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It Takes a Village to Be a Village

It Takes a Village to Be a Village

In this country, we value our personal independence greatly. Yet, we often forget how much of a community we are with so many people we never meet. I can go to the grocery store and pick out whatever I want all on my own. But it took the efforts of dozens of people to give me that opportunity; from the farmer to the trucker to the produce stocker and many more. A breakdown at any time along that chain would have a direct effect on me, though I might never know why spinach wasn’t available that particular day. I will never be able to thank those players in person, but I can be grateful for their contributions.

Every day we have countless opportunities to participate as a global community, even more so now with the Internet and social media. What we do and say, the footprint we leave behind, has a very real impact and has the potential to uplift and bring us together or to tear down.

We each have so much to offer in this world, but it only benefits ourselves and others when we act. In smaller communities and villages, it’s easier to see the direct impact of everyone’s participation. If the blacksmith didn’t do his job, there would be no tools and the horses wouldn’t have shoes. If the baker didn’t work, the village wouldn’t have bread. In a global community, it’s harder to see the effect, but the concept is the same. We may never know the value that a piece of art we created had to someone else or how many children’s lives are touched by the park restoration project we spearheaded, but if we listen and act when we are called then we don’t need to know. The joy of doing our part is all we need and the ripple effect of such actions can expand beyond our wildest imagination.

In the movie Pay It Forward, the main character comes up with the idea for each person to do an act of kindness for three other people without reciprocation. The idea was that if everyone gave what they could to others, then we would all receive what we needed in some way or other. His vision saw the world as a global village. What goes around, comes around. This is a powerful vision and it does work, but only when everyone is fully participating in whatever way they are able.

So ask yourself, “What do I have to contribute? Where am I still holding back? Why am I still holding back?” We are unique beings with unique talents. No two contributions to the world are the same. Yet, we cannot do it without each other. We cannot do it alone. It truly takes the whole village to be a village.

Let Yourself Be Love

Let Yourself Be Love

In the English language, “love” can be used as both a verb and a noun. In our physical experience, the mental body tends to perceive love as the verb. We love another person for certain qualities, we fall in or out of love, or we actively express our love by baking pies and giving hugs. We have reasons for our love and then we act on them. But Divine Love is more of a noun, a feeling state. It has absolutely no defining parameters or limitations. Love Is, pure and simple.

As physical beings, we often feel the need to direct our love to a person, object or activity. We might say, “I love you” or “I love this coat” or “I love this view”, but our love always has a specific focus. We rarely say, “I love” or “I am love.” In Divine Love there is no need for a recipient of our love because the love is not an action, but our inner feeling. We may take actions which are expressions of our love, but the experience of Divine Love is within. It does not change depending on who receives it or how it is received. It is not bound by any outcomes. Divine Love Is.

In the third dimension, we are often asked to give specific causes for our love. We see it as something rare and, therefore, something that should have a specific reason to set it apart from all of the other experiences we do not feel love. If we say we are in love with someone, we might be asked what made us fall in love. If we say we love that mud puddle, we may even get strange looks because a mud puddle is certainly unloveable. In the spiritual realms, we do not make the choice to love one specific thing or person, but to allow ourselves to be the essence of who we are, the love that we are. There is no need to justify the love for certain reasons because our feelings of love are not caused by anyone or anything outside. Divine Love is who we are.

In the physical experience, love can also have a time limit. We fall in love and then sometimes we feel as though we’re falling back out of love. At that point, our physical relationship with another may end. But in Divine Love, there is no black line marking the endpoint. We may find that our paths diverge and move in a different direction from a loved one, but in the spiritual realms you can never lose love. Divine Love is not finite but eternal.

Divine Love is love without expectations, conditions or consequences. Divine Love is not limited nor the consequence of anyone or anything. One cannot do Divine Love. But we can all allow ourselves to Be Divine Love. It truly is as natural as breathing to the physical body. It is not a choice, it is not work and it is not complicated. Relax, surrender and discover that Love has been there all along.

Everything is Awesome

Everything is Awesome

I usually take note when I get a song stuck in my head or it keeps repeating on the radio because that is often a cue that my Soul is communicating with me. Lately, however, I’ve been missing my cue to a great message in the form of The LEGO® Movie theme song, I’ve found myself singing “Everything is Awesome!” on several occasions, most likely because I’ve been feeling lately that everything isn’t. I’ve been focusing on what could be improved or how things could be done just a little bit better, rather than enjoying the sheer miracle of the whole creative process. As Jim Rohn has suggested, “Don’t get frustrated, get fascinated.”

To help me through this piece, I’ve been guided to look at some of my judgments about how things are unfolding for humanity and how various individuals are acting or re-acting in relationship to these changes. While I know that I’m a creator of my own experiences and others are the creators of theirs, I haven’t been focusing on the value of creating collectively. Any time we interact with another, we have the opportunity to learn and grow from that experience and vice versa. These opportunities expand exponentially the more people we include in our experience. We don’t have to meet all of them personally, just to hold the understanding that they are all aspects of ourselves, aspects of the greater One, who are learning and growing and creating just as we are.

In The LEGO® Movie theme song, the opening lyrics go like this:
Everything is Awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.
Everything is Awesome. Everything is cool when we’re living our dream.

Seen or unseen, everyone has key pieces in the puzzle. Simple items like sticky notes and more complex things like smart phone apps help me in my own work and service to enhance others’ lives. Likewise, watching how someone handles a situation or hearing their personal story is also an opportunity for me to benefit. The important piece is not in figuring out how it might have been done differently, but in marveling at the beauty and imagination of how it was done. I never would have thought of doing it that way, but I’m glad someone did! Without that person’s unique contribution, I would not have been able to accomplish what I did.

When we’re each creating from our joy and sharing our creations with others, we are indeed living our dream as part of a team. When we live in pure wonder at this amazing, giant creation of ours, then everything is truly awesome.

Organize Your Insides

Organize Your Insides

I am 3 days late getting this blog posted. I’m also quite behind on several other projects which have their own deadlines. But over the past two days my house has been cleaned top to bottom, and I have re-organized closets, cabinets, shelves and drawers to sparkling, immaculate perfection. Ahhh! It feels so good to look around and see everything in its place. So, why was it a piece of cake to organize my house, but I can’t organize my thoughts enough to write a single page?

Try though I might to keep December a quiet, introspective month, it quickly ballooned with numerous commitments, appointments, meetings and various other deadlines. I was busy, and appropriately so. There were things that genuinely needed to be done in that time frame, all in divine order and perfect timing. But in all the activity, I lost my balance within. I veered too far into doing mode and kept on going without checking back in with my inner compass. So, when I tried to write, I was coming from a place of complete inner dis-organization, regardless of how well my house was shaping up.

As I sat here, laptop perched on my lap and waiting for words of wisdom to flow, I realized that while it may be fun to go to The Container Store and fill your cart with cute baskets and trays to get your life in order, it won’t last if you don’t have a strong foundation of organization and balance within. By next week, my house could look as disheveled as it had for those weeks in December. So now it’s time to get my insides back in order.

It’s not always easy putting the brakes on a train that has built up its momentum to a strong cruising speed. Proceed gently, applying the brakes a little at a time until you regain your balance between too much action and not getting anything done at all. We are still physical beings and there are things which genuinely need to get done. But, of course, we want to find that sweet spot of perfect flow between divine inspiration and taking action. So as I write this, I am holding the intention to come back into alignment with the present moment as I find that balance between the stillness of deeper meditation time and the next action steps for my other projects.

The good news is that once we bring our intention to something in our lives, the re-organization can happen rather quickly and effortlessly. Intention is key. We all have that point of balance and divine order already within us. We just have to remember where we put it!

The Grace of Gratitude

The Grace of Gratitude

We often think of gratitude as something we give to another as a thank you for a gift or a kind deed, an appreciation for someone’s presence in our lives. But why not allow ourselves to see it as a gift for ourselves, as well? Someone once said that love is the most selfish thing we can do for ourselves, meaning that we have the opportunity to get so much out it, receiving exponentially more in return than we give. And the same is true of gratitude. In the giving, we automatically receive tenfold and that is true grace.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush of things we need to get done. We each have our lists of what we need to accomplish today, so that everything that throws us off our schedule becomes more than just an unexpected event but a challenge to our goals that we must battle into submission. The car cutting us off in traffic, the slow person checking out at the grocery store or the chatty neighbor who waylays us on our way to the house can either be hindrances or help depending on how we choose to experience them.

The car cutting you off and making you miss the light gives you those few extra minutes on your way to work to set intentions for the day and arrive energized and focused. The person taking his time at the grocery checkout allows you to strike up a conversation and make a connection. The neighbor who always wants to talk reminds us of the value of community when someone is willing to check on your house while you’re gone or loan you a lawn mower when yours goes out. Suddenly, the day that could have felt hassled and harried is a day full of small gifts and kindnesses- gifts that you gave yourself by being in gratitude.

The grace of gratitude is not a grace that we must ask to be bestowed upon us by some outside force. This kind of grace is an inside job and well within our power to grant to ourselves by allowing the goodness and richness of life in everything. This season, grace yourself with the gift of gratitude, and its effects will radiate out far beyond what you can see.

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