Our Need for Recognition

I cried at the acknowledgment I received.  Big sobs.  Someone thought I counted, that I still had valuable work to do.  It was a one-line comment on an email from someone I only know online, but the encouragement behind it was overwhelming.  Why do we need recognition and who do we need it from?
 

We need recognition to feel we make a difference

At 81, I’m looking to see if I still have a purpose, and if so what it is. If I can’t figure out meaning for my life, why am I here? I’m here because there is still work to be done, lives to be changed, and contributions to be made – by me. They are gifts that only I can give. I’ve been redefining myself for five years and just recently figured out that all the lessons I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, successes I’ve had, and talents I’ve developed should still be in service because their collective wisdom has great value. I’m writing my heart out, having a great time with blog posts and books about the exact topics I want to incorporate into my life right now. I have an ever-deepening spiritual exploration going on that is changing my core. It’s a very intensive period of self-discovery. 
 
However, for someone to tell me that I still have impact is overwhelmingly welcome. I want to be relevant. You want to be relevant. I’d like to know that someone gains a new insight from me. .And so do you. The only way we know if we are making a difference is to see results. We need someone to tell or show us how his or her lives have changed because of our presence. I’m writing what I am meant to write.  I’m completing it, I’m publishing it. I keep finding questions I need to answer for myself and for those who choose to read what I write. I know the work has value to me because I’m making great personal changes as I absorb and apply these ideas. I think it will help others when they recognize they are always in a cycle of change and being more self-aware will make the experience more positive. However, the only way I’m going to know my work is effective is when someone acknowledges how my work affected them. I need recognition as a tool for measuring my impact.  
 

Begin by acknowledging yourself

In a perfect world, simply knowing that you have made a difference should be enough. If we take time to notice what we have done and acknowledge ourselves for our accomplishments, we should start to own the fact that we are making a difference. Unless, of course, we don’t believe what we see for ourselves, or fail to notice the responses we get from others. Acknowledging yourself keeps you productive and helps you stay steady on your path even when it’s a big bumpy. I’m very self-reliant. I’m a major self-starter. Why then, does a caring, supportive comment from someone I only know online, turn my world around? I don’t know. We need to see and accept what is relevant in ourselves. What are our gifts? How do people feel when they are around us? What makes you unique? Describe yourself on paper. Watch how you sabotage yourself and make a shift. How do other people see you? Become your own cheerleading section and keep loving and appreciating your uniqueness.  
 

We need recognition from people we see as knowing/doing more that we do

You want acknowledgement from someone whose opinion you value, a person you see as more knowledgeable, experienced or aware. The brief comment that so moved me came from someone I only know through his blog and a podcast we did together. It was unexpected. Most of all, because his comment helped me see something about myself I could not see, it created a core shift that I was ready to make. Why was his comment so impactful? The first realization was that he knows a great deal about the world we share so his opinion holds a lot of weight. I was not seeking his approval. I didn’t even expect an answer to my email because he’s a big player. I was humbled by two things – whatever I had emailed him was meaningful enough for him to answer and his response held recognition and appreciation. The more knowledgeable about the topic the person seems to you, the more weight and value the comment seems to have. We need to be recognized by people who have a strong frame of reference for their comment. 
 

Why you are recognized makes a difference

Two things carry weight in our ability to feel and absorb the recognition that comes our way: the reason we are acknowledged and who does the acknowledging. If you are naturally attractive, then comments about your looks may not mean as much as a comment on something you’ve succeeded in doing through your own choices and efforts. A writer commenting on my writing is greatly encouraging on a professional level. A positive comment on what I wrote by anyone touches my heart.  
 

Why we can’t feel, hear, or see the recognition

Many years ago in New York City, I went to an est seminar on communication. In one exercise, we paired off and sat opposite someone we didn’t know. One person began giving compliments to the other. The receiver could say nothing; just simply notice how they were feeling. Almost to a person, we discovered that we were blocking off the compliments because we didn’t believe we deserved them! Once I learned to accept a compliment, let it come clear into my body and into my core, I felt acknowledged and nourished by the experience.
 
I use to keep an Acknowledgement Book in which I wrote nice things people said about me along with their name and the date. When I felt down, I would look at the book. You’ll be amazed at what other people see in your that you don’t. In my business, I received testimonials that I put on my web pages. Since I have less active feedback since I’ve retired, I started my Acknowledgement Book again. We receive acknowledgement all the time if we simply notice it and accept it.
 

What kind of acknowledgement would feel most meaningful?

If you want recognition, what do you want to be recognized for? Sometimes I have been acknowledged for something that totally surprised me. That gives me a look at an aspect of myself that I may not have considered before. I know what I appreciate about myself: my curiosity, my spirituality, my love of learning, my ability to see the overview and express it so others get it. I’ve uncovered those qualities for myself and I appreciate those gifts. But how do I want others to see me? That’s an important question to ask yourself. If you don’t know what will make you feel appreciated or recognized, you won’t feel it, you won’t absorb it and you won’t own it enough to nourish you. I want to be acknowledged for my insights, my wisdom, my awareness and the fact that what I write makes other people think and make choices that change their lives. What do you want to be acknowledged for?
 

 How do you offer recognition?

Years ago, when I discovered that my firstborn child was mentally challenged due to a forceps delivery, I immediately shifted my criteria of success. The path was no longer to do well in school, go to college, and have a normal life. My other children were very bright. I had to find other things to acknowledge in my daughter. It turns out that she is very good with people. I acknowledged her for that. I am grateful to her for helping me broaden my criteria for success and for finding new ways to acknowledge others. Being kind is a talent worthy of recognition. So is being joyous. Listening is a skill. Do we take time to look for those subtle traits and offer an acknowledgement of recognition?  
 

The form of recognition

“Thank you” goes a long way. A few people I know always acknowledge my email even if it’s “Thanks.” I was brought up writing thank you notes to the hostess of a party or the giver of a gift. That doesn’t seem to be around so much anymore. Compliments are an easy form of recognition – for an outfit, or a haircut, or a thoughtful gesture. Hugs are great. As we get older, we have fewer people around to hug us so hugging is a very good thing.
 
As a writer, I could measure my recognition by the number of subscribers to my blog or the number of pages Google Analytics says were opened or the number of books downloaded. However, all I really need is for one person, besides me, to believe my work has value and that I need to keep doing it and let me know that. What form of recognition do you need? Who will it come from? What will it look like? How will it feel?
 

Recognition is encouragement

The words of encouragement I received from this particular internet friend propelled me into a completely new state of awareness, determination, and accomplishment. I am excited. I am productive. I am completing projects and creating new ones. It’s been years since I’ve been this constantly creative. The catalyst was because of short email that showed someone cared – about me, about my work, and about my contribution to the world.
 
Why do you need recognition? What will it look like when you get it? How do you give recognition?
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

Return To The Simplicity Of The Uncarved Block

The uncarved block is who we are at our core, the essence of our being. It is our pure self, our original state of being before it is shaped by various life processes. Returning to the simplicity of the uncarved block means returning to a wholeness that may currently be missing in our life. It is a place of referral we can access to guide our current experiences and choices.

The uncarved block is a symbol of our original state

“The essence of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed,”
            – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh 
 
To begin to understand the concept of the uncarved block, it is helpufl to compare three translations of verse 15 in the Tao Te Ching.Whole as an uncarved block of wood.” in the John H. McDonald translation,Shapable as a block of wood” in the translation by Stephen Mitchell and “Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood” in the translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English. Let’s see what that means to us.
 

“Whole” as an uncarved block of wood

“Whole” was my first personal interpretation of an uncarved block. What are we like at the core? What is our essence? The uncarved block is the center of our being. What were we before we layered our lives with experience?
 

“Shapable” as a block of wood

A block of wood can become anything – a practical tool, a work of art, a framework for a building. Our life experience gradually shapes our original uncarved block of self. Our beliefs dictate the shape, our responses and choices become our carving tools,
 

“Simple” like uncarved blocks of wood

Our life choices have shaped our uncarved block. Our goal is to find a way to let go of the form we are now in and become whole and uncarved again. Coming from the place of our uncarved block, we enjoy the simple, the quiet, and the natural. When we come from the place of our uncarved block, we do things spontaneously and then release them. We allow our life to unfold and simply shape things as they come. 
 
What if we learn to stop where we are in our lives, go back to the essence of our uncarved block, and use what we find there to consciously shape what we want to be in this moment in time?
 
We can let go of form and become whole and uncarved again. We can use our instincts to make a positive choice in each situation.  We can do it without the burden of experiences, which may or may not be applicable to the new one. We can consciously shape who we are in the present moment.
 
“Whole,” “Shapable” and “Simple” are all important concepts as we begin to make choices about living more fully from our own uncarved block.
 

What is at the heart of your uncarved block?

If we are to go back to pure innocence what is there? My first response was “my spiritual essence.” As I dwell on what that means I use the word “Tao.” I see it as the driving force behind all I do. It is the place I go in meditation. It is the Qi energy I feel moving through my body during Qi Gong practice. It is reached through the mantras I know. It flows through the crystals I hold, that cat I pet, and the moving leaves outside my window. It can be touched through song, or a phrase or something someone says to you. How do you experience your uncarved block? What is at the heart of your uncarved block?
 

What qualities of your uncarved block do you currently express in your life?

Your uncarved block is present in your life right now.   Some of it may be dusty, rusted over, or layered with beliefs and emotions. However, important essences of your uncarved block have been present and shining throughout your life. What are they? The positive shapes the elements of my uncarved block have taken in my life are enthusiasm, curiosity, love of learning, my writing and the ability to see the overview while developing ideas. Think about your core, your essence. What qualities of your uncarved block do you currently express in your life?
 

What would you like to pull forward from the simpliciy of your uncarved block right now?

The uncarved block is unlimited in its potential. Our reality becomes the shape we carve out for ourselves. Ideally, we learn to return to an awareness of our uncarved, un-touched, un-formed self and use the simplicity of that framework to fully experience our present life. If you went back to your origins, what would you like to pull forward from the simpliciy of your uncarved block?
 

What would you like the essence of the uncarved block help you become?

When we return to the simplicity of our uncarved block, we eliminate all the layers of fear, limiting beliefs, uncertainty, and whatever other layers we have added in our life.  What is there waiting for you? What purity of purpose can be pulled forward into your life? Your uncarved block expresses itself in your personality, your talents, and your choices. What would you like the essence of the uncarved block help you become?
 

What will you do to become more aware of the wholeness, shapability and simplicity of your uncarved block?

Simply becoming more aware that wholeness exists within you may be enough. Learning to make your choices from the simplicity it provides may add serenity to your life. Understanding that your choices shape your life and choosing to make those choices from that deep wisdom within your uncared block may lead you to greater self-awareness. Allow your deeper song to spring from your uncarved block.
 

Simplify to find wholeness

People simplify their lives so they can access the wholeness of their uncarved block. They question their perceptions, examine their thoughts, and monitor their actions and their speech. If you had a blank life to live, what would you allow into it? Learn to remain rooted in the wholeness and simplicity of your uncarved block. Chose only what nurtures you.
 

Your uncarved block

The uncarved block is empty of beliefs. It is present. It is free. It asks you to live in an innate, spontaneous reality. To access it, you learn to reside in the present and respond in the moment. You learn to know yourself well enough to modify some behavior that is not working and cultivate the aspects or yourself that bring you joy. You life will benefit from living in the simplicity of the uncarved block.
 
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

Why I Love Being a Freak

A freak doesn’t do things the way they are normally done. A freak follows her own passion. A freak explores and questions. A freak is self-aware. A freak stands alone in her own truth. In “Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, Entrepreneurship for Weirdo, Mystics, and World Dominators. Chris Brogan encourages our freakiness and I love it!

 

“Freaks” encourages us to own our freakiness

Chris not only helps us appreciate and celebrate our uniqueness, he offers systems to put our special viewpoint to work in our business and life. I had an opportunity to personally connect with Chris when he interviewed me for his podcast  (7/10/14 LOTS of smart people) He glows with kindness and generosity of spirit. Our conversation was like two old friends hanging out. Chris has already changed my life through an email exchange. I read his Sunday blog but had not read any of his books. “Freaks” appealed to me.   I’ve always been different. I’ve always made choices that others did not. I’ve followed my passion with great enthusiasm. I thought there were not many others out there like me, until the internet came along and I began to find some like-minded freaks. (I’m 81 – born before lots of inventions – like television.) Thanks to the internet, I can now identify, follow, and develop an e-mail relationship with fellow freaks all over the world. I’ve loved my freakiness, but finding fellow freaks makes me feel less alone and more excited about my personal path.
 

“Freaks” inspires and motivates us to follow our unique path

“The premise of this book is simple,” writes Chris. “How can I do business my way and be successful, when the way I think and the goals I have aren’t in line with conventional thinking? … In the old days, you had to conform. Now you only need consider your choices and choose the options that feel most right to you.” Don’t we all want it that way – learning what we want to learn, sharing what we want to share, being with people who excite us and share our uniqueness?
 

“Freaks” helped me appreciate my weirdness 

My first clue came that there were other freaks out there came 35years ago while reading The Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Fergusson. I sat in own uniqueness in the Midwest and kept saying “Oh, there ARE other people thinking like I do. And look what they are doing!” It was my first conscious encounter with the activities of fellow freaks in the world and I was only reading about them.  As a young woman, I was influenced by the Woman’s Movement. I moved to New York City and began developing fellow freak friends. I unconventionally followed my personal interests into holistic venues. I knew and taught several healing techniques. I worked with AIDS patients in New York City when it first appeared. I live with crystals. I’m a metaphysician. I’m drawn to Taoism. I’m a Vegan. I don’t fit in and I don’t want to. It turns out there are a lot of us at here doing our own thing.
 

“Freaks” celebrates the qualities that serve us

Curiosity, a strong need to do it our way, and a rebellion against conforming are all qualities that serve the uniqueness of freaks. As we insist on going our own way, we live and work more closely with our passion. That makes us very powerful.
 

“Freaks” offers practical business advice

It is great to have a fellow freak offer organizational and strategic business advice. You know it’s going to be unconventional and fit right in with your plans. Ideas for everything from your vision, to your tribe, to your systems are in this book. I am very drawn to Chris’s “Core Compass” plan. It helps you thoughtfully identify your core purpose and use it as a guidepost for all your decisions. One of the most difficult challenges in creating your own business or product is to identify the simple core purpose of your work, or the core talent that best serves your community. I used Chris’s Core Compass to dynamically reposition and repurpose my current work. 
 

“Freaks” will warm your heart

Chris’s energy of kindness and a desire to support others shines through every page. For instance, he asks, “What lead-nurturing products can I generate?” Nurturing? It makes the approach to business so caring. As for looking for your community he asks, “Where are the people who want to celebrate your work with you and who pay you to improve their lives.” Celebrate my work? Love it. Let’s have a party.   
 

“Freaks” is about family

One of the central concepts of Chris’s very successful business is the idea of Monchu – an Okinawan word that means “one family” He explains that Monchu “embodies the concept that you could help to build value for everyone around you.” How dramatically would your business change if you expanded your sense of family to everyone who crossed your path?
 

“Freaks” encouraged me to explore

“Fall in love with not knowing” is a chapter that celebrates and supports our inventiveness and creativity. I’m a big one for taking ideas that feel meaningful to me and writing about them in order to better understand them and figure out how to incorporate them into my life. I loved his idea that “Curiosity fuels passion. It allows you to see things from difference angles.” It’s vital that we view our choices from many viewpoints.And “Try new things. Learn new things Learn what else you don’t know. Learn tons more than the other person about what makes your senses tingle.” These are all concepts of learning and experiencing that I choose to emphasize into my life.
 

Woman freaks need to claim our own place

There is no age limit on freaks but there seems to be a problem with gender. Woman cannot be freaks in big business. Hey, maybe we don’t want to do business like the guys do. In our own freaky female way, we can develop our business to encourage other woman to embrace and cherish their freakiness and to teach their daughters to do the same. We’ have great power. Female freaks can and will make a huge difference in their world.
 
A major realization for me that was a huge take-away from reading this book concerned my target community. I discovered that my Manchu are older women freaks. That certainly puts a different slant on how I connect with them. I can stop thinking in terms of a broader demography and keep on writing to people like me, freaks who are getting older and trying to figure out how to accommodate that change and still be productive and meaningful. 
 

Own your destiny

Chris wants us to own our own destiny. It’s more than running a business, it’s about living a life that draws from you the most you have to offer and place it in the service of others. “The best of everything in the world has come from freaks,” states Chris.  To interact with Chris and other fellow freaks check out Owner Magazine  and follow Chris’s Blog.
 
If you think you are a freak, if you KNOW you are a freak you’ll resonate with this book. “Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, Entrepreneurship for Weirdo, Mystics, and World Dominators.may be just what you need to move our forward at this point in your life. It certainly made a welcome difference in mine.
  
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

The Illusion of Time

 Time is an illusion and sometimes that illusion slows us down and even holds us in place.

How is time holding you back?

When Chris Brogan  asked me what I wanted to tackle in the next 30-years it smashed my concept of time. I’m 81 and there is a natural tendency to shorten your sights. I had not made any long-term plans, let alone a 30-year plan. Not having a purpose in my life did not feel like a good place to be.
 
I began looking at what I had accomplished in short periods of my life. Like most people, it took me 12 years to complete a high school education. It took me four years to get a B.A. In 10 years, I had four children, in one year, I got divorced, it took three years to get my M.A. in one moment I decided to move to New York City, in five years I became a licensed spiritual counselor. You get the picture – life-changing decisions can be made in a moment and there is no such thing as time when it comes to fulfilling your dreams.
 
I spoke about time to a fellow senior in my community. She said, “I’m 88, at the most I have 10 years left.” That’s when I started looking at what was possible to accomplish in various periods of time.
 
I wrote a workbook in two hours. Yes, it needs editing, rearranging, and rethinking, but it went from nothing to book form in an afternoon.
 
It takes 7 minutes to run my juicer to make my lunch – tons of good nutrients to keep me healthy,
 
It takes me 40 or so minutes every day to do my Qi Gong and read what I have chosen to deepen my spiritual awareness.
 
It takes one second to take a breath that will stop me from interrupting rather than listening.
 
Do not let the illusion of time stop you from making plans and moving forward.
 

A small Grand Plan

My Grand Plan, however long I make it for, needs to include things that make me happy.
 
I want to:
  • Feel useful (We all need that)
  • Feel appreciated (We all need that, too)
  • Learn something new (My mind constantly entertains me)
  • Understand what I learn and apply the parts that work for me. (I often write to figure out how to absorb the concepts that appeal to me)
  • Write to a larger audience. (Not for ego, but for impact. I am learning neat stuff I’d like to share.)
  • Become more mindful. (I practice that a lot each day.)
  • Allow circumstances to unfold. (I’m such a planner and organizer…)
  • Become more spiritually aware (I have a lot of contemplative time now and I’m putting it to good use.)
  • Notice my impact (I am beginning to do some Deeper Song Coaching in my community and it is deeply rewarding. I can see the changes that the people I work with are making
 And that’s off the top of my head.
 

How does that translate into action?

You have to take this next step all by yourself. 
 
Look at the things you LOVE to do
Figure out how you can do them in your life today.
 
One woman I talked to loved working in a filling station. She loved the men she worked with, she enjoyed the customers, her responsibilities were rewarding. How does she recapture the good part of that into something she could do now?
 
Another friend loved to train horses. Physically she can no longer do that. How can she recapture that satisfaction in something she could do now?
 
You may have to learn something new. You may have to repurpose something you already know how to do. You may need a partner to do certain aspects. You must look deeply to find the core of what you love to do and use your imagination and curiosity to translate that into action in your current life.
 

Find the core of what you love

I’ve completed many self-exploration exercises, and I think there are three over-arching elements to who I am. 1) I am gifted at seeing the over-arching concept, 2) I love to learn and 3) I love to figure out my own process of change. Stop a moment and write down a few things that are at the core of what you love.
 

Put that core to work in what you do next.

I write and teach to figure things out for myself. I’ve written books, I’ve taught workshops and telecourses, I’ve coached. I’ve designed repeatable systems to help people achieve certain results. In every case, I learned something and owned the topic more deeply. This learn/teach cycle may be what I continue to use in this next reinvention of myself. Yet, I know how to do those things. I don’t want to fall back into an old pattern. I want to look carefully at my gifts and talents and decide how I want to express those in my current life experience. How could I do things differently? What could I do in this next phase of my life that would put me in deeper service in my world? Make a list for yourself. See what appeals and act on it. 
 

I’m dropping what I learned

“Define your target community, figure out what they need, and offer them a solution.” is the advice I learned for marketing my business. I did that when I was coaching, but this next phase is for me. I realized that I’m still in self-service mode. I want to write about what interests me and just hope it interest others. That’s at my current core and what I get to work with.  The “Target Community” is me and whoever is energetically and organically attracted to what I produce. My “need” is to deepen my personal spiritual awareness, to figure out how to make positive change for myself and how to be and feel productive for the rest of my life. The solution? I have no clue. I’m at the beginning and because it’s my process, I can only look within for my answers.  I’m writing up a storm. I am finding meaningful answers for myself as I do. I am going to complete the current work and publish it. I’m going to go back and finishing books that need to be completed. I have ideas for new writing products. I’m having a great time. I feel stimulated, fulfilled, productive and excited about what I am discovering. My current path of philosophical study and writing provides m with those things for me.
 
Re-examine how you nourish yourself.   How to you educate yourself and what do you study? What excites you? What makes you feel productive? What makes you feel useful and relevant? Examine what old patterns you need to change and which talents and passions still serve you well. Then put them to work.
 

Reinvent yourself

One of my friends is in the early stages of redefining herself. Her husband is in an Alzheimer’s unit. She has to modify her image as caretaker, guardian, and soul mate and begin to identify who she is as she learns to stand tall by herself. She can have help. She can have friends. However, the lessons are hers to learn. She has to reinvent herself.
 
I unintentionally redefined myself as an old person. Now I’m working to redefine myself as a seeker and philosopher whose insights help educate, motivate and inspire others to express themselves more deeply, or as I now express it, help them sing a deeper song. What that looks like is a work in progress as I call on my existing skill set, decide what I need to learn next, and organically discover the population I am meant to serve at this point in my life. How will you reinvent yourself? What calls to you next? What will you do in this next cycle of your life?  
 

Live above time

“We will not be happy until we live with nature in the present, above time,” suggests Emerson in Self-Reliance. “Live above time.”  I am captivated by the concept. How do I do that? Emerson says nature can guide us. Nature accepts life as it comes. Nature knows only the present moment. If we keep ourselves focused in the present moment there is nothing to worry about, nothing to plan, only an appreciation and acceptance of what surrounds us in the moment. At this moment, I hear the flutter and chatter of birds at the feeders outside my window. I hear the leaves of my birch tree moving very softly against each other. I hear the sound of my fingers typing on the keyboard of my computer. I am aware of my body and my thoughts. There is no time here. There is no planning. There is no end in sight. There is only this moment and it is above time.
 

Time is an illusion

Do not let the concept of years stop your forward progress. Stop wherever you are and take time to know yourself better, to see what you want and need right now. Most of all, look at how you want to make a difference, today, tomorrow, and for some unknown large chuck of future time. 0pportunities abound. You only have to identify them and choose. What is your choice today? How will you deepen your contribution to your world? What can you do to feel more relevant? How will you redefine yourself?
 
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

How Chris Brogan Changed My Life

Chris Brogan changed my life. Well, actually, I changed my life, but Chris was a catalyst. It was a simple email exchange discussing how we have impact. I mentioned that my impact was softer now that I was 81 and a little harder to identify. Within his reply, Chris asked, “I wonder what you’d like to tackle in the next 30 years.” And my vision of what is possible exploded.

 

Eliminate time as a constriction

As I got older, I used to kid that my five-year plan was to simply still be here. Yet on the other hand, I kept making plans to live to 114 because anything else was too close. There are many reasons I stopped thinking long term, mostly because I moved into a culture of seniors where the majority of the residents merely exist. But the fact is that I want to be productive, I need to be creative. I want to feel useful, heck, I actually want to feel valuable and I wasn’t certain exactly how to do that. Chris’s idea of the 30-year plan eliminated time as a consideration and freed me to actively continue dreaming, planning, creating and figuring out how to touch more lives. If you feel stuck, if you feel unproductive, raise your sites  and make a grand plan for the next 30 years. How are you going to be in service?  What passion will you express? What new skills will you develop?  How will you change? How many lives can you touch?
 

Release what is keeping you stuck

I’m not the greatest marketer in the world so there always seemed to be effort around selling my stuff to others. I do fabulous work, but I often felt like I was asking a favor or promoting something instead of simply interacting. Earlier this year I decided to give all my books away free and it was a huge relief. I can now let the energy of the books speak for themselves and there is no barrier of money between wanting and having for those who are interested in what I have discovered. I made it easy for people to share my ideas. In addition, it allowed me to cut back on the yearly fee of my shopping cart because all I needed was the autoresponder package to keep my community going. The books I am currently completing will also be free and that means I can share them with people without any motivation for making sales or getting publicity. I can simply write what I want to write and share it with those who resonate with my thoughts and ideas.  I find myself in a true place of service that is extremely rewarding.
 

Reposition yourself by following your passion

I was a content development coach before I retired. After I took time off to do some old-person physical correction stuff, I found I didn’t want to coach anymore. What I passionately wanted to do was to understand change, change like the one I was going through, change that was hard for me to make. I had a need to reinvent myself, to change the focus of my work. Who did I want to be? What did I want to learn? What would I explore? I started writing about change – what it meant, how to do it, what stood in my way. Learning to create positive change became my passion. That, in turn, became the focus of my current work.

 

Teach what you want to learn

I’m doing all this writing for me. I want to learn about change. I want to figure out how to apply the qualities of mindfulness and unfolding to my life. I read the phrase “deeper song” in The Prophet and wondered what that meant to me. I’m writing a book “I Want to Sing a Deeper Song”. I made a workbook to go with it. There are thoughtful piece in it like “Practice Moving Your Gaze and “How To Live A Wider Life.”  Those are all principle I want to apply and in order to figure out how, I wrote about it. What do you want to learn that you can teach through your business?  What are you passionate about that you are burning to immerse yourself in? Move in that direction.
 

Think global

I now live in the mid-west. I’m actually a liberal, metaphysician in a very conservative area. I am also a vegan in cow country. That’s not necessarily a natural fit. (Yes, I loved living in New York City. I loved living in Santa Rosa California, but two of my children are here and it seems a prudent place to be at this point in my life.) However, in order to find like-minded people I have to go on the internet. I have to find bloggers to follow like Chris www.chrisbrogan.com..  If you do not have supportive, like-minded people in your close-up life, go find them out in the world. 
 

This free thing

I don’t know how to translate this freedom of giving things away free into creating an income. Marketing is not a comfortable mode for me so now that I am free of this concept of selling something, I am happily giving my books to anyone and everyone because I want nothing back. But what if you need to get something back, like income? It looks like one model is to give much of our writing away free and then build paying workshops from the community our writing attracts. We’ll have to ask Chris about that. I do know that my email exchange with Chris prompted him to interview me and that interview created new exposure for my work. Yet he was drawn by my ideas, not what I was doing or selling. A simple e-mail began our connection. We are both philosophers and our interview connected us on a deeper level. If ideas are the coin of the realm, how will you exchange them? How can you put yourself so deeply into service that income flows effortlessly to you?
 

Know the value of your work.

However, the words from Chris that brought me to deep, racking sobs were “Your work is very important. Leave none of it undone. Generations will depend on it. :)”  Oh, how I want that to be Oh, how I KNOW that CAN be. I just need to stay productive for the next 30 years.
 

Let it unfold

I don’t know what opportunities my current activities will create, but I’m open. My 30-year plan is not goal oriented or laid out step-by-step, it is the idea of having 30 more years in which to participate in life that has opened up my life. What can I do? What will I do? I have no idea what’s going to show up. However, I do know that I just received a great gift of an idea that jump-started my life again. Thank you, Chris Brogan.
 
Here my interview with Chris here: http://cbrogan.me/omradio  It is entitled “LOTS of Smart People. “7/10/14  15. Coach Sean Brawley, Alan Jackson and Cara Lumen
 

 

Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

Practice Moving Your Gaze

Change is as simple as moving your gaze. When you look at a situation or a person from a different perspective, you discover new options, new motivations, and unique solutions. 
 

Examine a small point of view

I am often prompted to move my gaze by something I read. A phrase, a concept, or a word resonates deeply within me and I stop what I am doing to consider it. What does that mean? How would l apply that in my life? What would I discover if I changed my perspective? I have entire articles and books and poems that have emerged from the impact on my thinking of one small word or phrase. What resonates to you out of the whole? What small concept would you like to incorporate into your life? 
 

Change your viewpoint

I have a rocking chair in my living room. In the normal usage of the room, it faces the center of the room and thus the other chairs. I sit in that chair a lot to read. Recently I turned the chair to face a different direction. It was in the same place, it was simply turned to face another direction so that when I sat in it to read, I could easily glance up and see the birds at my feeders, or the clouds moving across the sky or the birch tree branches moving. Moving the direction that chair faced a mere 45 degrees allowed me to enjoy an entirely different view, one that had been closed off to me when I faced the “expected” direction. A different view can come from moving your gaze only a few degrees. How can you change your viewpoint? 
 

Gain a new perspective

I avoided getting old for a long time. I hung out with younger people. I didn’t even go to the doctor because I wanted to keep holding a positive view of my life. Finally, I had to move to get closer to my children. I went through some physical stuff like knee replacement and cataracts, but then there I was, in a home with a lot of seniors wondering who I was. And I began to joke that my 5-year plan was to simply be here. That viewpoint did not lead me on any adventures. It did not open any doors. And it certainly was not at all satisfying. When a friend asked what I would like to tackle in the next 30 years it opened up such fields of possibility that my entire life changed. I had a purpose. I had interesting things I wanted to explore. I had things I wanted to produce and share. What do I want to achieve in the next 30 years? That’s a long time. How can I make an impact? How can I enrich lives? I have many skills to bring forward. I have lessons I have learned from my past. If I want to make an impact, what group of people do I want to impact and how do I want to do it? What happens if you raise your eyes and look at the next cycle of your life?  How can you impact others? How many lives can you touch? What do you want to tackle in the next 30 years?  
 

Move a few boulders

 Move some of the fixed objects in your life, if not in reality, in your imagination. One boulder might be in the form of a physical activity you can no longer do the way you did when you were younger. Choose a smaller boulder to conquer. 
 
Another boulder may be a difficult person in your life. Look for ways to flow around that barrier. Figure out ways to turn away from and go around that person. 
 
Most boulders are placed there by you. They come from your beliefs, your fear, and your interpretation of a circumstance. That makes them extremely easy to move – you simply have to change your own thinking.
 
I wrote these poems 18 years ago.
 
On Prospective
I came to a hard place.
It was more than a bump.
It was more than a boulder.
It was like a river—
A wide gulf I could not cross.
 
Until I made it less significant.
Until I saw it as a creek.
As a trickle.
As a dew drop.
 
Then I could cross over.
 
© 1996 Cara Lumen
 
Along my path
 
Along my path there are many objects.
There are steep places.
There are low places.
There are boulders and ledges.
There are rockslides and canyons.
Along my path.
 
Sometimes I struggle on my path.
To get over or around.
To by-pass or leap over.
But always I move on.
Always I move forward.
Along my path.
 
When I know myself as simple energy
I can be like the fog.
Moving forward.
Filling every crevice.
Expanding into every hole, every space.
When I am energy.
 
When I know myself as simple energy
There is nothing to climb over
or go around.
There is simple flowing -
Flowing my energy out.
Reaching the boulders and the bumps.
Filling the ditches and the canyons.
When I know myself as energy
 
When I know myself as simple energy
There is no stopping.
There is only
a soft,
gentle
movement
forward.
 
© 1996 Cara Lumen
 

Get off the “safe” path

It is safer to follow the beaten path of your profession, but it certainly can be dull. What if you went exploring? What would you find? There are so many opportunities today to deeply pursue an interest, to find like-minded people and to participate with people all over the world. Look at the detours that show up and take a few of them. Explore your own potential to see what uniqueness you have to offer. Great adventure awaits you off the beaten path. 
 

Let go of perceived limitations

It’s very easy to wallow comfortably in your present circumstances. I am surrounded by people who are simply watching where they take their next step. They never look up, they never look ahead.  I nearly fell into that trap of low expectations for my life. The idea of a 30-year plan has turned me into an aging but rejuvenated energizer bunny. I have let go of all concepts of that limitations that might come with age and continually make plans to move forward as if I had all the time in the world and all the tools and insight and stamina I need to make a difference. What limitations do you perceive for yourself? 
 

Know Yourself

If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it. If you don’t know what nourishes you, you’ll never attract more of it. Strengthen your practice of self-cultivation., Create your own spiritual journey.. Learn to interpret and trust your intuition. Notice how others response/react to you. Notice what they seek from you.   How do you want to be in service? How do you want to shape your life in this next cycle? 
 

Uncover your options

The best place from which to choose an option is where you are right at this moment. Explore your emotions. Examine your successes and your failures and absorb their lessons. Look into your heart and see where you want to go next. Then examine the options laid out before you and measure them with the criteria you identified. Examine how you feel right now. What do you want more of in your life? What could you do without? When you practice moving your gaze, you will begin to see all manner of new opportunities. Then you have only to choose. 
 

Raise your expectations

My goals are simple. I want to educate, motivate and inspire people until I’m no longer in physical form. And I would love it if my words kept touching lives after that. My major purpose is to meaningfully affect lives so I’m now giving all my writing away free. I wouldn’t mind knowing of some results, like emails from readers letting me know what changed for them. That would help me better meet their needs. I expect to soar. I expect to discover new concepts, I expect to change, I expect to be a better friend, I expect a deeper spiritual life. What do you expect? 
 

Notice how you feel

The most important part of moving your gaze is to see how you feel about the new position. When you work within your passion, when you have an impact on the people you really want to serve, it is unbelievably rewarding. If what you are doing does not feel richly satisfying, go do something else. Move your gaze. How can you better honor your talent? What new skills do you possess that could take you in a new direction. Who needs what you have to offer?   Create your area of service around your strengths. Spend the majority of your time doing things that make you feel enriched.The freedom to choose and to change belongs to us.  Practice moving your gaze and see where it leads you.
 
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

How to Create a Fertile Field for Positive Change

 Life is a cycle of continuing changes. You can’t force change, but there are specific steps you can take to create a fertile field that will encourage positive results.

Become more self-aware

You have to know what you want. You have to know where you want to go. Take time to become more self-aware. Take time to become more reflective. Know yourself. Accept yourself. Understand yourself Begin to examine your circumstances and opportunities more closely – uncover what, how, why, who and when? What do you want? Who nourishes you? What talents do you want to develop? Knowing these answers will help you make informed choices that create the fertile environment for those changes to develop.
 

Enjoy the detours

Keep your mind open as you explore new options. I would never have arrived at the serenity of my current life without all the detours I’ve made in my life and the lessons I learned during my journey. I question what I discover before I decide to embrace the concept and move on, or I discard it as not being aligned with my personal path. Each time I explore a new idea I have to question the concepts I currently value. Have I grown? Have I changed?  How are my circumstances different? What choices can I make that help me move in the direction I desire? You progress by consciously building on the distance you have come and the detours you made along your journey. 
 

Learn to utilize what you discover 

Studying a concept is just the beginning. Living it, learning to apply it to your daily life, makes you own it. Sometimes a word or phrase holds such intense appeal that it stops me in my tracks. They spark an idea or a question that I choose to explore more deeply.  What does that mean? How do I add that to my life experience?  A great deal of my writing is my way to figure out what an idea means to me and how I might embrace it. For instance, this article is written to help me figure out how I personally can build a more fertile field for positive change. Notice the ideas that call to you. Take time to figure out how you might absorb that concept in your life. Go exploring. Question what appeals to you. Select what aligns with your vision and figure out how to express it in your life. 
 

Embrace a willingness to change

You cannot prevent yourself from changing. Change is going to happen whether you want it to or not. Begin to notice how you hang on to the old ways, keep the familiar close by, and reject anything new that shows up. Hanging on to the familiar, the past, the outdated, is hard work and only makes the natural on-going process of change more difficult. When you embrace change, when you accept change, when you are willing to let go of the safe and familiar in order to go exploring in whatever shows up, you will find unexpected insights, welcome support, and the peace that comes from allowing life to organically unfold.
 

Re-choose your values and principles

As you grow more experienced and become better at defining yourself, you may elevate new values and principles to guide you. “Mindfulness” is a quality I’ve often thought about along my journey, but only in the past years have I made it one of the top qualities I embrace. The principle of “unfolding” is turning my life around as I learn to let go and simply shape things as they come. What values and principles are relevant in your life today?
 

At every crossroads tale time to rethink

A major change always calls for a re-evaluation. When I retired, I had a difficult time redefining myself. I was no longer my business. Then who was I? How can I express my life purpose in these new circumstances? What values and qualities do I want to have at the forefront of my life for this next portion of my journey? It’s important to do some soul searching when you begin a new cycle of change to see what you have and determine what you want. There are cycles within cycles. Identify where you are and watch for the crossroads where great change is possible because of the opportunities you see and the choices you make. 
 

Seek alignment 

When you move through life with conscious awareness, the world becomes richer. You become more observant of what you say and think and do. You understand how profoundly those choices affect your life and the responses of others. When you become more aware of how you are perceived by others you discover aspects of yourself you might choose to adjust. Question your beliefs to decide if they are still meaningful and relevant to your life. Tune in to your surroundings and monitor your responses for their appropriateness. As you align yourself with your values, principles, goals and circumstance, you learn to cherish and utilize the freedom you have to choose your own destiny.
 

Develop self-discipline

You are the only person who can change your life. Your decisions, your choices, and your actions reflect in the life you lead today.  If something is not working – change it. Self-discipline is about perseverance, resolve and determination. It is about taking small steps that move you nearer your goal.  It is about finding what works for you, what you are willing to do, and wanting to achieve the final result so deeply that every choice you make keeps you moving toward it.
 

Cultivate your fertile field

Nurture the growth that appears in your life. Cultivate it, feed it, water it, and give it room to grow. In my fertile field, I grow more patience with my own unfolding process. I have tossed aside goals and objectives and simply allow my writing projects to unfold in their own unique time. I am more aware of how others perceive me and I continue to soften some edges. I am nurturing my body, my mind and my spirit as I add, subtract, and try out new approaches to my self-nurturing process. 
 

Each new growth has a purpose

Are there weeds in your fertile field of change? A weed is simply a plant that is growing somewhere you don’t want it to be. What makes a weed undesirable is that it chokes off other plants, it takes over, it is more aggressive than other plants. I examine each new “plant” that grows in my field and decide where it best fits into my overall field of change. Then I transplant, or prune or discard it according to the change I want to accept in my life. What are you actively cultivating in your own field of change?

 

Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

Wander Beyond All Paths

Years ago, I veered from the norm. I “took the road less traveled” and that has indeed made all the difference. (Robert Frost) I only know vaguely why I did it. I have no idea where the courage came from that empowered me to make the unprecedented change. I only know I made a choice 40 years ago, that both saddened and enriched my life. I would make the same choice again for it led me to unexpected gifts of insight and understanding, the development of my talents, and a soul-satisfying journey that continues to nourish me today. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” says Emerson. I did explore. I did take a unique journey. I did change lives. It was exciting. It was adventurous. It was lonely. It was lovely. And somehow, I was never afraid, I never altered, I stayed true to myself/ I explored. I absorbed. I choose. And I learned. Oh, how I learned.  It was a path that only I could take based on where I was when I started on this path and what I needed to invite into my life in order to live my fullest.
 
Your path will be uniquely different because your “take” on life is unique from anyone else’s. Your path will depend on what you need, what you want, what skills and talents you develop, and the choices you make. Continually search out what works just for you. What will you discover if you go exploring? What will you learn? How will you change? Where will you end up? Unimagined adventure lies off the beaten path. 
 

Your current world reflects your past choices

The choices you make today influence what shows up in your experience tomorrow. The form of your present life is the result of the responses, reactions and choices you made along your journey. Your current life experience is based on conscious and unconscious belief systems you have developed over the years.  The manner in which your life unfolds is a combination of what you believe can happen and what you believe you deserve. If your current world needs changing, you must change your own belief system and adjust your expectations. Keep what you like in your world. Tweak what almost works and release what no longer serves you. Your current experience is a reflection of the beliefs and expectations that you currently hold. Is your current world exactly the way you want it to be?
 

Embrace a freedom of spirit

He is planted in his own integrity, and there he stands, gnarled and knotted, perfectly at ease with himself, his roots deep in truth, his branches held up to let the light in.   Stephen Mitchell, Second book of Tao 19
 
Oh how I want that to be me! Can you imagine anything more powerful than a person who never wavers from the values she has embraced that make up her own unique truth? How strong. How steady. How inspiring. To stand in your own strength you have to be willing to stand alone. You have to be willing to be different. You have to question everything. You have to deepen your self-awareness. You have to be true to yourself and take full responsibility for everything you say and do and experience. Standing tall in your own integrity is a freedom and it is a responsibility.  Notice how tall you are standing and where you are rooted. If you desire change, go exploring on a less traveled path and see where it leads you.
 

Question everything

Fortify your personal foundation. How can youevolve your spiritual practice?What qualities are most important to you at this point in your life? How will you cultivate them? Continue to develop the qualities and values you wish to live by. Continue to push boundaries, explore unknown avenues and wander beyond all paths. Embrace the adventures that show up. Explore the choices that appear. Examine and question everything and make only choices that expand your personal potential.
 

Follow Your Intuition

Intuition is the universal mind in each of us. It is a source of wisdom, and guidance. It is your connection to the natural cycles of life. As you learn to listen to your intuition and trust its guidance, it will help you expand your boundaries, increase your expectations, and teach you the lessons that only you are ready to learn. Watch for the signs and signals that surround you and learn to interpret them. Listen to the insights of your intuition and follow them. Trust your instincts. Be open. Be receptive. Be adventurous.
 

Allow the way of today to simply be the way of today

“Everything is ready when one is ready. Nothing is ready when one is not ready. Hau Hu Ching, tr. Ni, Hu Ching 78
 
You can’t go exploring until you notice unexplored paths and you hear them call to you. You can’t decide to pursue an opportunity until you become aware of it. However, you can encourage new paths to open up. Continue to evolve your spiritual practice, practice mindfulness and stillness, encourage your intuition and become more consciously aware in every moment. New doors are always opening. New junctures in your path appear around every choice you make. What you do with an opportunity alters your direction.  Not acting is actually an active choice. You pass someone in the hallway and you speak or you don’t speak. You think about deepening a relationship and you either do or you don’t take action. You consider changing jobs and you start either looking or training for a new one or you keep doing what you’ve been doing. The way of today is whatever it is. Utilize every moment of it.
 
Embrace your lessons
Everything is a lesson. Every encounter is an opportunity. Every choice leads in a new direction. Every difficulty is a preparation for victory. Begin a gratitude list for the difficulties you have encountered and add to that the lessons you learned and the benefits you have gained from that lesson. When life seems discordant, return to the center, to your inner self, to the peace within. Contemplate what you have learned and consult your intuition before you proceed.
 

Travel the unexplored path  

My dreams are not dreams of worldly conquest. My dreams take me deeper within. My goal, my vision, my purpose is to sing a deeper song, whatever I figure out that means to me. Moving along my chosen path becomes a very personal journey. The results and affects of the twists and turns I take are unknown until they appear. As I focus my intentions and make my choices based on my beliefs and needs and wants, I find myself on paths I never knew existed. The path I choose takes the wanting and yearning out of my life as I stay ever-present as I journey along my path. My newly discovered path allows me to remove any regret about what was left undone. On my personal path there is only now. And in this now, there is everything. If how I express myself in this world makes a difference in the lives of other people, all the better. However, I know my major work lies deep within on the path I have yet to explore.
 

Apply your new insights to your life

In order to understand a concept you have to live it. You have to embrace the idea that resonates and figure out how to apply it to your life. As I begin to embrace the diversity of my surroundings, I write to gain understanding of what action I can take to expand my awareness and increase my ability to accept the beauty of unique self-expression. The study I do becomes an interactive connection from the physical plane to the spiritual plane within me. Although the reading stimulates my mind, understanding comes only when I can live the concepts from within.  Every day I practice applying the insights I have discovered. Each day I meditate. Every day I increase my moments of mindfulness. Each day I get better at letting life unfold. It takes practice to incorporate your new insights. It takes patience. It takes perseverance. Go exploring. Take what you want to learn and apply it. That’s how you change.
 

Reside in your center

Think of one of those magical moments when whatever you are doing is so in alignment that the act is effortless. That is how it feels to be centered. You want to reside in your center. A comment can pull you off center; an unexpected circumstance can put you off balance. Fear, emotions, worries, judgments or anger can jar you away from the serenity that is always present within. Only you can return yourself to the stillness of your center. Avoid circumstances that pull you askew. Cultivate habits and awareness that help you stay in each moment. Learn to monitor your emotions and control them. Abide in the center of your being.
 

Flow like a river

Be like a leaf floating on the surface of life, enjoy the dips and swirls and trust the current to support you. Be like a cloud floating in the sky with no agenda other than to be. Become the stone standing strong and allow the river of life to flow around you. Be the stream than joins another stream to increase your power.   Flow along in life and embrace whatever shows up.
 

To wander beyond all paths means being open to change

When you live in the moment, when you simply shape things as they come, you acquire a flow to your being, a serene readiness, and a conscious presence.  Welcome change. Move with the flow. Be mindful. Be accepting. Wander beyond all paths and you will find adventure, knowledge, wisdom, and the new power of being true to yourself.

 

 

Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

Create Your Own Spiritual Journey

Religion and spirituality though related, are not synonymous. Religion is the creation of people and cultures. Spirituality is your direct personal relationship with Tao, the All-That-Is. Deepening your spirituality is your personal responsibility. No one can do it for you. You select parts and pieces from numerous sources that inspire you to feel more deeply. You adapt, absorb and weave those concepts into a personalized spiritual program that deepens your inner awareness and amplifies your innate sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things. Do not compare your path with others. Each path is unique and personal.

 I have a strong spiritual practice that I lovingly do every day. It is comprised of components that work for me. It changes as I change. It shifts its focus as I seek a new lesson. It is up to each of us to create our own spiritual path, We do that by designing our distinctive practice of self-cultivation.
 

Become a nonconformist

In order to create your own spiritual journey, you must be willing to see yourself as a nonconformist. You learn to listen to your inner voice and trust it. You learn to respond to your inner urges. Your unique spiritual journey is a solitary path that allows you to continually expand your personal relationship with Tao, the All-That-Is. As a child, I was Presbyterian. As a young mother, I was Episcopalian. Gradually I evolved into a metaphysician who studies and embraces concepts from all the words’ great religions. I became a spiritual practitioner in the Center for Spiritual Living.  Eventually I simply wrapped it all up in the package that is me, and used what resonated and expanded my connection and released the rest. To this day, I am exploring. I know how to chant, work with crystals, move energy through my hands, visualize, use affirmations, and direct qi energy. Along my personal spiritual journey, I have learned many ways to deepen my spirituality. I explore whatever calls to me. I keep what works and discard the rest. I adapt, I tweak, I repurpose. I experiment. I change my spiritual practice as I change and grow and develop new needs.
 
It’s scary to question the religion of your birth. However, it is the religion of your parents. Ultimately, your spiritual path is your personal choice. You have the opportunity to encourage your own spiritual evolution as you continue to find new ways to deepen your connection with your inner self. 
 
“Being different is what makes you who you are. It means you’re daring to live your own life, on your terms, with your values. It means you have courage to stand out from the mainstream. It means you’re interesting. Hug those differences, be grateful for them, own them. Be proud of them. “ Leo Babtua, www.zenhabits,com .
 

Make silence a cornerstone of your spiritual practice

We are Tao. All we need do to experience Tao is open ourselves to it. We do that through silence.That eternal connection is always there waiting to guide and inspire us. We simply need to learn to listen. Silence opens the connection to your inner wisdom. Silence is how you learn to interpret what you find there. Silence may mean meditation, or prayer, reading spiritually uplifting words or writing. It may mean being in nature. The purpose of all spiritual practice is to reach in and touch the power that resides within you. Allow your inner wisdom to guide you in creating your personal spiritual practice. Begin the shaping of your personal spiritual journey with regular periods of contemplative silence. Take time to sit in silence and simply be.
 

Be

Let go of your mind. Your mind encourages duality and separation. Move into that serene space where you are one with the Tao, the Universe, the All-That-Is, whatever you call it. 
Listen to your intuition, that sudden understanding of a situation, that insight, that ah-ha moment   Learn to interpret your urges, that unexpected desire to turn left instead of right, or go up instead of down. Begin to live more deeply by following the guidance from the voice within.
 
My relationships have changed since I began listening more attentively to what people are saying, and using my intuition to hear what is unsaid. Being present helps me make certain my responses are appropriate for that particular moment. Mindful eating, mindful action and mindful listening are powerful catalysts for simply being. . Be present. Be aware Be compassionate.  Be.
 

Reflect

Your inner world is one of extraordinary perceptiveness. It is there that you receive insights that seem to come from nowhere; where you suddenly view circumstances from an unexpected perspective. The insights you receive are yours alone. They are for your singular interpretation, your personal use. Whether you journal, write poetry, paint, compose music, walk in nature, or sit in the sun, time spent in reflection is precious. Take time to question your beliefs. Why do you believe what you do? Do you still believe that? What values are important at this point in your life?  Reflection helps you become more self-aware.
 
Create specific times for reflection in your spiritual practice. Avoid distractions. As I simplify my life, it is easier for me to increase my spiritual awareness. It can be lonely, this journey of self. There is no one who is building his or her own spiritual path exactly like yours. Those who want to sing a deeper song are in a constant state of exploration, discovery and receptivity to change. A simple idea you develop or a phrase you explore can become major turning points in your life. Learn to dwell in the nothingness within, and let the response you find there guide you. 
 

Shape your personal practice

Shape a spiritual practice that nurtures you.How you practice your self-cultivation is very personal. My spiritual path and personal growth have increased rapidly now that I am retired and can spend more time in self-cultivation. A new mudra deeepended my meditaion . A book taught me the form of Qi Gong I practice (The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original))., The poetry of Rumi and Gibran (The Prophet) have offered up insights that guide my life. I am inspired by Emerson’s Essay on Self-Reliance.   The Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching now shapes many of my life choices. I am guided by the books of Deng Ming-Dao. 365 Tao: Daily Meditations  Whatever works for you – do it. Combine a bit of study with meditation or journaling. Add moving meditation that opens your communication with your body. Write to figure things out for yourself. Shape your personal spiritual practice to fit your needs and your desire to deepen your song.
 

Develop perseverance and flexibility

Keep experimenting. Try different things at different times of the day. Try different versions of a concept. Journal your subtle progress.  Notice what works  Replace anything that doesn’t work. Cultivate patience,  planning and timing. Be aware of what shows up and use that experience as the ultimate teacher, creating and adjusting as you continually move forward. We need to nourish what we set in motion and adjust our course as needed. 
 

Be Open

When we live mindfully in the present moment, we embrace the best of what each day offers. We stand tall on our spiritual path. We personally select all the beliefs, attitudes, responses and reactions that color and shape our lives. Whatever you do, do it to the fullest. Embrace it fully. Then go within and become aware of what you learned and how it helped you grow and what you want to do next. 
 
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change

The Spaces In Our Lives

Space leaves room for dreaming.  Space allows room for contemplation.  Space makes room for adventure and discovery. The beliefs, values and choices we add to our space provide a foundation and a framework upon which we build our lives.  The pauses in our life, what we choose to think and do and contemplate in each moment, create the texture of our lives.   
 

The space before you speak

Oh for the times that I should have taken a moment to think before I spoke, to really listen to what was being said, to let go of my personal “stuff” so that I could move the conversation ahead in a more compatible pattern. Take a breath before you speak. Absorb the words of the other person and look beyond the words for their underlying meaning. Consciously utilizing the space before you speak will improve your relationships
 

The space before you act

Sometimes impetuous actions work out. Sometimes I wish I’d given the situation more thought. And sometimes I give my choices so much thought that I never take any action at all. Learn to respond rather than react. Know yourself well enough to be able to make supportive decisions in every circumstance. If you need to make a list of pros and cons, do it. If you need to learn more, learn it. Become aware of your pattern of action: what you need to understand, what your guidelines are, and even how you are perceived by others when you act a certain way. Then use the space before you act to make the most positive choice.
 

The space in your inner work

I cherish the space I give to my inner work. It nourishes me. It guides me. It deepens my song. The most important space you can create is the time you devote to your self-cultivation. Those moments of meditation or reading, of walking or writing, whatever you have developed that lets you become more connected with your inner voice of wisdom. One of the most thrilling inner connections I make is when I’m writing and words and ideas seem to flow from somewhere other than my human mind. I simply sit here and type and learn by reading what shows up. I let go and enjoy the ride. We all have intuitive moments. We all have access to our inner wisdom. Practice with those intuitive urges and learn to trust their guidance.
 

Space as a foundation

How I fill the spaces of my life nurture or crack my foundation. If I spend time being angry or fearful, my foundation will suffer. If I focus on the positive, expect the best and make every choice support my foundation, I will expand my consciousness.  We can add to our foundation. We can reinforce our fountain. We can tear out parts that don’t work. We can even leave spaces in our foundation so we can add something unexpected and exciting. How are you filling the spaces of your foundation? What qualities? What values? What beliefs? What insights?
 

Space as a framework

A framework holds a building together. How I design my conscious space affects how steady I am, how flexible I am, how I express myself, how I am perceived, what I accomplish, who I become, and even how much I love myself. Put doors and windows in your framework so you can enjoy the view. Take pauses to study the effect you are creating, Redesign your framework to make life more exciting. Look in another direction. Sit in a different room of your inner space. Don’t bring a lot of clutter into your inner space. Allow in only what nourishes and nurtures you.
 

Space as Tao

Ruimi tells us to "Live in the nowhere that you came from, even though you have an address here." Tao is not a static discipline, but rather a progressive means of spiritual living. It embraces cycles, oneness, and stillness. We are Tao. Tao is within us. Our job is to become more aware of its presence within us and in the world around us. Use your space to simply be. Use your space to experience your oneness with all that is. Learn to reside at the center of the cycle of your life.

 
"The Master sees thing as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle."
Tao Te Ching 29 tr. Stephen Mitchell
 
Cara Lumen is a seeker, philosopher and author who educates, motivates and inspires you to sing a deeper song. - Catch the Winds of Change