With spring fully upon us, many people feel like it is a good time to tackle cleaning out our closets and picking up our desks. Tax season is over. Time to decide what documents to file away, which ones to throw away and which ones to place in the hallowed box waiting for the statute of limitations to run!
A friend of mine recommended a book on a decluttering system by Marie Kondo. Kondo’s book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. As with all self-help books, some of the ideas resonate with me and some of them don’t. I always try to see what fits my circumstances and personality. At a minimum, I like to use the knowledge as a catalyst to do something. Any movement in this area is a step forward, for me anyway!
What I like about Kondo’s approach is that the whole idea is to motivate us to determine if the things in our lives are bringing us joy. If they are, make room to keep them. If they aren’t, find a new home for them or throw them out. Kondo suggests that we become more conscious about why we have certain things in our lives. Why do we hang on to the clothing, the books, the paperwork and the mementos? She is not suggesting we have judgment regarding if we do keep it, just asking ourselves consciously why we do. Then, allowing for the conscious self to determine if this item is still a good fit for us.
Kondo has three insights that struck me as particularly wise.
Her first comment is “One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity.” This is definitely not one of the benefits I would have expected from a decluttering philosophy. However, I think she is right. The more we make decisions that help us to feel free and alive, the more we are going to be confident in all our decisions and in all our choices.
Kondo’s second insight is “…when we really delve into the reason for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” Kondo is applying this philosophy to help declutter things, but this statement actually applies to us decluttering events, energies, old patterns and “what ifs” in our lives. We can discard our old belief systems, old resentments and discordant emotions just like we can throw away that holey t-shirt that no longer serves us. Detach from past actions and events. Start to live more consciously, in order to move into the future without fear.
The final insight that really struck me was, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Wow, that is really powerful. Again, this is a great principle for determining what things you want in your house, but it is also a guide post for other aspects in your life. What are we willing to own as our belief systems? What are we willing to own in our relationships? What are we willing to own in our relationship with money, with mutual funds, with other investments? What are we willing to own in our energy fields? Do these things and situations bring us Joy? If they do not, should we change how we look at them or throw them out? Maybe we only need to make slight modifications and maybe we need wholesale changes. Asking your inner wisdom if something brings you joy and serves you and your goals well and then acting on that wisdom, will allow you to continue to live more consciously and more joyfully.
Take the opportunity to use the energy of the spring to move forward into a more joyful life.
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to His face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
– “One of Us”, lyrics by Eric Brazilian
This song was first released by Joan Osborne in 1995. The underlying theme is that you never know who you’re talking to and should treat everyone as if they might be God come to Earth. After all, Jesus was born in a humble barn and lived a carpenter’s life. To many, he didn’t look like the long-prophesied king they had been waiting to see. Buddha gave up all of his princely trappings to live among the people. And the homeless person you pass on the street who is asking for money might in fact be your greatest spiritual teacher, allowing you the opportunity to see past the surface to the divinity within all of us. So, what if God was one of us? Do you just walk past God?
In the past, when I was in a challenging situation involving other people and was having trouble seeing things from their perspective, I used to visualize that each person involved in the conflict was me. I gave them each my face and my voice and ran through the scenario as if all the players speaking and acting were other versions of myself. It helped me to remove the judgments I might have been holding about the individuals and allowed me to see from a more unified perspective, and I could better focus on what the situation was mirroring to me and what I still needed to heal within myself. It also helped me empathize and have compassion for the experiences and viewpoints of others, regardless of whether my mental body believed they were reasonable or justified.
And this exercise is meant to help us remember the divine truth. We are all playing all the parts here on Earth, in different bodies but still completely connected and created of the same infinite Source. At the level of our Godselves, we are all having all experiences together, as One.
God does walk among us because we are each an aspect of God/ Goddess incarnate. God is not just among us but Is each and every one of us. Make it your practice to go through life treating everyone as divine, giving everyone the face of God/ Goddess because that’s who you’re talking to, regardless of the name they’ve been given or the body they’re in. Who do you choose to be when God is one us?
There is an old story: Two monks are walking along a road and come to a large stream. A beautiful young woman is standing by the stream trying to cross. She asks for assistance. The monks have given vows of chastity in which they have declared they will not touch a woman or lust after the pleasures of the flesh. But one monk agrees to carry the woman across as an act of charity and he takes her to the other stream bank. As they continue along the road, the second monk is outraged and continues to lecture the first monk about breaking his vows. The first monk replies, “I only carried her across the stream but you’re still carrying her.”
The second monk had a strong story in his mind about who a monk should be and what he should be doing. He was unwilling to let go of that limitation in order to look more deeply at what was the most open-hearted response in that situation. If we look within ourselves, we may see this same energy. We carry our stories, sometimes from far in the past, and what we believe is comforting and protective becomes a heavy burden to carry which prevents us from easily moving forward in our lives and being the Truth of who we are.
Sometimes, we use stories to justify our own actions and excuse ourselves from responsibility. We might fall into a pattern of explaining ourselves with something like, “I’ve always been this way ever since that certain experience happened to me.” Other times, we may use stories to justify our behavior toward others as in, “If I’d only known she was going through that, then I would have been more understanding.” Though it is often subconsciously done, we may allow those stories to direct our behavior rather than going within for guidance on how to respond with love. The good news is that we can choose to become conscious of those stories and choose to free ourselves by letting them go. We do not have to be the same person we were several years ago or even several minutes. We don’t have to let our stories define us.
A friend once shared with me that she attended a workshop on taking responsibility for your actions and the facilitator made the following point: If you find yourself in a situation such as arriving late for a meeting with someone and saying things like, “I’m late because I got stuck behind a slow driver,” or “Traffic was really bad,” then become aware of how this shifts responsibility away from you and justifies your choices using a story. The facilitator suggested saying something like, “I apologize for keeping you waiting, I didn’t allow enough travel time this morning.” This is ownership of responsibility and also puts the power back in your hands for your actions. You are not at the effect of anyone or anything, even your own self-justifications.
Many people confuse taking responsibility with self-blame. Often, when we try to take responsibility for our actions, we end up berating ourselves for not doing it differently, not knowing better, etc. This is not responsibility but self-recrimination, guilt and shame. Divine Responsibility is simply the ability to respond, to be fully present and aware in every situation and to listen within for the response that serves the highest good. You don’t need to hear anyone else’s back story or declare your own in order to hear your inner wisdom on how to be a loving and compassionate being in each moment.
This time of year, we observe the most sacred day the Christian calendar: Easter – the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a celebration of the spiritual essence of Jesus, as well as his physical body. In the enthusiasm to celebrate the renewal of life that is a hallmark of Easter, we may forget the symbolism and underlying meaning that we can take away for our own lives – the divinity of our own physical body.
I have heard friends say that they couldn’t wait to no longer be in body because they feel like the body is a limiting format – a great vehicle for helping us to learn what we came into this existence to learn – but still limiting.
What if in our zeal to be renewed in spirit, we look not to Easter but to the Transfiguration of Jesus that is spoken of in the Gospels of Matthew (17:1-8), Mark (9:2-8) , and Luke (9:26-38), chronologically weeks prior to Easter. The Apostles, Peter, James and John, are with Jesus on a mountain when Jesus is filled with radiant light. This transfiguration is considered a miracle by Jesus and yet is unique among miracles because this miracle happens to Jesus himself.
What if we take a page out of Jesus’ play book and look to allowing miracles within our own physical bodies. Of course, transfiguration into full light sounds like the quickest way to handle any aliment! What if we start with smaller miracles, smaller transformations and transcendences and work up to full transfiguration?
Let’s first recognize that the physical body is divine and is a blessing not a curse. Sometimes the physical body gets a bad rap with sayings like “sins of the flesh” or being told to deny sensual pleasures because they are sinful or ungodly. In some philosophies, dancing is a sin and in others a divine gift and a vehicle to getting into a meditative state.
Instead of denying physical comforts and delights what if we start honoring our physical body with its unique abilities and its fabulous healing capabilities. Instead of blaming our physical body for the state of our “sorry existence” we allow ourselves to rise up through the emotional, mental and spiritual union that is represented in physical form with our human bodies.
Let’s resurrect our essence of awe and wonder at our own human body. Know our beauty and strength and allow it to shine through us to those around us with the ease and peace of transformation, transcendence and transfiguration. Know yourself as light, know yourself as divine, know yourself as transfigured. Know yourself as the physically divine being that you are. You are your own miracle creator. Create your own miracle.
How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? If that question caused a little hesitation, then you’re not alone. Studies show that only a fraction of those who set resolutions actually carry them through the entire year. Even by March, commitment tends to flag and we slide back into our old habits and routines. The first glow of success fades and then we hit that period where we’re doing it through sheer willpower because whatever change we desire to make hasn’t yet become part of who we are.
I recently hit a bump in the road with some intentions that I set for myself. Like many, I felt really good about these new changes in the beginning but realized that my enthusiasm was waning as the outer results became less obvious and noticeable. My new daily routine felt less uplifting and more of a chore. I had already hit a plateau!
I realized that I still had some attachments to seeing certain results rather than taking the actions simply from pure love and joy. I was focusing on satisfaction in the future rather than enjoying the experience in the present. In her book, Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron discusses this Buddhist concept of expecting no fruition to your actions. At first it sounds defeatist to let go of any thoughts of reaching your goals, but it’s actually very freeing. It’s about letting go of expectations and surrendering to the experience in each moment without any judgment of the outcomes. Even on the spiritual path, what may seem like very evolved goals can become traps if they are so important to us that we lose sight of the value of the experience itself. Chodron explains it this way:
As long as you’re wanting to be thinner, smarter, more enlightened, less uptight, or whatever it might be, somehow you’re always going to be approaching your problem with the very same logic that created it to begin with: you’re not good enough. That’s why the habitual pattern never unwinds itself when you’re trying to improve, because you go about it in exactly the same habitual style that caused all the pain to start.
It’s all too easy for our mental selves to turn the idea of experiencing even spiritual states such as Enlightenment, Ascension and Oneness into something that we haven’t managed to achieve, which just brings us back to disappointment and self-doubt. If we start jogging just to look better for our high school reunion, we lose the experience of being in the body while running and that feeling of sending loving energy to the miracle of the body. If we start pitching new ideas at work only to gain a promotion, we may miss the pure joy of being more creatively expressive and the value of working collaboratively. Each of these life changes have rewards already built in, even if the outward goal is never realized. But if we focus solely on where we’re going or what we’re going to get out of it, we lose the bigger prize- the greater awareness of our true inner self.
So, go ahead and set your intentions to create your Soul’s vision, but let go of any attachments to the end results. When we expect no fruition to our actions, we are freed from anxiety and self-judgment and can relax into the enjoyment and insights of our actions right in this moment.
In a world that seems as divisive as ever, 2018 is a great year to focus on Unity. If not now, when, right?
As I have been focusing on Unity, I have had some frank discussions with myself. Ultimately, we want to be in Unity with our own internal wisdom and the Source that we know we truly are. That is a tall order. However, I sometimes feel like being in Unity with other humans, especially those who I might still be judging, no matter how I try NOT to judge them, is even harder. I know it is appropriate to be able to discern whether other people’s actions and beliefs are my truth and in the highest plan for me without judging that other person.
With this goal of not judging anyone in mind, I asked my inner guidance how I could stop judging someone like Steve Bannon.
Late last year when there was a lot of talk in the news about Steve Bannon, the chief strategist for the White House and close confidant to Donald Trump, I was trying to clear my judgment of Bannon. I asked my soul what I needed to see to clear the judgment.
I have mentioned in this blog before that I love attending the Soul Kitchen Dance free-style conscious dance group. One day at the Soul Kitchen Dance session, a man who could have been Steve Bannon’s twin came to dance. The Bannon doppelganger was moving to the music, dancing with his friends, getting into his groove just like the rest of us. He had a huge smile on his face. This put a huge smile on my face and I heard from my soul, “every time you see Steve Bannon on the news in future, remember this dance, remember this smile, and remember the Bannon doppelganger getting into his groove.” Sure enough the next time I saw Steve Bannon on the TV, I saw him in the divinity of the dance, the smile, the joy, the unity.
Tapping into and seeing the higher versions of each and all of us is how we move ourselves further into Unity with all. The energy of the universe is bigger, stronger, more plentiful than the energy of 7 Billion people on the planet. That universal energy is what we focus on, that we merge with. The energy of the universe, the energy of our brother and sisters of the light, the energy of Source. We focus on being in unity with that energy. We need to focus on being in Unity with the divinity of each other.
Steve Bannon is Divine, just as all of us are. For now, that is the aspect and energy that I focus being in unity with.
Then, when and as our brothers and sisters from the human race awaken to know themselves as we know ourselves, our unity will be felt by more and more of the 7 Billion inhabitants of this planet. The merging into the Unity will be felt by more and more until it is felt by all.
Thanks to Pixabay.com for the picture!