Saturday, November 29, 2008

JOY That Spans All Ages

One of my favorite times of the year is the Christmas season. Although there is much to love about this festive time, one of my favorite things is that most people allow themselves to really let loose and have fun. Adults and kids seem to equally be in the spirit of the season, which of course is JOY.

My husband and I are currently involved in a local community theatre production called Fezziwigs Follies that is one of those holiday activities where it is difficult to tell the children from the adults. The cast itself consists of a composite of all ages from teens to senior citizens that play various parts in this Dickens era variety show.

Last evening in our opening performance, I saw once again, how there is no age limit for fun. In this audience participatory production, there was hand clapping, singing, dancing and lots of laughter coming from cast and audience alike.

I believe something magical happens when a space creates room for joy without any fear of embarrassment. All of the typical self and societal imposed restrictions are put on the shelf for a while. I honestly don't believe there was a single person present that was not connected with the 10 year old within their heart. It was a joy to see and to be a part of.

Of course, I wonder what joy would be present in every day if we could put our mature images on the shelf more often and enjoy all that happens with the same glee we give ourselves permission to exude at those special, festive times of the year.

If you'd like to experience some of this JOY, join us for one of our remaining shows. See the Hamilton-Gibson Productions website for details

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Gift of Love....No Strings Attached

During my meditation time this morning I wondered how there could be more peace and less war, both inwardly and outwardly in each of us that share life on this planet. I began to think about those whose behavior is negative or mean to others and if they deserve to be loved.

This negative behaving soul may commit crimes. They may be greedy and selfish and belligerent. They may steal from the innocent. They may bully and intimidate others. They may even deliberately maim and kill.

Although the truth is love is available to each of us, all we have to do is allow it to be felt, I wonder if each member of the human race got to vote for who we believed were deserving of the gift of love, who would we vote for?

Would we vote for anyone that falls into the category described above? Would we only vote for the people that perform generous and kind deeds for others? Would we vote only for the victimized and oppressed? Would we give our vote for those that give their time and energy to help others? Would we vote for people that are wealthy, or would we believe their money was a great substitute for love? Would we vote for all children or only those that were well-behaved? Would we vote for people of all colors and from all countries, or only those that shared our heritage?

As you think about the many variables as there are people, you may find yourself saying "yes" as a vote for some and "no" to others. I know many of us already do this voting within our own's called judging.

Imagine what it would be like if love was given and received by strings attached. All a person would have to do is receive it. Love would not have to be earned or voted upon by a panel of their peers. Love would simply be available to every person, unconditionally.

I'm sure there are those that would see this unconditional gift of love to be unfair and that those that were brutal or unkind should not receive this gift. My counter thought is if the gift of love was received by those that commit crimes against others, would they still deliberately steal, hurt and bully, or would those brutal forms of behavior no longer be present? Can one be living in a state of love and be unkind at the same time? I think not. If my hypothesis is correct, then wouldn't it make sense to vote for all to have love unconditionally and not wait for the behavior to change to a more positive way of living first?

So, the next time you see someone behaving in a way that offends you, imagine how this person would be if love were present within them. In fact, notice how your own behavior varies dependent on your level of love in that moment.

I believe, without question, that if we saw all people to be worthy of love, including ourselves, we would all be happier, kinder and more joyful human beings. It is then we will live in peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks and Giving Every Day

Today is Thanksgiving. My family and a good friend that joined us for dinner, just said good-bye. We had a lovely time enjoying special foods, drinks, games and conversation. Everyone was at their best and contributed in some way to making the day a memorable one. I know this scene was played out in homes all over the country with countless families and friends gathering together to share a warm and wonderful day.

I always tend to wonder what it would be like if the same feel and level of interest for one another occurred every day. What would it be like if we tended to always share our food with someone else? What would the world be like if we remembered to give thanks for one another and the many blessings we enjoy on a daily basis?

I'm not suggesting we have huge feasts filled with extravagant foods every day, but to just get into the practice of fully enjoying whatever is on our plate, and sharing our lives in a more personal way with those we love, and maybe even some strangers.

It seems that once the holiday is over, we all go back to life as usual. We may not think again about being thankful until next November. Since it feels so good to share our bounty and to be really present with others, why not make it happen more often? Isn't it worth the effort to feel that good? Being grateful cannot help but create positive change for all that take part. Seems like an easy answer to solving all of the world's problems.

Conversations about the economy, war, the environment and feeding the hungry would be discussed over dinner. Since all that take part in Thanks and Giving would be in a state of gratitude and love, there would be patience, understanding and a willingness to listen present in everyone. Yep, I believe we would have answers and solutions to all the questions that plague our country and the world in no time. The understanding would be that everyone shared themselves and some form of food. What a feast it would be!

I'll bring my joy and Sweet Potato Casserole. What will you bring?!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inspiration from a 12 Year Old

A friend recently shared a story about a spontaneous experience, including a life metaphor, that her 12 year daughter created. I was so inspired, not only by the metaphor itself, but also by the fact that she created it on her own. This tells me this girl very naturally has positive thoughts circulating within her mind. I know her parents, and they, I'm sure, project a very positive attitude as they nurture and rear their daughter. Of course, that is very helpful to bring forth what is naturally present in this girl. The evidence is blatantly obvious.

Here's her story: This particular 12 year old found a 1983 penny. As she looked at it, she realized the total of the numbers equals 21. Her next thought was that if she was playing Blackjack, she would be a winner. Her spontaneous next thought was finding this coin was a sign she would be successful in whatever she chooses to do in her life.

I loved hearing this story. The main reason for my delight was the natural state of this girl's mind. Had she been negatively focused and in fear and doubt, I don't believe her metaphor of her life's success would have surfaced.

Since I work with teens and I understand the negative challenges they face, this story was so refreshing and inspiring. It renews my hope of the possibilities that can be expanded in the mind of a teen or pre-teen....and even an adult.

I encourage you to join this girl in her optimistic and positive intention of living a successful and happy life. I believe when even we adults dig deep we can also find this natural pool of positive inspiration. Imagine what your life would be like now if you tapped into the spring of positive thought when you were 12.

I hope I'm around to celebrate the experiences this particular girl enjoys as she steps into her teenage, young adult, and adult years. If I was a betting woman, I'd put all my chips on her having a very happy life.

Wherever you happen to be on your life path, I encourage you to take a message from this girl and look for the positive signs that show up that will support you in living the life of happiness and success that you dream about.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Side Effect of Massage

Last evening after enjoying a 2 hour blissful massage, I discovered the weather took a drastic turn leaving a few inches of very slippery snow on the road. I typically avoid driving on ice or snow if I can help it, but in this case, there was no helping it. My travel distance was over ten miles and traffic was barely moving due to the slippery conditions.

Typically my posture in a driving situation such as this would be very tense and tight with a strained grip on the steering wheel. I was amazed to notice in my extremely relaxed post-massage state that I felt calmer, more trusting and relaxed as I slowly made my way home. My hands on the steering wheel were relaxed although my level of alertness was high. I noticed my fear level was low, which made the experience much easier to be with.

What I realized after safely returning home, was that the state of complete relaxation secondary to the massage was still very present. This peaceful side effect lessened my fear and helped to make a potentially very stressful situation, easy. I believe if this drive occurred before the massage, it would have been a different story.

The application I am making to life in general is when we take care of ourselves in every way and focus on activities that create relaxation, then the 'stuff' of life is not as stressful. It makes sense that we will better be able to meet even significant challenging situations with greater ease.

I am so convinced of this deduction, I will continue to have monthly massages and will find other ways to help me experience more peace and less fear.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Truth About You

In a world where we all seem to make constant judgments of ourselves and one another it can be confusing to even consider what the truth may be about you. Whether we are paying attention to the negative comments we hear about ourselves, or are buying into the positive opinions others hold of us, we can be deluding ourselves.

To get to the truth, we have to sift through all of the roles we play, the expectations we try to live up to and the opinions others hold of us. I am not suggesting you are not as good as you think. I am saying, however, that you are made of more goodness than you ever believed existed. This realm of self-understanding cuts to the core of you.....that which is the soul of you. There is nothing bad about it. Who you really are is pure and positive. We all are. Find that hard to believe? Are you wondering about all of those folks out there that are doing "bad" things? Are you remembering some of your own less than pure moments in life? Well, once you sift through all of the "doing" elements, you get to the "being" elements. It is the being of you that is the truth.

At this point you may have either already exited this page or are curious if this may be true. If you're still reading, I encourage you to look beyond all that you have done....that which you are proud of and that which you are not. Look closely and discover the magnificence....the love of you....the joy that rests in the heart of you. This is the truth. If you find that difficult to see, then imagine removing all of the other elements that obstruct the truth. These would be the stories you've told yourself over the years. It would also help to sift through any fears you may hold that keeps you feeling separate.

Yes, the truth about you exists and is waiting for you to discover it. The good news is you are not separate. We are all in the same spiritual boat. Once you connect with the truth about you, your ability to see the truth in others will also come along quite naturally.

If this concept intrigues you, I suggest you spend some time truly getting to know yourself.....the truth about you. I guarantee, you will love what you discover.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deliberate Thought

One thing that is available to each of us is our ability to think. Some of us thinkers tend to focus on what's wrong in our lives...what needs to be fixed or changed. Others focus on what's positive and can tend to expect everything will work out for the best. One view supports complaining, the other, appreciation and gratitude.

Although I'm quite sure those that focus on what's wrong may believe that their thinking about, talking about, and even dreaming about that which they are unhappy, do not see their thinking is actually adding to their negatively perceived situation. This may be true for the positive thinkers too. They may not be making the connection between their thoughts and feelings of well being.

When you get to the core of the power of thought, the truth is you cannot feel joy when you complain or focus on lack. By the same token, regardless of any one's current situation, no matter how dire it may seem, positive thoughts of hope, love and gratitude will always create positive feelings. If you agree this is true, doesn't it make sense to practice deliberate thought?

Some from the negative camp may counter with an argument that it is impossible to be positive when the bills cannot be paid or when facing a serious illness. The truth is that all of the worry, complaints and negative conversations will never change a thing. The result will always produce feelings of sadness, hopelessness or fear.

On the other hand, focusing on anything that creates a sense of appreciation and gratitude cannot help but produce more positive, better feeling emotions.

One example where I created a shift for myself was in paying bills. I noticed when I would look at the gradual increase in the cost of my utility bills, I felt victimized (that never feels good). The change I made was in focusing on being grateful that I have the convenience and comfort of electricity in my home. I focused on how great it feels to have heat in the winter and the convenience of driving my car wherever I need to go. That switch to gratitude cured me of my lamenting about the increase in my bills. Since I was going to pay the bill anyway, feeling good was my choice.

I also consciously practiced deliberate thought when diagnosed with cancer. My entire cancer experience from diagnosis through surgery and recovery was much easier than I knew was possible....all because of my positive thoughts.

Since awareness is always the first step in any area of spiritual growth, I encourage you to notice what you're thinking about and what emotions are connected to your dominant thoughts. If you should decide to practice deliberate thought in a positive form, I guarantee you will be better able to handle all that comes your way.