Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Tag: Parenting

Today’s Outlook – Clear and Present, Tomorrow’s Forecast – Clear and Present

Happy New Year All! May you feel the air of unlimited possibility all around you today and each new day of the year!

I could think of no better forecast than the title above. What a peaceful existence it would be to rest in the state of truly living the wonder of each moment as it comes. We could leave behind the baggage we carry from past experiences and drop the unnecessary assumptions and predictions we often place on the future. We could travel lightly with a fresh perspective allowing Life to bless us in every way. Easier said than done, but always the answer.

In a recent discussion with my children, I was delighted to hear myself describe some specific ways we can choose to live our days with clear and present energy. Our discussion was a result of the typical sibling disturbance, filled with a lot of over-familiar responses indicating that past resentments and future assumptions were dominating the interaction between two precious little people who love each other very much but could not feel it in certain moments of their daily life. In speaking to them, I was able to break it down in a simple manner and give specific tips and tools that would surely help harness a more conscious experience for anyone. It was a review of the tools we ask them to use each day with some added ideas about clearing out our energy each night. The discussion was spontaneous and completely unplanned. I loved everything I heard and I knew the Universe was speaking to us all.

The one true answer to everything is to truly be where you are at fully and experience what Life is showing you in the deepest possible way. This intention will guide you effortlessly through the moments and connect the dots in your life in miraculous ways. Figuring out how to do this takes much practice, undoing of programmed mind activity, a deep desire to make the shift to a more conscious lifestyle and much more. But, it takes only one moment to become present. It is always the one that you are in. It takes no time at all. Even though there is much to learn and practice to hold it for longer periods of time, or on a more consistent basis, it actually takes no time at all to do it because this moment (now) is the only time it is ever possible. We can let the other moments take care of themselves as we fully embrace the one we are in now.

In our family discussion, I reminded the kids about setting our intentions each morning and exactly why we do that. I explained that it isn’t just to write it down in your journal because Mom wants you to, because that won’t work. We had a lovely discussion about the power we put behind our choices with our intentions and how the Universe matches our intentions back to us continuously throughout our days. We can’t say we have a certain intention and then forget it in the first possible moment we have a choice we could apply it to. We cannot go through life reacting to whatever happens I explained, we must decide what our intentions are for the day in the morning and then remember to use that spirit behind each choice we make (or at least as many as we can as we learn and grow). Then our days will be filled with purpose and meaning as our intentions guide us to the life and connections we are meant to live.

Having noticed that the kids still seem easily annoyed with Life, each other and even my voice early in the mornings just after a morning meditation, prayer and intention journal entry, it was obvious that they are living out past experiences over and over again. God gave me the language to speak to them about this clearly. I told them that if by 9:30 am, they have already forgotten their intentions and surrendered to reactionary choices and a mind filled with negative thoughts, then the spiritual practices they are doing aren’t working. In general, if it doesn’t feel good, it’s not working, I explained. I called on them to truly access the spirit inside them that will give more meaning to these practices to help support their intentions to live out their days in a more meaningful way that will bring less stress and allow more joy. I encouraged them to believe in their ability to truly decide their intentions thoughtfully and place their power behind the things they do and say. I asked them to play with it and see what they can do and make happen. We discussed the difference between being vague and getting specific and noticing how the Universe responds and works with us. Great words came about how they have the power to bless others and themselves with the intention and spirited action they choose to bring forth. It sounds over a child’s head, but they are much closer to the spirit world than we realize sometimes. They came from there and they can remember how to access it and use it to bless the world. The conversation was lovely and then we put it all together with some new ideas for even better practices.

We discussed how we can sometimes hold on to the past so much that it doesn’t allow us to be where we are at. We either relive the past or worry that it will happen again in the future. This simple choice, makes it seem real in our heads and then we have lost our way and fallen into unfounded and irrational reaction rather than spirited action. We used specific examples of disputes they have had and hearing and saying things to each other like, “you always” or “she/he always,” etc. We discussed the unfairness of continuously punishing each other for things that aren’t happening any more. We talked about being unable to hear what is actually being said or see what is actually happening if we look at the situation through the veil of past experiences. Love comes through in present moments, not in cluttered up past ones. We came up with the idea of clearing things our each night to allow for a more present and thoughtful morning that will allow us to get the most out of our chosen spiritual practices. We talked about clearing out our energy in the middle of the day if it starts to seem hard to make the kind of choices we meant to when we started the day. It was all very simply put and the plan started to seem comforting and accessible. I encouraged the kids to try clearing out the energy on their own with specific ways to talk to your deepest self, etc. I added that if they had some things getting stuck or some energy that didn’t clear, they should ask for help and we could come up with a better plan or try different ways, etc.

There was much more to it of course, too much to explain here. What started out as a lecture on bad choices turned into an uplifting guide/map for a future filled with present moments of joy. I said a prayer of gratitude afterwards for the energy that had come through me and around me in such a supportive way. It was a lovely moment. Of course, the holidays and all kinds of hectic schedules and situations grabbed hold of us just after this breakthrough. 🙂 But, this moment remains as good as any to recall the tools we have and the ways we can support ourselves to make good choices grounded in love and clear presence. The energy that surrounded us all that night in conversation can be accessed now and the tools are always there as long as they are needed.

May you be blessed with the ability to wish yourself a Happy New Year and start fresh in any moment of any day this year!

Clear and present blue skies are now!

Intention

Each day we receive a wonderful, miraculous, amazing gift called a new day.  As we receive this gift each morning, we can decide how we will use it well.  We can pause and consider how to honor this gift and use it to the best of our ability.  This gift we receive each morning is too awesome to take for granted.  It is too much to accept without realizing the magnitude of it.  If someone gave us a large sum of money, we would surely take the time to consider what to do with it.  The gift of a day is worth far more than any amount of money could ever be.  There is nothing more miraculous than a day to turn into your masterpiece.  All anyone can ever do to honor this Life we are given is to get up each day and do the best we can with our day moment by moment.

We can set a clear intention for ourselves each day.  At the very least, knowing our intention will help us make better choices to match our truest desires and best character aspects as we navigate various situations and circumstances.  At the highest level, setting our intention clearly each morning is like sending out prayer filled instructions to the Universe.  The Universe hears our instructions and then begins arranging things to perfectly match them and bring us the circumstances that will allow us to live our creation.  We are constantly sending out instructions whether we realize it or not.  Things are arranging themselves according to our intentions.  We can see the miracles and create beautiful things or we can miss the magic and stumble around accepting what comes without realizing we ordered it.

A few months ago, I gave the kids intention journals and encouraged them to write down their intentions each morning.  We have had lovely discussions about their various intentions and how they can remember what they intended for the day as they make choices and deal with situations that arise.  It is helpful for them to take responsibility for their actions and remember what they really want to do with their day and their character choices in general.  My writing here is really about my intention to live what I know and help others as I go.  When I gave the kids their journals, I thought I didn’t need one because I write about my intentions here.  I recently changed my mind and got me an intention journal too.  I am joining them in the practice of clearly stating my intentions in writing each morning.  I love it so far.  I learned about intention years ago, but I can see the power and supportive Universal energy in stating my intentions clearly each day.  I am grateful for this practice, it will help me create the days I am meant to and hopefully send Love and abundant blessings out into the world through me.  That is my dearest intention.

Wishing us all the courage to intend well and bless abundantly.  Sending you love and joy.

 

Resistance

Somewhere along the path, we come to the moment.  We realize that life can only be lived in the exact moment we are in.  We figure out that our head is full of chattering nonsense that distracts us from the moment and we embark on the work of clearing the mind and embracing the moment.  We want to wake up.  There are many paths and many wonderful souls to help us see our path and live our moments fully.  We only need to listen and we are on our way.  As we begin clearing the field of the mind, we realize right away that we must hack away at the thoughts of the past and all our reactions to it.  Then, it is clear that we must chop down the thoughts about future worry.  All this makes perfect sense.  Get rid of past and future thoughts to clear the mind and come fully into the moment.  Of course in the case of the mind, one cannot simply plow the field, we dance with the mind and attempt various ways of allowing the thoughts to pass through until they barely get our attention anymore.  We don’t try to get rid of the thoughts, that would only make them bigger, we simply learn to put our attention elsewhere.  We learn to awaken to alert presence and reserve our attention for the thoughts that come from our higher selves and actually mean something.  That all makes perfect sense and will keep us busy for as long as it takes, but it is not the whole picture.  Accessing the moment is made up of much more.  Next up, resistance.  It comes in many forms and we must learn what it does to the moment in both subtle and obvious ways.

It is easy to “be in the moment” when things are going our way or we like the circumstances.  What happens when it is all going “wrong”?  As soon as we are resisting anything the present moment has to offer, we have slipped back into sleep.  Our mind will become busy wishing things were different or planning ways to make change.  We must embrace whatever the moment brings.  We won’t lose our way or become numb to life.  Life will show us how to flow and live in a much more alert and awakened state.  We will be one with life.  For me, learning about perception has helped a lot.  We must be willing to look at all our programmed perceptions on life.  We must open to the idea that we really don’t know what is good or bad.  We can evolve out of labeling everything and arranging things to fit into one category or another.  Watching our resistance to things and letting go of our attachments to what “should” be is a wonderful practice.  Not and easy one.  But, a wonderful one.  Peace replaces resistance, one moment at a time.

“To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.”  ― Eckhart Tolle

These are wonderfully comforting words from Eckhart Tolle.  Also ambitious.  We can do it!  It’s not too ambitious if it is grounded in letting go and letting life live us.  We can set our intentions to observe and allow resistance to pass through or to teach us something.  Let’s look at a few forms of resistance and its antidotes.

General Resistance – When we first begin watching our resistance to things in the moment, it may be surprising how much we resist one thing or another.  We have a lot of ideas about good/bad and right/wrong.  We spend a lot of wasted energy resisting what already is and wishing for something else.  We live in distraction rather than actually living what the moment is trying to show us.  We must be willing to accept that we don’t really know what is ultimately good/bad or right/wrong.  We don’t have to roll over and accept everything, but we must really look at what is just a programmed reaction and what really deserves our energy and attention.  It is exhausting to label everything and try to make it all go our way.  Our resistance plays a part in this.  Acceptance doesn’t bring more of what we think we don’t want, it actually opens up a place to receive more or what we are meant to have.  We can know we are meant to experience certain things because we already are experiencing them; we don’t have to wonder if this experience is meant for us because it is already happening.  With acceptance of what already is, no experience is wasted.  It is a delicate dance.  As we let go of all the little resistances we have in general, we can flow more deeply with our true being that allows us to know when something really is or is not right for us.  Our general resistance to life can dissolve and then we can learn to trust true resistance in a more meaningful way.

Subtle Resistance – I noticed this one more recently.  As our awareness of resistance helps us release it along the way, we can get better at accepting things and letting go of our resistance habits.  Even just acknowledging that we are resisting is helpful in the process and will move us along in our practice.  Then, we can hopefully open our eyes wider and see the ripples of resistance that are still playing a part in our interactions with life.  Sometimes we have this little voice that continues to subtly resist things as we go along.  A little nagging thing that says, “that is not right” or “that won’t happen to me” or “I can’t believe they did that.”  One particular example springs to mind where I noticed my subtle resistance ripples.  Many parents of older children seem to love to compliment my children on their choices/manners/habits and then proceed to tell me, “Just wait until they are older….” and then describe how horrible they will inevitably be when they become teenagers.  I noticed myself having this little, “that won’t be us” reaction inside.  Silly to give my energy towards resisting what someone else is experiencing or sharing.  Who knows what will happen when my kids are older?  Why give my energy and peaceful power away in the moment of someone else describing their situation?  Resistance shows up in many subtle ways.  After I noticed this particular recurring one, I consciously made an effort to allow people’s comments to just flow through me.  I chose to truly be there to really hear them and listen with my heart about their situation rather than making it about me and what may or may not happen to my family.  I can have an open heart rather than a reaction full of resistance.  It is helpful to notice even the subtle ripple of this waste of time and energy response called resistance.  We all have these subtle resistance patters happening to show us how to grow further into detachment and acceptance of all that is.

Providing Resistance – You know the saying, “Whatever you resist persists.”  Well, it’s true.  No exception.  If you are resisting something in any situation, it grows in power and presses harder.  You literally give the thing you are resisting something to butt up against and push on.  If you let things pass through  you and have detached acceptance working for you then things can flow through.  Parenting offers a lot of opportunities to practice this one.  It is always interesting to balance when to let things be and when to step in and handle the thing I think I can’t allow or tolerate.  I have seen the magic of not providing that resistance anymore and the situation completely diffusing itself.  All of our relationships allow places to practice no longer providing that resistance.  Life opens up for us when we no longer resist it.

Avoidance and Numbing Resistance – Sometimes we just don’t want to feel something, don’t want to face something and/or don’t want to deal with something.  We use all kinds of distraction methods to avoid actually experiencing the things we are meant to.  If we are honest with ourselves, we know what methods we are using and we can see how it would feel to just drop the distractions and experience what is waiting for us in the magic of the moment.  Maybe we don’t need the television on, maybe we don’t need to surf the internet or waste time on our smart phones, maybe we don’t need that cocktail to relax us, maybe we’re not really hungry and don’t need that snack, maybe we don’t need all those busy plans that keep us from going deeper inside to open to more of life.  We know when we are avoiding and numbing out rather than pushing through and fearlessly experiencing life found in the precious present moment.  The moment is Life.  We can handle whatever form it comes in by grounding ourselves in the moment rather than in distraction and avoidance.

Past and Future Resistance – Often, we see someone or experience something through the veil of the past or worry about the future.  We may see someone we have not had a “good” experience with in the past, and we only interact with them from the perception of the past.  The person in front of us is completely different from the last time we saw them and so are we.  If we remain stuck in past experience of them, we are not in the moment and we are using past experiences to resist what may be available to us in the present moment.  Instead of living with an open heart in the moment, we are closing the door to the experience that was meant for us.  The encounter with the very same person may be quite lovely if we can see them with fresh loving eyes that have only the present moment in mind.  The same thing goes for future worry.  We may be resisting what is happening in the moment because we fear what it will cause in the future.  But, we are not really experiencing the moment if we are caught up in the future.  We must stay right where we are at and allow all that is meant to happen in the exact moment we are in.  The “future” will only come in the form of another moment.  We can handle all of them as they come.

Creative Resistance – As we continue our practice of letting go of our resistance to life and opening up to the moment, we can observe and understand our resistance in a more meaningful way.  We are all here to do something and we are all co-creators in this life.  The more we get in touch with our truest purpose, the more we must be willing to push through our resistance.  We are sure to encounter much resistance as we approach that which we are meant to do.  The stakes get higher and fear can take a stronger hold on us as we muster our courage to try.  Here are a few favorite quotes on this type of resistance.

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

There is only ever love or fear.  Resistance is just another form of fear.  Sometimes it’s just general stuff from programmed labels we resist, sometimes subtle ripples persist as we learn to gain more presence, sometimes we let resistance nurture bad habits and sometimes we listen to resistance and realize it is the strongest around things we are truly meant to do.  As we become better masters of our own various types of resistance, we will be able to let the waves of fear pass through and turn to love and even push through the important resistance that came to show us we are on the right track.  We can listen to the fear and resistance and act from our soul to overcome and pass through to our life’s purpose.  We can live each moment in love.

Wishing us all the courage and wisdom to listen to life and let go of resistance.  Wishing us the ability to know when to let resistance pass through without giving it our attention and when we should take note and push through it to our higher calling.  There is so much waiting for us in the moment.  Learning to listen and open with acceptance of with already is is a great way to open the door to the life we are meant to have with all the love we are meant to feel.

Sending you love and joy!

Fresh Eyes

Whatever we look at today, may we see it with fresh eyes.

All too often, we look with the eyes of yesterday.  We allow our past experiences and judgments to drag us through our life and relive themselves again and again.  This isn’t living.  We can’t fully come to the present moment and live our soul’s purpose and essence until we can put down our veil of perception grown in the past and grounded in fear and future.

We can practice looking at the world and everything in it with fresh, clear, new eyes.  When we do, we will experience the flow of life in miraculous ways.  We can shift how we experience everything.  Everything that passes through our vision has our thoughts attached to it as we take it in.  We look and attach a label, draw on past experiences as we assume they will repeat themselves and then react accordingly.  Living this way, we miss the actual moment and what may be possible within it entirely.  We can change the thoughts we attach and open up to the Life we already have waiting for us to experience it fully.

I arrive again and again at the miraculous truth that the unknown is all there really is and it is much better than knowing everything…or at least thinking we do.  We really don’t know what the future holds and we would have much more peace if we didn’t feel the need to know.  As we shift our perceptions and feel what is really going on in the Divine Universe, we can begin to trust that whatever lies in the unknown is far better than anything we can conjure up with our little ideas about how things should go.  Even when things seem to be against us, we usually see the reason it was the perfect for us later.  We can trust it all.  It is so much more meaningful and, in fact, fun, to just go with the flow and see what happens.  My favorite saying lately is simply, “I don’t know, let’s see what happens.”  It is a joyful relief that comforts me so…much better than gripping life too tight and continuously striving for some semblance of control.  That “control” only blocks Life and all its miracles.

We never really know what we are looking at…even the most familiar things.  Once things become familiar to us we no longer see them.  We must make the effort to see them fresh.  It will awaken our soul and we will come alive to Life simply by seeing what is really there in front of us rather than seeing our thoughts attached to it.

Yesterday at the grocery story, I saw my kids beside me with absolutely fresh eyes.  The magical love I felt gave me chills all over.  They looked like little miracles standing there near me.  I felt like the luckiest person alive just to have them hanging out with me.  I watched them for a few moments, one intently looking through items at the counter and one surveying the people all around…it was as if I had never seen them before.  I saw them so clearly and I knew throughout my being that I have been blessed in the most amazing way.   I could have been distractedly handling that grocery line moment that we have been through what seems like millions of times…instead I was there with fresh eyes and filled with the tingle of Life running through my senses.

I cherish John O’Donohue’s words on the unfamiliar…with gratitude I keep his lessons on seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things close to my heart.  I love what A Course In Miracles taught me and continues to teach me about perception.  I try to remember these lessons as I go through my days…sometimes with fresh eyes, often a bit blurry with flashes of clarity.  Recently in my reading, Mark Nepo spoke of these ideas as “love at first sight”… it opened up a new understanding in me.  I like the term “love at first sight” used in this way.  That was what happened to me at the grocery store.  I looked at two of the most familiar people in the world to me and my eyes were so fresh that it was indeed Love At First Sight!  Perhaps that is why they say love is all that matters and love is all there is…because when you get your eyes right…love is all you can see and all you can Be.

These ideas are not reserved for easy situations and circumstances.  We can apply them to Everything.  These fresh new eyes are the ones to use even if we have people in our lives that we feel have wronged us or our loved ones or are in conflict with us in some way, we can look at them with fresh eyes and live only what is in the actual moment in our meetings with them.  We don’t have to bring our past experiences with tough people to every interaction with them and we don’t have to replay old movies in our head of how we already know them and what they are all about.  We are never exactly the same in any two moments, we can meet everyone fresh in the moment we are actually in.  If we can do that, we will surely see that things are always much better in the actual moment without brining all the thoughts about it to keep us distracted or reliving past moments.

Everything around us can feel how we are using our eyes and other senses.  Our eyes can bring love or fear.  When we’re fresh and present, everything expands to be more fully and authentically alive…even the flower can stand taller.  We open life up and we live authentically.  The simple choice to use our senses to see things fresh brings the frequency of love that is all there really is to see.

Wishing you countless moments filled with the true and infinite “Love At First Sight” that is always available to us.  May we all have the courage to look at it all anew.  Let’s see it all fresh!

Sending you love and joy!  May the tingle of Life run through your senses!

Becoming The Ocean

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.  –Leonard Cohen

This quote is such a great realization.  I came across it in my reading this week and it put all I was feeling into clear, loving and true perspective.  To live on the surface of life, where we allow our inner state to depend on our outer circumstances is rocky, stormy and sickening.  It does feel like navigating during fluctuating storms that just keep rolling in.  It is possible to live from down deep in calm waters and to be fluid as we flow through life with the understanding that the moment is all we have and things are happening just as they should.  How do we do it?  We use every experience we encounter to build more presence in us, to ground us in our true essence of love and connectedness to all things…which can only be found in the present moment.

As we grow our presence and ability to live from the quiet place inside us, we still have to navigate the circumstances and people around us.  As we get better at this, the opportunities to practice it seem to mount.  We all have loved ones we hold dear and often those very relationships are the ones that allow us to grow the most.  I spend a lot of time with my two precious little ones.  They bring so much joy, laughter and moments of love, but, they also bring many many opportunities to practice all of the things I have learned about presence and consciousness.  If I didn’t have the day-to-day challenges with the kids, I would probably have myself convinced that I have evolved to a much higher level of consciousness.  I have little encounters with them all the time that remind me of what I can work on and just where I am at.  It is a gift to have these two to work with as I try to stay in the deep waters for longer periods of time and teach them to do the same.

Here’s the thing, the kids are constantly trying to pull me into feeling whatever they are feeling and as they grow and encounter new challenges and responsibilities, their emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes it feels like living with little emotional bandits, taking me on a ride over getting their jacket, tackling a math problem, clearing the table or tying their shoes, etc.  They are little, vulnerable and highly identified with me.  If they are stressed or upset about something, they want me in the same state.  I think they feel that if I am feeling the same stress, they will feel better or get help; its like they feel that if I’m upset too, they won’t be alone in it.  I can feel the pull between the three of us of how they want company in their emotions.  I am always trying to live from a place of non-reaction by putting more space around my choices.  It is kind of funny to hang out with people who really really want to get a reaction out of you when you so badly want to stop reacting to everything that comes your way.  There is a kind of perfection in it that allows me to feel just how connected I am to everything and how God/Life lines up the perfect circumstances to grow you to be more of your essential self.

You can be sure that whatever circumstances you are working with, they are the exact, perfect ones made just for you that will deliver you to all that you are meant to experience on the path leading in the direction of becoming more of who you really are.  Whenever I hit a bump or fall flat on my face by forgetting everything I know, I can feel the meaning in the experience and be grateful for whatever the details looked like.  Me and my little emotional bandits get up and forgive each other pretty quickly and jump back into the joy of life.  We talk openly about all these things, so they are learning right alongside me.  They teach me so much in such a pure way.

Let’s have a moment of get-real perspective here; perception is always a great teacher, it is usually a good idea to flip things around and see how they look from the other side.  As I was thinking about the “emotional bandits” part of things, I realized that I am an emotional bandit as well.  I have heard myself say, “Why can’t we just be in the moment?”, “Let’s get into the flow of life.”, “Joy is waiting for you whenever you’re ready.”, and many more such statements.  It would seem that I, too, am guilty of resisting the emotions others are experiencing and trying to get them to feel something I want to feel.  Even if I am trying to get them to feel “good” things, it is still me trying to get those around me to feel and act the way I want them to, so that it can come more easily to me as well.  To be honest, I have seen myself in bad times trying to get others to feel bad with me too.  It is a hard thing to admit, but as I look at things from this perspective, I cringe at some of the times I was down, stressed or overwhelmed and my husband was happily buzzing around and I dragged him through my emotions just to have some company.  Fear makes us do all kinds of weird things.  Thank goodness we have always come out of it pretty quickly and we know where it all comes from.  The yuckie stuff is always fear and the lovely stuff is love…no exception.

So, we all do it…we all try to bring our loved ones with us on our little emotional trips.  As we ride the waves in a storm, it is lonely to do it alone…we seek company and we drag them into our boat because we are afraid of making the trip alone.  Once we can learn to live from a more spacious place that allows others to have their feelings and express what they’re going through without it affecting our state of mind, we can be free of the seasickness and truly taste the freedom of acceptance, present moment living and inner peace.  Next time you notice an emotional bandit trying to take you for a ride, just give them love and let it pass through you.  Try comforting them by intense listening that allows them to be heard without resistance from you that would cause them to try to convince you and pull you into their emotional boat.  If you notice yourself trying to take others for your emotional ride, turn towards love and remember that everything passes, things are always as they should be and even though it feels like it would be lonely to go it alone…it isn’t.  Sometimes we just need to feel our feelings deeply and pass through them alone to let them lose their power over us.  We can grow and become more of who we really are by swimming deeper, feeling more stillness and realizing that we aren’t ever truly alone…we are connected to all that is around us…what we can see and what we cannot.

Picture it, if you are living at the surface of life, riding the waves, you need that little boat and you constantly seek company in there to endure all the seasickness and storms.  If you are the ocean, you don’t need the boat.  You don’t need to get in the boat with others and you don’t need to drag others into yours.  You can just be the ocean and heal yourself and others as you spread love and stay calm and peaceful in the moment.

Sending you love, calm, peace, joy and presence.

One of The Great Blessings In My Life…Wooden Wisdom

Coach John Wooden passed away on June 4, 2010.  That day was a life changer for me.  We happened to be sick that weekend and uncharacteristically had the television on, allowing us to see some of the coverage…I am so thankful for that.  I was deeply touched by what I learned about this amazing man that day.  I haven’t written all that much about Coach Wooden here yet because every time I think about putting my feelings into words, I get a kind of terrified feeling.  I think it is because I fear that I could never quite express how knowing about what he did with his life has affected mine and that of my family.  Even now, I sit here with tears starting to form, a sick feeling in my stomach and a lump in my throat.  What is this?  I don’t really experience this with my writing, I am willing to share and be open about just about anything…  Fear is a ridiculous illusion that tries to stop us from so many things, so I will just bulldoze right through it.  Wish me luck please!

As I sat there learning about Coach Wooden that day, I was stunned to see that someone like him had existed.  There was so much more to the story than the man who had coached basketball so successfully.  So much more.  I SAW LOVE!  I think it stood out because it was all men talking about this man and they were just so completely raw and open and loving as they recalled what Coach had meant to them and what knowing him had done in their lives.  The coverage included a little about his great love for his wife who had passed away many years before.  We saw that he had written her a letter every single day for twenty-five years since her passing.  We saw some of his Pyramid of Success.  We saw so much, but for me I wanted to know much more.  I had to.

I decided to read everything I could get my hands on that Coach had written.  He has many books out there.  I devoured all of them.  I would never be the same.  This man knew what success meant.  He began thinking of it back in high school when his math teacher asked his students “What is success?”… Coach never let the question go, he worked on his Pyramid of Success for thirteen years.  He lived it and he devoted his life to teaching others how to live it as well.  His pyramid is something my family has studied since we discovered it and we will continue to do so for years to come.  Coach’s definition of success is this–

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.  –John R. Wooden

Here is his Pyramid of Success:

wooden_pyramid

I could attempt to explain all that the Pyramid and all of Coach’s work mean to me, but I know that it really can’t be put into words.  It is much more than words.  I will just say that I think it is very strange that they put his books in the sports section at the book stores.  He taught about much much more than sports.  He taught about life and he lived as an example.

I am grateful for many teachers in my life.  Just prior to reading all of Coach’s work, I had been reading various spiritual awakening books and memoirs.  I was really trying to grasp consciousness and awakening and in some cases, reading and rereading the same books again and again.  Somehow Coach’s work was exactly the piece of the puzzle that I needed at the exact moment…a gift from God.  It felt like my grandfather explaining life to me in understandable terms.  I probably couldn’t have understood Coach so deeply if I hadn’t already been changed by awe-inspiring lessons from many before I found him though, so for that I am grateful!  I think of Coach’s work as the glue I needed as my foundation to understand all the other lessons coming my way and to make sense of all that I had already learned.  I believe Coach Wooden was an enlightened being among us and the best part about him was that he was so humble he didn’t label himself at all.  He was just a man, doing his personal best.  We are all so blessed to have his example.

For me, the Pyramid and many more things I learned from Coach Wooden’s work are my foundation.  That foundation is always there for me reminding me to work hard towards becoming the best version of myself, while being open to Life in every way possible.  Life is always supporting and growing and blessing us with miracles and lessons, but we are also responsible for doing the work of co-creating with it.  Coach’s work brings good old-fashioned character lessons and supports us while we also tap into the moment and the flow of God’s love that is ever-present.  For me, it is the perfect combination.  I am so grateful for the gift of Wooden Wisdom in my life!

We love Coach Wooden’s books for children so very much.  He did a great job in the later part of his life bringing his work to kids.  In his last book, The Wisdom of Wooden, he shared a special picture and a great message about his children’s books.  He said that the people at the company that worked to bring his kids’ books into classrooms asked him if he had ever thought about changing the Pyramid in any manner.  Coach shared that when asked, he had replied, “No, except for one thing.  I wish I had included the word ‘Love’ somewhere.  Love is the basis for everything I do.”  He was excited to share that they granted his wish by making him the picture below.  You can see love in the cement holding the blocks together.  It is so very special.  I saw the love that day that I first learned of Coach and I will never forget it.

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The pictures in the children’s books don’t have the love in the cement…he shared this in his last book.  I scanned it directly from the pages of The Wisdom of Wooden.  I was not surprised at all to hear that was the only change he would make.  I could see on that first day I learned of him that he was a man who lived full of love and I am so grateful that he showed me what a lifetime full of love looks like.

From all the spiritual teachers I have learned that love is always the answer.  I know that is why Coach mentioned this late in his life when asked…he knew deeply that love is the only answer and it is always the answer.  He was and continues to be an amazing example of a life lived well and with lots of love.

I can see as I try to wrap-up this post that it would take many more words to even begin to explain my feelings for Coach.  I feel that I will have many opportunities to share my feelings in the future here on Live What You Know…for that I am grateful and to you, my cherished reader, I am grateful!  Thank you!  Please stay tuned for many more specific lessons I learned from our beloved, Coach Wooden.  For now, lets just try to remember that love is always the answer.  No matter what it is, stop and flex that heart muscle and you will feel it and summon the courage to use it.  You can move mountains with love.  You can forgive, cherish, laugh, cry, squeeze, smile, create, build, win, lose, adore and so much more with love and that muscle we call… the heart.

Love is always the answer.  Wishing you love!

Seeing The Unfamiliar In The MOST Familiar Things

It is a shame how familiar we become with so much of our lives.  It would seem that we would find comfort in the familiar…that is not the case.  We completely check out and become numb to what is happening around us.  We can’t see the people or places around us that have become too familiar, we see it all through a veil of our past observations, images and experiences.  With the MOST familiar people and places in our lives it can do the most damage.  We can be completely missing what is right in front of us…the very thing we love the most, we sometimes give our attention to the least.  Learning about this concept from John O’Donohue in Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom was a gift in my life.  The gift of seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things can wake us up to life.  Life takes on a whole new energy when you can really do this.  I have had experiences where I felt as if I snapped into attention and really saw my child’s face for the first time in too long.  Children’s ability to notice this right away is really something to behold.  I cherish those moments when I was really looking at them with unfamiliar eyes.  I have also been thrilled to look at my husband and see him as if we were just getting to know each other; it’s so fun to experience the excitement of the early dating days…it just takes a little shift in attention.  It takes practice to dwell in this for any length of time, but it is so worth trying to improve at it…life changing when we can do it.

Seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things doesn’t mean trying something new to wake you up.  It is quite the opposite.  It means really watching where you put your attention and what conditioned responses are running in your head.  It takes watching your thoughts and not identifying with them.  It takes letting those thoughts pass by so that you can create new and fresh ones that are found in the unfamiliar or the fresh moment.  The truth is that no one is ever exactly the same as the last time you met them.  I know for sure I am not.  Sometimes I could just cringe at running into someone I knew well ten years or so ago…I think, oh my gosh they know me from two lifetimes ago… Even when we see people once a week, they are never the exact same person they were the last time you saw them.  Allow this freshness to be there and try to see them fresh in the moment.  With our MOST familiar people and places it takes the most heightened focus, but what it can do for those relationships and experiences is miraculous.  Seeing only the familiar takes all the excitement out of life.  Dare to see those closest and most familiar to you in new and unfamiliar ways.

I realized with my own children recently that I am the MOST familiar thing in their lives.  I am the thing they have been the most familiar with for the entirety of their lives.  I used to wonder why they would say and do things to me that they would never dream of doing to someone else.  I struggled with why they save their exquisite manners and politeness for everyone else.  It finally dawned on me that I am the MOST familiar thing to them and they are also the MOST familiar thing to me.  We could spend our entire day responding to our ideas and images of each other rather than actually seeing and experiencing each other fresh in the unfamiliar.  I want to really stop and listen to them and see the new expressions that cross their faces and the new things they are excited about.  Just because I am so very familiar with them and so involved in everything they do doesn’t mean I am really seeing the unfamiliar and allowing myself to look at them with fresh eyes to spot new changes and truly hear what is important to them.  It is something I have to practice, especially if I want them to do that for me.  It is a terrible feeling as a mom to feel like you repeat yourself a million times and no one is listening.  Argh.  I think I have stumbled into a great truth.  If I want them to look at me with fresh eyes and see me, then I must do that for them.  This is true for the MOST familiar people and places as well as everyone and everything else too.

Wishing you the profound joy and fresh aliveness that comes with experiencing the unfamiliar in the MOST familiar things.

Below is one of my favorite passages from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, by John O’Donohue.  What a gift!

Behind the facade of our normal lives eternal destiny is shaping our days and our ways.  The awakening of the human spirit is a homecoming.  Yet ironically our sense of familiarity often militates against our homecoming.  When we are familiar with something, we lose the energy, edge, and excitement of it.  Hegel said, “Das Bekannte uberhaupt ist darum, weil es bekannt ist, nicht erkannt”– that is, “Generally, the familiar, precisely because it is familiar, is not known.”  This is a powerful sentence.  Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.  This is true of our homes, the place where we live, and, indeed, of those with whom we live.  Friendships and relationships suffer immense numbing through the mechanism of familiarization.  We reduce the wildness and mystery of person and landscape to the external, familiar image.  Yet the familiar is merely a facade.  Familiarity enables us to tame, control, and ultimately forget the mystery.  We make our peace with the surface as image and we stay away from the Otherness and fecund turbulence of the unknown that it masks.  Familiarity is one of the most subtle and pervasive forms of human alienation.

Perception – Lessons For Children of All Ages

Perception is a wonderful lesson for children of all ages.  It is so helpful to teach them to step back and consider different points of view.  We want to raise kind compassionate children and teaching them the skill of looking from various perspectives is a great way to start.  My daughter and I first began talking more deeply (past simple sharing) about perception in preschool when she was dealing with what seemed to her like a mean little girl.  We discussed the other possible options or reasons why it may seem like she is being “mean” and tried embrace other scenarios, etc.  We tried to put ourselves in her shoes and see things from her eyes.  It helped.  In the end, they became friends.  These conversations continued throughout the years.  It also helped me teach her to try not to take things personally and to always look for the good in others because it is always there.

Perception can open up so many things in life and you can take the lessons as far as you are willing to open up your mind.  You can start with simply seeing things from another view-point and take it all the way to the ultimate illusions in life that we all experience.  Ultimately, perception can lead you to constant peace.  For children, just introducing and discussing the concept can free them from a lot of heartache that would stem from judging others and insisting they are right, etc.  Some of these concepts may go over their head at first, but not for long.  I figure it’s like songs written in consciousness, at first they just seem like catchy tunes and then as you change over time you hear the profound wisdom within and it’s like being hit over the head (I remember singing Imagine along with the radio one day and finally hearing the words I had memorized long before, I had to pull my car over I was so awestruck and thrilled to finally understand what was being said).  I figure someday they will have a moment where it clicks and they will say, “Wow, that is what my parents were talking about.”  Sometimes they surprise me and say something so profound I am sure they remember where they came from.  I often wish I was as present as my son, so I am sure we are learning from each other.

My daughter and I have continued these conversations about perception over the years to help her embrace her compassion and willingness to see things from various points of view.  We are a homeschooling family so we can spend a lot of time on subjects that interest us, it’s just one of the many perks.  We have a lovely assignment we would like to share.  This year we saw Wicked at the theatre and knew immediately we could make a great perception assignment out of it.  My daughter already knew Wizard of Oz very well, she had seen the movie several times and played Oz in her children’s theatre production.  Once we saw Wicked, it opened up an entirely different viewpoint of the story.  We loved it and we spent a lot of time on her related essay about perception.  Her essay is below.  She was seven years old when she wrote it.  We spent a lot of time having editing meetings and getting to this final draft.  Another home school perk we enjoy is learning through editing and editing until we get to her personal best version.  From a seven-year old point of view, it is just precious.  It is a great lesson for us all.

Please enjoy the essay below on perception from my kind and compassionate daughter.  I had to include this adorable title sheet she created.

Perception

Perception

            People see situations in different ways.  Perception means how you see things.  This paper is all about how you look at things.  The Wizard of Oz and Wicked are great examples of ways we can perceive things differently.  My fright of the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked.

The Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz was so scary.  The Munchkins were terrified of her. They were so scared that every time the Wicked Witch came they would hide from her.  She always had this funny and terrifying laugh.  Whenever she saw Dorothy she would say, “I’ll get you my pretty,” and then laugh afterwards.  The Wicked Witch wanted to kill Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man.  She really wanted the ruby slippers badly and she would do anything to get them.  She was completely terrifying and I felt so relieved when Dorothy melted her!

In Wicked, the Wicked Witch of the West was loveable!  Her name was really Elphaba.  She was born green and everyone was mean to her.  She was smart.  She took good care of her crippled sister Nessa.  She wanted to help the animals.  She tried to do good things but they did not go well for her.  She was totally tricked by the Wizard of Oz and everyone thought she was bad even though she was good.  She just wanted those ruby slippers to remember her sister.

In the Wizard of Oz I was so scared of the Wicked Witch of the West but in Wicked I loved her.  In the Wizard of Oz the story was told from Dorothy’s perception, it made you see things how she did.  In Wicked, the story was told from Elphaba’s perception, throughout the whole show you see her side of the story.  The way these stories were told from the perception of different characters made it possible to equally fear the Wicked Witch in one story and love her in the other.

My fright of the Wicked Witch of the west in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked.  In both shows there was a different way of looking at things.  This is what perception is all about.  In all things in life people have a different perceptions of things.  This explains why people make different choices.  Understanding people’s perceptions can lead us to kindness and compassion.  I want to always remember that people have different perceptions because kindness and compassion are the most important thing in life!

Your Super Power Is Joy!

Last night as we were doing the nighttime routine getting the kids ready for bed, one child said something to the other and then came the annoyed frustrated reaction…we know how it goes with little humans (and many big ones too).  I bent down to get closer to my sweet six-year-old boy who was pretty agitated.  I wanted to ease his suffering.  I thought of superheroes.  We were in his room, so they were nearby.  I said to him “hey buddy, YOU have a super power.  Do you know what yours is?”  He looked at me with the sweetest surprised expression (still mad, but curious).  I told him, “Your super power is joy.  You have always had it.  From the moment we met you, you have always had the power of joy.”  I went on to explain, “Don’t give your power away or let it be taken, it’s your special super power.”  I whispered in his ear, “You always choose.”  We looked at each other for a moment, then I whispered it in his ear again.  He looked at me with understanding and knew what I meant.  He took his power back and returned to joy.  He has always been good at this.

Later I found myself thinking about that little interaction with my dear boy.  It had all happened so spontaneously.  I was grateful for that moment.  Then I realized that I have been getting that message from God through so many of the wonderful teachers and books and so many of Life’s lessons.  God has been whispering in my ear, “Your super power is joy.”  Love and joy are everywhere and they are accessible to us whenever we can be there.  Whenever we lose our joy, we have chosen to give it away.  We always choose!

As I continue my journey towards really living what I have learned and opening my heart to this amazing universe, I have found myself saying this in my prayers more often lately, “God, thank you so much for how it is all designed, for how amazing it truly is to be here.”  I can’t really articulate it in words very well, I just sit in awe and appreciation of the love and joy that is waiting for us in every single moment.

YOUR Super Power Is Joy!  Use it and spread it today!  Sprinkle it Everywhere!

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