Is the word MERCY in your vocabulary? Does being merciful enter your mind on a conscious basis?

 

What does the word: MERCY mean to you?

Consider writing what words and images come to mind as you ask yourself this question. Then ask the equally important question of: How can I be merciful towards myself as a conscious outpouring of what I AM?

The truth is that you were born inherently perfect. We all have what researchers deem as an innate capacity for being merciful. In fact it is something we do as a natural outpouring of who we are. If you watch very young children, before they are taught rules around politeness and ‘socially appropriate’ kindness, these young children only know how to give compassion, mercy, and love.

A growing body of evidence suggests that, at our core, both animals and human beings have what Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley, coins a “compassionate instinct.” In other words, compassion is a natural and automatic response that has ensured our survival. Michael Tomasello and other scientists at the Max Planck Institute, in Germany, have found that infants and chimpanzees spontaneously engage in helpful behaviour and will even overcome obstacles to do so. They apparently do so from intrinsic motivation without expectation of reward. A recent study they ran indicated that infants’ pupil diameters (a measure of attention) decrease both when they help and when they see someone else helping, suggesting that they are not simply helping because helping feels rewarding. It appears to be the alleviation of suffering that brings reward — whether or not they engage in the helping behaviour themselves.

Recent research by David Rand at Harvard University shows that adults’ and children’s first impulse is to help others.

Research by Dale Miller at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests this is also the case of adults, however, worrying that others will think they are acting out of self-interest can stop them from this impulse to help.

 

We intrinsically want to help – we have the hard wiring to instinctively be merciful. As adults, showing mercy becomes a decision of our thinking brain and our deliberate choice – our free will – and at times, for various reasons, we may opt out of what is such an important human ability.

How we are and how we act with others is symbolic of how we are able to be kind and loving – and merciful to ourselves. It is much easier to show others kindness, compassion, love, and mercy when we are able to readily do this for ourselves.

Mercy may be defined as: co-existing in love, forgiveness, compassion, loving-kindness, understanding, humanity, generosity, and faith.

Wikipedia defines mercy as: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.

It’s within our power to punish or harm someone at any time in theory, and yet perhaps its in those very instances where someone has wronged us or hurt us that we need to be MOST mindful of practising an outpouring of mercy.

 

I hear my client tell me about all of the comments that she receives anytime she goes home to visit her Greek orthodox family living in Montreal. How their words impact her decisions and her everyday behaviours and yet she is a 34-yr old nurse working and thriving in Toronto. (She is told by friends that she looks better with a tan after travelling to the Caribbean on holiday so she admits to me that she is now going to a tanning salon regularly to keep up her glowing appearance; she is told by her grandmother that she is heavier than last visit and so she has now returned full force to the gym; her mother has always told her that to be beautiful she must wear makeup and high heels and so on the day of our session she isn’t feeling well and apologizes for her appearance – because she is not wearing makeup, nor heels. Her entire image of herself is tied up in what others say; she has not found herself and her true beauty that exists – enhanced perhaps by the makeup – but originates as who she already is. My client is one of many who look to others to establish their feelings of self-acceptance and positive affect in the words and remarks of others – and in doing so, can never be truly merciful towards herself. She continues to take the harsh comments and criticism of her friends and family – and does the same internally in her self talk – because it is all that she knows to do – and it has been the way in which she has defined herself. How many of us do this – or parts of this?

It doesn’t just happen with my client’s family, it happens with all of us regardless of our heritage, religious background and family of origin. What are the messages of your earlier life experiences that have set you up to judge yourself harshly, to be unmerciful, to be self-loathing, to deny, to avoid, to disavow – who you truly are?

Perhaps this is one reason why as teens we often rebel against our family – society – social mores – and instead look to our peer group for support and as a source of validation (as they too are experiencing the same kind of need to explore, to rediscover, and to take a stand in what they believe in). We don’t always acknowledge that we are all hardwired to be …who we truly are – what I call our AUTHENTIC self. If we have been stifled, denied, or told we must fit a certain stereotypical ideal, we learn from a young age to dishonour our TRUE self.

As a teenager and young adult, if we are fortunate enough to seek out answers and to decide what we believe in, what we feel passionate about, and what we want to do with our life, – and if we allow ourselves to dream and to follow what truly excites us, then we are making choices based on knowing our self best. And yet, we still hold many of the cultural and societal beliefs that have been so deeply ingrained, that say we should follow a certain practical plan for living our life, we should earn a certain income, we should wear a certain designer label, and that all of this is important – critical in fact – to being successful and happy. Some or all of this may very well be important – but as long as it is what we have chosen based on what is truly important to who we are – certainly none of this is wrong – as long as it is true to what is right for who we are – rather than what we tell ourselves we should do.

So its not surprising that much of the work that I do each day has its roots in helping people find themselves – and helping them uncover the truth about who they are so that they can live the rest of their life from a place of authenticity and self-honesty. When you can be honest and real with yourself and others, you free yourself to live with mercy. Maybe as you look over your definition for what mercy is, you most likely included such words as: honesty, deliberate kindness in action, compassion for self and others, loving and of course…truth.

When you can live with mercy directed towards yourself, it will be even easier to live it outwardly. This is because if you are overly critical, harsh, judgemental, uncertain, and insecure, this cannot help but come through as you look outwards at others. One might say that this is one of the reasons why we have constant conflict and war in the world. If we are not able to be merciful, to be kind and loving to ourselves and others, then we cultivate all of what is opposite: unkindness, impatience, judgement, intolerance, envy and hate.

Being merciful is how we embody true kindness and understanding. It is how we show others our compassionate nature.

The following visualization is best experienced if you can close your eyes for a few moments and take 3-5 deep breaths. Take even more breaths if you feel that it will help you quiet your mind as you go within to answer the following questions.

(And, if you would like a little more practice and a deeper experience in calming your mind and feeling a total body relaxation, please follow this link: to one of my guided meditations – perfect for taking you a little deeper within yourself.)

When you are ready to proceed let the following be a guide for what you then envision in your mind, allowing whatever answers that surface be what you reveal as your truth:

Think of a time either in the recent past or maybe a memory from childhood in which someone showed you mercy. Maybe there could have been a reason for you to have been punished because of what you did – whether it was something done innocently or intentionally – when the other person could have been intolerant, angry or blaming, but instead you were given compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love – in effect – you were shown mercy.

Next, recall a time when you acted with compassion and mercy when perhaps it would have been socially acceptable to chastise, correct, scold, or punish. And yet you showed only mercy – kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. Recall what your experience was as you did this? How did YOU feel as you saw the face of the person, perhaps the child, the friend, the spouse, the work colleague – that you were being merciful to? Imagine for a moment how your actions of mercy felt for them?

When we are shown mercy – when we receive compassion – or as we demonstrate compassion and mercy, we experience something much more – much like a gift. What did you receive in the exchange with another? What did you receive when you were shown mercy or in being merciful?

In so many ways we have the ability to be who we truly are. When we elicit compassion and grace towards another living being we are being merciful. When we are compassionate and merciful, something remarkable happens inside of us. Something bearing truth is awakened from within.

 

The path of mercy is our path back to finding ourselves

 

Finding ourselves begins with the mercy that we can show ourselves. From here we see how easily it is to expand upon this – to allow others the gentle freedom to make mistakes, to be human, to not always do what we would do.

All world religions share in the importance of what it means to “be love”. They also share similar definitions of “mercy”, “forgiveness”, “compassion”, and “truth”. I share this because it reminds us that across all religions and spiritual beliefs, we are reminded and taught of the importance of being merciful, loving and kind.

Regardless of our religious upbringing most of us have heard the words: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 / Luke 6:31).

Being merciful is your namesake. It is what we can offer to ourselves and one another that speaks to the truth of what are are. We are all seeking the same goodness; the same acceptance; the same attachment to one another in kindness. Showing mercy is our way to be loving – to accept others as they are – to allow for those moments when others may not always be at their best.

How you can be more deliberate in your practice of being merciful? Where in your daily life can this become a greater practice and privilege for you? The reason we consider in advance how and where we will do something is to ensure that it finds a place in our lives and a means by which we can be this – daily.

Think about the typical situations that you encounter – with your partner and spouse, your children, your parents and extended family, with siblings and friends, and with those you work with? How can you be merciful and any of the other words and descriptors of mercy as how you defined it? BOTH WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

If you are already actively mindful of showing mercy in your daily life, ask yourself, ‘What are some different ways that I can expand upon this?” Can you practice deliberate acts of mercy even when you are annoyed, offended, hurt, and when you believe strongly that you are right and someone else is wrong?

Where in your daily life can you practice mercy unto yourself – and to others? When you do so, what would it look like? What would your inner dialogue or self talk be that would help you to remember to be merciful?

Challenge yourself to find new ways of showing mercy in these tougher moments (both to others and to yourself)and when it may seem easier to do what you’ve always done. Write these and place them where you can see your list each day. This becomes a plan that will help you to make this happen.

Close your eyes once more with the intention to give yourself a few more minutes of calm, relaxed breathing. When you open your eyes again, you are ready (with a clear mind) to answer a few more questions as you journey within to experience what it means to be merciful. (At any time, you can close your eyes even momentarily, as it will likely help you call up some of your past memories and experiences).

 

Imagine who you were as a child. Maybe it’s a memory where you can go back in time and yet you can feel right now as though you are this incredible child again. Maybe its a photo or image of your younger self that you see in your mind. However you come to imagine and envision yourself as a most incredible child, begin to paint the picture in detail of who you were based on the following questions I’m going to ask. (Please remember: If you don’t have all of the answers to these questions, that’s perfectly okay, your subconscious mind may give you more answers as you continue to think about this).

As you ask yourself: “Who was I?” take a brief pause as the answers spontaneously reveal themselves. Pause after each of the following questions to give your subconscious mind the time to reveal the answers:

What did I look like?”

See yourself in action. Ask: “What activities or games did I enjoy most?” “What used to make me laugh?” “What did I enjoy doing?” “What was I naturally good at?” “What would I think or daydream about?”

What were some of my proudest moments?” “What did others compliment me for?” “What did I dream about?” “When was I happiest?”

Next, describe your personality? “What core features, characteristics, and mannerisms made you special, unique, original?” Allow the memories to flow into your conscious mind without judging whatever you remember.

Sometimes our mind will show us the difficult or negative moments of our past. Please know that this is perfectly natural. Allow all of the memories that reveal themselves be part of your experience. The difficult moments of our life teach us much about who we are. While we may not be aware of this at the time, whatever you learned from your earliest life experiences has contributed to who you are today in ways that have made you resilient and courageous even if you may not think of yourself as so. For now, if you begin to recall any difficult or painful memories, remember that they don’t make you any less incredible.

Remember all of who you were as an incredible child.

Write all of your answers to: ‘Who was I as a child?’ including the details of how you felt as you saw yourself being your authentic – carefree, happy, curious, and courageous – self.

Now here’s a BIG SECRET that I hope you will remember. When you think about any of the behaviours or mannerisms that you have that cause you discomfort or that you do not like about yourself – these are not (nor were they ever) who you innately are.

In most cases, you learned by observing others or perhaps you were taught certain ways of being. If you think about it, any of the behaviours that you might label as ‘bad’ or wrong – stem from learnings that occurred beginning in childhood. As you reflect on all of the innate goodness of who you were as a child in your answers to the earlier visualization, see if you can remember who you were before or without any of the teachings in which you were taught to dislike, to judge, to be hurtful or mean, to be boastful and show no mercy, and anything else that causes you or others – to suffer. Who you truly are is not these things. Perhaps take one more review of your “Who was I as a child?” list right now to see if you have written anything that you were taught to believe, to act, to fear, that truly wasn’t yours to begin with. Write anything else now about who your original self really is. Allow your inner child to shine through. Let yourself feel connected once again to what you once were.

When we remember who we are, we can begin to reclaim our authentic self. Your inner child is your inner navigation point. It is your truth. Before each of us were told what “not to do”, or how we “should” behave or feel because it is somehow more acceptable, we were intuitively and perfectly being – our true nature.

Finding your way back to who you are begins with acknowledging all that you once were.

Remember all of the goodness of your inner child. Close your eyes one final time as you hold the image of your incredible self – the younger version of who you were – – hold the image of the incredible child that you see in your mind. See yourself clearly, feeling proud, confident, free, strong, and happy. Sit for a few more moments with this impression – allowing it to sink in … deeper. Feel, see and imagine all of the ways that you are incredible – both as your younger self and then….. as you are now.

Consider the moments when you allowed your adult self to be: funny, playful, thoughtful, generous, kind, honest, loyal, curious, excited, happy. When you are being any of these …are you not being your true self?

When we allow our inner child to shine through – we can be childlike in ways that are both beautiful and authentic. We can speak the words of our truth rather than hold ourselves back for fear of “saying the wrong thing” or “being too emotional”. When we allow our inner child’s vulnerabilities to show through we reveal to others our true nature – and this makes us ‘approachable’, ‘honest’ and ‘real’.

And finally, I have one more question about your life as a child?

What would have been your mantra as a child? A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself either quietly or aloud to elicit the feeling state of what you are telling yourself.

Maybe your mantra as a child was: “I can do this!” or “I’m special” or “I’m smart” Think of a mantra based on the words that your inner child would have spoken.

Allow yourself to repeat this mantra silently to yourself. Envision your inner child as you do so. Feel what you feel throughout your body. Now open your eyes again. Take a final few moments to write the words of your mantra. (Hint: Make it an “I AM” statement).

Notice how you are feeling right now.

The journey back to finding ourselves begins in our childhood with the innocent and completely honest depiction of our true self. Your homework from here is to remember all of the childlike qualities that best represent the truth of who you are. As you reconnect with your adult self again, remember these qualities and allow them to come through in everyday life. Let yourself be who you once were in more ways than you have ever been. As you reveal and relax into more of your true self, you will come to feel far more connected with your inner child again and most importantly – to feel connected with the truth of who you are.

 

 

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The WISDOM of LOVE to Cure all things….a Metaphysical Perspective.

One of these days, I’m going to write a more extensive blog on the topic of channeling.  Channeling Divine energy is simply the act of being in touch with your Highest Self.  On some days (like this morning :)) I channel bold global statements that I feel are worthy of sharing – trusting in that those of you on your spiritual path will find the words I write comforting, and inspirational.  To channel or ‘communicate’ with your Highest Self is simply bringing the Divine out of you – whether that be in words, actions of kindness and love, or beautiful thoughts that become wonderful things.  Enjoy!

Love is infinitely strong in its grace; in its capacity for freedom,and acknowledgement of all that is good, comforting, and just in the world.

Love deliberately and joyously given… strengths and heals past wounds for in being forgiving, LOVE overrides despair and initiates understanding and healing.

 

Love does not imitate false hope nor does it pretend that which is untrue or unfaithful.  Love cures all things.  Because of your capacity to elicit love, you feel its healing effects – its soothing properties of lightness and bold expansion coursing through you.  This is how you experience yourself as ‘larger than life’ (not in a boastful, ego-driven way, but as true immensity for greatness).

 

Holding love for others means you can hold more for yourself.  

‘Holding’ (feeling) love for others fills you with the feeling of love.  It is though this that you experience the depth of love you are capable of – directed inward.  Learning how to love the self is one of the greatest life lessons we could ever know.

Namaste everyone!

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Experiencing the After Life

 

What does it mean to have eternal life?  How are we immortal?

If you choose to honour life in its infinite perfection, and for the many experiences – all of which give us incredible opportunity for knowledge, growth, healing, joy (and fun), etc. – then the experience of death is yet another experience of life.

Experiencing death through the expression of life means that we see death as the ending point of ‘this’ life experience, but certainly not the end.  The majority of organized religions believe in the immortality of the soul; and of another life that follows when the embodied soul leaves our physical being.

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The soul as a densely inspired grouping of matter (energy) is what returns to Source.  In it’s divine state, our soul looks to reclaim all of its earthly ‘physical’ experiences, to acknowledge its sojourn as pureness and infinite love.  The hopeful ideal is that the soul’s earthly time in physical form has served to heal and release past karma from previous lives spent as a physical being and to become acknowledged and integrated by the “self”.  Remember the soul is both within us and a part of the universal soul (universal consciousness) and is infinite love.  Our free will determines whether we allow the soul to shine outwardly from within us – its presence to be felt and integrated wholly as the energy of love – or not.  (Free will whether experienced as conscious or unconscious choices exist in humans and in animals; and is always challenged by impulse, instinct, habit – and specifically in humans as ego, and the busy ‘thought’ distractions of the mind).

 

Does the soul consciousness know when it is “time” to leave the physical body?  Can the soul experience a sense of ‘completion’ of its “work” or “objectives” in the physical world and is this related to why some people claim they feel peacefully “ready” for death in the final stages of life?

The physical body does what it is designed to do; live (thrive in fact) until it can no longer (either by our free will choice to die and with that, a refusal to care for our physical body until its uncertain demise, or in some cases, our continued mistreatment of our physical ‘home’, and the unnecessary ‘suffering’ and eventually failure of our physical condition).

If you believe in the theory that we are all energy… that “our” soul energy never ‘dies’ with our physical body but returns to ‘Source’, then all of us are never really dying.  While our physical body does have an ultimate ending point; the soul is eternal.  Remember that the soul (as energy) will at some later time, be embodied in another physical being. Those of us who have the ability to know we are about to ‘leave’ this world have the luxury of making some final plans, of perhaps ‘making peace’ with others, or simply preparing to go.

The soul doesn’t experience physical death – only the moments just prior to death. At ‘death’ the soul consciousness if it is prepared to leave, simply moves from the physical (body) form back into the world of energy.

In the case of animal souls, it has been said that their ‘shorter’ life span has very much to do with the fact that they have completed what experiences or ‘purpose’ they set out in search of.  An animal (and most certainly a domesticated pet) is infinitely loving – something that we as humans spend a great deal of our life failing to master.

 

Do our animal pets contemplate the ending of their life?  Do they have thoughts of “wishing” they were “healthy” or “wishing to die?”  Perhaps we will never have a provable answer to these questions, although it is likely that an animal is more often than not – simply living each moment in the present – and in the best way that they can.

Animals in general… and certainly the animals I have chosen to raise, love, and care for… have always gifted me with lessons of hope, bravery, strength, and unconditional love.  They remind me of the beauty in the simplest of actions, and the perfection in being present in each moment, living intentionally, and of course loving purely and intensely.

 

If we remain observant, animals remind us of our innate nature as: peaceful, curious, vulnerable, playful and loving.  They show us the pure joy in being their innate perfection: watching, running, jumping, chasing what moves, and thriving on being alive.  Sadly it is our ‘human nature’ that creates the complexities, confusion, and angst we live with, robbing us of our pure infinite potential.  Our four legged loved ones also teach us about the simple actions of life and death and of simply moving to another place as ‘energy’.  While most of us fear death, or at the least feel unsettled about it; animals teach us how to live in the physical world until at some point they no longer do so.  They don’t contemplate the ‘ending’ of their life in the same way we do; nor do they (likely) deliberate on it.

 

Animals are instinctive by nature.  They accept whatever is and do their ‘best’ in that moment.  They do not understand labels such as ‘terminal illness’ so they continue living in whatever way possible (and as best as they can) until they can no longer do so.  In many terminal conditions such as cancer, the body slowly deteriorates and the animal’s physical abilities decline until they are just a physical ‘shell’.  The soul remains until the moment of physical death but the animal (and how it was known to be) certainly appears to be ‘gone’.

 

 

It remains to be seen whether all of the ways we attempt to hold off death are really humane after all.

If you knew that you were going to a better place; (if you were shown pictures, or able to watch a movie depicting what your experience would be), would it make it easier to pass, leaving behind this life?  If you were able to remain present and to live each moment, then you likely would not spend much time contemplating what was coming.  Your attention would remain on how you were living right now.

 

Perhaps the most significant thing death teaches us is how to live…how to free ourselves of the unneeded worry and suffering and instead – thrive, enjoy, honour the life we have been given.  Remember all of our experiences are experiences the soul yearns for.

 

Namaste!

www.dorothyratusny.com

 

An added afterthought and update:

This is what we want to hold onto; we want to enjoy the privilege of having the physical moments of: holding, hugging, touching, kissing, and feeling the kinesthetic luxury of being spirit embodied.  We absolutely want to hold onto this physical life and all of its gracious pleasures for as long as we can – even if the quality of our life has changed or deteriorated.

We can also influence a soul’s decision to leave by not wanting the physical being to go.  The idea of ‘giving permission’ for the animal or human to die is a way of energetically detaching – of gently releasing the soul from the physical body – particularly in cases where the soul energy is ‘hanging on’ for the sake of others.

 

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The Path….

The soul’s journey is one of a peaceful existence.   We listen to and allow the many ways in which the soul speaks quietly, purposefully to us and we are gently moved in the ways of spirit.

What does your heart say that honours your spirit best?

This is how you best guide your next actions – your next focus – the guidance that holds your truth is at once the perfect nature – your soul’s path AND the path you are already on.

 

In all of the daily requirements of life, make space in the abundance for inner work; for acknowledging the needs of the soul drive your ‘highest’ actions.  Consider that the way in which you realize the most perfect things in life are also the needs of the soul.

Honour the needs of your soul by asking, “What honours me best right now?”  Then listen and hear the words spoken from within your heart (not your mind).  This is the path you must follow.

Namaste everyone!

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December 2011: Divine Guidance

In November, my suggestion for an inward focus was BALANCE.

Consider how balance comes to play in your life at this moment.

What insights or discoveries do you make when you keep BALANCE in mind during your day?

Has your definition and appreciation of balance changed to include a gentler, more loving way of living life?

 

I am a first born.  The focus in my family of origin was on achievement, success, and doing your best.  Rewards were given as a direct outcome of performance.  My early tendencies were less about honoring balance and more about an ‘all or nothing’ way of looking at life; the ‘all’ approach being my predominant operating mode.

November’s focus of balance brought to light for me one very valuable learning regarding my need to ‘complete’ and ‘finish’ as a way of measuring performance and achievement…and a delightful reminder of the process; the journey; the experiences that occur in our life one moment at a time.

As much as we all need to feel the satisfaction of concluding projects and tasks; it’s also important to remember that our lives are a series of beginning and ending points all within a journey.  In fact, the only real ending of this lifetime occurs when we run out of clock time – at death.

 

Rewriting some of your own beliefs around balance may bring awareness to the fact that each moment of your journey is special and breathtaking.  Rather than simply focus on what achievements you accomplish, revel in the experience and purpose of each moment; the ending points of that experience simply signify that you are ready for the next moment of learning.

 

Each day we have the potential to affect others with positive energy; love, kindness, care, and compassion.  We can, in a single moment lose sight of all of the potential of our smaller moments in pursuit of something we define as ‘bigger’.  In fact, it’s the accumulation of each single moment …and of our thoughtful actions, and compelling emotions that we are moved to live life fully.  What defines us is how we live each moment.

We are blessed with a lifetime of small moments in which to shape, impact and formulate what becomes our life’s greatest work.

Consider taking a moment to reflect on the new meaning of  b a l a n c e  in your life.  Consider what balance could mean to how you live going forward.  Making each moment significant and meaningful in the whole context of your life is the balance of enjoying and living the ‘now’ even as you have plans for future moments.

 

Remember, you don’t get to “relive” past moments.  You can ‘redo’ past moments but you never get back a moment that has passed.  It’s important to consider each moment that is right in front of you as valuable and with potential for creating something special.  The balance lies in appreciating each moment without skipping ahead too far and missing out on what is right in front of you.

 

and so please continue to contemplate and celebrate B A L A N C E  in your life.

 

 

In this last month of 2011, I invite you to contemplate DIVINE GUIDANCE.

What does it mean to be divinely guided?

From where do you receive divine guidance?

Think of Divine guidance as the graceful path we are on.  Sometimes we don’t realize how we got here; our innate talents, learned skills, and knowledge always prepares us for what lies ahead; even when we don’t know what is next.

Divine guidance reminds us that there is always purpose for our life and a perfect path that we have the free will to choose.  When we move off this path; when we are not living our life with honesty, truth and love – we feel disjointed, lost, and as if something important is missing.  Disconnected from divine guidance, we lose touch with the gentle knowing  – the inner felt instinct that helps us make right choices.  Off of our ‘right’ path, things are more difficult, challenging, and frustrating.

During this month what can you do to allow for greater inward guidance? 

What can you begin to put in place right now that will guide you to your inner happiness? 

Divine guidance is the inner perfection that always offers us a ‘right’ path.  It is felt most clearly as a heart driven experience: that is, we feel it in our heart centre rather than something we think about or analyze.  Divine guidance calls us to do something, be something, make a certain change to who we are or how we think; it is a physical change contemplated in the mind but felt in the heart as a ‘right’ step forward.

Returning full circle back to the idea of balance… you can lose yourself in being willing to act on all of the things you believe to be important, forgetting about your need to be still; to contemplate where you want to be, who you want to become; where you are headed.  Divine guidance offers us much to contemplate in order to act with resolve and full appreciation of each moment.  Knowing yourself well comes from knowing what it means to have a ‘life serving’ direction.  Divine guidance is the gentle urging; the inner knowing that comes from our spirit – the divine quality of our nature that is the same as that of the universal consciousness; what we call the divine nature of god.

How do you receive divine guidance?

How do you know what it looks like?  Can you trust it to be right?

Divine guidance is our inner communication with the divine energy that is in all things).  It is your awareness – your inner awakening to this universal consciousness that reminds you that divine guidance has always been with you.  As part of your inherent nature, divine guidance is always accessible should you go within yourself to access it.

Often it is easiest to know it by becoming quiet; listening within, asking specific questions; hearing your inner self – your spirit – speak to you.  This is your unconscious (mind); the part of you that is one with the Divine.  This is your inherent wisdom; your truth…. guiding you….perfectly…to be your highest potential.

Divine guidance is also a faith; an inward reflection of your life that awakens you to believing in something more.  When you are divinely guided you allow your highest self a place in your everyday life.

Keep in mind, divine guidance can also help you look ahead to January and living with …..right FOCUS.

Namaste everyone!

PEACE and good will to all!

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What is GOD?

 

Perhaps still one of the oldest questions that we debate on is the notion of what is GOD?

I continue to hear people refer to god as a person (“he”), or an omnipotent powerful being in which they call and rely on for help.  In doing so, they can leave too much of their life’s plan or plan of action up to ‘chance’ because they have not clearly defined, nor taken control of their present life situation.

In my current (and nearly), completed – book, WISDOM: A guidebook of Universal truths and teachings to inspire and transform consciousness; and for living an enlightened life I speak about questions I have been contemplating for some time: one of which is … WHAT IS god?

And then I answer it!

What’s really important is not so much HOW we see god but that we believe in a universal power or consciousness that is both everywhere and within us at the same time.  Even this notion can be a challenge if our learned religious or cultural beliefs suggest otherwise.

And yet when ancient scriptures talk about “being one with god” and “allowing god’s grace to be within you” this is exactly the message that is being conveyed; for god is more akin to an infinite intelligent energy than a father figure with a beard and robe.

Leaving your life in the hands of a consciousness that you have personalized still means leaving – abdicating – your life.  To do so is not something that empowers you or helps you direct what you want most.

If you pray (or have intimate conversations with ‘god’ or ‘holy spirit’), be clear and specific about what you are looking for help with; what you indeed want and need.  You also need to be grateful for the help you are given and what has manifested itself even when it doesn’t come to you exactly in the way you may have imagined it.

 

The world would indeed be a far more peaceful place if all societies remembered that god is infinite love, truth, and wisdom.  The idea of god as universal intelligence and not omnipotent nor punishing in nature is one that frees us to see greater possibilities for creating and for envisioning in our lives.  We could (and often do) blame accidental death, pain, chronic illness, even natural disasters and hate crimes on god but is that really accurate?

My belief in a universal consciousness – call it god or another name – is that it is infinitely intelligent and purposeful.  Recent scientific and cosmology research has suggested that this consciousness is purposeful in nature, having created the optimal microcosmic requirements for life to exist and be sustained on this planet (and perhaps others).

 

We come into this world innocent, helpless, joyful, and with only love in our hearts.  I have never seen an infant innately know or act hateful, vengeful, angry, or aggressive.  These are all learned experiences and behaviors.  Our inherent nature is one of love instead.

When you live with the SPIRIT of god within you, you actually live of your truest essence.  Your ‘best’ qualities of love, kindness, truth, honesty, and your willingness to selflessly give of your true nature come through clearly…easily.

If you acknowledge that through (the idea of) being god-like, you can live a divine existence right now – it frees you to do so.  You no longer doubt your capability to be an incredible being because the qualities that make you so, you already possess.  Our job as human beings in physical form, is simply to express – or be – the incredible nature that we already are.

That is what we can ascribe to.  That is what allows us to be spirit in action – god-like in physical form.

God is the name we have given for the infinite consciousnessess that is pure, loving, intelligent – purposeful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beyond the Ordinary…

Sometimes you are called upon to do extraordinary things.

When this happens …act upon this calling… for it will mean that you serve in a life altering way for another human being.  Going beyond the ordinary isn’t about power; it is about service.  It is about following the inner calling that says, “help this person”.  It’s about using your own innate abilities – your god-given gifts – to help others… and to do so simply… because you can.

In life, we often look for reasons why we should do things.  Finding a ‘should’ is troublesome because it says we ought to do something but we don’t really want to.  Should is never a word that ideally drives an important decision.  If you choose to do something because you want to; because you can; because it is important in some way – then you are almost guaranteed that the
outcome will be grand. 

No, you may not become famous or instantly rich because of one grand gesture of kindness.  But you will make a difference in the world.  And if you are fortunate enough to see the impact of your kindness; your help; your loving nature; that is a gift unto itself. 

Your choice to help someone in need is beautiful karma that will return tenfold in wonderful ways in your life – and even while you don’t choose to be extraordinary as a means to building your karmic ‘bank account’, wonderful acts of grace and kindness go far in building a beautiful life.

Photo by Katie Hebert www.katiehebert.com

Consider what you can do to go beyond what you’ve always done. 

Be mindful of your ‘grace-filled’ talents and gifts that are easy for you to share, even as others may not have these same abilities. 

Share your divine nature with others simply because you can…and see how your small efforts to help make someone else’s life better…for just that moment – or for a lifetime.

Namaste!

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The Spiritual ‘INWARD’ Journey

A spiritual journey is one which begins with a genuine desire for knowing SELF.  It commands inner reflection, contemplation and meditation (quiet/silent focus of the mind) that comes out of intentional conscious awareness: and the premise that you need to awaken to your life – to be an active directive player of your life …guiding, shaping, realizing …what first you imagine and create in your mind.

I am the first to support the notion of being “right where you are” to begin any spiritual journey.  Learning to quiet the mind in order to “listen” to your inner being – your true oneness with the Divine – is something that, when cultivated as a daily practice – you are able to experience anywhere …everywhere.

And yet sometimes, our inward spiritual journey is assisted greatly by the outward experiences of our life.

One of the most marvelous learnings that I strive to share to others is the vast infiniteness to which we are both capable of and connected with.  As we live our lives confined by our physical properties, and of space and time, it can be challenging to think of what we cannot see with our eyes. 

Of course, it is the illusion that we are individual beings, separate from others, that causes us to focus on our lives in a microscopic way rather than as being a part of the same ONENESS that created everything.

Chaco Canyon view from Pueblo Bonito

Chaco canyon is located within Chaco Culture National Historical Park –host of the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.  Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States’ most important precolumbian cultural and historic areas.  (Source: Wikipedia)

To experience the Canyon (and trust me…there is so much to see!) one must leave the nine-mile, paved loop drive from I40 to drive into the heart of the Canyon itself.  Unpaved, clay/dirt roads with little to no signposts… and only the gentle guidance of delicate tiny birds (who appeared and then disappeared out of nowhere), magically lined my path in.  Travelling for miles without any sign of human life; you cannot help but FEEL the immense vastness as you look all around you – as far as your eyes can possibly see; knowing that what surrounds you is a part of something even more immense – impermanent and ever-changing.  Chaco Canyon is a part of the world that remains to remind us of what was and what is.

As someone who has an unexplainable draw to nature, and the graceful need to connect with mother earth daily… I could not help but feel the growing, impassioned need to get out of the car and walk; to feel the earth beneath my feet, touch the rocks, the distinctive shrubs and desert grass that is so foreign to my native environment; and to experience the strong wind that lives there – breathes there – reminding one of the infinite power that also exists within us. 

The journey into Chaco Canyon is a reminder of the vastness we are.  This is evident in the Canyon’s physical presence and wonder; but arriving home, I can feel it’s expansiveness; its vastness; its beauty – within me. 

This vastness exists within each one of us.

Be reminded that your spiritual journey exists – that you may already indeed be on it.  Be open to the infinite beauty of your own journey… your life’s path… and the possibilites that will present themselves so that you can experience the vastness that exists within you … including what it means to be truly ONE with the infinite consciousness – source energy.

We are indeed much more than our individual self; we are connected to each other … to everything.  To experience this is truly remarkable!

 

 

Some Interesting Information:

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling 15 major complexes which remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.  

Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the Sun Dagger petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example.  Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction. (Source: Wikipedia)

Chaco Canyon's Fajada Butte

“The Chaco Canyon area was first inhabited in the middle of the ninth century and reached its peak importance about 200 years later, by which time the population reached 4,000 and over a hundred satellite villages had been constructed across north New Mexico.  Trade routes were opened up with more distant settlements in Colorado, Arizona and north Mexico, and yet as with all other ancient civilizations in this part of the Southwest, the thriving Chacoan colony declined rapidly and all the great houses were abandoned in the late thirteenth century, though this site in particular retains great significance to many modern Indian tribes. Chaco became part of the national park system (as a national monument) in 1907 and was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.”

Source: americansouthwest.net

 

And finally…

A special thanks to my dear and talented friend Donna Taylor-Hurst, a wise and beautiful woman whose gentle urging was the inspiration for a visit to this sacred place.  And to a new dear friend, Marshall Bear who echoed the significance of this visit, and whose kindness and compassion will always stay with me…. Thank you to you both!

 

 

…go within everyone…..find your place on your own inward journey and en “joy” it.

 

Namaste,

Dorothy

 

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just…let go

How would you assess your first week of a brand new year in your life?

Have you experienced everything exactly as you have imagined…or have there been challenges?

Any time you set an intention you can be sure that you will receive Universal Guidance, help, and the occasional challenge to test how well you are doing (and to give you a gentle reminder of that original intention).

In my previous blog, I encouraged you to consider the month of January as a time of ‘surrender and release’ to all that is not working in your life; and to all things that do not serve your highest good. 

 

Anytime you are faced with: conflict, hardship, awkward / tense moments, critical thoughts, a difficult situation, or any challenge that creates disharmony; consider surrendering to it and releasing – letting it go. 

Give up your typical way of responding to these events:  e.g. fighting to hold on to it, needing to fix or change it, making it your responsibility / obligation / or duty, and notice what freedom you make room for in your life. 

The idea of a practice of “letting go” means that you can free yourself.  Ideally you free yourself to come back to the right direction of your life, your purpose, and your path.  Letting go also means freeing yourself of all of the moments (and sometimes hours or even days) of analyzing, critiquing, replaying a story narrative in your mind, and the emotions of angst and unhappiness that go along with your ruminating inner thoughts. 

To truly surrender and release means that you can let go of what you have always done (and which likely isn’t working) and examine the situation from your own perspective.  This isn’t an opportunity to point a finger outward and blame others, rather let others be who they are without needing to personalize their behavior as something that was done to you.

Focus on how you will let go (‘surrender – release’):  feeling hurt, sadness, worry, anxiety, grief, anger, or any other emotion that comes from all of the conscious (and unconscious) inner dialogue that you have created in your mind.

Bring your attention back to how you can let go / release the situation, the events, or the person that wronged you – and return to your life, your focus, your goals and intentions for how you wish to be, all that will serve your highest self (the part of you that is most pure; and closest to god-like).

Surrender and release means you bring the focus back to you as a changing, evolving, loving being and how you might return to living your life the best way possible.

When you begin to walk around in your life….reminding yourself to surrender and release to things that otherwise caused you disappointment, upset, or inner turmoil, you actually create moments of “pause”… of positive reflection on who you are and where you’re headed before you move toward it…ever so gracefully.

‘…Surrender and Release’

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if every day…

GENEROSITY Visit www.ElenaRay.com for more beautiful photography

What does the magic of Christmas feel like?  Think about it for a moment and re-experience those feelings within you.  Christmas inspires your heart in ways you don’t always experience.  We associate Christmas with ideals of love, kindness, giving, joy, hope, and special moments that come from our ideas and ideals of what it means to share, love, and be joyful. 

It isn’t the 25th of December that conjures these inner feelings in your heart but the idea of what you associate Christmas to mean. e.g. LOVE, WARMTH, t e n d e r n e s s, kindness, appreciation, L A U G H T E R, goodness, pleasant thoughts, magical momentsCHEER, good will toward others. 

So I ask of you this:

“What if every day…”

…you woke up, feeling excited about the promise of what today would bring

…you looked forward to seeing family and spending time having fun, laughing, sharing, allowing the day to simply be

what was important was the idea of giving kindness to others

…you wanted to make the most of every moment

…you gave others gifts…sometimes store bought, mostly gifts from your heart

you made an extra effort to be on good behavior

…you loved…simply because you could

What if every day were like today…like you decided it needed to be?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

…and special blessings for every day of you life.

Dorothy
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Celebrate…

During December, as the people of the world celebrate their culture’s holidays, I am reminded of the beauty that we strive to create:  candles lit on menorahs, wreaths to decorate our front doors, lights that create amazing brightness, ornaments and objects shimmering, sparkling, bright colors that are seen everywhere, and delicious foods that we indulge in and enjoy. 

What are you celebrating?   

Take a moment to answer this.  Whatever first pops into your mind is usually your higher self speaking. 

Photographer: Chloe Whitehorn 'Christmas Stills' www.aMusePhoto.com

Sometime the answers are: LOVE, PEACE, gathering with family and friends, or perhaps you are celebrating a new chapter in your life.

But… ARE you celebrating?

In 2010, consider all of your joyful moments, endeavors, amazement, hardships, peace, and moments of pure exhilation.  What about your life can you celebrate? 

Are you healthy? employed? in a loving relationship? embracing singlehood or the ending of a less healthy relationship?  Are you generally happy?  Have you learned things?  Are you loved?  Are you proud of your children?  Are you grateful?  Do you have a bed to sleep in at night? 

How might you celebrate your life; YOU; or the possibility of what is next? 

How can you celebrate these things…today, tomorrow, and each day of your life?

The message of celebration is to embrace it.

 

I hope that you choose to celebrate your lifeand celebrate often!

Blessings to all!

Dorothy

 

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A Gift of Helping…

If you remember back to a recent post this month… I talk about the idea of 

B A L A N C E. 

Here is an element of how to create true balance in your life…now and always:

Do you wonder if it is when you reach out toward others that you somehow feel supported, cherished, loved?  Is it because of the inspiration that comes from helping others, or is it of knowing that you can help?

Much of the time we do not realize the value of being able to help.  The need to connect with others to share of ourselves with them in part teaches us the nature of freedom in our own life and in our ability to become true servants of god.

When you make the decision to be of help you are saying that you realize the potential of your nature – you realize the freedom of your life to take on new opportunities and challenges… to seek out beauty for your life. 

When you realize the incredible power in helping others: heal, learn, know…it is like you are saying that you know – that you have the ability to do something well, to share, to help…and it is in sharing this knowledge outwards that you realize the true nature of what is possible.

This is the true meaning of love – to create joy for others through helping, sharing, being kind and gracious.  This is how we will all learn and grow. 

Blessings for this time of year and always,

Dorothy 

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You Already Are…

Hualapai Indian Territory, 3500 ft at base of Grand Canyon

I think about the fact that we are both perfect and at the same time, evolving…a work in progress.  This notion is prevalent in Yoga practice: in the idea of Sankalpa which encourages us to be, enjoying our perfection and our beautiful nature as unique beings – while at the same time, considering what our true life’s purpose is and creating that in our lives. 

While it is important that you continue to evolve, grow, and nourish your self – seeking out ways to become more, better, kinder; consider that you essence – your true spirit – is perfect and has always been exactly what you need; exactly what you want to become. 

You both are and are evolving at the same time. 

You are the hockey coach, the concert pianist, the philanthropist, the author, the photographer, the poet.  You are whatever you truly desire to be – while at the same time you are the evolution of this self.

Just as this magnificent tree exists, growing among the rock (where the Colorado River established its course through the Grand Canyon at least 17 million years ago), you exist –  already magnificent, perfect – perfection – while at the same time, growing and evolving as well. 

 
Live by the knowledge that you already have within you all that you will ever need.  The other part of your human experience is to bring out – to evolve – your self in order that you may live your life’s purpose…that you may live in your full magnificence.

 
If you wish to do some further reading on the idea of life’s purpose and to discover what the purpose is of your life, I can suggest a book that I’ve heard some good things about….
 
Namaste!

 

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GROWTH-CHANGE-GRATITUDE

Some of you have kindly been following some of the writing I do as a columist and guest writer in other magazines.  Thank you!

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the upcoming issue of HEART: Business Journal for Women.  The release of the latest online issue is available November 12 and the editor as kindly allowed me to share a link for you to download free the entire issue.  It’s filled with great articles on, fashion, business, food, and personal life.  Enjoy!

GROWTH…..CHANGE….GRATITUDE 

My approach to life (which inherently shows up in my work as a Psychotherapist, Life Coach and Author) is ‘forward-minded’.  I ascribe to the notion that standing still (metaphorically speaking) means I am not moving forward and I need to move forward in order to create, inspire, live, enjoy and become ‘more’.  ‘More’ in this case means: evolving, growing, learning and changing in order to become a better (human and spiritual) being.  I am also a big believer in ‘walking the talk’ – I can’t expect clients and others to practice the core values I suggest and share if I don’t.  This certainly doesn’t mean that I am perfect but rather that I too am walking gratefully in my own journey.

At the same time I promote and recognize growth and change, I am very aware of the incredible lightness that comes from being grateful and content with what ‘is’ and joyful in ‘present moment awareness’.  In order to facilitate positive change, it’s imperative that you know what you want.  Reflecting “forward” means paying close attention to where you currently are in a way that also highlights for you what you’ve accomplished to date. 

So many people consider action as movement in some way.  Fewer people realize that before you move in any direction, some thought, reflection, and planning deserves to go into guiding you.  Your forward action also needs to be based on what is most important and valuable to you.

* To read the entire article, please Email subscriptions@heartbusinessjournal.com and reference Promotional Code HBJFWNov12DorR10 for a free viewing of issue #10.

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Where is your Spirit?

Of all of the things you are doing to stay busy in the world, how much attention have you given to your needs of spirit?

Spirit: defined as the ethereal part of us that is invisible yet life sustaining – our life force and the eternal part of life – needs attention, nurturing, honor.

Spirit is what sustains us.  We might say that our spirit has been lost, damaged, burdened, downtroddened.  What does it mean to nourish your spirit?

in times of old, people used to consider that their spirit may be possessed – in need of a ritualistic ‘cleansing’ by a religious practicing member of an organized faith.  What our modern day spirits are in need of is nourishment through acts of kindness, doing ‘good’, self-care, loving behaviors. 

We can be reminded of this most easily when we take a baby in our arms and outpour our love – whether it is crying, playing, cooing, or sleeping, we can easily feel the simple quality of it’s spirit:  it is light, goodness, warmth, gentle.

How does your Spirit reflect itself?  How does it show itself in interaction with others?  With you?

As part of my suggestion for taking this month of November and focusing on all of the inner work that we might do…take a moment to consider your Spirit and your life force energy.  You breathe and exist because of it.  From the moment of your birth, and from your first outward ‘breathe’ of this world, your spirit has existed. 

How aware of it are you? 

Every time you breathe, notice where the energy goes that you take in.  Notice the quality of your breathe and nourish your spirit.  Consider what it means to be a spiritual being having a phyisical existence….

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