We have all been programmed since our collective childhoods to believe that the world works in a certain way.  But here’s the truth of how this incredible Universe unfolds:  “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so to have the life that is waiting for us.”  (Joseph Campbell) For many of you, it will require an “unlearning” of everything you have been taught– the programming of “you have to.”

You have to go to school and you have to then get a job with benefits and you have to have a retirement plan and you have to get married and you have to have children, etc, etc.

The real truth is that the only thing you “have” to do is Live.  Be who you are at all times.  Love this.  Love you.  Love life.  Re-write the software that planned your life before your life began.

Re-write it, learn anew, learn what the Yogis and the Sufis and the Mystics and the Gnostics and the Taoists have been saying for centuries:  “You are the key. And you are enough.”  Life is short- be brave.

It is your turn now

“It is your turn now,
you waited, you were patient.
The time has come,
for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner pearl
into a house of fire.
You’re a gold mine.
Did you know that,
hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now,
to be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities.”
-Rumi

Trust in the Source of Being. This means trusting the mystery of creation. The universal Source of all creation, invisible though it may be, guides you just as it guided your development in the womb. When you trust in Divine intelligence, you cooperate and invite the shift to Meaning.

 

“All I’m saying is that to liberate the potential of your mind, body and soul, you must first expand your imagination. You see, things are always created twice: first in the workshop of the mind and then, and only then, in reality. I call this process ‘blueprinting’ because anything you create in your outer world began as a simple blueprint in your inner world.”    
 
-Robin Sharma (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari)

 

sage advice

A  Saint who was visiting the river Ganges to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting at each other in anger.

The Saint turned to his disciples, smiled and asked, ‘Why do people shout at each other when they are angry?’

The followers thought for a while. Then one of them said, ‘Because we lose our peacefulness, we shout.’

‘But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,’  replied the saint.

The followers attempted other answers but none satisfied the other followers.

Finally, the Saint explained,

‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance by a great measure. To cover that distance they must shout to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other over that great distance.

What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but speak softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either non-existent or very small…’

The saint continued, ‘When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, they only whisper and they become even closer to each other in their love. Finally, they need not even whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

He looked at his followers and said:

‘So, when you argue do not let your hearts become distant. Do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.’

 

My prayer for all of you this week:
May you love so much and so well that you never need to shout.

Ego v. Spirit – can there be a winner?

A few things have really been bothering me lately.  Far too many of us are living in “ego.”  What I mean by this is when we live in ego, we claim moral authority, we judge, we make pronouncements regarding what ought to be and we are noisy.  When we live in ego, we cannot be still enough to know that spirit is trying its level best to get through.   When we live in ego, we cannot summon enough compassion to pull ourselves out of ego and see things from the level of spirit.  We are surrounded by the white noise of our televisions, our radios, our personal devices and our own voices– our profanities.  When we are noisy we cannot hear the truth of what is.  This is not to say that we don’t need ego in our day-to-day lives because we do.  Ego protects, ego manages and ego even guides in the material well-being of things. But as Suzy Orman says “People first, then things….”

I watched a friend’s relationship unravel because the two involved were not meeting on a level field– one was using anger born in ego to communicate and the other was trying to respond in spirit.  It wasn’t working because the anger blocked any wisdom that could possibly have been felt in the heart.  The one who was responding in spirit found herself being shut out, shut down and no longer a partner in her relationship.  The angry one wanted to blame and couldn’t understand why his position wasn’t the only one that mattered.

Anger has its home in ego.  Its home is “I am right and thus I have might.”  Anger is another word for deep fear, deep sorrow, deep hurt.  All of which can be healed in spirit.  However, in order for healing to take place, anger needs to recede and there must be room for willingness, surrender, acceptance and acknowledgment.

Acknowledgement is extremely important– one can accept that one is wrong but not having the presence of mind to acknowledge that to another belies the acceptance.   Acknowledgement means that in speaking the truth of my spirit, I am “…heading, however haltingly, toward unity.” (Deepak Chopra)

What bothers me is this– in our Western culture, there has been far too much ego-based judgement on what ought to be right, what ought to be good and what ought to be in general.  The fact of the matter is this– every soul, every spirit has something unique to contribute so what ought to be really is an ego-value-based judgement.

So who wins in the battle between Ego v. Spirit?  No one.  The winning happens when ego is set aside and the world is seen through the pure potentiality of spirit.  “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field – I will meet you there.”
(Jalaluddin Rumi)

 

When Hope breathes…

“The right to hope is the most fundamental human motivation I know.”  
 — Baccalaureate Address, Brown University, His Highness The Aga Khan 1996

 
When hope takes root within an individual, that hope can be such a factor for motivating and lasting change.  A belief in oneself to overcome, to outlive, to outgrow, to outmaneuver whatever challenges may lie in one’s path begins in hope.  Hope is the quintessential sustenance of that belief.

Challenges will always be present in life; this is factual.  The challenge to life is to find Grace within rising above or meeting those challenges.  Many of you are questioning if you are overdoing things for the holidays.  Others are questioning when or if they’ll ever see their relatives from the Middle East.  Yet others, are sleeping on sidewalks in the coldest of wintry weather.   All of us possess the capability of hope; of grasping on to whatever it is that causes hope to breathe spirit into us.  So long as we have a belief within ourselves to strive beyond our known capabilities, we have hope.

The tricky thing about hope is that it is highly criticised and often imitated but never fully achieved.  If we look at what constitutes hope, we have to look at what necessitates its existence. When something isn’t working on the level we need or expect, hope is necessitated.  When all else seems lost, hope is necessitated. When Grace is needed but isn’t quite present, hope is necessitated.  To have hope, is to change an underlying human limitation: losing faith.

There are many who would argue that hope is a waste of time.  The other day I heard Diane Sawyer remark that someone had once told her “a criticism is a really bad way of making a request.” If we apply this to those who would criticise hope, it is not surprising to realise that those who belittle this great motivating factor are those who likely need it most.

This is what I know for sure– when it seems that I am being challenged most and the only place to which I can turn is Spirit, I know that my ‘right to hope’ is so powerful, that Spirit has no choice but to acquiesce.

 

Life is short. So live it.

I received this on email the other day from a sister-friend. I’d forgotten that these are rules by which I have always lived.  I often smile to myself in public.  It either freaks people out or it makes them wonder what the heck I’ve been up to!

Every message I have needed this week has shown up in the form of emails, phone calls, intuition, and believe it or not, in a box of oranges! This abundant universe of ours always works in wondrous and miraculous ways.  As Ms. Oprah says “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”  So ask.   Ask for more moments that make you smile.  Ask for moments that take your breath away because you know in those moments, you have really lived.  Ask for the joy of laughter to be part of your life every day, and ask to love.  Do whatever makes you happy, but above all, love.

Have a blessed, blessed week!

From Iyanla Vanzant’s “Peace from Broken Pieces,”

“Until and unless you know that you are enough just the way you are, you will always be driven to look for more. Knowing that you are enough is a function of consciousness.   Your enough-ness develops in direct proportion to the relationship you have with your true identity.”