The Peace Within

October 11, 2012

Before Jesus, we didn’t know about forgiveness, turning the other cheek or living a humble, yet inspired life.

Gandhi taught us about that too. His nonviolent action turned an entire empire on its ear.

Peace, he taught us, comes from within.

Every now and then, I’ll stumble upon someone really inspiring on the Internet. And so it was with twenty-two year old CalArts graphic design student Francesca Ramos, who kindly allowed me to reblog her infographic on the top ten fundamentals of Gandhi’s teaching.

He has inspired me more than I realized because for each fundamental she lists, I have a corresponding blog post.

Together we can change the world, which starts with each of us. Thank you for reading this. Maybe it will inspire you too.

Change yourself.

You are in control (or maybe not!).

Forgive and let go.

Take care of this moment.

Everyone is human.

See the good in other people and help them.

Without action you aren’t going anywhere.

Persist.

Be your true self.

Continue to grow and evolve.

Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals

Better Days

September 17, 2012

Bruce Springsteen sings of them. So do the Goo Goo Dolls. But the best lyrics I’ve heard recently about better days is a line in Dave Matthews’ Song, “Cry Freedom.” “The future is no place/to place your better days.”

Better days refer to better times. It usually is followed by “When I do X,Y,Z, then A,B,C can happen,” such as “When I have lost five kilos, then I’ll be happy.” Deferring the good stuff in life is not a good idea because you really don’t know when your personal bank account of time will close forever.

Better days are here and now. If you let them in. And they can be found anywhere at any time in the still, small moments that frame our lives.

Getting to your happy place isn’t hard if you make it a habit every day. When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you think about? Your worries? Your to-dos? Or do you focus your attention on what’s right in your world? Do you greet the day with the reverence it deserves?

The good news is if you are reading this, you get another chance to make today that better day. Are you with me on this one?

Your awesome is larger than Yankee Stadium. Move the world with it.

This final audio post in my Best of Summer Posts for 2012 series, Move the World with Your Awesome, is meant to inspire you to move beyond what you imagine is possible. You can do it. I know you can.

To listen, click on the link, and you should automatically be able to hear it. If not, right click the link, then save to your desktop to listen on your own audio software.

The papers in my office must copulate at night because I swear to you I have recycled, tossed and filed for weeks and it keeps on coming.

The Grand Canyon

In yet another vigorous act of purging, I recently threw out reams of grade school notebooks that my children will never glance at again. In doing so I came across an archived document of my own that brought me to my knees. It was an old book proposal for a kindness project I so firmly believed in that I even contacted the Dalai Lama to see if he wanted in on it.

He politely declined.

But what moved me more than my unexpressed passion on those pages in that moment was the inner knowing that we can all move the world with our special kind of awesome, even if things, such as my book project on kindness, don’t work out as you’d like.

In the wise words of singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, sometimes your life turns out better than you can even imagine.

If you read my post on the pretty pictures in our heads, you will know that what we envision and what really happens are often two separate events. The arc of our suffering is determined by the level of our attachment to the outcome of our expressed desires. With the law of attraction, we are led to believe we can fully manifest our destiny. And to some degree I believe that is true. We have more influence over our lives than we care to admit. We can consciously engage in the universal energy force field that pulls in whatever we call out to. That is what happens anyway, whether we do it consciously or not. We bring in the lessons we need to learn time and again until we have really learned them.

If we take full personal responsibility for our lives, we would no longer look around at others to blame for our unhappiness. Do you want to be happy? Guess who you’ve got to love first?

Yup. That’s right. You.

If you spend your time trying to please others, you will be left depleted. I continue to learn that lesson and recognize my own conditioning in that area. If you raise others up while doing the same for yourself, you are on a path to joy. And your awesome will grow in kind.

Maybe one day that kindness book will get written and His Holiness will decide to play with me after all. In truth, it doesn’t matter either way. If I live the principles set out in that untold work, all the effort I put into writing it will have been worth it just the same.

How will you move the world with your awesome today?

Byron Katie asked herself a simple question as she lay in a half-way house, not sure if she would survive the next day.

“Is it true?”

It was the first time she actually challenged her own belief system, and what she found out was indeed much of what she had told herself was not true at all. She has since go on to become an international best-selling author and speaker who inspires thousands with her simple approach.

So much of what we tell ourselves is based on conditioning and filters we have placed over our eyes, shielded from the truth of ourselves and others. If we are able to build belief systems that disempower us, we are certainly capable of building truth-based ones that bring us more joy.

What good does it do the world to build broken systems that only serve to put ourselves down? What if Byron Katie, who continues to help the world, had not asked the question, is it true?

So much of our lives is ruled by our thinking. We say we don’t have time, we’re too busy, we’ll do it tomorrow. Did you know that tomorrow is a myth? We only ever have today.

It is time for us to move beyond our ears and eyes to let our hearts live too.

I’m game. Are you?

Dust in the Wind

July 23, 2012

Sometimes all we are is dust in the wind, as Kansas rightly sings. The first time I heard that song was at a talent show when I was ten years old. A few friends of my sister sang it. The message stuck with me all these years.

As you glide through this life, ask yourself, are you really dust in the wind? Or are you perhaps the wind itself? Or are you both?

Ride that wind and see where it takes you, my dear friends. It is worth the journey.

Where is Your Entrance?

July 10, 2012

Usher sings about searching for himself in his title album Looking 4 Myself. He says he finds himself in someone else. I think that is partly true. We are social animals and we need each other to serve as mirrors of our true selves. Sometimes we meet people who help us discover what we already have inside. They tease it out of us, sometimes on purpose, other times simply because that is who they are.

Self-discovery is a necessary part of our lives. It is an exciting journey that ends with our last breath. One of the most encouraging things I heard was an eighty-year-old woman who said she recently found herself for the first time and she liked what she saw. With a gleam in her eye, she had unearthed her true self. It took eighty years, but there she was! Hopeful for the future.

Entering into all parts of ourselves can be a daunting task because we sometimes find things we didn’t realize we carry with us. It forces us to reshape how we see ourselves and the world around us. Yet it is the most rewarding experience if you really allow yourself to see.

Being forward-looking is a part of our anatomy. If we wouldn’t have a vision for the future, how could we make sense of the now? Yet sometimes we get caught up in the what-if scenarios that we forget how to live right here. At this very moment.

The paradox is that although we are set up to live into the future, all we really have is now.

So it is up to us to juggle our future desires with our current condition and to find a beautiful balance between what is and what could be.

Now go find that entrance into yourself and explore those caverns. Perhaps we will meet somewhere along the way to share a moment of now.

I’d like that. Would you?

Doing the Crazy

July 9, 2012

Not many people are talking about personal liberation these days. Maybe it’s because most of us feel trapped and think it’s a normal way of being. But I have news.

It’s not.

My friend recently called me to say she had lost her juicy, but that she knew how she could get it back.

By doing at least one crazy thing a day.

Crazy is, by definition, not normal. It requires you to move outside your boundaries to a new way of being that you, and others around you, might deem “unusual”. But it is in the very act of doing the unusual that we find that juicy space, which leads to flow, which then leads us to slow down and really enjoy life.

Everyone has their own personal definition of crazy. For some it might mean moving to a new place where you don’t speak the language (yet). For others, it might involve leaving a comfortable job for one that is ultimately more fulfilling. Or maybe it is acting out a scene on a street corner just to practice your art. Your special kind of crazy is what will get you out of your funk and back into joy.

And joy is something we could all use a lot more of.

Doing something out of the ordinary sets energy free that is trapped inside you. And that has a ripple effect on your surroundings that resonates with your energy. Who knows? You might even infect someone else to embrace their crazy too.

And then the world will sleep a little sounder, laugh a little louder and dance a little longer.

All in the name of personal liberation.

Are you with me?

Somewhere Over the Rainbow was one of my grandmother’s favorite songs. And because she loved it so much, I cry every time I hear it. If you read the lyrics, they really are touching. It’s about dreams and yearning and looking for that pot of gold just out of reach.

Judy Garland first sang the song in 1939 in the movie classic, The Wizard of Oz. In her interpretation, she really does fly to a land of wonder, like the happy little bluebirds of which she sings.

Can we too?

If you think about the rainbow, it is always complete and in the same order. From red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo to violet, the colors of the rainbow are also represented in our seven main chakras from the bottom to the top (red being the first, violet being the last).

Like Judy Garland’s character, Dorothy, in the movie I have often dreamed of leaping to the other side of my rainbow. What would I find there? And who might go with me to explore what I discover?

Each of us encounters people along the way who help us move up and down our rainbow. Sometimes we fall into blue; other times we tumble into red. All the while we are searching for that pot of gold. But, do you want to know a secret?

We hold the gold within us.

In fact, each of us carries an entire rainbow inside so really there is nowhere to go but here to find what we are looking for. We already have it. The Land of Oz resides in us all ~ in our hearts, in our memories, in our lives.

So if you are searching for magic, use what you already have to create it.

Now fly, little bluebird, fly!

As I have already said in an earlier blog post, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”, music is the sonorous accompaniment of our days. It’s the grease that oils your remembering machine: the oh-my-god effect when you hear a song hidden in your history, somewhere buried deep down in a place only music can touch.

It permeates your skin. It penetrates your soul. Music is the balm to give you back your bounce.

So as you embark on our summer journey (or winter for you lovely folks in the Southern Hemisphere), consider putting together a mix of music to keep you company. Whether you’re on the subway or cruising down the autobahn, there is nothing like jamming to good tunes. Need inspiration? Everyone has their own tastes, but here are some of my favorite albums currently:

Looking 4 Myself (Usher)

Making Mirrors (Gotye)

Go (Vertical Horizon)

Here and Now (Nickelback)

What are some of your favorites? Please share because I’m in love with iTunes and need to feed that relationship!

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