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

What Goes Around Comes Around….

Simply see that you are at the center of the universe, and accept all things and beings as parts of your infinite body. When you perceive that an act done to another is done to yourself, you have understood the great truth.”
Lao Tzu 

It doesn’t take much to trigger a negative emotion does it?

I look around me and see so many things that needn’t have existed simply because one person’s perception of another was inaccurate.  Sometimes, we really do see what we want to see.  Whether positive or negative.  If you are focused on drama, then drama is what you will draw to yourself.  When you look at others around you, and you are steeped in the middle of toxicity, you will not see what is;  rather you will see, in that moment, what you desire to create, whether negative or positive.

When we see someone acting out in anger or frustration, it is far more healing to understand, and know internally, that person has had something go wrong in his or her day. When we react to negativity without clarity of perception or compassion, what we are saying to the universe is “this is the energy I am drawing to me, so give me more.”  When we hurt another, we cannot understand what we do to that person, either on a spiritual level or an emotional level.  And when we are hurt by others, it takes a toll on us even when we deny the truth of that hurt.

So as Iyanla Vanzant always says, (and here is the real truth of it all) “I am not my sister’s keeper. I am my sister. “

What other people think of you….

Should never affect your day, your plans or your hopes for your future.

The inexorable weight of expectation is defeating.  It crushes your very ability to see the potential of your spirit and the potentiality of your journey.  When we live in the dis-ease of “people pleasing,” what we are really telling ourselves is that our needs don’t really matter and that there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for the approval of others.  Essentially, we’re sacrificing the very energy that ought to be carrying spirit to raise to its highest level.  Many of you are teachers in this life and haven’t yet come to know this; many of you struggle because the very first question you ask yourself is “what will other people think if I do this….?”  Can you imagine what your life could look like if the very first question you asked yourself looked something like this: “how may I serve?”

There is an incredulous weight being carried by the vast majority of you who live by the expectations of others.  For many of you, living within social circles which are predicated upon the pleasing of others, it will be very difficult to escape that weight.  However, ask yourself how many of those people bring you soup when you are sick?  How many of those people helped you heal your broken heart? How many of them pay your rent/mortgage when you are short of money?  And if you have people doing that for you, ask yourself what is their motive for doing so.  When people give out of expectation of receipt, they deceive themselves and they deceive the receiver of that gift.  If people were truly giving and generous, they would expect nothing, because ” In the giving, there is something gained.”  (this is not to advocate the continued taking advantage of others, but if you have people in your life who give you things because they are expecting other things in return, then you have some serious questions to ask of yourself.)

Many of you struggle with the thought that putting yourself first is selfish.  Unfortunately we have been conditioned by societal expectations to understand that any act of putting oneself first is incredibly selfish.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth of this magnificent universe is this:  “what you focus on expands.”  If you are focused on pleasing others, the universe will make that option available to you and stretch you on sacrificing yourself to the point of exhaustion.  If you are determined to struggle because you were taught that life equals sacrifice, then the universe will continue to let you struggle.  But, even if for just ten seconds everyday, you were able to focus all your energy on who you are and who you were meant to be, you will, overtime, come to realise that life is full of unanticipated, unbelievable and underestimated surprises.  The first of which will be that giving to yourself of your own energy and your own love is self-building, self-healing, self-caring and self-motivating.

To give the gift of self-love builds on your respect for yourself, your spirit and your ability to give to others.  “…for in the giving, there is something gained.”  Teach yourself what it feels like to show yourself respect by feeding yourself when you are hungry, by resting when you are tired, by putting your feet up when they hurt and by taking a walk because your body needs that too.  Do something nice for yourself every day and don’t worry about having to give yourself grandiose gifts; even the very act of making your favourite sandwich is a gift of service to yourself.

May your journey be one that leads to a road of fulfillment.

Stand In Your Truth…

The world in which we live can prove disastrously challenging.  Especially when one is trying to live one’s truth.  What I have learned in the last week is that people will always have a reason for you not to own your truth and allow you to stand within it.  The great gift of this universe is that we do not require the permission of others to be who we were meant to be.

Standing in one’s truth may prove difficult at first; there may be others around you that will belittle you, insult you, envy you, make things difficult for you.  However, there is a greater strength at work here:  you.   As Iyanla Vanzant said many years ago, “a child of God with a made up mind is a powerful thing!”   One does not have to name a deity or believe in a particular religion to have this be true.  One simply needs to identify the truth of his/her own life and live it.   Yes, this can be more difficult than anything you have ever attempted, however, the greater power of you aligned with a universe that is on the same wavelength will concur the insulters, the enviers, the people who do not believe that you have the right or the power to live your best life.

Whether your truth is being a teacher, a photographer, a writer, a singer, a stay at home parent, acknowledge this.  If your truth is identifying with your sexual orientation or living outside of the culture in which you were raised, acknowledge this.  If your truth is admitting that you have more debt than you know what to do with, acknowledge this.  Once you have the presence of mind to acknowledge your truth, whatever it might be, you will understand in your own life, how to express that truth.  And that expression doesn’t have to be grandiose in nature; one step at one time will lead to a “road less travelled.”

From Marianne Williamson, one of my favourites,  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you….And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

May the truth in which you stand light the way in service, in compassion and in the upliftment of people everywhere.

Living Your Truth?

Lately, I have been pointed in the direction of people living their truths and it got me thinking about people who never stopped living their truths.

We can look at people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Princess Diana (to an extent), every Mystic, every Sufi, every change-maker from Galileo to Omar Khayyam and every person who ever had to live under the yoke of oppression, and can conclude that these people never wavered from their own truths.  Or from truths that were presented to them.  Nelson Mandela lived in a jail cell for 27 years and kept hope alive within himself that one day his people, his nation would live freely.  I know many of you will question my choice of the late Princess Diana, however, she really did bring “touch” back to what seemed an untouchable monarchy.  Whatever her legacy, that in itself is an incredible accomplishment. When people live their truths, the universe has no choice but to unfold within those truths.

Conversely, if we look at people like Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Zine El-Abideen Ben Ali, Hitler, Genghis Khan, can we honestly say they were living their truths?  Or were they living their greatest fears made manifest? And yet the universe seemed to unfold to their wills.  Thus, the greater lesson unfolds:  what you focus on becomes truth. If a fear is made manifest, is it because it has been focused on so much or because the peace-makers/peace-keepers in the midst stepped aside and said “this too shall pass?”

Is Bashar Al-Assad living his truth in Syria or is he living his greatest fear made manifest?  And if he is living his fears, are the people around him living their own fears?  Hitler was a vegetarian but lacked the respect for life when it came to living people of his own species.  Is that relational?  Does one have to do with the other?

Here is the most salient lesson I have learned this week:  When I present myself as I am, it will be enough.

Every where I turn this week…

Life has been “showing up!”

Lessons abound at every turn. One I would like to share with all of you, courtesy of life teacher and great mother, Iyanla Vanzant:

If you don’t show up with who you are, people fall in love with who you are not.”

Have the courage to be true to who you are and who you were meant to be.  Life will take care of the rest.

Have a blessed week!