The Truth.

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There is a truth that exists that is designed to set us all free from our beliefs and madness.  It is not a truth that needs to be proven, as it is universal for all.  It is not a truth that can easily be described with words.  It can only be felt.  My words here attempt to come close to what I believe and feel it to mean.

 

Self care, self love, begins with a gentle spirit.  With a soft, still voice that speaks almost in a whisper.  It gently brushes my being like a breeze on my cheek.  It does not apologize or stammer about what it inspires, or where it comes from within us.  It softly reminds us of our own beauty and worth.  

 

It is the light within us that is always there, always burning, yet at times it is as if our eyes are closed, so we cannot see it.  Or as if our ears are covered with our own hands, so we do not hear it.  Yet, it keeps gently whispering to us, unhindered by a lack of response.  We are created, we are born from, a light that is eternal and infinite.  It is pure love, forgiveness, peace.  

 

It is always waiting for us to return, at least in recognizing its presence.  Its presence reminds me of my own light and innocence, that so many days I forget out of my own ego amnesia.  

 

I am light.

I am love.  

I am innocent, beautiful and free.  

 

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Karma Yoga.

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Reading Eckhart Tolle, or listening to him while I ride in my car, always brings me such insight and revelation.  It seems like even though I have listened to the audiobook a few times through now, each time I hear something new and different.  This week has been no exception.

 

This week was a particularly powerful one in terms of cracking open some old, closed off beliefs and letting them go.  I feel so expanded from where I was just a few days ago, and therefore the light that I am allowing to pour in, and out of me, is extraordinary.  One of the powerful thoughts for me this week was about letting go of outcomes.

 

I have grown up as a human being believing deeply in how things will turn out for me.  That seems most common around expectations, when I have a belief that I want a person to act in a certain way, and my almost assured disappointment every time, because the person does not live up to my expectations.  I set up that person, and myself, every single time.  However, the other area that is an expanded version of personal expectations, is having a dream or goal in my future and doing what I think I need to do to work toward that dream or goal.

 

The problem isn’t in the dream or goal itself, mind you.  It is perfectly okay to desire to have something come into your life and to aspire to it, or at least, get excited about it.  The problem for me is in living out my moments as merely steps to that goal, doing things just for the outcome.  For me to view the work that I do merely as a means to an end- whether that be for the weekend, the paycheck or both- makes it not very fulfilling and pretty tedious.  So, my focus has been on NOT focusing on the fruits of my labor.

 

In his book “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle talks about the saying “karma yoga”, which means, to be in the moment, and live your life, without regard for the outcome.  In other words, to live your life without being focused on the goal, the fruits of your labor.  To just live your life as is, in every moment, as fully as possible.  And, because of that presence, the “fruits” will come of their own accord.  Great stuff, but challenging for me on most days.

 

Yet, I have to say, it brings pure satisfaction to my life.  On the days, and in the moments, in which I am as present as possible, rather than in it in order to get somewhere else, I feel so satisfied.  When I meet with a client out in the community, and I listen to them as a fellow human being, and not as a mental health diagnosis that I have to “help” or “fix”, I feel so inspired and hopeful.  When I keep releasing myself from guilt about not doing this or that, as planned, I have more fun and embrace my spontaneity.  I love myself more deeply and judge myself, and others, less.

 

Of course, I get lots of opportunities to practice, every single day.  And it is not about perfection.   Yet the results that I keep getting, just by remembering as often as possible, to be present, and to catch and accept when I am not, are astounding.  I feel so much more alive, connected to those around me.  I can’t see what happens next.

 

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Die before you Die.

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I have always been a person that has tended to accumulate a fair assortment of stuff.  I would save my favorite childhood stuffed animals, hundreds of pictures, or other items that remind me of a earlier life memory.  I often believed that the object that I was keeping represented that moment in time in such a way that it was difficult to part with it.  Over the last few years, I have cleared and purged many of my belongings, from a perspective of not needing to have much; to lighten the load.  That objects do not hold the importance I thought that they did.

 

When I started reading about the present moment, Eckhart Tolle, and how much emphasis the Ego puts on belongings, I more deeply understood that I, and others, form our identities around who we think we are, and what we have.  So, not only did my belongings represent memories to me, but also in that, aspects of my identity, at least according to the Ego.  

 

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes about the idea to “die before you die”.  What he means by that, is to die to the idea of your identity before your physical form dies and is no more.  The fact is, we all are mortal; physical forms that will one day be dust, and then nothing.  And, although that is fear producing to people, including me at times, it is a fact.  All physical forms are fleeting; they live, and they die.  So to me, to die before I die not only means acceptance of the mortality of my physical body, but also to die to my assumed identity.  To me, it means to die to the belief that I am who my Ego says I am in terms of identity:  all of the personality traits and forms that I take on to define who I am, whether that be daughter, mother, worker, lesbian, wife, and so on.  To die to those ideas for me, means to not believe that I am only that.  

 

As living beings, we share two things in common:  not only are we all mortal, and will one day be dust.  But, we also are all immortal, in terms of our true selves.  We are all part of what is known as the deathless dimension:  the divine presence.  So, when our mortal selves pass away, it is only the physical form that dies, but our radiance, our true essence, lives on.

 

The beauty of this realization for me is that it takes away much of the fear I have experienced in the past of death and dying.  I more easily understand that I am not merely a physical entity that is here for a short time, but a radiant light that is always shining, and that is one fragment of the Universal light that is all of us.  That we are all part of that universality and although we forget it, caught up in our physical forms and identities, that it is not all that we are.  That to die to who we see ourselves as in our identities, helps us to let go of things, and be more present to our light, our true selves.

 

To surrender to this reminds me of how free I am.

 

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Live in The Garden.

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I draw a Native American animal spirit card most days, to inspire me and help to guide my thoughts.  Over the weekend, the card was the Porcupine, which represents innocence and love, and seeing that in oneself.  A reminder that is good for me to have much of the time.  A reminder to let go of guilt, shame, or any bad feelings you have for yourself, and to just be yourself in the world.

 

The reminder is a soft one; to love myself above all else.  Loving myself can be a real challenge on some days; not because I have done anything to deserve to beat myself up, but simply because I think I don’t measure up; I have done something wrong; I take others personally and then act like I am unworthy.  Under all of those thoughts and emotions that make it easy to loathe myself, there lies perfection and light within.  That light exists within all of us, yet it is so often that we just don’t see it, don’t see our own beauty.  Don’t see MY own beauty.

 

So, what the card offered to me next felt like a miracle, because it is wisdom that I was immediately able to put into action.  “Be the child of God that you are.  In your heart, live in the garden.”  Amazing words to me, and hit me so clearly as to how I don’t do that at times, and how I can anytime that I desire to.

 

For me to live in the garden, means to always see the perfection and beauty of who I am.  Gardens are lovely places, flower or vegetable, or herb gardens alike.  It is not the visual beauty that alone takes me away, although that is part of it.  It is the sheer wonder and delight of nature doing what it does:  pushing toward the surface, extending life, opening itself to the sun, fighting elements to survive and thrive.  The result is that the blooms and fruit abound with life.  The sights, sounds and smells that come with that enhance the total experience of beauty and wonder for me.  And, within that patch of beauty, there are so many unique manifestations of nature.

 

For me in this human form, to live in the garden means to remember my beauty, my innocence, my wonder and determination.  It is to not only appreciate, but celebrate my unique nature and who I am in the world, and to keep pushing myself open so my petals are confident and showing myself in my essence.  It is being surrounded by others whose beauty I can also appreciate and revel in.  It is loving myself so deeply, that I am able to see others with the same open eyes.  

 

In that I find true freedom and bliss, and see my innocence as well.  

 

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True Forgiveness.

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I did a search of my blog today, using the word “forgiveness” as my word, to see if I had written about it before.  Five blogs came up, from the last 9 or so years, that had the word “forgiveness” in the title.  It is something that has been on my mind quite frequently over the last three years or so in particular.  And, the beauty of it is that my understanding of what forgiveness really is keeps evolving and changing for me.

 

I have defined forgiveness as release, acceptance, as letting go of judgment of others.  And, all of that remains true.  However, as I sat quietly this morning and did some reading, I realized that I have a new, higher level of understanding of what forgiveness means for me.

 

For me, true forgiveness means two main things.  First of all, it means that I forgive you for not being who I think you are, or want you to be.  Ultimately, as human beings, we are all unknowable.  No matter what I think that I know about my wife, my son, my friends or my coworkers, all that I “know” about them is just a story.  It is both a story that they tell me about themselves, and/or a story that I tell myself about them, based on my assumptions and beliefs.  So to practice true forgiveness, it seems, I have to begin by forgiving you for not being who I think that you are or should be.  If I am able to do that, then that means that I won’t take anything that you say or do personally, and I can more easily accept who you are, just as you are.  

 

It seems that the second component of true forgiveness is forgiving myself.  I get to forgive myself for having expectations, judgments and stories about the people in my world.  And, I also get to forgive myself, for having expectations, judgments and stories about myself.  Indeed, it I don’t forgive myself each time, I will feel even more prone to judging or having expectations of others.  That is because I will have full faith and belief in the story about that person or myself, so more likely to judge accordingly.  When I start from a place of forgiveness, it helps to let go of my expectations more quickly.

 

The other important aspect of true forgiveness, for me, is that it is gentle in its nature. When I judge another person, or myself, it only creates more damage, both in myself and the Universe, if I criticize or belittle myself for the stories that I have.  When I bestow forgiveness on myself and others, I can do so with no residue, so that it can feel clean, clear and loving.  I deserve that, as do the people that I encounter in the world.

 

Forgiveness is not just about setting others free from my judgments.  When I forgive, I set myself completely free as well.

 

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