Listening

We don’t like to talk about pain. However, pain is real, and our stories are our truths which need to be held with love and compassion. Optimally, we should be able to acknowledge one and other’s pain by bearing witness, not by trying to repair the pain. We cannot change any of the events that might have happened, we might only listen to one and another share stories. This takes courage, a brave and compassionate open heart. We can stand and bear witness to pain. This is not necessarily easy; it makes us flinch to hear stories of pain. This is the human condition. However, when we stand and listen without trying to fix someone, it gives the other person the hope to go on, to experience relief in speaking their truths.

When we listen to someone share their pain, we all to often want to jump in and make things better be it through platitudes, or actions. This is not beneficial for either person. Just sit with the moment, let go of your impulse to help, yes let go of your impulse to help, and simply pause. This requires work, to let go of the impulse to help, and to just sit with the moment. People need to be able to speak their own truths in order to live with the pain. We need to be able to pause and to not fix anything, for there is nothing to be fixed. We need to bear witness to one another. Make space to listen and get comfortable with the reality of pain. There is a paradigm that says grief and pain need to be fixed, that they are problems that need to be solved. But, there is no way out, pain cannot be fixed. When we try to take away someone’s pain, it does not fix the pain in the other. We need to be able to acknowledge their pain, see their grief. This is how we extend companionship and love to another. This is BIG love. We cannot save anyone from pain, but we can acknowledge it, and this is what matters. Love is all there is, all that lasts.

When we listen to people, our language softens.  Listening may be the cardinal act of giving . . . it is the source of peace. ~ Paul Hawken

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Compassionate Vulnerability

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What does it mean to be more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance? To me it means that we become braver as we surf the ever-flowing tide of loss and renewal in our lives. We are able to choose whether we will shut our heart off to love and compassion, opting instead to live a fear-based life. Or we can choose to live with openhearted vulnerability. Being vulnerable can be frightening! We inherently know that when we make ourselves vulnerable we also open ourselves up to hurt, loss, and sorrow.  When we choose vulnerability we are in a way honoring our soul by allowing for growth to be a bigger, more courageous, and compassionate human being. Without knowing the darkness we can never fully live in our light.

It happens to all of us when we step off into this thing called living. Some people choose to shut down when they encounter sorrows and they simply stop living. It is certainly good to be able to sit with your discomfort and honor it, but why go forward from that place in fear. To sit with fear is not to have lived fully. These words may sound chaste, and that is not my intention as my own life has been filled with trauma. However, on the flip side I have known great love, I have traveled far and wide in the world, experienced new cultures, foods, and peoples. I have stepped off into the abyss even while frightened. To not take the step after some of these losses would have been to deny myself living. Everyone single time any of us open ourselves up, we are at risk to be hurt. It is that simple. But it is through loss that we know ourselves better and are able to assist someone else experiencing loss. We can stand in that place of comfort for another soul; we can be the soul of that place. I hope you never forget to dance, to laugh, to sing, to smile and know the simple joys of life because you have decided to live in fear.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. ~ Carl Sagan

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Honoring MLK

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Go ahead and make that first step today, a step towards whatever is calling your soul.  Have faith in the universe that you will be supported.

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On Being

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Blessings for the New Year! The words of John O’Donohue are so beautiful to bring us into the new year.  To hear the full poem as read by John, please click on the above link.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

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Envision

As we close out 2015, it is a good time to be gentle with your sweet self and make some time for reflection. Knowing that you shared your openhearted vulnerability with the world, smiled at a stranger, gathered courage to face the world yet another day doing your best. These are all wonderful, magnificent gifts to have shared with the universe. Love and peace are most often found in the simplest things, and moments.

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to create a vision board for the New Year, envisioning what kind of mood and tone you would like to see for yourself in the New Year. This can be done in any number of ways, but my preferred way is to take any size blank canvas, find a pile of magazines, some Mod Podge glue and a tool to use it with . . . a foam brush works wonderful. Next step is to go through the magazines and start ripping out images that speak to you, make a pile of them, don’t sensor yourself. Do this for about 15 minutes or so, and then go through the pile choosing the images again that speak most to you and what you wish to envision for the coming year. Begin to arrange the images on your canvas. You can overlap, use word images, etc. Tear, rip, cut, and add some tissue paper let yourself go. Start by gluing them down by first applying some glue to the surface of the canvas and then to the back of the image. Let it set up for a while and then add more glue on top. Keep adding, layering, creating your vision for the New Year and what you want to manifest. When it dries it will be a wonderful collage of images that are personal to you and your growth. Hang this collage in a place where you will see it every day to remind yourself of what you wish to see happen, where you want to take yourself in the coming year.

Wishing you all many blessings on creating a year of peace in your own heart and in turn for our universe.

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The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. ~ Tony Robbins

 

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Peace

Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season filled with peace.

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Grace

Grace is not a little prayer you say before a meal, it is a way of life. Grace by definition can mean any number of things from being elegant, polite, to generous of spirit. Being generous of spirit is the kind of grace that gives more to the universe and in turns gives back to those that practice it. Grace, it is such a simple word and a simple concept and yet the question is how to incorporate it into our daily lives, to make it more of a practice than a few sweet words before a meal.

One of the most important things to let go of is our need for control. We are in control of nothing, and that is a hard concept for most of us to accept with any degree of comfort. Grace can teach us acceptance, to allow what is, to let go and let God. What we can do is to remain open to receiving the sacred. Here is where it gets tricky for us human beings; we must let go of shame in order to remain open. We have to let go of our feelings of unworthiness, that we don’t deserve all that we have, that somehow we have messed up. Grace is not based on any type of scoring system. Grace happens.

We can notice it when a stranger gives us a smile, allows us to cut in when traffic is heavy, buys our coffee at the cafe, and shovels the snow from our driveway while we are still asleep. Here is the best part; we are free to practice all of these very same things. Take a minute out of your busy day to ask the clerk checking you out at the grocery store how their day is going, and really listen to them. Think of grace when you open your eyes in the morning, when you are able to walk down the street and see the sun shine. Grace is everywhere; it is just waiting for us to take notice and to experience it fully in our heart.

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It is the nature of grace to fill the places that have been empty. ~ Goethe

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