Do You Engage in Destructive Gossip?

 Why do we gossip? Why do we pass along detrimental knowledge about someone? What makes us feel the need to tell others about someone’s failure? In my senior community, I watch destructive gossip swirl around me and find myself tempted to contribute. Why do we pass along the observations and criticism that we do?

 
Unfortunately I have to use an example of a person and circumstance that made me super upset and my continued negative response to that person forced me to look and see why I was mad and what I was doing with my anger. I didn’t like being negative. I didn’t like feeling critical. Why was I doing that and how could I change it?
 

It’s all a reflection of you

If someone makes you mad, it is because it is a reflection of something you don’t like about yourself.
 
No one likes to hear that, but it is true.  There was much about this woman that was like me. She was acting in a manner that I had in the past. I could see what her mistake was, but she wasn’t interested in what I had learned. She had a burning need to do it her way.  There were core things we disagreed on but the bottom line was that she prevented me from doing what I needed to do to fulfill a responsibility I had accepted. There was no compromise from her, only what seemed to me as a very strong need to control. 
 

My response was colored by my beliefs, my needs, and my interpretation

Her position prevented me from doing the job I needed to do in an effective manner. I also thought she was doing her job without meeting the needs of the people she was to serve. My needs were thwarted, my judgmental interpretation was filled with frustration, and what I saw was that she needed to be in control and she was serving as a giant barrier in my path.. She, on the other hand, had simply done the job in a manner that she thought was good and right and helpful. Bummer. I got upset all by myself. 
 

Did I contribute to gossip?

Yes.  I shared my frustration and judgmentalness with my friends. Other people were having a difficult time with her actions and responses so we shared our experiences. Why? Did it make us feel righteous, wronged, or justified?  Did we need to be heard?  Did we feel our ideas didn’t count?  Did we need it to be our way? Did we take her actions too personally? Yes, on all counts. That made our gossip destructive whether we meant for it to be or not.
 

Did I try to resolve it?

I did try to resolve our differences by going directly to her. When that didn’t bring a compromise I went around her to find another way to do my job. My irritation grew along with my judgementalness and my need to pass along my frustration to others. I knew I had to take steps to stop the anger and frustration within myself. 
 

I let go

Letting go works magic. Whatever emotion is coming up, when you feel angry or judgmental, or hurt, let it go. Watch how rapidly all the emotion immediately dissolves. The relief is immediately gratifying. I let go of my need to have her work done a certain way in order to accommodate my job.. I let go of the frustration I had gone through while looking for a way around her so I could do what I was charged with doing. And I stopped participating in negative conversations about her. I couldn’t speak to her. I couldn’t interact with her while I was working to heal myself from within. But I did let go of my anger. I was frustrated. I was judgmental. I wanted to feel that my way was a better way. I began to let that go of all those emotions. 
 

Be aware of the reasons you want to gossip

We gossip for many reasons: to raise our own self-esteem, to feel part of an in-group, maybe even to get back at someone, but gossip is destructive, not to the person you aim it at. Gossip is destructive to you.
 

Learn to listen

One of her neighbors encouraged her to listen to the criticism that was being voiced about her work. She ultimately asked to meet with some of us who were positions of leadership in order to heal the dissatisfaction and frustration. I don’t know how much she heard of what was said. I don’t know if she understood the needs that needed to be met because she is still wrapped up in her own needs and version of how things should be. We’ll have to see. For my part, I have found my way around her and it will all unfold they way it should. 

 

What you look for you find

If you focus on finding the negative, you’ll find only negative things. You will draw more negativityto your life. You will draw to you people who thrive on negative gossip. Is that what you want in your life? Become conscious of what you say about others and even more importantly, why you say things about others. We all have some major soul-searching to do before we open our mouths to gossip.

 

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Do You Need to Upgrade Your Meditation Practice?

I had the worst meditation practice going – ever. It was token. It was short. It needed work. Other aspects of my spiritual practice were blooming. I wanted and needed to upgrade my meditation practice.
 

Find your best time to meditate

I finally figured out that the time of day I chose to meditate was very important. When I learned Transcendental Meditation 50 years ago, I meditated when I first got up and when I returned from work. Twenty minutes twice a day. My life got better. And although I have meditated for a large portion of my life, for some reason my current meditation practice leaves a lot to be desires. Now I shower, dress and feed my cat before I do my Qi Gong. Since it is a moving meditation, it made sense to follow it with a seated meditation. However, I found that when I sat in my chair my mind filled with ideas and insights that, more than anything did, I wanted to go to my computer and write down. I kept cutting short my meditation in order to capture my thoughts. By accident, I found that if I waited until after my spiritual reading, which followed my Qi Gong, and after I jot down any burning ideas, it is a great time for me to meditate. My concepts are captured and “safe” and I can go back to my spiritual practice. That shift in timing made a huge difference in my receptivity to meditation.
 

Form the habit

I got back on track with a Deepak Chopra 21-day meditation challenge He uses a mantra and I worked with that as well as my own TM mantra. His meditations are 20 minutes long. I began to enjoy the depth to which I could go in that time limit. Find the right time for your meditation and make it a habit. Length is not as important as finding and regularly using the same time every day in order to form the habit. After the habit is established, you can work on lengthening your time. 
 

Live in your core consciousness

 “Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts.” says Deepak “According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind” I want to go there. I want to live in my core consciousness. I want to use my intuition, and understand the guidance of my inner wisdom. I want to dwell in that space of infinite possibilities. I want to feel my connection with all that is. I want to dwell in the space between my thoughts.
 

Personal cultivation is whatever you do to deepen your inner awareness.

Your spiritual practice is uniquely yours. It is up to you to design a program that nourishes, educates, motivates and inspires you to live your best life. Meditation should be an integral part of that practice. The quality of my meditation changed when I found a new mudra he length and depth of my meditation increased when I found a better time for my morning practice.  My meditation habit anchored itself with the help of an online program. Now I need to find the best time for my afternoon meditation but I have a feeling I’m going to feel so great after increasing my morning meditation that I will eagerly sit down later in the day.
 

Use your meditation to gain insights

If you have a problem to solve, take it into the silence of your meditation and let it go. Use your meditation to increase your feelings of well-being that in turn attract more feelings of well-being. If you are angry or sad or lonely, take those emotions into the silence of your meditation and allow them to be soothed and washed away. Move into your meditation ready to let go, to still your thoughts, and to bask in the realm of infinite possibilities.
 

The effects of meditation are cumulative

Each time we meditate, we deepen our feelings of peace. We retain those feelings for longer periods during our day. That inner peace stays with us as we move to solve a problem, or interact with a friend, or begin to initiate something new at work. The effects of meditation are noticeable. First to you, who will feel calmer and more centered, and then to others who will begin to respond to your differently and not know why. You will develop an inner sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things and move forward with ease and gentleness. Meditation is the place where you come to understand that everything is connected to everything else.
 

Meditation opens you to the Law of Attraction

In the silence of the space between your thoughts is a place of infinite creativity and infinite imagination. It is the place where the power of your inner creator acts as a magnet to draw to you the qualities and circumstances you desire. Take your visions into your meditation. Allow yourself the unlimited possibilities that are present in the Universe and draw them to you simply by moving more deeply into meditation.
 

What is holding back your meditation practice?

If timing is holding you up, perhaps get up 10 minutes early, cuddle in your meditation chair and get your day off to a balanced start.  If stilling your mind holds you back, follow your breath. Choose a new mantra. Find a new mudra. Notice what is pulling you out of meditation and what is keeping you from setting aside time for your practice. Add journaling to lead you into meditation. Write some introspective poetry when you emerge. Read something meaningful and move into meditation to more fully absorb it. What do you need to add or subtract from your meditation practice to make it a stronger and more powerful daily experience?
 

Carry your meditation practice with you throughout out day.

As you deepen your meditation practice, you will begin to feel your connection with the entire universe throughout your day. You will speak and work mindfully. You will allow life to unfold. You will feel compassion toward everyone you meet. If your mind gets too active, focus on your breath. If you start to feel stressed, use your hand mudra. Find small ways throughout your day to keep the serenity of your meditation with you throughout your day. 
 
What will you do to upgrade your meditation practice?

 

 

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Nothing Is Required But the Next Step

In my spiritual reading today, I read “nothing is required but the next step” and it brought my world up close around me. It means I don’t have to worry about the future, make long-range plans, or even stay frozen in inactivity. I just need to take one step. One baby step. One giant step. One sideways step. Even one backward step. Just so I move. If nothing is required but the next step, my “now” holds infinite and exciting possibilities.

Take one step of exploration

When we are at a crossroads or even a place of indecision in our life, we need to go exploring. We need to take a few steps deeper into the path that interests us to see if that is the direction we would like to take. If I want to change career paths, I need to explore the other options that interest me. If I want to change my relationship, I can explore what I might change within me that would enhance and alter my current relationships and even draw to me those who are more aligned with my own vibration. If I want to change my health, I need to explore the paths that interest me.      Don’t worry over options you have not been given. That path is no longer open. Focus on what is available to you. Go exploring. Immerse yourself in the feeling you find and let them guide you.
 

Take one step and see what happens

Try a day when you only say positive things and see what happens. Try a day when you do only what your own heart asks of you. Try a moment of silence before you speak. Make a list of possibilities and circle the ones that inspire the most emotion in you, the most passion in you. Examine yourself for fears that are holding you back. Take a step and see what changes. Whenever you act, something happens. Moreover, whatever that something is, it holds new possibilities, new inspiration, and new choices.
 

Step outside your comfort zone

“Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” advises Emerson. Where can you go that is your unique direction? How can you express yourself in ways that nurture you, motivate you and inspire you to action? It’s not going to be a path someone has already taken because you are unique, you are different, you are the only “you” there is. You must find your own path – one step at a time.
 

Leave your old path behind

Leave your past behind. Leave your old self behind. Create a new version of yourself based on how you feel right now, what you need right now, what you believe right now, what you are willing to do right now. This moment begins a new journey. Begin by taking one step at a time.

 

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On Being Translated

She had fallen in the laundry room. Her legs were suddenly simply not under her. It was evening and no one was about. She waited, hoping someone would come but they didn’t. Finally, she managed to crawl to a nearby chair and pull herself up. She appeared at the door to the Commons Room where we were playing cards and said, “Help me.” And we did. 

As we waited for her son to come, she said she was so discouraged. She had been independent all her life. The doctor wanted her in the hospital. She didn’t want to go.
 
I live in a senior facility and death is all around us. We don’t do memorial services; we manage our grief in our own way. One day a friend is here, the next he or she is in the hospital or moved to assisted living or gone. Life goes on. And then it doesn’t.
 
Part of the personal work I’ve been doing the last four years is to adapt my thinking so the idea of death is not frightening to me. It is, after all, the one thing we each have to do alone. We may have comfort around us, but the journey is one only we can take. I thought it handled but the closer I come to having it be my turn, the more reassurance I seek.
 

On being translated

The very day this incident happened, I had read a passage in a novel that so touched me that I looked up the entire work on the internet. It is from metaphysical poet John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions:  “All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated.” I liked the idea of being translated. 
 
A composer hears a melody in his mind and writes it on a music staff. A musician comes along and translates those notes into a melody that has the same notes, but bears the imprint of the player. And all of it, the original idea, the bringing it to tangible form and the interpretations of it into music is how we touch each other’s lives. 
 

How is your life being translated?

As the composer, we can write down any notes we wish. They can be fast or slow, loud or soft, jarring or soothing. We offer our notes to the world. Musicians in our life approach us and interpret our music in different ways. They may hear our joy or respond to our sadness. They may resonate to our insights or become inspired by our enthusiasm. That is why it’s hard to know how your life is being translated here on the physical plane. All we can do is write our music from our heart and send it forth with love. 
 

But back to being a chapter in a book.

“Mankind is of one author, and is one volume.” I am comforted by the concept of being a strand in the web of life with each strand vital to the whole. I like the idea that we are all one energy contained in the individual vases of our bodies and when the vase breaks, we are still that one energy. I resonate to being a drop in the universal ocean, a part of the grand whole. When I reflect on when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated.” I like the idea of being translated into a better language. 
 

The metaphors of death

These are all metaphors to describe death, the struggle of the human mind to give voice to the unvoicable, to understand a difference between living and dying when there is no difference. In the Second Book of Tao Stephen Mitchell says, “The pivot of the Tao is the mind free of its thoughts. There is nothing here to limit you, no one here to draw a circumference. In fact, there’s no one here – not even you.”  In my humanness, I continue to deepen my awareness and connection to Tao. I observe my times of deep meditation and wonder if that is as close to oneness as I can get from my physical body. 
 
In 365 Tao Meditations  Deng Ming-Dao speaks of being on a Threshold (226) “Death is not an ending. It is a transformation. What dies is only our sense of identity, which was false to begin with. Death is the threshold of this life. Beyond it is something else, some mystery. We can only be sure that it is unlike this life.” On Death (49) he writesIn its realm, time ceases to have meaning. All laws of physics become irrelevantDeath is the opposite of time. Nothing of the person dies in the sense that the constituent parts are totally blasted from all existence. What dies is merely the identify, the identification, of a collection of parts that we called a person.”
 

What comforts you?

Are you exploring your own concepts of death? What comforts you when a loved one moves from this physical plane? What do you think will happen when it is your turn to leave? No one knows. What beliefs or expectations will comfort you?
 
I like the idea of being an essential element of the All-That-Is that has taken on a human body for this small portion of time. I may be here to help my core self learn a lesson. I may be here to be a gift in the lives of others. I don’t know. What I can do is develop a practice of self-cultivation that leads me to some understanding even through the limits of my humanness. Rumi tells us to “Live in the nowhere that you came from, even though you have an address here.”
 
I’m willing to return to the nowhere that I come from. I’m willing to have my chapter in this book of life translated into a better language. While a await my journey, I’m going to continue to see if I can sing a deeper song.
 
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How to Build Your Own Village

Everyone needs a support system. Sometimes you are lucky enough to have a strong family around you or a group of supportive friends, but if you don’t, you have to form your own village. How do you do that?

What kind of support do you need?

You may need emotional support as you work through your personal challenges, issues and problems. That particular aspect of your village may take time to develop. You have to find people you trust and whose opinion you value. Empathetic confidants are to be cherished.  You may need physical support. At my age, I’m aware than I need someone in my village who is at least a generation younger, who can do the things I can no longer do physically. You may need spiritual support. My personal version is that you alone, have to develop your spiritual awareness. You might find suggestions and ideas from outside yourself, but that continuing journey is one you must take alone. Most of all, I need my village to hold some like-minded people who share at least some of my deepest interests. Since I live alone, the need to feel cared about has to come from my own self-love, self-appreciation, and self-acknowledgement. You are the most important resident of your support village. How you see yourself. What you believe can happen. What you think you deserve, all have powerful influence on your life experience. 
 

Are you willing to accept support?

When I was in college, I remember asking an ex-priest, “If you believe God is within you and you get in trouble, where do you go for help?” He replied, “You pull yourself up by your own boot straps.” For a good portion of my life I felt I had to do it all by myself. It was a relief to finally accept the idea that I could ask for support and assistance from others and it often would be gladly given. There was also a period in my life when I was raising my four children where I didn’t dare ask for help because I was overwhelmed as it was and had no strength to give anything back. Do you think you have to go it alone? Do you think you have to give back when you receive? Are you willing to accept support from others? 
 

Identify the members of your village that you already have in place

You probably have more support in place than you realize. Most likely, it does not come from one person. It may come in small doses from several people. Take loneliness, for instance. I live in a senior community and it is easy for me to have a brief conversation in the hallway whenever I choose. There are gatherings I can attend that allow me to get to know people better. There is enough diversity in my community that I can find a few compatible people. Look in places you frequent. My grocery store health store manager is a source of information and encouragement, as is the nutritionist there. I subscribe to vegan blogs and personally inspiriting spiritual blogs. My spiritual life is nurtured daily through reading, meditation and Qi Gong. I continue to look for like-minded people online. Make a list of people and resources that are already available in your support village.
 

Identify the places that need filling in your village

What do you need? What support would be the most welcome? I’m a bit of an explorer and find myself with interests that are less populated than most. What has been missing in my life is someone who shares those core interests.  For instance, I’m the only vegan here but I did find one long-time vegetarian and we found that we share other philosophical concepts. My children will help me for major stuff but I don’t have the small physical plane stuff handled. I have friends here who will help, but we are all the same age and on a par physically. Identify the type of support your need and see about adding some people to your village.
 

What do you have to offer your village?

Receiving is not always about giving back to the person who gave to you, but it is about having a generosity of spirit that allows you to see what is needed and to be self-aware enough to recognize  how and where you may be of service. I’m a strong organizer. I can offer that talent to others. I have a gift for seeing the overview. Sometimes that perspective helps someone work through his or her own process.  I have had occasion to be in several 1:1 philosophical conversations that took on the tones of the spiritual counseling I used to do. That may be one of the ways I pay it forward. I’m a writer. I am good on the computer. I’m excited about being vegan and knowing Qi Gong. You get the picture, what are you excited about that you can share? What talent can you offer others? What skills can you put to use? A skill or ability that is easy for you can be take it for granted when in fact sharing it may make a huge difference in the life of someone else.  Make a list of what you have to offer others, not just those in your village, but those you come across in your life. Then look for ways to offer your gifts to others.
 

Where do you look for people to invite into your village?

Since the Universe brings us what we focus on, pick one of the needs you identified and start thinking about it. Imagine how it would feel to have that support in place. Then look for the opportunities that show up, the people that suddenly appear. When you are clear about what you need, the answer will emerge. Express your need to others and see who and what they can suggest. Look in places you don’t expect. Focus on your need and pay attention to what and who shows up.
 

Establish a relationship

You can ask a perfect stranger for assistance, but the most rewarding path is to cultivate specific friendships. Get to know what a person needs, how you might be of service to them, and how their uniqueness might be of value in your village. If someone you don’t know well offers a service, take time to acknowledge their offer even if you don’t need it at that moment.  It establishes a connection you may want to call upon in the future. Once you identify your needs, your intention will bring people into your life who can assist you. Just watch for them.
 

Ask

If I want more guidance on a choice I am planning to make, I need to talk about it to people who might have some answers. If I want someone to talk to about things that interest me, I need to deepen my conversations with others to identify our similarities. Be pro-active in attracting like-minded people into your circle. Ask for help. Start giving to others. That activates the energy of giving and receiving and will quickly fill your village.   
 
 
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The Simplicity of Starting Over

Moving into retirement has been like moving into a new space. I get to choose exactly what activities I put in it, how many there are, and precisely where I put them.   
 
The last few years have been about downsizing and a conscious choice to minimize. Only recently did I begin to apply the concept of consciously choosing each moment in my day. What do I want to allow into my day? What thoughts?  What emotions? Do I want a “to do” list or can I simply let the day unfold? Beginning with nothing and adding only what I choose, there became a beautiful simplicity in the manner in which I nurture and express myself.
 

Return to your roots

I’ve always been a writer who loves to write about introspective philosophical awareness. However, to make my living, I became more practical. I coached entrepreneurs just starting in business and then turned to coaching people in the content development for their web sites and business. Then I retired – more accidentally than on purpose.  I took my focus off my business to move cross-country to be closer to my children and to do some repair on my body. When my attention turned to my physical well-being, my business went away. What you focus on you get and I was not focusing on my business. The bottom line was that I had inadvertently cleared my plate and could thoughtfully start over. It was like having an empty room to furnish in whatever manner you choose. I had an empty day. What did I want to allow into it?
 

You don’t have to be productive

It bothered me for a while that I was not putting out “x” number of posts a week, or completing a certain number of books or telecourses a year. Business plans and projections and been a part of my life for many years. The sudden emptying of my days allowed me to take a deep pause. I slowly relaxed into a state of non-doing. I contemplated. I wrote introspectively. I examined how I felt. I became an explorer, a seeker of self-awareness. Only then did I begin to begin to populate this new cycle of my life with elements of my own conscious choosing.
 
The major quality I embrace in my current life is unfolding, allowing things to happen. That means that to plan, to set deadlines, to set a goal, is in conflict with the concept of allowing my life and circumstances to unfold. I had many habits to change. I’m still learning to trust what shows up and to response only in the moment.
 

Allow time for germination

There have been two steps to my retirement process – letting go and deciding what to build next. Letting go was hard. I let go of my identity as a coach. My biggest break-through came when, after much consideration and procrastination, I closed down one business blog, put all my books from the past twenty years free on the blog I nurture.  It was the strongest feeling of starting over I’ve ever experienced. I no longer had anything to sell. The books of the past were available for those who needed it on their journey, and I had nothing to prove to anyone. I became a seeker and explorer, deepening my song and letting how I serve others simply unfold. It takes time to let go and it takes time to figure out what you want in your life now. Be patient with yourself.
 

Accept being non-productive

After fussing with myself about not working as I used to, I have realized that I am in a period of inner contemplation and change and it is not time to share that with anyone else. It is my journey, and my process of discovery. I am studying but I can absorb the philosophies I explore only in small pieces, a little every day. I continue to put subtle physical plane and spiritual choices in place that need time for their changes to become evident.   Whatever productivity I am engaged in is subtle and the affects are profound. It looks like I am doing nothing but as I immerse myself in the flow of each moment. I am allowing much to unfold.
 

Slowly put important qualities and actions back into your day.

The activities I add back into my day are chosen with as much contemplation as picking a new item to bring into a minimalist home. What do I let go? What do I bring in? Where do I put it?  When I offered my books free, I no longer had a need to promote them or to reformat them for ereaders. All of those possibilities simply ceased to exist. My plan is simple. Write posts. Complete them and publish them. There is no need to write a book, teach a course, or coach a client. I bask in my inquisitiveness, my curiosity, and my discoveries.
 

Build the foundation of well-being

As a person of 81, I have two areas of focus: my physical/spiritual well-being, and how I can still contribute to my world. I now have time to care for my body without the pressure and stress of family or job. I can listen to my own rhythm and monitor my own responses. 
 
What prompted this post was the realization that I have simplified my objectives and have focused all my choices on enhancing my well-being and finding new ways to be of service to others. My choices include a plant-based diet, the Qi Gong style of Zhan Zhaung and a deepening study of the Tao. For now, that’s enough. I will try those on to establish them as steady component of my day and take time to see what results they produce. The rest of the day remains unscheduled and open to whatever shows up. I am free to write poetry that bubbles up with new awareness. An idea sparks my interest and I sit down and write it. Beginning with a clean slate of a day, what do you want to bring in that will nourish and inspire you?
 

Change how you contribute to the world

Figuring out how to feeling relevant is a bit trickier for me. I have to let it unfold and trust that how I am to serve will show up and I will recognize it. I write for my community newsletter and my articles reflect my contemplation and discoveries of being a senior. I am in a period of germination and am only producing a few articles for my blog like these that explore some insight I want to figure out and add to my life. I have to be content that the inner work I do now will eventually take a form that may touch the lives of others. Allowing that inner journey to unfold may take me places I have not imagined. My contribution to others could take many forms. We’ll have to see what unfolds.
 

Keep your inner space clear

For now, my time is flexible enough that when the idea to explore this concept of a carefully choosing the elements in your life came to me, I could stop what I was doing and sit down and write it. I’m writing my version of contemplative poetry at odd times because my life is free of clutter and pressure. I need to develop a self-aware centeredness in order to understand myself. By keeping my days simple, I have room to go exploring in whatever direction calls to me.
 
Can you empty the next few days of all have- to’s, should’s and want-to’s? Are you willing to wake up to a day in which you listen to your deepest self and go where it leads you? If it means reading a novel at nine in the morning, go for it. If it means a nap at eleven, or sitting in the sun at one, listen to what you body asks of you and indulge it. Identify your own natural rhythm. Empty your days enough so that you can thoughtfully decide what will nourish you. See what you want to bring into your life on a regular basis, not because you have to or should, but because you very much want to.
 
Clear the slate, empty your calendar, tune into what you most want to do and slowly add one element at a time back into your life until you find the perfect balance that comes from the simplicity of starting over.

 

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The Freedom of Letting Go

I’ve been gradually letting go of my business for the last four years. First, it was a matter of hanging on to defining myself as a Content Development Coach. When I was able to release that label, I began to seriously study conscious change. However, I had not completely let go of my past. It was like straddling two worlds and not fully embracing either one.

 

The big release

One day I finally let go of my past I put all of my books of the last twenty years on my blog free!!!! (www.passionatelyonpurpose.com/marketplace   It was like being sprung from a trap. I began to get thank you notes from people in my tribe. I was able to offer my early Science of Mind (Center for Spiritual Living) books to some minister friends as well as everyone on my list. I defined myself only as a seeker and explorer. I was free. I had nothing to sell, only my thoughts to give away. 
 

Letting go propelled me to my next place of service

I downsized my shopping cart, which saved some money. I closed down a blog that was part of my past coaching practice. It left me free to continue the deeper personal exploration that means so much to me. I have no schedule. I have four books on conscious change at assorted stages that I may or may not put together. I am content to explore insights and ah-ha’s one blog post at a time. It will be wonderful if those reflections resonated with others, but meanwhile I am benefiting, I am growing, I am singing a deeper song.
 

Be patient with letting go

When it’s time to let go it feels like releasing the string of a helium balloon, it is done in seconds. It took me five days to rearrange products and landing pages, but I didn’t quit, I didn’t procrastinate, I was totally ready to let go of my books.  If you are in a period of wanting to let go of something, just keep noticing how you feel. Look for what is holding you in place. One thing I realized I still needed was the representation of all my writing in one place. It is rewarding to look at that one web page and see how much I’ve created and what I have to share. Once I moved every book to one page, I could let go. Another thing that prompted the timing of letting go was the upcoming renewal of my shopping cart. Downsizing the services met my needs better and cut my expenses in half. It was an organic time line I decided to meet. What is keeping you from letting go? What organic deadline might prompt you to action?
 

Letting go takes many forms

In my personal life, I continue to let go of material possessions so I can live a simpler life. As I continue to embrace the concept of allowing life to unfold, I have let go of business plans, schedules, have-to lists, and should’s. One of the trickiest concepts to let go is the need to do things in a certain way – either the way I like to do it, or the way I think it should be done. I am getting better at letting life and circumstances unfold, and I am much more accepting of the needs of others to do things in ways that are comfortable for them. What form is letting go taking in your life? What else are you ready to release?
 

Your vision of the future improves

Once you let go of something, once you are free of the back and forth considerations of when and how and if to let go, you are free to focus on the path ahead. You are free to tune into the rising energy of the day and let it take you where it will. A load is lifted. You can stand tall. You can walk freely. A new adventure begins because you have finally let go. What are you ready to release?

 

Cara Lumen helps you make self-aware decisions that lead to positive change - Catch the Winds of Change

On Not Fitting In

I’ve felt different all of my life.  Most of my choices have led me off the beaten path, walking the road less traveled. The more faithful I am to my passion and talent, the more individualized my choices become. The more specialized my personal search, the more alone I become. I love my personal path and I have no desire to “fit in”
 

Stay true to yourself

I feel different, apart, unique.
It makes me stand stronger,
By myself in my own wondrous space
 
When you stay true to yourself, you may feel eccentric, eclectic, perhaps even disliked or misunderstood. Others may perceive you as weird or intriguing or perhaps mystical. It matters not what others think. What is vitally important is what you think about yourself and how true you are to your gifts and what you value. Choose and live the qualities that you respect. Develop your talents. Follow your passion. When you stay focused on being the best “you” possible, you will accomplish what the world needs of you.
 

I really don’t want to fit in

No mainstream for me
I am an adventurer
and I have discovered wonders.
 
I love being in the minority. I love exploring the edges, following the untrodden paths. Why would I ever want to be part of the norm? Why would I want to subjugate who I am and what I have to offer in order to fit in? I am who I am, I love what I love and I am interested in doing things that make me a better, more effective, compassionate person. As explorers, seekers and discoverers of our own best self-expression, we work to become self-aware, we seek positive ways to express our passion, we reject beliefs that no longer serve us and continually explore the possibility of new viewpoints. Even as I experience periodic moments of feeling different or left out, I remain clear that I really, truly don’t want to fit in if it means I have to subdue who I am in order to be a part of the communality, the masses, the majority.  You cannot find your own truth by listening to others. You must uncover your own values, your own gifts and decide how you are going to participate in the world.

 

Make self-aware adjustments

I have lived in my mind a long time.
It is time to live in my soul.
 
In my retirement, I have more time to contemplate. In my relatively new, more communal environment, I have much to learn. I am working to understand change and how to do it more gracefully and perhaps less painfully. I continue to adjust to the diversity of my senior community. I have time to deepen my spiritual life, which at this point involves studying Taoism, practicing Qi Gong and reading the I Ching from cover to cover.  There are no “have-to’s” in my current life. However, there are certain qualities and choices that have always been part of my journey – writing, organizing ideas, being a philosopher. Now I have time to explore them more deeply. As I continue to change and adjust, my objectives change. I’m working on being mindful and learning to allow life to simply unfold.  Come to know yourself and then make self-aware choices that move you in the direction you desire.
 

Know what you seek.

I seek the stillness point.
The moment of creation,
The moment of completion
 
There is a gradual unfolding process inherent in change. A new awareness appears whenever it does. You make a change whenever you do. As I embrace unfolding as a virtue, I stop making plans. No lists. No goals. No business objectives. I choose qualities instead: patience, mindfulness,compassion. What do you seek? What will change your life? How will you know you have succeeded? Recently I was asked a philosophical question and my answer showed me how deeply I have embraced the path I am on.  I hadn’t know how far I had journeyed until the question tested me. The more subtle the work you do, the less tangible the results you can see.
 

Do what you need to do

I am alone in my search.
There is no one to share my excitement, my discoveries,
because the work is mine alone to do.
The change is mine to make.
Tao knows I am excited.
Tao shares my enthusiasm.
Tao gives me my discoveries.
Tao knows my need and meets it.
 
Don’t concern yourself with what other people think. Your job is to be the best “you” possible. You attract a flow of events, circumstances and responses simply by what you focus on, what you look for and what you expect. You may attract a situation in order to receive a lesson, to offer support, to reflect your own behavior or to prompt you to make a change. Your response dictates the outcome and the extent of your new awareness. Stay true to your journey. Do what you need to do.
 

Enjoy the adventure

 I walk a solitary path that nurtures me.
I embrace stillness and contemplate the answers
I am alone but not alone
I am deep within Tao
Tao is deep within me.
 
Because you are unique, because you are following your own path, creating your own adventure, discovering what you need to know, you are embarked upon a journey that is yours alone. Where you go, what you discover, how you respond is for you to decide. Rejoice that you don’t fit in. Relish your unique journey. Be true to your gifts and talents. Take what you need and release the rest. You are the only one on this particular journey. The choices are totally yours. Enjoy the adventure.
 
Be patient.
Be aware.
Allow the tides of time to
bring treasure to your shore.
 
Cara Lumen helps you make self-aware decisions that lead to positive change - Catch the Winds of Change

How to Be More Pro-Active With Your Health

My doctor sent the results of my blood work back with the word “Impressive” written across the top. So, at 81, I figure I must be doing something right He also put in his medical records that I was being very “pro-active” about my health. I like the idea of taking charge and working to create the healthiest body I can at my age. People who are pro-active want to make certain things happen. They have an objective and they do whatever it takes to be ready to meet that objective. They are hands on, positive, upbeat people that you love to be around.

Be pro-active about your over-all well-being

As we grow older, the state of our health is a primary concern. We want a good quality of life. Here’s the trick, rather than wait for a doctor to prescribe some pills or send you to rehab, you get busy doing what you need to do all by yourself. That’s being pro-active. You cut out sugar and eat more vegetables and fruits. You find ways to walk more. You add regular stretching and exercise to your day.You lovingly cook for yourself. I organically lost eight pounds last year and I continue to lose weight gradually.I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been in 30 years! No, I don’t look slender, but I am in the process of rebalancing my body. To my daily Qi Gong practice I added this great Couch Potato Workout from Dr. Oz’s personal trainer  What are you willing to do to be pro-active about your health?

Be pro-active about changing your eating habits

I gave up dairy because I had unexplained and unexpected allergies a year ago and dairy and wheat are the most likely culprits. That had me scrambling to find substitutes for yoghurt and cheese (nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor) and adjusting recipes like crazy. The most effective dietary step I took was to give up sugar. Sugar is addictive and there was no way I was going to put a cup of sugar in something I baked and then eat it in three days. Within days of stopping sugar, my taste buds changed, my cravings ceased and steady weight loss began.   I use maple syrup and honey for sweetener. I make my own granola so I can control the ingredients and add great things like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp, flax seeds and almonds while I control the type and amount of sweetener.   How can you be more pro-active about your food choices?

Be pro-active about enhancing your social life

We are personally responsible for our own mental and emotional health. If we are lonely, we need to go make some friends. If we are bored, we need to seek mental stimulation. Everyone needs some form of social interaction. Call someone to talk, go out for lunch, have them over for game night, go to meetings where like-minded people are gathered. We need people in our lives. We need hugs and compliments and laughter. How are you being pro-active about your social life?

Be pro-active about deepening your spiritual life

A strong spiritual life can be achieved anytime and anyplace. If you no longer go to church, make up your own “service.” Read words that motivate and inspire you. Start a Gratitude Journal to help you become more aware of the bounty that surrounds you.  I’m immersing myself in Taoism. I have no teacher, only translations of the ancient texts to study. I work to embrace principles that enhance my daily life. What kind of daily spiritual practice will you initiate?

Make one fundamental change at a time

The plant-based nutritionists I follow say to eat two pounds of vegetables vegetable every day, one raw and one cooked. If I add the suggested four pieces of fruit each day, 1 cup of beans and 1 ounce of nuts and seeds, that’s a lot of eating! A major suggestion is to make a salad the main dish in every meal. I already make great soups like cauliflower, carrot, and butternut squash. I continue to include grains like quince and couscous and brown rice. The idea of creating interesting sauces to go on vegetables interests me – peanut sauce, marinara sauce. The core to my next change is eating more raw foods. I have a sprouting kit to sprout seeds of alfalfa, french lentil, mung, daikon radish, clover, green pea, garbanzo, adzuki, broccoli, green lentil, hard wheat, and black sunflower . I purchased a spiralizer, which allows me to make thin ribbons of zucchini (to replace pasta), strings of carrots, radish and potato strings for salad, and strings of green pepper or beets and curly strands of cucumbers. Then I will make healthy homemade “dressings” to top them off so I have complete control over what I eat. Even now, w hen I eat a veggie burger (no bread), I put raw mushrooms, red pepper, green onions and avocado on my plate to complete my meal. 

Observe the changes

I have more energy when I eat greens. I use hemp seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds in my salads and smoothies to add protein and to keep my intestinal tract balanced. I satisfy my occasional urge for chocolate with pure cacoa powder in water sweetened with almond milk and maple syrup. The more vegetables I eat, the greater the weight loss I experience. Observe how your body responds to your loving care. How do you sleep? How do your joints feel? Has your energy increased? What is your emotional status?  Let your body guide you in your, pro-active self-care choices. Keep experimenting until you find the right balance for you. 

Let the new gradually replace the old

You don’t have to give up anything. You just have to start adding things you love and let them gradually replace the foods you’re ready to give up and the habits you want to establish. I became a vegetarian by eating more vegetables. I became a vegan by finding tasty substitutes to dairy and eggs. I’m steadily improving my overall healthy with the choices I make and the actions I take. It’s all about exploring and experimenting. How pro-active are you willing to be about your health?

 

Cara Lumen helps you make self-aware decisions that lead to positive change - Catch the Winds of Change

The Mudra That Made a Difference

I have meditated off and on for over fifty years. Recently I found a hand position (mudra) that took me to a deep inner awareness in seconds. I realized that a mudra can make a huge difference in the results of your meditation.

What is a mudra?

A mudra is a spiritual gesture in the spiritual practice of Indian religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism. You can see mudras in the hand positions of statues of Buddha and other eastern icons. In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with yogic breathing exercise to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.   Mudras are used in meditation to deepen the connection.
 
I learned Transcendental Meditation over fifty years ago.  As I recall, there were no mudras involved, simply a mantra to be repeated while sitting in a chair. It is a powerful form of meditation. My husband and four children learned it with me. When I studied yoga in New York City, I began to learn a few mudras, often used in the balancing breathing positions that ended a class. I was once shown a very complex mudra by one of the Tibetian Monks who built a sand painting at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I would go early to sit behind them when they meditated. It was very powerful. However, the mudra was complex and I forgot how to do it.
 

Learn to feel the movement of energy

It takes some practice, but over time, you can become very sensitive to the flow of energy. My first experience was when I could feel the power of a crystal and interpret what chakra it addressed. When I became a Reiki Master Teacher I focused energy through my hands and my mind. I studied and subsequently taught  other subtle energy techniques. When I meditate, I am conscous of the flow of energy.
 

Energy can heal

It took a year for me to learn T’ai Chi. That is complex and once I forgot one sequence I could not recapture it because there are many forms and I had moved away from my teacher. Next I learned Falun Gong  from practitioners in the San Francisco area and practiced it for ten years. Last year I began doing Zhan Zhaung (standing meditation) and Ba Duan Jin The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original) and am really amazed at the powerful flow of energy it creates and the healing and balancing it is doing on the physical plane. I can feel the chi energy moving in my Tan Tien, my meridians and my chakras. However, when I sat down to meditate after my Qi Gong practice my mind started thinking of things I wanted to write about that day. I could not sit for very long. I wanted to change that. I wanted to meditate longer and more serenely.
 

The first mudra change

Sometimes I held a crystal in my left hand while meditating . Other times the mudra I used was with my hands in my lap, palms up, one hand over the other with thumbs touching. I could never remember which hand was to go on top. It turns out that is a Buddhist mudra. One day Dr. Andrew Weill demonstrated his meditation mudra to Dr. Oz. He sat with his hands palms up on each leg with his thumbs holding his index finger. I tried that and immediately felt my meditation deepen.   That mudra is designed to balance the chi.
 

The second mudra change

I’ve been studying Taoism and I was reading some of the complimentary pages that were available to review online for a book called Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality by Charles Luk (Author) , Lu K’uan Yu (Author)  I saw a mudra instruction for meditation. I tried it and was immediate taken very deeply into mediation. My focus was behind my eyes in my third eye.  Everything else disappeared.  I loved it. My mind stilled and I went deeply into meditation.
 
According to Paul of Taoist Meditation: Mudras and meditation The classic Taoist mudra of covering one hand with another is actually a concealed system of versatile mudra, and it also holds the key to understanding what mudra is all about, for all chi-disciplines. With the fingers concealed, a practitioner is taught to focus on one or any combination of his fingers for chi generation and chi balancing. Unlike Tibetan Buddhism, the Taoist way does not have any fixed pattern. But how does a practitioner know what to do? The answer is that a practitioner is expected to feel chi himself and therefore is expected to be able to generate different chi by focusing on different fingers (or finger combinations) and will be expected to balance his chi accordingly, using his differently focused fingers”.
 
We are encouraged to experiment! The primary objective is to generate chi together with directing chi to move along the center line, most essential for cosmic circulations. To do this we must learn to feel the circulation of the chi and find the most powerful way to encourage its circulation.
 

The comparison

As I practiced my meditation, I tried both the side-open mudra of Dr. Weils and the center- closed mudra of Charles Luk. Although the open mudra embraced my third eye, for me, it was less concentrated, it felt wider and less focused. The closed mudra focused my third eye instantaneously.  I hadn’t known that a simple hand position could make such a difference. I am now able to enjoy the deepest meditation I’ve had in years thanks to finding a mudra that instaneously helps me quiet my mind.
 
“If a person is doing meditation without using his hands as management tools probably he is just sitting there doing nothing. What I’m saying is, doing hand positions should be the first physical act one should always attend to before use music or mantra to assist one to go into the meditative zone” Paul continues. 
 

Experiment with mudras

If you are exploring meditation, you may want to explore mudras. Learn to be sensitive to the flow of chi energy. Notice how easily (or not) it is for you to move into meditation. Find the mudra that best suits you and let that be the mudra that makes a difference.
 
 
Cara Lumen helps you make self-aware decisions that lead to positive change - Catch the Winds of Change