just for today…remember your worthiness

Worthy is what we feel that we are…or not. The core of our feeling of worthiness is within us, and what we believe about who we are.

“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.”

–  Brene Brown

We learn to feel worthy from the heart of who we are. As we heal ourselves from the beliefs we have come to hold as a result of our many life experiences, we remember who we really are. This healing process is called “doing our work.” Doing our work to claim responsibility for ourselves; to know that we have co-created experiences for the purpose of waking up to who we really are, and not what we have been told we are, is essential to living a life of unconditional love, peace, and therefore acceptance.  We love unconditionally. We offer peace and reconciliation without judgment, fear or condition. We are and know ourselves to be worthy…because we are HERE.

Let us remember that we are ALL worthy. It matters not whether another looks like us, or behaves like us, we are all worthy of love and belonging. Perhaps those who behave differently wish to feel loved by someone, accepted for who they are and included as a part of something that is bigger.

Remembering each day that we are worthy becomes a practice. A practice becomes a habit and then we remember without effort that we are worthy. When we know and feel from deep within, that we are worthy, we see and feel the worthiness of others.

Just for today, shall we remember – for just a few moments – that every human being that currently walks or has walked this planet all emanate from the same source? Shall we look at the people we see today through the compassionate eyes of our hearts? Shall we consider, for a moment, that everyone is doing the very best they can in this moment?

Just for today…remember your worthiness. See worthiness in others.

 

 

look for the helpers

When my sons were very young, we found Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on public television. I remember that he always walked to the closet to hang up his sweater or his sport coat while singing the opening song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”  Such simple words which today mean so much as we navigate the changes in our country.

Today, I recalled this quote and found it enormously helpful…and I plan to remember it.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

– Fred Rogers

This week, I’ve found both solace and inspiration in watching what has unfolded since the day following the inauguration. I am reminded that our Constitution and it’s Amendments, International Laws and so many other guiding documents are in place. In addition, there are many experts out there – studied and practiced in applying all of them – who are quite literally at the helm, navigating the choppy waters of change and evolution, as they have for a long time. We may not see them, nor will we hear about them in the mainstream media. They ARE there. (If you haven’t done so already, turning off mainstream media can be a great gift of peace, calm and civility in your life. There are so many other reliable sources for real news out there. They are helpers, too.)

These are the people who are not only stepping forward in protest when it is called for, they are the ones I call the “people supporters and protectors”. There is no color or national origin designation that guides their steps. They are the helpers. They are the ones that we don’t see (unless we are among them). They do NOT seek notoriety or fame for what they do. Most of them even eschew the oft assigned “hero” mantle when something they’ve done hits the big news.  Quite simply these are compassionate beings who know who they are, what their purpose is and they are stepping fully into it. Indeed, they are the HELPERS. No resistance here. Stepping forward, stepping in, seeing the need and addressing it – directly.

I am a bit concerned about the pervasive use of the word resistance to describe what many are engaging in. Resistance will meet resistance with more resistance. Stepping forward with open hearts and open minds will bring safer, compassionate, more meaningful and long-lasting change.

“Better to be a pilot light than to be a firecracker.”

– John Lewis

This is an important time in our history – in the US and on the planet. Let us embrace it rather than resisting it.

Let us also remember to be good and kind to ourselves. We all feel a pull to do something. I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s words:

 “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Being kind to strangers, neighbors, and offering peace to all you meet may be your contribution. It is mine. Calling or writing to your representatives may be another way to engage. And if you are so moved and energized, I’m sure you can find a movement somewhere that will gladly accept your assistance. We also have the power of positive prayers of gratitude, meditation and spending time in nature to remind us of who we truly are in our inherent loving kindness.

Finally, let us look to those who have been the trailblazers of long ago. From the women’s right to vote to civil rights, many have gone before.

“Every fight is not your fight. Pace yourself.”

– John Lewis

John Lewis – now there is a leader. I happened upon this interview yesterday from 2013. It’s timeless, and inspiring.

http://www.civilconversationsproject.org/#/john-lewis-love-in-action/

Here are more helpers. Look for the helpers.

http://www.civilconversationsproject.org/about/

http://www.faithandpolitics.org/about/

In addition to the wisdom that we all have, the helpers that I have highlighted here have offered theirs in myriad ways to children, adults, many different groups.

We all learn from the wisdom that we ALL have.

Let us build bridges of love and compassion, rather than walls of hate and fear.

New River Gorge by Lori Coleman
New River Gorge
by Lori Coleman

dwelling in light

Like many of you, I seek light. I seek the sunlight, the brightness of flowers, and the dancing reflections on the ocean when it is relatively calm. The simple act of opening windows, blinds or curtains can bathe a space in light that can lift us in untold ways. In the seeking of light, I seek positivity, which seems in short supply in many corners of our country and our world. And yet, I know that deep within us all is a bright and shining light of unconditional love which is at the core of our acceptance of people, thoughts and situations which are different, dark and which do not emanate from the core of our being.

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The darkness, reactivity, and desire to fight (resist) rather than accept what is and move forward in peace feels pervasive. How are we to cope in this time?  Many of the issues and concerns what we have are VERY important. And, we cannot move forward peacefully if we give our energy to the negativity through reactions.

How do we move forward in peace?

We must first know that we, and we alone, are responsible for the choices we make to inform ourselves, maintaining a healthy amount of objectivity while caring for ourselves.

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While perusing a website I frequent and keep on my phone as an app, I happened upon a favorite author who is a columnist at onbeing.org. Parker J. Palmer’s most recent column, The Soul of a Patriot is worth a few moments of your time. If you are not familiar with the website onbeing.org or Krista Tippett, I encourage you to look at the website. The in-depth interviews of some of the most intriguing and thoughtful people who you have perhaps never heard of, is uplifting at times, and thought-provoking always. Here is an interview that you might also enjoy.  The cross-generational aspect of the conversation is inspirational. The transcript is there for you to read, if that is your preference. Listening to it is quite powerful, too.

I also happened upon the following poem in the comments on “The Soul of A Patriot” column. It is a reminder that we might all appreciate.

Now Is The Time

Now is the time.
Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God?

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
with veracity and love.

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
That this is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is Sacred.

~ Hafiz

 

Let us remember who we are and begin again, to live with veracity and love. May we always dwell in light.

…and how about you? How do you dwell in light?

 

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just for today…focus on nonaggression

When we hold on to our opinion with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace. — Pema Chodron

Did you ever consider, for one moment, that your strongly held opinion, may be a form of aggression? Especially when you feel you are so right about your opinion? Dr. Wayne Dyer said many times, that if we have the choice to be right or kind, choose to be kind. Want peace? Offer it.

Today…notice your opinions before you express them. Perhaps after you pause and consider its origin, that opinion may be best unexpressed in the moment.

Just for today, let’s commit to notice our opinions.

Then let’s reflect.

What is the origin of this opinion or that one?

What is the feeling within when I felt the need, in the moment, to express my opinion?

Would it have made a difference if I had expressed it?

How might others have reacted if I had expressed it?

Of course, these questions are good for reflecting upon, when we DO express an opinion.

“Let’s use the example of the ozone layer. We can rightly say that the thinning of the ozone layer is a scientific fact; it’s not simply an opinion. But if the way we work with trying not to harm the ozone layer is to solidify our opinion against those we feel are at fault, then nothing ever changes; negativity begets negativity. In other words, no matter how well documented or noble our cause is, it won’t be helped by our feeling aggression toward the oppressors or those who are promoting the danger. Nothing will ever change through aggression.” – Pema Chodron from her book, “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times” (1997, 2016)

Notice your opinions.

Focus on nonaggression.

Just for today…and then tomorrow and then it becomes a habit. We change ourselves and our world, one moment, one choice, one practice at a time.

Cultivate peace.

Comet Lovejoy by Lori Coleman
Comet Lovejoy
by Lori Coleman

lessons from…cats

I live with cats. Yes…more than one. I have learned a lot about myself as I have watched and cared for them over the years. Lately, a couple of them have been trying to show me a BIG lesson that seems apropos of our time.

One of the two is a female; a lovely gray tabby who is 14 years old. Piper is very happy to just be alone and prefers to not be bothered by any person or any other cat. I suppose at her age, she deserves to have what she wants! img_0666

The other is a male; a tuxedo who is about 6 years old and who sees himself as the alpha in the crew. img_0981Alone, Doc is very sweet, and enjoys a light tummy rub, when he is lying down napping. Around Piper or others, he is the BIG guy – the one in charge.

The few common denominators between them, aside from the obvious –  they like me and they like to eat and sleep. And that is about where it ends.

As I have continued to watch them, I’ve learned a few things.

One – Both are very good, sweet-natured cats. They are healthy and are otherwise well-behaved.

Two – They want the same things and have VERY different ways of seeking to get those things.

Three – one is not superior to the other – even though one may act as if he is.

Four – They both seem to want peace and cannot find it with each other.

Five – When one growls (Piper), the other gets excited (Doc) and the conflict escalates. With the possible exception of a tiny scratch on Doc’s nose some time ago, no one has been hurt.

What can I take from this? Well, look around. Look at our country (the US) and the world. Everyone wants what they want and no one is listening. Some believe that we are at a critical juncture in our history as a country and a planet and others don’t know what the big deal is. Some are seeking equality and equanimity while others are afraid, angry and reactive. There is also no doubt that in the melee, some see themselves as “alpha” or all-knowing.

What else is there for me to see? Shaming or blaming one for acting from his or her nature doesn’t make them or anything or anyone else better. I’ve seen shaming and blaming in use by others with their animals, children, partners or others and know that it doesn’t help. It inflicts more wounds and serves to fuel the division that is already in place.

In the case of Piper and Doc, they are finding their way ever so slowly. With the possible exception of the full moon, they work at tolerating each other. I’m not sure they will ever be as comfortable with each other as the others are, and I have come to accept that with the full knowledge that they are both doing the very best that they can from who and where they are. Safety is important as they continue to work out this delicate relationship dance.

Safety is what I hope will be our guiding principle as we move forward, TOGETHER, on the planet that we inhabit. I pray that we will slow down and learn to listen. Listening to another – truly listening – means that we suspend our judgments, our need to defend our beliefs, positions or thoughts, so that we really hear – with our hearts – what the other is saying.

Words matter.

Behavior is an announcement to others.

Be the change you wish to see.

 

 

 

 

 

just for today

Let us remember who we are. Let us open our hearts as we take steps forward to begin again.

“Stop. Close your eyes and send love from your heart to everyone in the world. It will change everything.”

 – Marianne Williamson

Enjoy these images of various landscapes. Allow them to take you back to the higher part of yourself. Remember that the higher self is in every being. Know that we come from love and will return to love. Let us listen to the wisdom of our hearts – today and always.

When we feel consumed by events; day-to-day routines; challenging decisions to make, let us lift our eyes. Look up; look out and beyond where you stand; see the picture beyond your circumstances and remember who you are. The wisdom inherent in your very being will guide you…if you slow down and listen to your heart.

Change your perspective, change your life…in the moment.

These images were captured via my iPhone camera or one of two Nikon cameras that I use from time to time.

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“Awake with a winged heart, and give thanks for another day of loving.”

 – Kahlil Gibran

perspective

Perspective is what makes a difference in what we see, how we feel and how we respond.

Far too often, we do not step back or widen the lens through which we are viewing some aspect of our lives. We all have filters which have been installed or otherwise picked up as a result of our many life experiences. Our laser focus can blind us.

Is one perspective right and the other wrong? No. There are no rights or wrongs. There is only your perspective. The real question becomes, “is my perspective limiting my view, or ability to see something differently?” This is a valid question regardless of the vantage point that you think you have of anything.

Consider these:

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What a lovely kitty is this! (I’m partial to felines.) It appears to be black, and there aren’t more markings for us to see, and we cannot discern its color. And those are just basic attributes that are apparent to us. The photo doesn’t offer us any more information from which to make an assumption about this lovely kitty. Do we have enough information to have a perspective on the cat or the photo? Yes. Yours and mine will be different.

 

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Now this. Is this the same kitty that is in the above picture, from farther away? It is sitting in a window and looking quite content. Yet, absent a color photograph, I’m not sure what color it is. I am making an assumption that it is content. It may well be about to jump out of the window to get on to something else which has captured its attention. My perspective and yours are different on this one as well.

The multiple layers of perspective in these two pictures, how any of us interpret them, and the stories we can create about that lovely cat are varied and many.

This is true for ANYTHING.

Perspective is everything.

 

A brief postscript:The photographer has commented below and added her perspective on the photographs from behind the lens, including the lovely subject herself.  See how this information adds to YOUR perspective on the photographs.

choice

Love is both who and what we are and is the greatest power that we have. Love is in our makeup – in the DNA of our souls. Choosing how to be, how to see and how to love is a mighty power; and yet, we often give our power to the smallest and most mundane of things.

Choosing to be an objective observer is very different from getting lost in an e-motion. (e-motion = energy in motion) Choosing to objectively observe allows us to detach from, rather than being swept up in and lost to, the emotions of the moment. As we practice objectivity, we detach. We begin to break the chains of co-dependence.

I have come to see and believe that co-dependence doesn’t only exist between people. Indeed, it can be an unhealthy attachment to the beliefs that we are still holding which cause us to be and feel constricted. We believe what we do and wonder why we are so unhappy at times. We make choices and don’t like the outcome and feel that we “have no choice”. In itself, that belief is a choice.

Realizing the power in choice-making is truly the key to freedom from attachment to self-judgment and therefore the real or perceived judgments of others.

Question your beliefs. Where do they come from? How do those beliefs support me – the real me? How do those beliefs keep me from stepping fully into the life of my dreams?

Fear – and all of its expressions are human creations – all designed to control and separate. Fear keeps us in our “boxes” along with the beliefs that we can not, are not and will not ever be, have or do what we are able to be, have or do. After all, what man would place himself above God by designing systems of beliefs, underpinned by fear? Those systems are hierarchical, uneven, greater than/lesser than, lacking love, compassion acceptance and oneness.

Love – and all of its expressions are creations of the Divine. We are THAT. We are love; we are a part of that unconditional love that is; the energy of the Universe. And, how would we give up our love – our very being – to beliefs which keep us separate from ourselves and the loving entity which created us, that is ever-changing (evolving) and always loving? We are a part of that entity, for we are not apart from it.

Everything else is contained in the mundane.

There is so much beauty in the power of the ocean. Consider this:

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
– Jalaluddin Rumi

And so it is with the All That Is and us.

We truly know this at the core of our being; in that timeless wisdom within us.  We are love. We always have choices. We have simply forgotten.

Milky Way over Virginia
Milky Way over Virginia

upon reflection

A look in the mirror reveals so very much. We choose to look or not. If our choice is to not look, gazing into our own eyes may reveal our perspective on a deeper darkness that we prefer not to see. Often, we have a look and begin to judge what we see – eyes, wrinkles, imperfect skin, graying hair; all of the things society tells us that isn’t right about us. There is great power in looking – deeply looking –  at who we are, beyond the surface which reflects back our self-judgments (grounded in our beliefs). Rather, gazing with gratitude for the beauty of the soul within can bring an appreciation for Life and the miracle of our presence here, now.

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As we are nearing the end of another calendar year, many turn to this time as a period of reflection to begin to discern the blessings and lessons of the previous year.

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There are many “out there” who are reporting on all of the “good and bad” of the year’s events. And yes, many of those world and national events are definitely worth considering in our reflective moments. Our challenge, and the greatest gift to be realized, is contained in reflecting upon our individual experiences – which may include our perceptions of those events.

Truth is relative, as we each perceive our own truth through the filters of both our beliefs and our many life experiences. Realizing that such filters exist is the beginning step in realizing that others may see the same event very differently. Perhaps more importantly, no one is seeing it rightly or wrongly.

The beautiful images continued in this post show us very different reflections of what is above the water. Some are clear, others somewhat distorted. All have natural light – some brighter, some darker. Isn’t this also true about the many ways in which we and others perceive our life experiences, the many events – beautiful and tragic – that occur in our world every day?

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Upon reflection, we see. Upon reflection, we hear. Upon reflection, we discern the lessons and blessings of a day, a week, a month, a year…or a lifetime. Upon reflection, we come to know that truth as discerned by humans is relative. We know from nature that what is real is visible there.

You know all of this. It is intrinsic. You need only find your way back to the truth of who you are as a spiritual being…in this human experience.

How will you choose to create time and space for reflection? Today, tomorrow, every day?

 

 

resistance

Resistance is futile. It has been said that what we resist, persists. Various consequences have been attributed to the outcome of resistance.

For example:

“what you resist, persists and gets bigger.”

“what you resist, persists; what you look at disappears.”

At its core resistance is fighting. We fight what we don’t like. We fight a dis-ease. We don’t consider anything – ideas, thoughts, stories – that does not, in some way, comport with our beliefs.  And there it is. those pesky beliefs which become the filters through which we see, feel and experience our world.

How do you know if your beliefs are contributing to resistance? How do you know exactly how your beliefs are informing your desire to fight anything?

Consider the first thing that comes to mind that you are willing to “fight for”. Ask yourself why you might be willing to “fight” for that. Then ask yourself what is at the core of this answer. How did you come to have a belief that causes you to think you must fight for…anything.

Consider war. There is some reason that countries engage in battles. Often we don’t really know what the true reason is. What happens in some nations is an overpowering belief in a nationalism that causes many to enlist and go into a war whose true cause may be unknown or is masked as something else like “protecting our freedom”. Those who enlist may not believe they are resisting, when in fact, they are signing up for the resistance. Meanwhile, others engage in resistance to “fight against the war.”

Then what do we have? Resistance, resistance, resistance. Fight, fight, fight.

How does resistance occur within? When we know, at the core of who we are, that something we are doing, have done or are considering just doesn’t feel right or in some way is really NOT who we are, and yet we do it anyway, we are resisting our very soul, and to a large degree, our purpose for being.

Resistance on any level – within, between or among – keeps us from moving forward toward the creation of a more peaceful way of being – within, between and among.

Question everything. What you hear, what you see, and what you are told. YOU know deep within you what is true for you.  Know that when you feel resistance – to resist the desire to fight or feel – something deep within is calling you to YOUR truth, to the most peaceful loving part of who you really are.

Be the change you wish to see. Question your resistance. Question your beliefs. Know that you come from a place that is larger and more expansive than you can imagine.

Consider that your purpose is greater than your resistance.