Monthly Archives: September 2016

Being Beautiful

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I have never felt beautiful. So yesterday, while walking by a group of people, a man and woman turned to look at me; first at my face, then my shirt. They did what so many do – they sized me up. Then I did what almost all of us do, I joined them. Its an odd thing how our ego is poised and ready to tear us down.

Truthfully, I spent the majority of my life never feeling beautiful. It wasn’t until the last few years of my life that I’ve come to know my beauty. But it isn’t the kind of beauty the media likes to persuade us into believing is most important. The kind of beauty of which I speak is inner beauty, which is what we feel and others see. What we are on the inside is always revealed on the outside. For me, it wasn’t until my dark night of the soul that I came to understand what stood between me and believing in myself. It wasn’t until, out of sheer exhaustion with life that I found myself staring into the eyes of the demon that had plagued me since my earliest days.

The demon of which I speak is the kind we all have. It lives and breathes in the darkness of our shadow. Its voice is often weaved through the voice of ego. Its constant declaration is that we are not good enough. That we will never be what we want to be. We will never have what we want to have. It bounces around. Its target and diatribe ever shifting the blame. But the core of its message remains – you are nobody. And everyone knows. Who do think you are? You will never be as beautiful as others. You will never be smart enough. You’re a failure. Life stinks. You stink.

Depending upon what has happened to you in your life, the shadow side can cast an overwhelming presence. Which explains why so many avoid it at all costs. And, there is a cost. We pay greatly when we turn our back on this side of ourself. Like an untended garden, the weeds of our fears begin to overtake all that is beautiful and healthy. Dear reader, I had reached my end, which is what led to my dark night of the soul. I really had nowhere else to go but to travel deep within myself and confront my fears.

But within this darkness, I discovered, there is Light. And there is a mirror. We get to see Who We Are. Even when surrounded by all the falsehoods I had believed about myself for nearly four decades, I was shown a Light that allowed me to see past the illusion of my fears. And when I shined the light, the darkness became illuminated. There was great beauty there. There was Love. A love that had the ability to strengthen me to stand up against my deepest fears. When I did, the demon went into submission. And my life has never been the same since.

But like with all things, I have to keep a watch on it. There are times, when a side glance from a stranger will bring that demon to life. Once again, it will try to override my thoughts. Its up to me to shine the Light back onto it. I’ve seen it for what it is. It isn’t big. It’s small. That’s why it fought so wildly within me like a small, crazed animal. It didn’t have mass on its size.

As I mulled around with my daughter yesterday, I gave thought to what had occurred. I gave pause to all the thoughts that sprung to life within me. You see, dear reader, I was wearing one of the shirts from my women’s empowerment clothing line. It was the I AM shirt. The design, upon first glance, is simple. Its message, at least to me, profound. Surrounding the words: I AM, are all the words I spent a lifetime believing I wasn’t: I AM beautiful, healthy, radiant, love, peace, abundance, success, joy, enough. And because we can never see in others what we can’t see within ourselves, I never saw any of these things in my life. All I use to see was a shifty world with people, places and things that I couldn’t count on. Life didn’t feel beautiful to me. I didn’t feel beautiful to me.

But life is, and so am I. Not the kind of beauty that ego tries to say is the measure of success. No. In fact, the core of my Being doesn’t give a damn what others think. My ego does. Within myself I finally found my beauty. It was there all along. It is singular to me. It’s kind. It’s nurturing. It’s peaceful. It’s strong when protecting, soft when loving. It is Love. Under all those layers of insecurity and fear, is Love. And love is beauty. Its within us all. So when I wear my I AM tee, its my way of reminding myself that its okay to recognize my beauty. Actually, it’s a hard won victory being able to do so. And it’s a victory that finally allowed me to recognize it in others. I may not be a Covergirl or a super model. I look like me. And within me is someone I’ve come to love greatly. I am the kind of beautiful that means something to me.

Sane

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Silver Linings

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We can only be that which we believe. So if your beliefs do not bring you joy – change them. Amidst all the madness inherent to being human, there is a silver lining: You are allowed to rebuild.

Those who want only to laugh must first know happiness. Those who want to feel love must first be love. To experience abundance one must feel the essence of abundance, despite outward appearances. This is where appreciation is key. Our outlook mirrors our beliefs. How we feel inside, whether it is damning or liberating, negative or positive, is the blueprint upon which the universe builds the life we’ll soon be experiencing.

For some, these words are freedom. To others, these words are a prison, as they feel locked to a reality that is in direct contrast to what they want for themselves. And yet almost every spiritual text states the same process: Believe, then receive.

We can not change what we do not recognize and know. The words said within our mind are linked to what we believe deep inside. So take the time to discover your inner truths. Give yourself a week of believing that the best in life is yours, then listen to what your mind has to say. As the days unfold, circumstances will arise – they always do. Your beliefs will be put to the test. Listen. The inner dialogue you hear is your inner truth. And if that inner truth is not in alignment with the life you want to live, then the life you want to live will never find you. You can not rebuild a home if you do not first know the structural integrity of the foundation. These truths, are your foundation; they have been orchestrating your life whether you were aware of it or not. Become aware. Know what beliefs dwell within you. If they bring you joy, good. If they do not, good – now you know where to begin.

Knowledge is power. Empower yourself. By knowing your weaknesses you give yourself strength. Burn down the walls, and build a foundation that knows you are worthy of love; then choose to look at yourself with a soft, loving eye. Mix into the concrete the belief that you contain the same energy held within a mighty oak; then choose to stand tall, knowing you are meant to flourish. And finally, set the cornerstones of your foundation with pillars of laughter. Know that when you choose to feel joy, even in the smallest of things, you increase your magnetic pull on the universe. Joy is the indicator of your connection to All That Is.

Take the next week and examine your foundation. You may be surprised by what you find when you walk down the steps and enter the cellar of your inner being. Don’t be sad. Instead, smile, and remember – you can always rebuild. So don’t be afraid to burn down the house.

Sane

Based on the post, Burning Down the House, August 25, 2013

Daily Refinement

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refinement |riˈfīnmənt|
The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance.
The improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.

I think it’s fair to say that our soul is on a journey of refinement. And this planet allows us everything we need to accomplish the mission.

People enter into our life, and with them arrives countless opportunities to learn more about ourselves. One would think that when we meet another, that’s all we’re doing – meeting them. And although that is an important part of the process, we are also meeting a plethora of aspects of our inner being. This happens not just when meeting people, but also when meeting different circumstances. The good, the bad. The blissful, the horrific. Each one is a gift when it comes to our spiritual development.

Believe me, dear reader, when I say that those moments and people who lean toward hurtful, or what is upsetting, are not viewed as a gift by my mind. At least not at first. But if I can override my mind, and refrain from judging, something magical happens. I meet a new aspect of who I am. Am I reactionary? Or am I calm? Are my actions mean? Or are they loving? I have been all of these things. Which has, at times, led me to believe that I have either achieved something or failed something. Neither is completely true. Awareness is a process. Even when we are able to climb the ladder another rung, we’re still moving. There’s still a process underway.

But that’s what life gives us, an unceasing array of people, places, and things, from which to discover – inwardly and outwardly – something about ourselves and those around us. That is why meditation is vital, it provides a break from the external. And thereby helps fortify and steady us when the external kicks back in.

There is a sticky spot, though. It is when we have become aware but are still resistant to our own growth. Quite honestly, it’s hell on earth. The internal struggle is phenomenal. I’ve often referred to those moments within my own life as having gone under. As that is how they felt to me. Dark and underwater. But in time, something within me recedes, the cloudy water clears, and I am able to see the stones on the ocean floor once again. But that is a hard battle. It is much easier to learn to float. Or dive when I choose.

When we are aware of our own journey, when we begin to glimpse what is behind the earthly veil, we see the road to salvation; freedom. We can either walk it or fight it. But it’s fair to say, your soul knows you are being refined and that Life is trying to help you find every impurity and unwanted element within yourself. If you fight it, then it will be left on a continual loop. But if you release and lean into what’s being shown, things become clarified. You have much more aha moments than you have God damn moments.

I’m far from a polished stone. There are still flecks within me and some raw edges. But with each day, with each experience, I am allowed to see what is off within myself and thereby own it, love it, and release it. It’s how the heart is made pure. The more I love me, the more I love life and its inhabitants. So, take a look at how you are being refined. Take strength in knowing, dear reader, that your heart is worth the work. Source knows it. Your soul knows. You are a magnificent work in progress.

Sane

Who Shows Up

Who Shows Up

“Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.” ~ Yehuda Berg

I feel one of the most vital lessons within one’s spiritual practice is to become aware of who shows up within ourselves. And life, being the gracious host to our spiritual development that it is, provides us ample encounters by which to meet who does.

It is one thing to sit in meditation and express soft words of praise to God and all of humanity while alone. It is a completely different thing to offer such kindness when met with the many individuals who make up humanity. We aren’t here to solely be kind to those who are kind to us, even if such a thing fills our heart immensely. People like that, I look at as nourishment. They help fill me and prepare me for those who drain my heart and challenge my kindness.

People will enter our life that do both, fill us and drain us, challenge and empower us. Both serve a purpose. They allow us to see who we are inside. Who is buried under our physical shell. Our heart is revealed by how we treat others.

When we want to know who we are, look first at who shows up within yourself when met with Life. Do you step out of your own mind, with all of its many judgements and stories and validations, to be open and kind? Do you try? Or do you let yourself off the hook with a reason why you can’t? Life gives us countless opportunities to bring to Light who we truly are. And as much as it might seem as though it is doing this to show others who we are, I don’t believe it is. I believe it’s to show us who we are. If you are like me, dear reader, you may not always like who shows up. Its part of the process. Its the only way for us to finally deal with all that rests within. But, it’s what we do with what we see, that matters. Once you begin to pay attention, you will see how the hand of Spirit is trying to bring everything within you out and into the Light. That is the only way you will ever fully know who you are, and make all of your fragmented pieces part of the greater whole. And from there, you can live wholeheartedly. Not because you have vanquished parts of yourself that seemed rotten. No. Instead, you brought them into the Light and healed what was once very dark. You learned from it. You healed it. And then took this newly healed and enlightened part of yourself and returned it to the fold.

When I am at a loss as to how to behave. When it feels like everyone I meet is ‘causing’ me pain, disappointment or just plain frustration, I try to hit pause. Then, I try to be who I would want showing up for me. I try to be for them, and for the world, who I would like to see. This may or may not change the situation in front of me. But I’m not doing it for that purpose. I am doing it so that I can, at the very least, be true to myself and offer the world a mirror that reflects Love. Showing the world a wholehearted mirror is not easy. In fact, its one of the most painful experiences of my life. But it is also deeply rewarding. Because every now and again, it is reflected back to me. And that is bliss.

So dear reader, as you go about your long weekend, and life unfolds its multitude of experiences in the guise of people, places and things – notice who shows up within you. And remember: Be who you want to see. Be kind. Be patient. Be supportive. Be Love.

Sane