The above, September 23, 2014 OM is later than usual since I had an Internet outage for that whole day and following night. In fact, I'm glad that service was restored soon enough for this new day here in Hawaii where it is now around 9 AM.
Human bodies love flow and movement and respond in kind when used in this way.
Our bodies love movement. When we stretch or dance, our bodies adjust, realign and start to become fluid with the rhythm of life. Our mood lifts and we feel more connected with the world around us. If you are feeling stuck, ready to release old energy, or eager to feel more alive, try moving your body. By giving your muscles a chance to do what they were created for, you may find that all areas of your body and your life benefit as well.
Many times we can be so busy that we forget moving our body is even an option. Some of us remain seated at our computer for hours every day or rush from task to task with robotic precision. When we are caught up in crossing items off our to-do lists, we tend to neglect all the opportunities there are to enjoy our bodies in the process of living. If this is true for you, begin looking for opportunities to move. You might try dancing or moving about freely as you clean your home, tend your garden or care for your children. If you are able to devote a set amount of time to self-care, practices such as yoga, dance, tai chi and walking are all great ways to keep your body in motion.
Imagine how freeing it would feel to trust your body’s movements completely, knowing it has a perfect strength and rhythm of its own. See if you can sense your bones providing graceful support, your muscles and tendons expanding and contracting in just the right measure, your lungs changing pace to fill deeply with fresh air. Movement is a vital celebration of life. It is a way to proclaim your own existence and relish in the joy of being alive. Today, and into the future, give yourself the gift of your body in motion.
Each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve to the universe that we are ready for change.
One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, and we may even have given up. However, each day offers us an opportunity to renew our resolve and to declare to the universe that we are ready for change. We may even say out loud that we have tried and struggled and have not found a way, but that we are open to help, and that we intend to keep working to create change for ourselves. Making this declaration to the universe, and to ourselves, may be just the remedy for the stagnation we are experiencing. And, it can be done today, right now.
It is difficult to understand, even with hindsight, how the choices we have made have added up to our current situation, but it is a good idea to examine the story we tell ourselves. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this will block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed. We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many fine moments on our path to the present moment. We can also recognize that we have learned from our experiences, and that this will help us with our current choices.
When we do this kind of work on how we view our past self, we make it possible for the future to be based on a positive self-assessment. This inner shift may allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been in that’s been keeping us stuck. Now we can declare our intentions to the universe, knowing that we have done the inner work necessary to allow our lives to change. Allow today to be the day to end cycles and enter into a new way of being.
Lay your burdens down at the feet of the divine and feel the relief from your heart.
We all know the feeling of walking through life as if we are carrying the huge burden of our worries and stresses on our backs and shoulders, struggling to keep moving forward. There is no real way to move freely and fluidly in such a situation, and we are all longing to lay our burdens down. Just imagining that it would be possible to do such a thing can be enough to elicit a sigh of relief and a feeling of lightness.
The human imagination is a powerful tool, and we can use it to take journeys to faraway places without ever leaving our home. Because of this, we too can lay our burdens down at the feet of a divine being such as the great Mother, Buddha or a mountain. Releasing ourselves from that which we can’t handle on our own. No matter how smart we are, how capable we are, or how hard we work, no one can single-handedly cope with all the worries that we tend to take on in the course of our lives. And, we aren’t designed to do so. Our wellbeing depends upon our ability to hand over that which we can no longer carry by ourselves.
Visualizing yourself carrying your burdens to the feet of someone or something much bigger than you can be a powerful daily practice. To begin, sit with your eyes closed and envision an all powerful, supremely comforting being in what ever form that takes for you, standing at the end of a road. See yourself carrying a large sack, box, or other container, imagining that all your worries are inside it. Watch as you make your way to the being of your choice, and lay your baggage down at their feet. Allow yourself to feel the lightness and relief of this action, express your gratitude, and surrender. You will be amazed by how this simple meditation can liberate you from a burden you were never meant to carry.
Though much of who and what we are changes as we journey through life, our inherent worth remains constant. While the term self-worth is often used interchangeably with self-esteem, the two qualities are inherently different. Self-esteem is the measure of how you feel about yourself at a given moment in time. Your worth, however, is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, your good works, or how much you have accomplished. Rather it is immeasurable and unchanging manifestation of your eternal and infinite oneness with the universe. It represents the cornerstone of the dual foundations of optimism and self-belief. Your worth cannot be taken from you or damaged by life's rigors, yet it can easily be forgotten or even actively ignored. By regularly acknowledging your self-worth, you can ensure that you never forget what an important, beloved, and special part of the universe you are.
You are born worthy-your worth is intertwined with your very being. Your concept of your own self-worth is thus reinforced by your actions. Each time you endeavor to appreciate yourself, treat yourself kindly, define your personal boundaries, be proactive in seeing that your needs are met, and broaden your horizons, you express your recognition of your innate value. During those periods when you have lost sight of your worth, you will likely feel mired in depression, insecurity, and a lack of confidence. You'll pursue a counterfeit worth based on judgment rather than the beauty that resides within. When you feel worthy, however, you will accept yourself without hesitation. It is your worth as an individual who is simultaneously interconnected with all living beings that allows you to be happy, confident, and motivated. Because your conception of your worth is not based on the fulfillment of expectations, you'll see your mistakes and failures as just another part of life's journey.
Human beings are very much like drops of water in an endless ocean. Our worth comes from our role as distinct individuals as well as our role as an integral part of something larger than ourselves. Simply awakening to this concept can help you rediscover the copious and awe-inspiring worth within each and every one of us.
In the quest to create a gentler, more loving world, kindness is the easiest tool we can use. Though it is easy to overlook opportunities to be kind, our lives are replete with situations in which we can be helpful, considerate, thoughtful, and friendly to loved ones and associates, as well as strangers. The touching, selfless acts of kindness that have the most profoundly uplifting effects are often the simplest: a word of praise, a gentle touch, a helping hand, a gesture of courtesy, or a smile. Such small kindnesses represent an unconditional, unrestricted form of love that we are free to give or withhold at will. When you give the gift of kindness, whether in the form of assistance, concern, or friendliness, your actions create a beacon of happiness and hope that warms people's hearts.
The components of kindness are compassion, respect, and generosity. Put simply, kindness is the conscious act of engaging others in a positive way without asking whether those individuals deserve to be treated kindly. All living beings thrive on kindness. A single, sincere compliment can turn a person's entire world around. Holding a door or thanking someone who has held a door for you can inspire others to practice politeness and make already kind individuals feel good about their efforts. Smiling at people you meet-even those who make you feel like frowning-can turn a dreary encounter into a delightful one, for both of you. Every kind act has a positive influence on the individual who has performed said act as well as on the recipient, regardless of whether the act is acknowledged. Kindness brings about more kindness and slowly but surely takes a positive toll on humanity.
Weaving the thread of kindness into your everyday life can be as easy as choosing to offer a hearty "Good morning" and "Good night" to your coworkers or neighbors, a stranger on the street, or the grocery store clerk. When you commit a kind act, you are momentarily disconnected from your ego and bonded with the individual who has benefited from your kindness. Being fully present in each moment of your life facilitates kindness as it increases your awareness of the people around you. You'll discover that each act of kindness you engage in makes the world, in some small way, a better place.
Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life.
Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying good-bye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time.
Sometimes we form these identities in relationships or jobs, and when we shift those areas of our life become unsettled. Usually, if we take the time to look into the changing surface of things, we will find that a shift is taking place within us. For example, we may go through one whole chapter of our lives creating a protective shell around ourselves because we need it in order to heal from some early trauma. One day, though, we may find ourselves feeling confined and restless, wanting to move outside the shelter we needed for so long; the new part of ourselves cannot be born within the confines of the shell our old self needed to survive.
We may feel a strange mixture of exhilaration and sadness as we say good-bye to a part of ourselves that is dying and make way for a whole new identity to emerge in its place. We may find inspiration in working with the image of an animal who molts or sheds in order to make way for new skin, fur, or feathers to emerge. For example, keeping a duck feather, or some other symbol of transformation, can remind us that death and rebirth are simply nature’s way of evolving. We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life.
During our journey we can become very serious, it is important to remember to have fun along the way.
Often when we talk about fun, or doing things just for fun, we talk about it in a dismissive way as if fun isn’t important. We tend to value hard work and seriousness, and we forget to pay our respects to the equally important, light side of silliness and laughter. This is ironic because we all know the feeling of euphoria that follows a good burst of laughter, and how it leaves us less stressed, more openhearted, and more ready to reach out to people. We are far more likely to walk down the street smiling and open after we’ve had a good laugh, and this tends to catch on, inspiring smiles from the people we pass who then positively influence everyone they encounter. Witnessing this kind of chain reaction makes you think that having fun might be one of our most powerful tools for changing the world.
Laughter is good medicine, and we all have this medicine available to us whenever we recall a funny story or act in a silly way. We magnify the effects of this medicine when we share it with the people in our lives. If we are lucky, they will have something funny to share with us as well, and the life-loving sound of laughter will continue to roll out of our mouths and into the world.
Of course, it is also important to allow ourselves to be serious and to honor that side of ourselves so that we stay balanced. After a great deal of merriment, it can actually be a pleasure to settle down and focus on work, or take some time for introspection until our next round of fun begins.
Every person on this planet has a story to tell, something that makes them unique adding to the whole.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that everyone has a story to tell if we take the time to listen. We are so accustomed to hearing the stories of people in the news that we sometimes lose track of the fact that the random stranger on the bus also has a fascinating story about where they came from and how they got to be where they are. The sheer variety of paths taken in this world, from farmers to CEOs to homeless people to world travelers, is indicative of how much we can learn from each individual. Sometimes the shy, quiet person at work has the most amazing life story and the biggest dreams, it is up to us to take the time to find out.
Some people travel a path of wealth and privilege, while others struggle with only themselves to rely on, and both have great stories to tell. Each person learns lessons, makes choices, and develops a unique perspective, which only they can claim and share. Even two people who have had very similar lives will have slightly different experiences, leading them to a different point of view, so each person remains a treasure trove waiting to be explored. When we take the time to ask questions and listen, we find that every person has a fascinating story to tell and an utterly unique perspective from which to tell it.
Bearing this in mind, we have the opportunity to approach the world around us in a new way. There is never any reason to be bored at a party, or on the bus, or in a conversation with a stranger. When we retain the spark of curiosity and the warmth required to open someone up, we always have in front of us the makings of a great story. All we have to do is ask.