October 31, 2012
Eckhart Tolle teaches us about the Power of Now in his book of the same name. Now is all we have. So when you find yourself saying “Some day I’ll do this or that,” know that some day is now.
When I was a kid, my cousins went on a safari to South Africa. It was such an impressive experience that my aunt and uncle dedicated an entire room to the photos they made. They aptly named it The Safari Room. From that day forward, I told myself I too would take a safari ~ some day.
Life doesn’t always allow us to immediately implement our some days into a single day. But when you see an opportunity to live your dreams with some day in mind, you had better go for it.
When my dear friends in San Diego told us about the Safari Park near their house, I saw an opportunity to live my dream ~ even if it wasn’t the South African plains, it was filled with the same animals my family had seen years earlier.
When we put off our dreams in the name of security, safety or assurance, we are often shortchanging what could be the most transformative experience we could have in our lives. If you want to do something, do it. Trust me. It will be worth it!
The other day we took an open air van to an area where giraffes, rhinoceroses and other exotic animals roam in near-native conditions. I got to feed several of them and I must say it was, apart from giving birth to my own children, one of the most moving experiences of my life. Yes, I was terrified, but I did it anyway. I held fast to the dream of taking a safari and there I was amongst very safari-like animals on a beautiful day in Southern California.
Some day is now, people. If you have a chance to live one of your life’s dreams, do it. It will bring you to higher heights and empower you to live the life you’ve always wanted.
Forget the excuse as to why you cannot embrace every moment in all its preciousness. Your life is always happening in the NOW. What will you do with it?
October 29, 2012
Fourteen years ago I stood in my mother’s living room, pregnant with my first child and excited about the next step in our lives. My mother’s fairy godmother friend performed a ceremony she called “A Blessing Way,” a ritual that ushered us into a new phase as parents. Considering I never thought I’d get married, much less have children, it was an important moment of transition for me.
Blessings can accompany us throughout our lives. Rites of passage such as weddings, funerals, or in our case, Blessing Ways, symbolize the recognition of new constellations. It is a celebration of life and all that it entails.
The grieving process has its own hidden blessings as we transition from one identity to the next. Perhaps we are widowed, separated or even divorced. The social stigma that often accompanies the exiting of a partnership can be unbearable. It is simply not acceptable in most cultures. Or if it is tolerated, it is seen by most as utter failure.
But what if there really is a way to look at such change as a blessing? Departure as a sacred opening and transcendence versus the death of a relationship? Peace and wholeness instead of sadness, anger and disappointment?
Blessings can heal. Whenever I give away clothes to our local Salvation Army, I bless them and the people who will wear them next before placing them in the bin. Or if I leave a vacation rental, I bless the space where we have been, sending energy to the next set of people who will dwell there.
We are all balls of energy, light and grace. How we move about the earth and interact with others truly matters. Blessings can be the cohesive strings of love that connect us all. A kind word, spoken to all of humanity from your heart, can raise up the collective in profound ways.
What blessing can you speak today?
October 28, 2012
Intuition mostly comes like a flash of lightning. It is a strong inner knowing about something you couldn’t possibly know about through facts or even experience. It can be a guiding light in the storm of confusion. It can be your saving grace.
Listening to your inner voice requires that you slow down long enough to hear it. In our hustle and bustle of every day life, it can be challenging to take pause and reflect, much less stop for a moment when that intuitive voice decides to speak. It’s not something you can plan, really. It’s not as if that voice works on a schedule like you do.
So when it chooses to speak to you, you had better listen. It’s your divine intelligence showing you the way. You may not feel lost at the moment, but if you ignore your inner voice, you are not on the path you are meant to be on.
Some people tell me they don’t have an inner voice. Maybe they have never actually heard it before, or knew what they were experiencing when they did. But it is my deepest conviction that we all have the Divine Within. Give it a chance to express itself and it will take you on a journey of incredible beauty.
It takes fortitude to trust that voice. Sometimes you might get visions that accompany your intuition. I sure do. That’s usually when my ego mind jumps out of its chair and shouts:
“You’re crazy, right???!”
Take Sedona, for instance. For weeks I heard a voice that said, “Go to Sedona and you will heal.”
Sedona, Arizona? Really? I already have weeks of travel ahead of me both in Europe and America. How could I possibly squeeze in another trip this year?
Then it occurred to me to see how far Sedona is from San Diego where I had a few unplanned days to explore the area. It is well within a day’s drive.
Plans started to form in my head. Then, as I told my mom about the idea, she said, “I have a movie called ‘Sedona’ right here on my desk. Let’s go together!”
And so the flame of intuition that started to burn over a month ago has grown into a roaring fire. I do not question the “why” of things. I trust in this voice as it has never led me astray. The more I do, the more vivid my ideas have become.
What intuitive thoughts have you had lately that you have disregarded? What if you were to follow just one of them? Where would it lead you? It might take you out of your comfort zone, but it is only there that you will grow. How far are you willing to follow that voice?
With a treasure chest full of trust and love, I’m ready to take that journey. Are you?
October 27, 2012
Life is a dance.
Sometimes we go slow. Sometimes we go fast. Sometimes too fast. That’s when life comes in to tell you it is time to take it down a notch.
Remember that first awkward slow dance you had with that boy or girl you liked? With sweaty palms and a red face, you couldn’t believe your luck.
Love is a waltz, swaying back and forth with a beautiful dress and a partner to match. If you are lucky enough to find the right dancing companion, you will dance to the stars and back, losing your fear of heights once and for all.
In his song, When We Dance, Sting says that when you dance to the beat of your truest companion, angels will come and hid their wings.
In my view, there is no need to hide those wings. Let them unfurl like sails to take you to the place you are meant to go. Fly high, my winged friends. Don’t be fearful to look down because when you dance, you are in the midst of your own unfolding. Especially when you share it with the ones you love.
Who will you dance with today?
October 26, 2012
Do you doubt the moon’s existence, even if it is not in sight?
In times of darkness, do you wonder if the sun will ever shine again?
If you have ever witnessed the passing clouds on a dark night, you will know that the Unseen often speaks louder than that which you can see. Like feelings that soar through you, it is an ephemeral moment of grace. It is a reminder that you are alive as you search inside for your deepest truth.
We never know what curve balls life will throw at us. At times we feel as though we are the moon itself, floating majestically on its elliptcal path around the Earth. At other times we see ourselves as the hidden moon, caught behind a web of clouds for no one to see us as we truly are.
There was a time when people believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. Gallileo got in serious trouble for questioning that belief. But he stuck to his principles even in the face of anger and fear. He was a brave man in haunting times. I would like to have that much courage.
We are lucky to live in times when we are not persecuted for believing whatever we wish to believe. And yet we are often held hostage to the beliefs of others, forced to conform even when we know what we believe to be true. If you are feeling a moment of weakness, look to the moon for answers. It will tell you that this too shall pass.
At times the moon appears to be half-full, when in truth it is always the same. It holds itself back in the shadows of the Earth, waiting for the moment to shine in its entirety for just one night.
No matter where you are on this planet as you read this, you have your own unique view. You have every right to the view you hold. The question is whether the view you have is allowing you to live in your most empowered state? Whether hidden or in full view, you are here.
You may not always be able to shine in the fullness of you. But know that every part that you have is worthy of that light. You are worthy of being seen, heard and experienced in all your glory.
The moon has taught me so much about the staying power of perseverance. The moon knows what it is here to do. I think I know it too. Do you?
October 25, 2012
The bracelet was perfect. After searching from Paris to Alsace to Tuscany, I finally found the jewelry that expressed one of the most important summers of my life.
You see I am not a collector, really. My best friend is the one who collects things. As a teen she collected crystals. Later she took a liking to charms. So whenever I would travel, I would bring her a charm from the places I had been: the Parthenon in Greece; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Until one day her bracelet grew so heavy, her arm could no longer support it.
Infused with the need to find something similar, I looked everywhere for a new charm bracelet, but it seems as though the charm makers had gone out of business. No matter where I went, I couldn’t find any.
That is, until I reached our final destination on our week-long tour of Tuscany in a small town called Lucca. There lay two charm bracelets in the window with exactly the charms I had been searching for. The place was so tiny we had to stand still so as not to touch the walls. With an open face and a kind smile, the shop clerk was incredibly friendly. In our broken Italian we asked for a good place to eat. She called around to her friends, but none of the good places were open. She was the most, well, charming person we had met along the way!
Sometimes we find what we are looking for in the most unexpected places. If we search too hard, we may not see what we need to see. With relaxed eyes and a calm spirit, we are better able to perceive what we are meant to see.
In which ways have you been charmed lately? Life can be spell-bounding, if you let it. Open your heart and look at the world through its eyes. You may find that everything you’ve been looking for is right in front of you.
October 24, 2012
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, fretting that you cannot sleep? Does it distress you beyond belief that you are awake when it seems that the rest of the Earth is not? Have you ever considered what an opportunity it is to be aware in that moment of wakefulness? That it is a gift to be alive?
A friend once told me that before electricity, people would sleep at odd hours, wake up whenever they did and used their time to make love, think or even talk to one another? The clock did not dictate their days.
In our modern age of productivity, we are forced into a rhythm that our bodies often reject. If you “suffer” from insomnia, I ask you to consider the power of the night.
Nighttime has a special quality of solitude and introspection that we don’t often get during the day. No phones are ringing, no demands are tugging at you, no secretaries telling you to sign this paper or that. All you have is the sound of your own heartbeat, pumping in your chest as sure as night follows day. In those quiet times of wakefulness, you have received a gift that we often deem a curse. It is time for you to simply be.
Nighttime offers you the moon, bright and shiny, smiling down at you to remind you that the sun is shining somewhere on the planet where you might not be. It gives you the stars and the brilliance of the planets that encircle themselves with the force of an ever-expanding Universe.
The night offers you the sound of the trees and the last falling leaves before they make their final descent, saying farewell to the time they have spent with you.
It gives you the hoot of an owl, resting placidly on a branch to let you know you are not alone. You are never alone.
The night encompasses you in its dark cloak, hugging you with a power far greater than you can imagine.
It gives you a chance to listen to your breath and the sound of children laughing in their sleep.
When sleep alludes you, remember that the rhythm that keeps you awake has a story to tell.
That story is your life. Your time.
That story, my dear one, is you.
October 23, 2012
Behold the gift of silence. It marks the spaces between our thoughts. It cleans the edges of our minds. It gives us room to breathe.
Martin Heidegger once said: “We make space inside ourselves so being can speak.”
But do we really? Many people struggle with silence, as if it is the absence of something, like air or water or food to eat. But silence is a necessary, yet sorely lacking part of our day. When we enter the silence, we are greeted with our inner core. For many, it is a sad sight to see. Ruins formed by neglect float on the inside. It is painful to observe how poorly fed our true selves have become.
For years you may have had the habit of filling your time with distraction, not wanting to look inside yourself for what will truly make you happy. Then one day your body, the emissary of all thought, finally strikes you down with an illness or malaise. You are forced to notice something is not right. It affects everything about you. Your body knows.
Or perhaps you have forged on as a result of your circumstances. You held on to a belief system so tightly, even as it strapped you into a straightjacket of your own making. You knew something wasn’t right, but you held on for dear life to the only thing you were taught was true.
Only, it turns out, it wasn’t.
Then you receive a wake-up call, as we all do, to what is really going on inside your soul. It cries out for the nourishment it needs so badly. Some of us have pretty strong pain points. We can go on for years without paying attention to the deep-seated pain caused by ignoring our truest reality. Others more attuned to themselves feel it much more quickly and take action right away.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that this is your life. There are no mistakes, just experiences that change your direction. We each have a personal bank account of time. The choice is ours as to how we spend it.
Bathe in the silence today. It will speak louder than any words you can tell yourself.
October 22, 2012
Tanja didn’t believe me at first.
“Hug a tree?” she skeptically looked at me over her steaming mug of coffee. “Alright then, Christine.” She refrained from rolling her eyes at me. For the moment.
I explained the power of trees, of their grounding nature, of their ability to speak to you if you listen closely. Tanja didn’t seem convinced, but a month or so later, she confessed that she tried it one day while traipsing through the woods.
Eyes lit with a fire I’d rarely seen before, Tanja recounted the experience.
If you haven’t paid attention to the trees in your life lately, you might want to take a look at the nearest one. How old do you think it is? In a recent visit to Switzerland, I found the most gracious giants, standing tall like sentries of a long-lost secret you can only access by hugging them tightly.
And hug them I did! This tree spoke to me in a language beyond words. Its solid grace made me bow before it. Before drawing closer, I asked its permission to give it a warm embrace. It nodded a “yes” in the wind. It told me of a time before the cemetery on which it stood was built. It told me of horses and wildlife and romantic lovers meeting under its limbs. I was astounded at the stories it told in that precious moment of connection.
Trees are the lungs of the Earth. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They are one of our greatest resources, not only for the air we breathe, but for those times of Slow that bring us back to our truest selves.
Do you doubt what I am saying? Give your neighborhood tree a squeeze. You, like Tanja, might just be surprised at what happens when you do.