Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Category: yoga

What thought would I have to think right now to feel great?

This is the question that has been occupying my mind last night and this morning. Every time a sense of overwhelm creeps in I pause. “What thought would I have to think right now to feel great?” In an instant my perspective, my day, my body changes. I am focused and forced by the question to see my options of other thoughts and of other ways to feel.
I know questions can be one if he most powerful mood, emotion and life changers- but it’s rare for me to find one that works so universally. If this life is ours to create, the foundation, the blueprint starts with these questions.
Take some time right now while reading or next time you start to feel stressed, annoyed, even physically sick and ask yourself, what thought would I need to have right now to feel great? What do you hear? What thought are you led to?

Abundant living comes from recognizing, seeing, and embracing the abundance that is already ours. Any thought can be yours. Your wealth of thoughts abounds. Enjoy it!

I would like to offer deep thanks to Cheryl Richardson for bringing this question to me and to Louise Hay for bringing it to her. It has opened up a whole new world for me! I hope you enjoy it too!

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Little Talks

I find one of the most important things I do in life is to talk to Life. Often times my prayers are pleads, yet these little talks with Life are more real, insightful and invaluable. It’s like talking to my wise sister, a best friend, a parent for advice.
This morning I caught myself talking like this in my mind while I was walking to the bus. The quiet place within me bubbled up a question. “Why don’t you trust me with the bigger stuff?”
I knew this was a deep question underlying much of my anxiousness and worry.
I was quiet.
“You trust me in the little things. It is no different. I am the Power the causes and designs breath in your body and planetary movement on scales unimaginable. Do you think I can’t handle your schedule? Your job and responsibilities?”
“I know.” I thought with a sense of surrender of self that released something- the control I had been trying to exert.
“Remind me.” I asked. “Help me to remember and know that really everything can be touched, influenced and handled by you.”
I knew were we both smiling. The gentleness of power had graced me yet again. The Voice is always there. Are we quiet enough to hear it? Are we vulnerable enough to engage it?

Time Affluence – Developing a Practice of Experiencing Awe

Drew picked up on it this morning.

“Are you ok?… Are you happy?”

I had to face the question with honesty. In truth, the underlying current of my being really wasn’t happy. It was muddled. Overwhelmed. Being beaten up by my own self-criticism. By looking at myself honestly, I knew exactly what he felt- I had lost a sense of myself.

We took some time to describe what exactly it was – why wasn’t I happy. I went through a laundry list of tasks at work and we talked of chunking it down and making it manageable. And, as always, when you continue to talk and really look at the issue, the superficial reasons began to peel away and the heart of the issue emerged.

“I haven’t written.” I finally realized a deeper issue. “I haven’t written because I don’t feel connected to God.”

And that’s the truth. The laundry list of tasks has become a tool of the ego to keep me from living in the present, from dwelling in awe, from trusting in someone and something greater than myself.

Could I flip this around? Could I look to the directives of “my tasks” as coming from the Divine, even if they are presented in a secular world?

The truth is that I knew when I accepted and took this job that it was aligned with a Divine plan. There were signs and perfections scattered throughout the days. Now that it has revved up, I seem to have forgotten the tremendously powerful perspective that it is Divinely Perfect. I seemed to have forgotten how to remain alert, assiduous and diligent – and happy, carefree, and joyous.

The solution, for today, suggested by Drew was to have a happy day. A day dedicated to finding and living in that balance again. I couldn’t agree with him more.

But the tool that really helped me begin this day was an article posted by a friend entitled, “How to make time expand”. Everything within me knew that this was really the issue. It wasn’t the work, the tasks, the job, my overwhelm (I am excited to finally be doing so many things that I love to do) – it’s that I had lost my sense of having abundant time.

When I was intensely practicing yoga last year, I remember the message being delivered that there was more than enough time to do everything. There was more than enough time to accomplish your dreams and your goals. To love those that you love. To transform your mind, body and spirit to be its best. There was so much freedom in this idea. I swam in it. I drank it up. And remarkably, by living in this place of abundant time, I accomplished more. I was more productive, happy, aligned than ever before. The article calls this “time affluence”, a recent term that directly corrects the other aspect of “time famine”. It is rare when you are looking for a term, a phrase to encapsulate what you are struggling with, and then it comes in the most unusual channels to you, but that is exactly what happen today.

Time affluence, and what creates it, is being studied now and I look forward to hearing their research and trying it in practice. But the two things they suggest to create more “time affluence” in the article are giving time away and experiencing awe.  Not only do we have the satisfaction of helping others, of feeling useful and productive when we give our time away to others, but there is also a sense of definitive ending. The tasks we see for ourselves can drag on forever, and this creates more time famine than time affluence.

Then the idea of experiencing more awe is fascinating. Awe brings us to the present moment. Awe creates a sense of time loss – expanding time to be eons within a moment. We lose ourselves (including our “to-do” lists) and we feel happy. But can we do that without going to a waterfall, or meeting a baby for the first time?

Yes, we can. It’s all a matter of perspective, and stopping to see what really is around and within you.

When looking at this concept of awe, this morning, I realize the real reason I write. I write because each day there are hidden pockets of awe waiting to be dwelled in, discovered, played with and lived. I experience loss of time when I write because here I am truly in awe. I am in awe of the workings and perfection around me. I am in awe of the emotions I experience, the thoughts that I have, the ideas I am exposed to.  Writing is my practice of experiencing awe.

I had been pushing writing away for the past few weeks, so no wonder I have been feeling pressed for time and not connected with God. The short 20 minutes I take to write on something remarkable, on some Divine aspect of life that is around me seeps into all other aspects of life. By expanding time just once a day, in one way – I can expand it in everything.  Writing takes me out of living in the future and puts me immediately engaging with the present. This, the present moment, is the only dwelling place of endless possibilities, love, grace and joy.

I can see now that I am not a writer. I am a discoverer. I am an observer. I am a lover. I write because I cannot help but to share what I discover and observe. I write because this is my processing tool. Writing enables me to play and interact with the Divine that is all around me and within me. It is in writing,  in these moments of expanse, that I catch the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, True Life I can ever imagine. And it is in writing that I hope to share, to give this to you, too.

 

 

God Windows

It’s hard not to write about this when you come into contact with it again and again, day by day. It’s when you walk consciously into an answered prayer. I have been taught that no prayer is too small and here are some examples.

It has been raining all night and all morning. While I thought I was prepared, this morning I realized I didn’t have my umbrella. So I prepared the best I could with raincoats and trash bags and fully accepted the potential fate of being wet all morning from my walk and wait for the bus. I step outside all bundled to find not even a drop is falling. A God window opened.

On Tuesday I drove into Atlanta, a drive that usually makes me nervous especially around rush hour where hundreds of cars vie their way pass you. Yet, just as with every time I drive in a major congested interstate, I prayed on the ramp for a successful and safe merger. Each of the 4 times I entered one of the major highways it was as if there were no other cars for half a mile before me and half a mile behind me. Truly unbelievable that for a 6 lane highway- during rush hour- every time I merged, there were no cars even close. Like a mini- yet no less remarkable- crossing of the Red Sea, I found myself in another God window.

This is what I hope we can all remember today. Despite appearances. Despite known facts or preconceived and lived experiences, we can all ask and be grateful for these God windows. Little pockets meant just for us to live into and keep us safe.

Mind Candy

My morning tradition was disrupted today when I left my iPod in the car that Drew took to work. Somehow, on this rainy Wednesday, this seemed to be a good thing. It seemed to welcome in some space without words into my morning.

I realized that while I love and find it useful and powerful on so many levels to start my day by walking to the bus stop listening to a program, a speaker or something inspiring, it is powerful too to hear yourself some mornings.

Instead of trying to stuff down some programming, I decided to gently step out into programming myself. I was quick to realize that even the positive thoughts and affirmations I used to say, those that come naturally and almost immediately to mind when I think – ok, lets affirm- seem stale, or at least burdened with a twinge of disbelief from my heart.

That is the last thing I want – inauthentic words. Empty vessels trying to create something.

No. The entire power and purpose of affirming, of self-speak, is the emotional certainty you feel with the repetition and knowing of what you are saying.

So this morning I had to back track. I had to be completely honest with myself. When I said something and it didn’t feel “right”, then I lessened the degree. I turned back and let go a bit, and said something new.

It was as if my mind was in yoga. Just as when I enter into a pose, I find the edge – and while I think  “Oh, your growth will be if you push through and go beyond this limit”, my wise self says “Oh, ok, that is where the limit is. You see it; you found it, now back off a bit and breathe. The limit will dissolve by your working at this lesser place.”

It is interesting when you sit with your own mind – in walking meditation, or sitting meditation- without any other words. No voices guiding you. No songs luring you. Just you, being you.

So, while I started this morning with grandiose phrases – ones that I had used before – I ended up being at two simple ones. These were the ones that “clicked”. These felt right. So I stayed there. I dwelled in the rain saying to myself – out loud and quietly – “My job is fast, easy and fun. My job is fast, easy and fun. My job is fast, easy and fun.”

And eventually, it came – the soothing, quiet phrase that whispered to my soul and tasted so good I couldn’t leave it all morning – it was a gentle, “I love you, Elizabeth.” It was a true surrender of all the self-improvement talk – of all the let’s be the best – let’s do better- self-speak that I hadn’t even realized was crowding up my mind quite so much.

So today, this is my mind candy. This is the refreshing drink to my thirsty soul. This is the day, I turn everything else off – and I turn myself on – even if it’s a quiet, ever so gentle whisper. This is the day that I remember, that I really do deeply love myself, as much as, I love others.

For every dream of yours you have the tools…

A moment ago I read this from the blog of Paulo Coelho.

 

“Our dream, the desire that is in our soul, did not come out of nowhere.
Someone placed it there.
And that Someone, who is pure love and wants only our happiness, did so only because he also gave us the tools to realize our dreams and our desires.”

(The rest can be found on  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2013/01/11/our-dream-2/)

My soul took a breath for a moment with this beautiful reminder. It seems that January has started in full force. The rest and break the holiday afforded has refreshed us and propelled us into many new endeavors on top of all the projects we were already doing. For me, I love it. There is something that is always comforting about the fact when I am doing a lot, and doing that which my soul has whispered for me to do for years. It makes me focus on the necessary, and when I focus on the necessary, then I sense the efficiency of nature coursing through me. I feel that I am being an instrument for good and joy in the world.

As Paulo Coelho reminds us, the ideas and dreams that we have come to us for a reason. They were planted in us, intentionally and with full purpose. And just like any good gardener, this Someone does not just let the seed have to fend for its own water and sunshine and nutrients. All that is needed for the dream to grow and fruit is provided – we already or will have the tools to accomplish our growth and soul’s work. While you have to do your part of allowing the essence and path of the seed take place, we are all given all that we need to accomplish what is being asked of us.

So often when we sense a calling, a dream, a desire of the soul, we hesitate. We think of all the other things that are urgent and necessary and that take up so much of our time. Yet the truth is that the easy fulfillment of this desire is before you. You have all the resources, all the tools, that you need to “hammer” it out. Your life, your experiences, the hidden tools you already possess will make themselves apparent and useful.

So what?

So don’t delay! There is no time like the present. There won’t be “more” time later. There will be the same crunch. The same hesitation. The same “overwhelm”.

Today, instead, lets change our focus. Let’s see the wealth of resources before us – even if it’s the five minutes we drive in the car alone that allow us to make a phone call, or the extra $100 that you can spend on doing that which you thought of doing years ago to spread a message you believe in. Perhaps its the fact that you have paper and a pen (resources that not many people have). Perhaps its a gift of music, or inspiration that you can offer someone. Perhaps its an excel spreadsheet where you can lay out a plan. While this spiritual truth of having all the tools needed to realize our dream is true of everyone, it is only bestowed on those who realize it. Pause. Breathe deeply. See the depth of resources before you and within you. And recognize how you and your life are perfectly aligned to the accomplishment of that which you think is “too good to be true”.

Watching the Waves

There are moments everyday of disappointment. Moments when we catch ourselves plummeting, when we sense loss and tighten up. We brace ourselves for the fall.
I know when these happen, sometimes in the tiniest of moments for me. Someone says something. I hear something from somewhere, I spin into reaction. I try to find a grip. Sometime I grab onto things that give me a false sense if control and steadiness- blaming others, anger, eating, jumping into unplanned action. But I know these are just temporary fixes. Band aids for a wound that might need some time to heal.
But I can sense I am on the right path since I know when these moments come where I loose my footing. I can feel my breath stop. I can feel a mood brewing in my blood, uninvited. I can see my hand reach to stuff down another emotion with something to occupy my mouth. I can see my true self shrink by enlarging the issue before me.
While there are many strategies out there to help us with those moments that surely come up daily my only cure right now is to watch the waves. I set a timer to literally create some space for me, some time where I a not allowed to do anything- talk, eat, even think. I can only breathe. Deeply. Audibly, visibly with my chest rising and falling. This is the secret ocean I carry around with me. Hidden, like an ancient secret cove, these are the waves that smooth the jagged edges of anything in its way. I get the same peace in this time as I do sitting by the shore. I get the same wonder on this edge as I do standing and searching for an ending that doesn’t exist on a vast ocean. And to think, it’s always there. I can choose to always live by the sea. I just have to turn around. I just have to pause to hear it crash on the shore, rhythmically reminding me there are things that came before and things that will outlast. I just have to breathe.

Intention and Resolution Questions for 2013

Ever since I began a daily spiritual devotion I have gained greater clarity with each passing day and year. It is comforting to come to New Year’s Day with a peaceful heart and the ability to articulate clearly what I desire to contribute and be in the coming year and years. My goals are attainable but make me stretch. My vision is exciting. My plan to accomplish these things is enjoyable! I hope that you too enter into this year with excitement, passion and clarity!
My affirmation for myself and you is that this coming year is the best yet! That 2013 is filled with deeper love, greater growth, more abundance and joy in every day!

While we all have ways to establish our intentions for the coming year, below is an outline of questions that were sent to me and that I have found useful and enjoyable at this turning of the year. I hope you do too. I toast to you!

1. What do I truly value?
*My primary goal is:
*I want to be _________ kind of person
*How do I want to feel each day?
*What do I want to experience in this life?
*Where does love fit in to this picture for me?

2. Personal Mission Statement
*What is my goal for my daily practice?
*Share that goal with someone else.

3. How can I express myself and my goals in my life?

The Balance of When to Let Go

I was an English Major. This was an excellent choice of study, except I had not mastered one thing yet that would have made my life tremendously easier – when to let go. I suffered from the problem of never feeling a paper was complete. Essays could always be tweaked. I believed that I could never fully be ready to hand something in. While I can see this belief stemmed from self doubt, I set up systems too that didn’t support completion. I procrastinated and waited till right before the paper was due because I had made the task so ominous that I had no desire to finish or start early. If there is no chance of completion, then we often delay starting.
Since then I have learned not only how to chunk processes into bite size and doable steps- even writing papers, but I have embraced the fact that when I come to the end of my abilities that is when the Divine takes over. As it turns out any and all tasks are not only up to me. I have a partner in God. Yet just like any other group project, I have to bring my best and offer it to have the other team members play to their best. I can see very clearly as I have grown more organized and more aware of God’s presence that my job is to do my absolute best- to follow through on every idea I have that seems good, to exhaust my resources, my intelligence, my planning and come to the end of my abilities. Then it is my job to let it go. While we can all expect more from ourselves there is a fine line of being too demanding and therefore never allowing ourselves the satisfaction or joy of accomplishment. It is ego that tells us it is all on our shoulders and causes us to forget we are intimately and forever paired with the Divine. Give yourself a fighting chance of producing your best work and know that there will be many more opportunities to try again. None of us are expected to be perfect, at the beginning or the end, but we will get better at doing our job and then letting go, allowing the work to go through the refining fires of God’s grace.

The Spiritual Sounding Board

I consider myself very blessed. One of my greatest blessings is to have a best friend whose standards of life and joy and personal conduct are so truthfully aligned that you can literally not bring anything to her that is not your highest and best. It’s not as if she judges you at all. It’s more that somehow she sees you and life clearer. She sees and expects what you could be and doesn’t waste her time with the junk or the clutter or the muddled. It’s always been very clear to me this Divine Quality she has. It is like a spiritual sounding board- you just can’t lie to her like you can yourself. It’s a friendship where there is no room for excuses.
It is truly a rare and special gift to have this person in your life. Just their presence seen or unseen lifts you up to the next level. Their perspective, unblurred from their distance, offers the honest and true advise that is usually the missing link in getting yourself to the next level.
Thank you Life for such a friend.