love

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All you need is love . . . love . . . love is all you need. 

Is it true that love IS all you need? For the sake of this post, let’s say the answer is yes. The All-Holy day of celebrating love, after six weeks of in-store Valentine’s Day advertising, finally arrives this weekend.

But this isn’t a post about Valentine’s Day.  God knows the universe is being bombarded with 45-bazillion posts about V-Day.

This post is about one of my favorite topics: self-love–the very stuff our mamas used to say was self-ish.

I don’t know about your upbringing, but I was often accused of being self-absorbed, wallowing in self-pity and engaging in too much self-analysis.

All of which led to self-abuse with alcohol and drove me away from self-love.

What’s (self) love got to do with it?

As far as I can determine, we humans are the only species capable of loving ourselves. We possess this incredible, unique gift that other creatures–like the Wallabies and the Jackrabbits, for example—would dearly love to have, and yet we’re groomed from infancy to feel guilty when we show self-love.

Ironic, isn’t it?

To be clear, the self-love I’m championing is not arrogance, egotism, pride or narcissism. In fact:

Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself. ~ Tyra Banks

In theory, those four words–accepting all of yourself–seem relatively uncomplicated, doesn’t it? But for those of us who spent several decades searching for self-acceptance, those seven syllables are more likely to cause trips to the grocery store for pints of Ben & Jerry’s.

At least we’re not going for pints of liquor.

As promised, qualities of self-love

Self-love has lots of first-string qualities you’ll want playing on your home team. They are, in no particular order, all hyphenated words starting with self:

Confidence      Discipline      Support      Regard      Assurance      Care        Employment      Worth      Taught      Interest      Esteem      Exam      Help     Protect      Acceptance      Assertive      Promotion      Appointed      Respect

Imagine how much healthier our world would be if we all elevated these qualities of self, which each stem from self-love, to a higher level. Can you imagine?

The bottom line is you simply have to put yourself first. Oh sure, we chuckle when we hear air travel personnel instructing us to put our own oxygen mask on before assisting others, but isn’t that the truth? If you want to be present to anyone else, you must first be your own present.

Tweet: If you want to be present to anyone else, you must first be your own present. http://bit.ly/1FpI7hw @bheretoday #selflove

Give yourself the gift of self-love. Sit with each of the 19 qualities shown in the box above. Meditate with them. Breathe them in, just as you would breathe from the oxygen mask.

You are worth each and every one of them.

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. ~ Whitney Houston

Photo courtesy of markgraf

Mindful People in Recovery Manifesto: Free!

People are writing all kinds of manifestos these days. Lifehack.org even published a cool post called “10 Insanely Awesome Inspirational Manifestos” that includes several worthy of emulation. But please finish reading here before you click away . . .

By definition, a manifesto is a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.

I’ve held a vision for this blog since its inception in May of 2010–to share and explore how mindfulness and presence lead to a happier life. It’s a pretty simple mission.

Somewhere along the line I began to incorporate a recovery theme too and for a while split the posts between the two themes. But I soon began to feel like a house divided because I thought I was writing for two different audiences.

Wait. Don’t mindfulness and recovery naturally go together?

This past summer, a spiritual two-by-four smacked against my head. GUS (God-Universe-Spirit) had my attention. Ow.

Anybody who lives on a successful recovery path is mindful and anyone who is mindful has the ability to recover from anything.

Oreo cookie, anyone?

I began to watch people in recovery and easily noticed that people who were mostly happy, joyous and free from worry and fear had some sort of mindful practice.

Conversely, people with a well-developed sense of mindful presence tended to rather easily bounce back from life’s more shitty moments. They recovered from a mental, spiritual or physical deficiency with grace and dignity. I’ve witnessed that too.

Getting back to the Manifesto

Then I made another observation. Mindful people tend to intuitively know how to bounce back. Their faith is instinctual so they have at least an idea of where to turn for help or who to consult to start the process.

But with people new to recovery, the concept of mindfulness is foreign; therefore practicing presence is like teaching a rescued stray greyhound who’s only known homelessness how to play with dog toys. So what if the hedgehog squeaks?

The Mindful People in Recovery Manifesto is that squeaky hedgehog toy.

The MPR Manifesto is a terrific summarized reminder of the truths of recovery for those in long-term recovery as well.

If it resonates with you, I’d love it if you’d tell your friends, your colleagues, and anyone you know in recovery about the MPR Manifesto. Post it on your bathroom mirror, next to your computer or on your refrigerator. Share please with your social media connections.

Let’s start a Mindful People in Recovery Revolution. Let’s advocate for the continued Oreo-cookie connection between mindfulness and recovery. But please don’t dunk the Manifesto. It’s not milk proof.

The MPR Manifesto

Here is your free copy to download. And don’t forget to share on social media!

Photo courtesy of Penywise

11 Inspiring Book Quotes (Part 2)

IMG_2581Sharing the first round of book quotes earlier this week was so much fun! I heard from several of you telling me how you loved the work of one of the authors and how we have similar taste in books. Love that!

So here is Part 2, all just as good as the first 11. Please enjoy and keep those comments coming!

If you keep someone in prison with your thoughts, you have to sit at their jail door to keep them from escaping, and thus become a prisoner yourself. To free another is to free yourself. When you give the gift of release, your spirit is healed. ~ A Deep Breath of Life, Alan Cohen

Writing and therapy are both about creating the conditions that allow us to take people to the mountain. When people’s breathing changes and their eyes fill with wonder, they will walk down that mountain ready to perform miracles. ~ Writing to Change the World, Mary Pipher

One thing you have to be through all of this is true to yourself. When it’s another life you are creating, you can’t use a store-bought mix. This bread has to be made from scratch. ~ Chapters, Candice Carpenter

Once you are independent of the accusations of others, you are unable to be angry and hurt over what others accuse you of. Be kind because it is you, not because of the reactions you want from others. ~ There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, Wayne Dyer

Practicing silence means making a commitment to take a certain amount of time to simple Be. ~ The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra

Love because you will to love. Give because you will to give. Flowers bloom because they must, not because there are people fawning over them! You live and love because you will. Because you must. ~ Living, Loving & Learning, Leo Buscaglia

An event and your reality of that event are not the same thing . . . Events are created by conditions and occurrences outside you. Reality is created by conditions and occurrences inside you–in your mind. ~ When Everything Changes, Change Everything, Neale Donald Walsch

Once you acknowledge guidance, you will always be shown pathways through whatever difficulties arise. You are never abandoned in the midst of a prayer. ~ Entering the Castle, Carolyn Myss

“Dear God, please remove from my mind my sense that I’m right and other people are wrong, my temptation to feel contempt toward those I disagree with, and this feeling of complete and utter powerlessness with my sense that the world is falling apart. Help me to forgive. And use me, if possible, that I might help to make things better. Amen.” ~ Everyday Grace, Marianne Williamson

Faith minus vulnerability equals politics, or worse, extremism. Spiritual connection and engagement is not built on compliance, it’s the product of love, belonging and vulnerability. ~ Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

It is the Glad Season. Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner. Floodwaters recede into memory. Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us as we make our way to higher ground. ~ Amazing Peace, Maya Angelou