Love

TO HAVE COURAGE FOR WHATEVER COMES IN LIFE - EVERYTHING LIES IN THAT. ~ St. Teresa of Avila

courage1

Can I just tell you how much I absolutely LOVE this quote?! I was first introduced to it by my meditation teacher Eknath Easwaran. When I read it - it went through my eyes, into my mind and then dropped straight into my heart. What echoed back was a resounding YES!

It reminds me of what the Sufi poet Rumi tells us in his beautiful poem The Guest House. He wildly encourages us to greet each day with open arms and gratitude. Knowing that whatever comes, even the stuff we don't like, has been sent as a gift (and a guide) from the Universe.

THE GUEST HOUSE 

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

 It takes courage to welcome EVERYTHING. I know that it can be so hard in the midst of sickness, heartbreak, disappointment and loss to muster up our courage. It's not always easy to remember, when we see and experience so much suffering, that we're children of the Divine and that we're made from the all that is good, beautiful and holy. It can be hard to find our footing, stand our ground and face our fears when we feel lost or abandoned and we've momentarily forgotten to whom we truly belong.

What I've found, is that cultivating courage for life takes willingness, faith and deep trust. In order to access my courage, I must look beyond my limited human capacity and call upon the unlimited power of Spirit. That force of love and light which is eternal, that casts out darkness and already exists within me.

I don't know what the exact answer is for you - in terms of tapping into your own courage - but I can share what has worked for me. I can say with the utmost confidence that it has been my consistent, daily practice that has saved my ass time and time again. Making a commitment each day to move my body (devotion in motion) AND carving out quiet time for the mystical and the sacred. Some of my personal practices include: Yoga, A Course In Miracles, Prayer, Passage Meditation, Mantra, writing, reading, spending time with my furry kids, etc.

What all these practices do, in their own unique way, is help remove "the interferences to the awareness of love's presence" and remind me of this one simple truth, as stated in A Course In Miracles:

"God is with me. I cannot be deceived." 

 

It can be kind of hard to go within, call upon the Eternal and develop a solid relationship with your true Self, when your mind and hands are so busy with the temporary distractions of your iPhone, iPod, iPad, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Make a conscious choice to put the devices down and consider instead - taking a comfortable seat and plugging in to your breath and your Beloved.

Knowing that I don't have to figure it all out and face it all on my own, knowing that God/Universe/Spirit/Higher Power/Love/Insert Your Own Word - has got my back and is guiding me from beyond - allows me to release my fear and muster up the courage I need for whatever comes in my life. I know that if I can do this, then you can too!

BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS - A SURPRISE GIFT ON MY SPECIAL DAY!

KK Happy I had such a spectacular 45th birthday - I felt like this deliriously happy little kid all over again. Yes, there were yummy vegan snacks, time spent with sweetie and some pretty awesome presents. But I was also given a surprise gift that only God could have arranged.

I think of October 4, as my own personal New Year's Day. This extra special day each year when I'm given an opportunity to look back on what the past year held and look forward to the possibilities that have yet to come. I like to slow down, get still and take a few moments to forgive my Humanity and celebrate my Divinity.

It's a day balanced with both honest self-refection and self-appreciation. A chance to recognize and own the times where I painfully screwed up, fell short, lost my patience, bitched and moaned, judged people or let others down. It's also a day to celebrate the moments where I miraculously got it right, went above and beyond, took my time, laughed and let go, forgave people or said I'm sorry.

Which brings me to the surprise! Yesterday I was given one of the best gifts ever - an unexpected apology that allowed two hearts and spirits to mend an old hurt and connect more deeply.

About 10 years ago, at a gathering, I asked a young woman that had just arrived to the event: "How're you doing?" She burst into tears and yelled at me in front of the whole group of people. I was so embarrassed at the time, felt awful that I had somehow upset her and even though I had let it go - I could still feel the shame of it rise up in me randomly over the years.

Yesterday, I bumped into that same woman. She waited for a moment when we were alone and then quickly sat down at my table. She looked me in the eye, took a big breath and apologized to me. She explained that on the day I asked her that simple question - her mom had just died. She'd been so overwhelmed with grief.

She told me "you've always been so kind to me" and shared that she felt terrible about what had happened but had moved away shortly after the incident. She admitted that she'd been carrying the weight of it around with her for all these years.

I told her that I totally knew how it felt to lose your mom, that I understood her despair and her reaction. I assured her that I'd forgiven her a long time ago. I stood up, opened my arms and said give me a hug! I pulled her close, gave her a good tight squeeze and could literally feel the tension leave her body as she started to cry.

She said in hindsight, given my own mom history, I was probably the best person in the world that she could have blown up at that day. I said, "Yeah, God is super funny like that" and as we laughed - I could feel the love rush in to fill the space that shame used to occupy.

A Course in Miracles says - "The holiest of all spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love." This is the power of forgiveness.

Her act of courage inspired me so much - that I wanted to begin my 45th spin around the sun in the same way. So......

To any person that I've ever disappointed, hurt, embarrassed, picked on, talked about, betrayed, misunderstood, judged or excluded - I'm truly sorry for my unkindness and my clumsiness. I hope that you can forgive me. Please know that I made those choices out of my own Fear and was doing the best that I could at the time. I'm now committed to choosing Love - and hope to demonstrate that choice more and more each day. I'm still probably going to screw up from time to time. Please be patient with me.

To any animal that I ever ate or harmed in my ignorance, to any tiny creature that I accidentally stepped on or smashed with my car windshield, to any tick that I've flushed down the toilet or mosquito that I smacked out of pure reaction - I am truly sorry. I love you little critters and hope that you can forgive me. I was only doing what I was taught to be right at the time. I'm committed to being more mindful every day but admit that I still have a ways to go with the whole mosquito and tick thing - sorry.)

To Mother Earth - I'm sorry for anytime I was a litter bug, used Aqua Net hairspray, threw my cigarettes out the window or didn't recycle. I'm getting more educated all the time and trying to make smarter more sustainable choices. Today when I read in our local paper that our town dump is now considering recycling #5 containers - I actually did a little jig! Look how far I've come!

Thank you to each and every person who took time out of their day to wish me a Happy Birthday. I was blown away by your thoughtfulness and your love. Every sweet message that I received left me grinning ear to ear - just like that happy little kid in the red shirt!

 

SHOW YOUR LOVE

Buck

This is one of my six furry kids: Buckminster Biscuits. Also known as Bucky, Buck, Buckaroo, etc. After a recent funny email from a friend - I might just start calling him Bhukti Mukti (Enjoyment & Liberation)! As you can see from the picture - he certainly knows how to let go and enjoy himself.

I'm blessed to have this little guy in my life for so many reasons. First off, he is a total kooky monkey. He reminds me all the time to not take myself too seriously. As the head of our furry pack - he also keeps things in order. If one of the other crazy fuzzies - gets way out of line - (think wild squirrels hopped up on Mountain Dew) he is quick to make a correction. In doing so, he teaches me about creating healthy boundaries.

But the most important thing my little buddy teaches me about is LOVE! Here's the thing - Buck ADORES me! Like super-duper tail wagging, spin in circles, back leg hopping because "OMG, MY MOMMY IS HOME!" loves me! (Seriously, how lucky am I?)

And he shows me this truth each time I walk through the door. Mr. Biscuits is so not stingy with his love. He demonstrates his unbridled joy at seeing me each and everyday. It recently got me to thinking about how I show my love in the world. Do I offer it freely? No strings attached? Do I extend it to everyone or do I withhold it or save it for just a few "special" people?

A Course in Miracles says, "To teach is to demonstrate... Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you." It also shares one of my favorite sayings, "Teach Only Love - For That Is What You Are."

How are you demonstrating your Love? Get quiet and think about this for a moment. No judgement - just shine a light on it. Then, maybe like Buckaroo - we'll all choose to not be stingy with our love either! Let's not wait for February 14 to roll around to share our affection, to offer a compliment, to hold a hand, to pick up the phone to talk or send an actual handwritten love note!

Be Brave. Say I Love You. Say it with enthusiasm! Maybe even wag your tail and spin in circles because your sweetie just walked in the door. Or because you finally realized that the Beloved is already always HOME - right there - inside your beautiful, abundant heart.