Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All Knowing, All Healing, Comes from the Heart, Part 2

In what way does the heart really lead us? Should we trust it? How do we know?

When you feel that you want to change what you do every day so that you can be involved in work that is more fulfilling, is that your heart moving you in that direction? Yes, it is.

Where do you feel it when you are doing something that makes you happy? The heart, of course, because that is another way of sharing love. When you are doing work that makes a difference to other people and you see, hear and feel their appreciation, you know that this is an experience you want to repeat over and over.

This does not mean you have to be doing something mystical in order to have this experience. You can be fixing people's cars, working in a grocery store, take care of the elderly, help people get their computers working properly or take care of their pets and get this feeling. Anything you do can come from the heart. The important question in deciding if you are in the right place, is does it? Can you change how you feel about what you do? Or do you need to do something else?

Creativity brings happiness. Have you noticed how you lose track of time when you are enjoying your creativity and are expressing yourself through that medium of activity? Any time we do this, we are connecting with spirit, and that is why our sense of self grows larger.

Helping to bring people peace, clarity and opening their eyes to what direction their heart centered path will take them are results that lead most of us to want to be readers or healers. The actual meaning of the word heal is to make whole. It is in our heart that we feel that joy when our lives are whole and connected, rather than fragmented parts. A person who is happy with their choices feels expansive, like the world is full of good people and good things, and they are glad to choose them.

When we feel that we are in a good relationship, our heart is smiling. There is no pressure, only contentment and joy. Notice that I did not say when we are in the one perfect relationship, because I think that is a thought that brings more sadness than happiness.

There are many people on this planet who could be an excellent relationship for us. At some point, we simply choose to be happy in this relationship. And this is true whether you are in a hetero or gay relationship or whether your relationship is exclusive or open. Who we choose to have a relationship with is simply a matter of free will choice.

I see more frustration among people who are searching for their perfect soulmate because they can always find some imperfection or way that the other person does not measure up to their idea of perfection. So they are constantly coming up short in their search.

If, on the other hand, you check with your heart and find that you can be expansive, happy and at peace with the other person, then it doesn't matter much if they choose to do some activities that you do not care about. You allow each other enough freedom to have some aspects of yourself that are not identical matches, and you can be fine with that. As long as your heart is smiling with them most of the time, you can be in a good relationship with them.

When there are things we want to know more about, isn't it your heart that is moving you in that direction? Whether it is wanting to read a book that has caught your attention or you want to play a musical instrument or spend more time engaged in a physical activity, are these not heart driven initiatives?

Following this lead is often what takes us into further studies. We read a book or meet a person and then we find ourselves asking the question, can they really do that? And so our life follows that path and we practice, or apprentice or consider it our hobby until we get an answer to the question, can we really do that?

I remember reading a short story years ago about a man who was in poor health who watched martial arts movies for entertainment. As he watched the martial artists do incredible feats, he asked, "Can they really do that?" So he began taking martial arts lessons to find out if he could really do that, his health improved, and he lived a long and happy life.

In my own life, curiosity has fueled my quests. I saw a deck of cards and I wanted to know how people could know things from shuffling a deck and looking at cards, so I began a long journey of familiarizing myself with them, asking people if they were interested and then seeing what happened when I shuffled the deck and laid our the cards. It feels very good to be able to do that.

When I experienced other people who could do energy healing, I wondered how that worked. How could just being near a person and moving the energy around them help them feel better? I didn't know, but I wanted to find out. So I found someone to teach me, and I found out.

Curiosity comes from the heart. It is about openness. When we are curious and want to know, it is our heart leading us on another adventure. A person with a closed heart says "I don't know what that person or experience is about and I don't want to know." A person with an open heart says "I don't know what that person or experience is about, but I want to know."


Take a look at how you are navigating your life. Are you allowing your heart to lead you to greater knowing, to new experiences, to increased joy?
Be willing to ask questions, approach people who you feel drawn to and follow your heart. You will be glad you did. 


Spring and What's Next?

So once we have enjoyed the spring celebrations of Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Spring Equinox and Easter, then comes the sustained and persistent effort to cultivate those seeds that we want to have grow in our lives this year.

There are obvious applications to that if we are working on our bodies in the gym or taking on new responsibilities at work. but underlying everything else are those spiritual elements that strengthen all of those other efforts.

The spiritual quests that we explore are connected to the other important developments in our life.

Remembering every day to state our goals in a positive way keeps us on track. Stating our goals out loud in a positive way like "I am becoming more successful in my business, and more good opportunities are coming to me all the time. Every day more customers are satisfied with the service I provide for them. I am happy for the opportunities to provide these services and I am growing more prosperous every day by doing this."

These thoughts strengthen our determination to do what we do and keep us on track with a clear vision of our goal. The combined process of daily affirmations and positive thoughts combined with daily actions helps us to accomplish our goals. If you observe closely, you will notice that there is a difference between when you do this and when you do not. Because we are creatures of habit, sometimes we just forget to stick to our new habits and if we don't see something huge happen immediately we forget that these new habits, if applied persistently, will bring new results.

Positive thoughts like "I am happy to be exercising and strengthening my body because it feels good and helps me enjoy my life more. I choose the types of exercise that are fun and I look forward to doing it. I choose to do these things frequently and they increase the joy I feel in my life."

Similarly our pursuit of new spiritual quests is a path that offers us more riches and rewards as we travel.

For example, let's say we find ourselves curious about a subject like reincarnation and past lives, so we start to read about that. Then we decide that we want to experience a past life recall, so we contact someone who does that. Then we digest the life lessons we learn from that experience. It is a journey we choose from reading to experiencing and then processing the insights we have gained.

Or let's say we find ourselves curious about how to relieve stress, so we decide to try drumming, and we drum along with recorded music or we drum along with music we make up and we find that after a while, we are smiling and this exercise has lifted our spirits and so we do it a little bit every evening. Maybe down the road, we even decide that we would like to drum with other people and see how that feels, so we look for opportunities to do so. Once again, it is a journey from being curious and looking up something about it, to trying it out and then enjoying the results.

As we are exposed to more drumming, we may become aware that there are other spiritual traditions and activities that give rise to great drumming. But again, being who we are, we may just choose to keep this piece that works for us and skip the rest. But then one day, further down the road, we might start to ask some questions, and suddenly, there you are, trying something else new and different.

Dancing is another way for a person to find joy, stress relief and exercise, right in your own home, right after you read this. Simply put on some music you enjoy and dance to it, any way you feel like dancing to it. Within a few minutes you will feel how the movement alone lifts your spirits, and how inspired you feel to flex in different ways. Once you experience this, you will probably feel like doing it again. And after a while, you may find yourself doing this every day. Then at some point you may feel like going out and dancing with other people. Once again, it is a journey from the first time you try it until you feel like expanding the experience by dancing with other people.

After having heard about the Law of Attraction for a while, you decide that you would like to learn more about this, so you look up some Abraham-Hicks videos on You Tube and as you watch you find that some of their ideas resonate with you right away. They help you see things that have happened in your life in a new light and they give you some fresh positive thoughts to add to your daily routine. As a result, you notice that things are changing in your life and you are getting happier with the results. It is a journey that takes a while. You are happy watching the videos for a while, then the feeling grows on you that changing your thoughts can change your life, and you decide to see how far you can go with that. Maybe you don't do that at first because you think it is silly, and you argue with yourself that it cannot be that simple. But then one day, you really want to change so much that you decide to see what changing your thoughts will do for your life.

All of our quests take a while. You see, on an eclectic road, there is no driver to keep us moving in one direction toward the next level of achievement, so we find ourselves looping back around to those things that interest us most after some time has passed.

Even when simply adapting parts that we like from various traditions, there is a sort of evolution that takes place even before we notice it. For example, if a person simply goes to a kirtan session, which is the Hindu type call and response chanting, you will no doubt feel in an altered state, lighter and happier than you were when you arrived. And so you ask yourself, how can this be? How can just singing for a couple of hours make me feel this good?

And that experience might plant other seeds, such as the thought that music can also be a healing modality. There are people who include this in their healing practice. Now having this positive experience might be enough for many people. The fact that this is part of a whole variety of Hindu religious practices might be something that you don't really care to study further, but you enjoy the singing so you keep on doing that.

At some point, you may choose to explore this further or maybe some other aspect of that tradition, but for now, this is just a small piece that you feel comfortable traveling with. That piece works well when we use it, so that offers some satisfaction without further investigation.

The development of our spiritual path is a continuous journey. For example, you feel connected to a path of spirituality that embraces the concept of doing rituals every full moon. You feel very good about these rituals and you know that there is more connected to them about ancient gods and goddesses, dancing, singing in the woods, sharing food and wine. And having experienced that, you may feel that this is enough and that you are happy to do the full moon rituals and only mildly curious about what else might be connected to that.

Then at some future time, you ask about some other aspect of doing magic or ritual and then you open yourself to other possibilities. Or perhaps you simply make up something that feels right.

It is quite common for people to come up to me and say "I have had this deck of tarot cards sitting around the house for years and I keep thinking I will learn to do something with them. Or I have been wanting to work with someone to help me keep on track with my plans. Or I am wanting to learn how to heal, or I want to learn how to change my thinking. I'm feeling that now is the time. Can you teach me how to do that?"

Yes, I do. And your continuing your journey along your spiritual path is always rewarding. Sometimes we appreciate it even better after we have had some years of life experience and that makes the lessons even more powerful.

What we are doing when we do this, is looking further underneath the masks to discover what is underneath. Mysteries and excitement abound in our journey, just waiting for you to take a peek.


Mardi Gras, Spring and What's Next?

One of the biggest celebrations that happens every spring is Mardi Gras, but where all other holidays happen on the same date every year, this one and Easter change every year. Why is that? The date of Mardi Gras moves every year for the same reason that Easter moves every year. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. Why Tuesday? Because it leads into Ash Wednesday, and that is the beginning of Lent, the 40 day period that leads up to Easter.

You see, every year the church sets the date for Easter according to this ancient formula. Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. Hmmm......Are you wondering how they came up with that formula?

Ancient fertility rituals. That is why the we see rabbits and eggs all over the place. Symbols of fertility, of birth and rebirth. When I lived in Atlanta, we always had our gardens planted by the Spring Equinox. Prior to that we had given thought as to what wanted to plant this year. On another level, spring is also the time of year when we would decide what seeds we would be planting in our lives for what else we wanted to grow this year. For some people that might be a new relationship, for others a new job, a new place to live, a new course of study, a new hobby or recreational activity. These are all things we want to have grow in our lives this year in and out of the garden. One is the garden of our lives and the other is the garden in the yard.

Out here in Colorado, where I now live, the weather is different and people do not plant until after Mother's Day. However, the same principles still apply. Spring is the time for planting the seeds of change. Even though the garden in the yard comes later, we still have other aspects of spring here. People have Mardi Gras celebrations here, same as they do in other parts of the world.

Going back to Mardi Gras, why is there a Fat Tuesday? In the old Catholic church tradition, people would have one last blowout and eat all their favorite foods and drinks before beginning the fasting of the Lenten season. In the old tradition, it was part of the season that people would make some sort of sacrifice during Lent which would end with the Easter feast.

The huge exotic, extensive and elaborate Carnival celebrations of Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean islands are simply bigger versions of Mardi Gras. Who doesn't enjoy a great party?

We get the name Easter, by the way, from the ancient fertility goddess by that name (Eostre or Ostara) of the Germanic people. It is also said to tie back to Astarte and Ishtar, ancient Mesopotamian (Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian) fertility goddesses.

Metaphorically, in the Christ story, Easter is the rebirth of the son. Spring Equinox is the rebirth of the Sun. The amount of daylight begins to increase every day beginning at this time, and at the Fall Equinox, the amount of sunlight every day begins to decrease.

There are a few lessons worth noting in all this overlap between the various religions.

For one, the combination of prayer and fasting to sharpen one's focus exists in Buddhist, Muslim, Native American and Pagan religions. Muslims have Ramadan, Native Americans have vision quests and Odin hung from the World Tree in order to receive the runes.

As we consider those seeds that we are planting in our lives, there may be some sacrifice involved in nurturing those seeds into growth.

For example, we may have to save some money to afford something we want, or acquire some new skills or knowledge in order to be able to do a different kind of work, or go out and meet new people in order to find a new relationship. If we want to build up our physical strength and health, we need to be very conscious about what and how we eat and consistent about getting some exercise.

During such an experience, there is a spirit of rededication, increased focus of our vision for our future and renewed commitment to our goals.

These deliberate choices we make are how we determine our purposes and goals in life. We do not discover purposes accidentally, and no one else can decide our direction for us. We choose to go out with this person. We choose to do this kind of work. The sum of our experiences shapes who we are as a person. Our previous thoughts and actions got us where we are today. The thoughts and actions we implement from this day forward will get us to where we will be tomorrow.

What do we really mean when we talk about soulmates?

One of the most popular misconceptions about the word soulmate is that there is only one right and perfect match for us in the world. But this is too limiting a notion.

This idea causes many people to go around feeling inadequate, feeling like they have failed. Maybe you felt that you had a special relationship years ago and you let it slip away. Or maybe you feel like you had one special relationship and now you are ready for another one. Doesn't it make sense that there is more than one person who is our soulmate? Of course. With all the people in the world, it is only reasonable to assume that there is more than one person who might make an excellent match for us. Out of all the billions of people on this planet, there are, no doubt, a number of people who could be our soulmates, but practically speaking, we will probably never get around to meeting them all. So at some point, of all the people we have met, we simply choose one and see what kind of relationship we can create with that person.

The notion of a soulmate is a very romantic one. We often have an image in mind of meeting someone and being totally enamored of them right away, and deciding right then and there that we want to spend the rest of our life with that person. But haven't we all had an experience of meeting someone who we felt was beautiful, sweet and extremely attractive only to change our opinion of how great a match we were once we got to know the person more? Of course. That is a common experience, which tells us that some of the other things we get to know about a person, such as their dreams, desires, goals, habits, characteristics and qualities are even more important in finding a great match than looks. Looks are important, but they are only one component.

It is possible that a person that we met, married and divorced was a soulmate, and we learned all the lessons we were meant to learn or able to learn from them. Then we might experience another opportunity to spend time with another soulmate to learn other lessons. So, yes, we might have more than one soulmate experience in one lifetime. After completing karmic lessons with one person, we may be ready for a whole new adventure. How many people start over again due to divorce, death, or the prospect of many more years ahead after the kids have grown and gone on to live their own lives?

Soulmate can mean we have a significant connection with a person, but it does not necessarily mean that it will last forever.

One view of reincarnation is that we come back in groups, so that people we know in this lifetime, we have known in other lifetimes, except perhaps from a different perspective, a different relationship. Consider the fact that there are people among our family, friends, business associates or neighbors who we have shared past lives with and may be connected to again, in order to learn valuable lessons.

Do not allow yourself to feel defeated because you had a relationship that was great for a while, then failed. That may simply be a near miss on the way to a better relationship. A near miss is when spirit places another person in our path who might appear to be an excellent partner for us, but upon spending more time with that person, it turns out that we are not really that well matched, because some key component was missing. So we regroup, reflect and reconsider, and adjust our vision of who would be a great partner for us and include that missing factor into the equation, and hold the vision that we want that to be present in our next relationship.

Choose a more unlimited view of the term soulmates and it opens up more possibilities in our life. Plus, it is a more encouraging perspective that enables us to be resilient.

Remember that we always have free will, and we choose who we will have in our lives. Spirit will place certain people in our path, but ultimately we choose whether or not we want to form a closer bond with them or not. Isn't it uplifting to be able to choose?

If you are not currently in a relationship and you have a desire to be in a relationship or find a soulmate, the best thing you can do is to simply live your life the way you think best and keep your eyes and ears open. When you are doing the things that you like to do and going places you want to go, you are most likely to meet others with whom you have common ground.

The Law of Attraction really works. If you think positively about your self and your desires, you can attract that result into your life. If you are determined to find a soulmate or at least create a good relationship in your life, you can do it. Pay attention to your thoughts every day, because where your thoughts flow, action goes.

Finding soulmates is not just for the young. It is also for people who are older. People of any age can find a soulmate. Life is good. Enjoy it. As long as you are alive, there are still opportunities. Go for it!

All Healing Comes from the Heart, All Knowing Comes from the Heart

Looking at any illustration of the chakras, you can see that the heart is in the middle, with three above and three below. Green is the color of the heart chakra. Green means go. Green means prosperity. Green means working with nature.

Opening our hearts is the key to open the way for good things to happen. When we care about something or someone, then we open our hearts and then, following that, we take action. When we are acting as healers for ourselves and others, the love and compassion that flows from the heart creates the passageway for the healing energy to flow. You see, the heart is the pathfinder. The heart vibrates and responds to people or things we are interested in. The heart then, redirects energies to the other six chakras and their flow becomes stronger.
When we are feeling loving toward ourselves, we gravitate toward doing those things which are good for us. We do things which make us happy. We find ourselves feeling that we enjoy life and so we want to do those things which will help us live well for as long as we live.  
Even when we have serious illnesses or injuries to heal from, our heart can stimulate our mind, our nervous system, our immune system to expand the flow of healing energies to work with the physical things that are being done to help heal us. 
Picture that green engine that represents the heart as a central distributor of all energy. When our heart is open, energy is moved rapidly through our system, and when our heart is closed down and restricted, very little energy is distributed to the other energy centers. So when we allow ourselves to get off track, those other energy centers are awfully quiet, and other systems don't work as well as they do when they are operating optimally. When your heart is open and you say yes to something that really resonates with you, notice how good that feels. 
Our heart is always the first to know what we care about, and what we care about we know, and when we have warmed to a subject, we are moved to find out more about it, or become involved with other people who also care about those same things that are dear to us.  
Sometimes we hesitate to act on these feelings because we are concerned with what other people may think of us, but our feelings are still our feelings and when we want more of those good feelings in our life, we follow that heart energy outward in the direction it is flowing 
We have all had that experience at some time or another where we know something before we know it. How can that be? We can just sense with our heart where our connections are, and then later information comes to us and we get confirmation with facts, knowledge. We often know things before we can prove them, and other times we may know things that we will never be able to prove, things that we simply know in our hearts.
It is always good to make time for that heart connection, even when it is an unplanned encounter or some new revelation that opens our heart in a way that asks us to receive.
Our heart energy will move from curiosity or interest to active involvement and excitement when thoughts manifest into reality and our heart is transmitting signals to our other energy centers.

Knowing is not just about collecting data. Knowing is about sensing where our connections are and wanting to strengthen those connections. When we do what resonates with our heart, we know we are on track in our life path. Remember, green means go.

Making the Most of 2014 and the Magic of a 7 Year

The new year we have just entered is a 7 year in numerology, which portends progress and expansion for this year. This can be a year of opening to new opportunities and ideas, removing blockages from the past 

and re-energizing ourselves, letting our imaginations soar and expressing new visions for ourselves.

Seven is a number that signifies holistic or spiritual motivations. Most of you who are reading this are familiar with the concept of the seven chakras, or energy centers. Take a good look at them now and see which ones are flowing with powerful energy and which ones may be blocked or only partially open. Ask yourself, where do you want to expand on your strengths and abilities and which areas of your life need healing or clearing? What will you do to address this?

Another powerful image to help us ride with the energies of this year is the Chariot, the seventh card of the tarot. The tarot is all about us taking the reins and being the driver, getting to where we want to go. First, of course, we need to take a moment and bring our vision into focus. Are the goals we have in mind for ourselves today correctly stated? We might need to update our vision for our future from the last time we thought about it because things may have changed. Not the least of these things is the fire within, our inspiration, our heart's desire. We have a much greater passion to achieve our goals if the goals we say we want really match what we feel strongly about. Once we know exactly where we are headed, then we can fire up our engines and drive toward our goals. Are you doing work that you love to do? Do you get out of bed every day looking forward to doing what you have to do? If not, what would it take to get there? Is there passion in your play? Do you put energy and quality into the things you do for fun, or do you do it half-heartedly? If so, it is time for a new hobby or recreational activity. In decks where the chariot is pulled by a black horse and a white horse, this symbolizes our use of both yin/yang energies. When we know how to utilize both of these, we make great progress.   

Another powerful symbol is the seventh rune, which looks like the letter X, and whose name is Gebo and it symbolizes those same polarities expressed in the yin/yang symbol. It is called the Gift for a number of reasons. In good relationships, we need to both give and receive, and so in this aspect, Gebo would be the sign of a powerful, well matched partnership. If you are in an existing relationship, have you and your partner experimented with ways to increase the flow of energies between you? If you are looking for a new relationship, look at your potential partners energetically to see if you can establish that dynamic with them. In order to find that, we need to be open to new ideas, new energies, letting the currents of energy flow through us and between us.    

Try this. Make the shape of the rune with your body. Stand up with your feet about shoulder width apart and your arms reaching wide open. Your body will be in a position that looks like the letter X. Chant the name of the rune Gebo, pronouncing it as a hard G and the e like a long A sound. As you stand in this posture and chant this sound, you can feel the waves of energy moving through your body. Doesn't that also look like you are welcoming someone from a distance? What energies are you welcoming into your life? Would you like to gather more of these energies together and harness them to your chariot? 

Open to new energies and ideas this year and watch your results increase in every aspect of your life.  

There are seven days in every week, and it is always a good time to take action. Every week we are given the gift of seven new opportunities. Are we using them?

The Stillpoint in Winter

Part 1. Pausing to reflect on where we are and where we are going.
On the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, we make the turn into the lighter part of the year. Even though it will not be immediately visible to our naked eye, the light is growing as the orbit of the earth changes again and our energies shift. We will notice the days becoming longer by February 1, Groundhog Day. 

What an appropriate time then, to let go of whatever old fears, habits or behaviors that are holding us back from having the kind of life we want. As we let go of these and give more attention to the thoughts and actions that will lighten up our life, we find our path clearly laid out before us, with opportunities coming to light, and people who will be good for us to be with, clearly illuminated.

Moving from the dark into light is not about good vs evil.  

In the context of the solstices, it is the balancing between yin and yang, with the yin being the rich fertile place that enfolds the seeds of our dreams and gives the future a place to take root. The yang is the projective energy that sends the shoots above ground to reach up and absorb the light. It is both of these energies together that produce our future growth. We cannot have one without the other.

So as you shed whatever it is that you are ready to leave behind, replace that space in your energy field with what you want to grow into next. What do you want to happen between now and the Summer Solstice? How much can we do in six months time? How much can our life change? How much has already changed within the last six months? Are you ready to embrace your new growth and encourage it to grow robustly?

Yes, by all means take time to enjoy holiday celebrations with family and friends and bask in the light of the spirit that comes with these joyous celebrations. Appreciate the people who are part of your life.
During the holidays I also enjoy the quiet times of reflection, the stillpoint in the middle of winter. A perfect time for cleaning out closets and doing a deep cleaning. Maybe try cooking something differently today. Or just enjoying a cup of hot tea and journaling without having to rush because of a crowded schedule. 

Little things prompt reflection for me, like the fact that the busy street now only has a car on it every once in a while. It is so quiet, compared to normal.

I like the way lights twinkle from quite a distance over the snow and fog against the mountains. The lights give it the sense of the skyline being personally painted for you as shimmering lights continue to define the profile of the buildings and mountains.

Where the quiet settles in, you can see the audience sitting down waiting for the next story. This is the invisible audience that is always waiting to see what you do next. They are just as ready to applaud for you as someone else. Spirit guides and ancestors are in this audience.  

Capture the essence of the lights, capture the inspiration and hope they transmit. A quiet moment provides time for a new idea to germinate, then for dreams to come into sharper focus.

Every touch now is a memory. Every touch now is a light. It is the light in the middle of winter, soft, distant, creative and sweet. Like the embers that glow and have enough power to get the fire roaring. The quiet in the night, the stillpoint in the middle of winter, where we find warmth in the seasonal pleasures, the company of friends and the company of inspiration and spirit. 


Part 2. Make Revolutions, Not Resolutions.
It is traditional for people to make New Year's Resolutions, and it is just as traditional that a great many, if not most, of these fall by the wayside after just a few months. Why is that?
It takes more than intentions to make changes. Resolutions often are presented of lists of things that would be a nice idea, but how much will and action is there behind those wishes.
Perhaps it is because we put things on our list for the wrong reasons. For example, if we say that we want to quit smoking because everyone else tells us that it would be good for us, but in fact we really like the taste and feel of it, this resolution will maybe last a few weeks while everyone is encouraging us, then fall by the wayside as we resume smoking.

Now, when a person decides that they really don't feel like smoking any more and it is their own desire to quit, they will. I used to be a smoker myself, and nothing anyone else said about it made any difference until I decided to quit. Then it was over. No patch, no chewing gum, no support group. I just quit and have not smoked again for more than 30 years now.
The same holds true for the other most often mentioned resolutions, losing weight and working out. When we decide that we really will do it, we exert a great amount of will and desire, taking the appropriate actions to change what we eat and how much and get up and exercise.

What is the difference? Our own desire is always more powerful than whatever other people tell us is good for us.
The same holds true for the other most often mentioned resolutions, losing weight and working out. When we decide that we really will do it, we exert a great amount of will and desire, taking the appropriate actions to change what we eat and how much and get up and exercise.

You can easily see this at health clubs. Every January there is a new batch of people with resolutions who join, but then by March some of them have decided that making real change requires persistent efforts and that is easily abandoned for many who are easily distracted from their goals.
When we are ready to actually make the conscious decision and take the actions because we decided to do so, we will be making New Year's Revolutions, and we will make changes happen in our lives. These will be Revolutions, Not Resolutions. Don't waste time with resolutions. Only make revolutions. Make the changes real and permanent this year. Establish new patterns. Create new dimensions for living your life.  

Light, Shadows and Love without Measure

When you see a face that looks familiar, what do you do? Do familiar faces make you feel like you are getting a "do-over" or a reminder of a past experience that provided a powerful lesson? So if this face belongs to someone else, it stirs feelings in you, but different feelings in them.

It is the play of shadow and light that illuminates our visions. When we see what is on the screen that plays in our mind, how many of these shadows form the movies that we watch?

It is all shadow and light, you know. Movies, they are all shadow and light. Memories. They are all shadow and light. Look at how we look when we think we see something and we are awakened to the possibilities.

Have you noticed that look that sometimes lights up another person's eyes when they think they have recognized you? You know that puzzled look like they are trying to remember where they saw you before?

Then after you speak and you know that you don't know this person, they still have this look in their eyes like they still are remembering who they are remembering even though you are not the one they were thinking of. It is all shadow and light.

How much of the world we inhabit is shadows and light? Who is remembering what? It is all shadow and light.

Do you ever feel like you are walking through a forest and cannot find your way out? Do the trees look like the ones you passed coming in, yet the more you look, the more you cannot tell? Is there an in and an out?

What frequency is normal? What does it mean that we recognize but do not recognize? Is it that we are finally getting the lessons?

There are names that go with every face. There are faces we associate with all the phases of our life. There are times when we get an opportunity to do it over, and do it right this time.

There are faces of light and shadow, there are sorrows of great depth, and loves without measure. In our waking moments, our aliveness brings us to a new state of awareness, constantly. They speak to us of second chances.

The wheel turns, but not without giving us another look. Karma, coincidence, sorrow, joy, light and shadow. It is your movie. It is my movie. It is our movie.

Yes, there have been sorrows of great depth, and these shadows are the reminders that we are still alive and that there is also love without measure, and with these we can fashion new pictures, new images, new movies. It is all shadow and light. And love without measure is the only balm that lets us start over with a clean slate.

There are no ghosts in our shadow land that do not respond to love. Yes, it takes some of us longer than others to recognize the true faces of the shadows.

Constellations of Remembrance and Joy

Once again, we are reveling in the fall, the autumn, the most deeply felt season.

We began it by giving thanks for all that we have harvested this year. While for some of us, that may be crops or gardens that we grew that gave us wonderful gifts of flowers, herbs and vegetables, for others it may have been the gift of new friends, new loves, new jobs, a new place to live, the recovery of health, and new opportunities.

We are surrounded by the magic of seasonal change as we observe the leaves turning color, and those that don't have much color going from green to brown, trees being stripped of their foliage by the wind to reveal their bones, their skeletons, their stark outline against the sky.

Our journey continued as we honored those we knew who crossed the veil this year, savoring the powerful holidays of the Celtic Samhain (Halloween) and Dia de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead). These are always moving celebrations, as they should be. We celebrate birthdays, and we celebrate the end of our  days by remembering those who have moved on to the next plane of existence, who were once an active and influential part of our life.

When we come to the civic holiday of Thanksgiving, it is really an extension of the celebration of gratitude we begin at the Autumn Equinox, which arrives tomorrow, along with a full moon. Both the seasonal holiday and the civic holiday are part of the same spiritual tide, that of remembrance and acknowledgement. This is still one of my favorite days precisely because of its simplicity. On this day, forget multi-tasking. It is time to acknowledge people who have been important in our life and are still alive. Simply enjoy a good meal and conversation with family and friends. Share some laughs, take a walk, relax.

By the time of Yule, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, we have moved past our mourning, our remembrance, humility and gratitude, and now we are in full blown celebration with many gatherings of friends, family, festive music, special foods and drinks, joking, storytelling, music and dance. And we celebrate the return of the light, the Sun, heralding the new year, the return of hope, the triumph of joy. We bring light into our homes in many ways. We light candles, fireplaces, smell seasonal foods cooking and light up the place with music and laughter.

There is no constellation of special days of this magnitude anywhere else in our year. As we journey through it, let us be conscious of the ceremonies of thanks for the year past and omens of the planting the seeds of power for the year ahead.

The portrait of our human journey is now painted in saturated colors, and we are privileged to walk once more through this living gallery where the most fantastic images come to life, and we realize that they are us. We are both radiantly alive, sensitive and sensuous, rich with feelings, wisdom and whispered intimations of destiny. We are now in the sacred space where we look both forward, backward and become more centered in our present.

Greetings to autumn and the onset of winter! Light the fires to welcome them, and ourselves, home.