Love In The Present Moment

I’ve been wondering lately if it might be possible to find love and express love in everything I do.

I ask myself, is this what Yeshiwa (Jesus) and Buddha did? Is it what Mother Teresa, and Gandhi did? Does the Dalai Lama live this way?

When I ask myself this question, my first response is- no way!

No matter how spiritually connected I may feel at a given moment, I don’t think I could remain conscious enough to let love flow through me like this.

There are just too many triggers for me in life. I’m not even sure I could do this for thirty minutes straight. Could you? Could any but the most spiritually gifted among us?

So, I think to myself, maybe it would be a good idea to set my sights lower. Perhaps there might be a way to increase my awareness enough so that I could hold others gently in my heart and offer them some love, realizing that even if I couldn’t do it all the time, this would still be better.

But I suspect, even this would be very challenging, and this starts an inner dialogue. Part of me has already decided it is not possible to find or express love in every moment, so why try? This part of me is ready to let myself off the hook and I haven’t even begun.

Another part of me enters the conversation with this thought. If you only do the things that are easy, what will you ever accomplish in life. Are you not going to try? Are you that afraid of failure?

A third voice requests my attention. It’s quieter, but there is power in it. It asks me a simple question. What would it change for you if you could find and express love in all that you do?

I hear snickers in the background from the first two voices and then silence.

There is a peaceful momentary pause, giving me a chance to respond. Well, I thought, it could change everything for me.

I would be able to lighten up, to release my fears, to draw others into my world, to smile with ease, to open my heart, to give, to graciously receive, to hug with my whole being. A list flows out of me. A truly wonderful list. I can feel its presence and its power.

The first voice returns and speaks loudly, sure, this sounds very nice, but how do we get from (here) where we are to (there) where we want to be? Do we have to put on rose-colored glasses first?

The third voice takes no offense and offers soothing words and a question. Do you like treasure hunts?

We ask the third voice, where did that come from? It waits patiently until we answer.

Well, yes, we do.

Wonderful it responds. I want to share a secret with you. You knew it at one time, but have forgotten, so let me remind you.

One of the most beautiful things about this world is that we’ve hidden treasure everywhere.  Every single experience you will encounter throughout your life has treasure in it. Some lie on the surface and are easy to spot. Others are buried deeply and may require you to dig to find them. But each one of them is worth pursuing. They may at first seem dusty, but each will sparkle and shine once you polish them.

How do we find them we asked?

You find them by opening your heart and expressing love. The more you do this, the greater the love you will experience. It’s up to you and what you choose. Choose wisely, my love.

All the voices quieted but one.

I want to try, it said.

Note: To make a comment, please click on the Post Name, then scroll to the bottom of the page, write your comment in the box and hit enter.

Exercise One- Seeing Beneath the Surface

An idea came to me that it might be fun to include exercises that readers could choose to do as part of this adventure. So, I thought that maybe after every twenty posts, I’d offer you one.

I hope you like the idea.

Here’s how the first exercise goes. You can use any size paper you like. A standard notebook page will work well. Begin by turning your paper so it goes lengthwise and make five columns, labeling them as follows; Concern, Reason, Reaction, Deeper Reason, Benefit(s).

Let me explain and then share an example to get you started. I find this exercise rewarding and have made positive shifts as a result of spending some time with it.

In the first column you write down some issue or concern that is troublesome for you. This may only take a few words, but write whatever you need to define the issue.

The second column identifies the reason or reasons why the issue concerns you. You may need to list several reasons or it may be as simple as one.

In the reaction column, write down how you respond to the issue. Consider your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual reactions.

Column four is an opportunity to go deeper and explore what might be beneath the reasons you initially identified. This is often where the shifts begin, so give yourself a little extra time with this one.

Hopefully you find there are benefits that arrive from this exercise and you can note them in column five. A great focus here is to allow yourself to see what positive outcomes are created by shifting your perspective.

So, that’s the set up. Now for the example.

Although I’d like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant individual, I have to admit that when I’m driving, there are lots of things other drivers do that bother me.

So, my column one lists…slow drivers.

In order to better understand myself and find a way to deal with this ongoing problem, I have to ask myself, why does this bother me?

My answer for column two is…because it wastes my time and keeps me from getting places when I expect to get there.

And my reactions in column three are…a great deal of sighing, inner irritation, drumming on the steering wheel and maybe some inappropriate language.

There has been a great deal of predictability to this. Certainly, more than I would like. That’s why the next step is so important to me. It’s where you get a chance to open up and ask to receive clarity. For some, the asking will be internal, while others will open to the divine for support and guidance.

For me in this case, I asked Lia (the part of god that appears as the divine feminine, also known to me as Love In Action, or simply Lia).

I sat still, slowed my breathing, calmed my mind and asked Lia for help to see beneath the surface.

Here’s what appeared in column four…what came was an image I recognized immediately. It was a car accident I was in. I was sitting waiting for the traffic light to turn green and was rear-ended by a pickup truck traveling 30 mph. It never slowed down and hit me so hard it shoved me through the entire intersection.

Wow, I knew this meant something big.

Enter column five. What was the benefit in seeing this image that lived beneath the surface…I realized that when I’m in my car and on my way somewhere, I’m impatient to get there because, without consciously knowing it, I’m afraid. I want a smooth ride with no interruptions. I don’t want anyone slowing me down and preventing me from getting to where I’m going. And, I don’t want to be in another accident. I want to be safe.

The benefit of seeing at this depth is that I can modify my behavior and reactions. When I get in the car I can tell myself to relax, take my time, enjoy the scenery, be patient, and realize I am loved and cared for.

Sometimes it takes a while before I can see beneath the surface, but, I’ve found it is always time well spent.

I’d love to hear what happens for you, if you decide to try this.

Note: To make a comment, please click on the Post Name, then scroll to the bottom of the page, write your comment in the box and hit enter.

Heaven

Several years ago, I was attending a workshop at the Kripalu Retreat Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. Prior to beginning one of our class exercises, we went into meditation. Instantly, I was transported. Even though I was sitting among my classmates, I was as far away from them as I could possibly imagine.

I want to share my experience with you and the poem that formed inside me, because it brings us to the heart of a question I believe almost everyone has asked themselves at one time or another. Actually, maybe even more than one time.

Is there really a ‘heaven’?

Despite how you may have been brought up, you’ve probably heard many different opinions expressed about the nature and reality of heaven. And I suspect, about the uncertainty of whether there is such a thing. After all, what conclusive proof can anyone offer you?

In the end, it seems to become a matter of belief. But where does one’s belief come from? Do we accept what we are told by some religious or spiritual group? Or perhaps we favor a scientific approach or we seek an answer from some special faction within society?

Interestingly, I’ve been asked about my belief about heaven on many occasions. What I have to say usually comes as quite a surprise to those who ask.

I want to preface what I have to tell you by saying I honor everyone’s decisions and recognize it is always up to each of us what we choose to accept.

For me, I feel really ‘nudged’ to share what feels like the truth to me, because it’s changed the way I view everything. And maybe it will open a doorway for you, one that creates beauty and wonder and new possibilities.

When you read the poem, I’d like to ask a favor of you. I’d like you to place yourself within the poem, seeing and feeling everything that is being described as if it was happening personally to you. Imagine opening your heart fully and giving permission to (god) and to your spirit guides to come and be with you.

If you have someone who can read the poem out loud to you, that’s ideal because it allows you to stay in the moment. If no one is available to read the poem to you, I suggest that you read one line at a time, pausing to feel into the experience before moving on to the next line.

And now, the poem.

Admitted to Heaven

During my meditation, I gave permission to all of my spiritual guides to come and stand behind me,

Immediately, guides were there, then there were hordes of them, pushing and shoving to stand around me,

A great crowd arrived, and one of the beings said to another, “they’re emptying heaven to stand behind him”, and still more came,

I was crying so hard now, and they lifted me up, and held me over their heads effortlessly on hands of light, and passed me around, as if I weighed no more than a feather,

It was the most beautiful thing,

And I heard many shouting, “He’s back, come see, he’s back”, and heaven lit up,

And I could feel it, they all loved me, truly loved me, an overwhelming love, so beautiful, I never wanted to leave,

I asked, “Can I come home any time I want to?”, “Yes,” they all said.

I have so much more to say, so I’ll continue with more heaven in my next post.

I hope to see you then.

Note: To make a comment, please click on the Post Name, then scroll to the bottom of the page, write your comment in the box and hit enter.

Kindness

Here’s an opportunity to try something new. To open a door in your world and see where it leads. What beautiful shift might occur in your outlook if you allowed yourself some freedom. Freedom to explore some new spiritual practices. Ones that appeal to you and offer hope and excitement and a sense of connection, perhaps to an inner part of you or perhaps to what you think of when you hear the word, ‘divine’.

Ready? I’m going to assume that you said ‘yes’, and I’ll keep going.

Although there are literally hundreds of directions we could go, let’s take just one step and see what happens.

Spiritual practices offer us every possible direction, so we can go inside or stay outside. For this exercise, let’s do both at the same time.

It will be fun. I promise.

So here it is…spend a little time and create an “intentional act of kindness plan” for the next seven days. I say, “intentional”, rather than the more common term of “random”, because I believe the creation of a plan IS “intentional”. You’re doing it “on purpose”, not with a specific idea of how it will turn out, but because you want to be present and somewhat purposeful.

I’m going to suggest that you start out with creating ideas. What acts of kindness come to your mind. Just let them pop into your head and write down a bunch of ideas that appeal to you. Once you have them captured, say each one out loud and see which ones your heart is drawn to.  Make a list of 3-5 ideas (or more) that you want to put into practice during this week.

Once you have your list, imagine what you need in order to perform these acts of “intentional kindness”. Remember that they can cost you nothing or something. That part is entirely up to you.

How are you going to create some magic for someone else? Who will it be? When will you do these things? Plan it out a bit, but not too much. This isn’t intended to be a chore for you. It’s not another “to do” item, but rather an overflowing from the joy that lives inside of you, now and what is to come.

Okay, so now you have your plan.

One more thing. I’m going to suggest that you perform some acts of kindness anonymously and some where the person you’re doing this for knows that it is you. I’m very curious to know if that changes anything about the experience for you, so I’m going to ask you, if you are willing, to record your feelings about each one of the “intentional acts” you perform. That’s really a big part of this exercise.

That ought to be enough to get you started.

I would like to share with you that for my sixty-third birthday I performed 63 intentional acts of kindness. It was an amazing adventure. I learned so much about myself throughout the process, which actually took me all month to complete.

I was constantly surprised, amused and overjoyed by my experience. I found deep connections are always within reach, as long as I was willing to take one simple step.

I wish you well on this journey and would love to hear whatever you care to share.

Note: To make a comment, please click on the Post Name, then scroll to the bottom of the page, write your comment in the box and hit enter.