Proclamation of Gratitude

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

It has been two years since I began this blog with some dear friends and family. There has been so much learning and exploration in that time. Wondering about connection and coming to understand it more from all sorts of different perspectives. Approaching also an understanding of my own dreams and their possible grander purposes.

A friend recently reminded me that we sometimes teach what it is that we most need to learn and although I don’t know if I have taught anyone much of anything here, I know that I have learned. And I know that it has been a wonderful experience to share that road with many wonderful people.

In this month the holidays are approaching with all of the excitement, nostalgia and odd melancholy that can come with that visitation. A milestone birthday also approaches for me in December causing me to reflect a great deal, with both yearning for the many unrealized hopes of these past years and with affection and not a little awe for those many that are realized and thriving. Finally, it seems social media is saturated right now with sentiments of gratitude in honor of Thanksgiving.

So in light of these events aligning as they are, it seems like a good time to share in the spirit of gratitude…not only to be grateful for this month of thanks, but to remind my own heart of the great unearned blessings and the ever-renewed potential that we are constantly experiencing in life if we will just hold on and believe in them.  And so…..

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Thank you for this life.

Thank you for the beauty I contribute to this life.

Thank you for the divinity that fills us and inspires the beauty I contribute to this life.

Thank you for the people who have guided me toward the divinity that fills us and inspires the beauty I contribute to this life.

Thank you for the love I have learned from the people who have guided me toward the divinity that fills us and inspires the beauty that I contribute to this life.

Thank you for the love I have learned from the people who have guided me toward the divinity that fills us, connects us and inspires the beauty that I contribute to this life.

Thank you for the love I have learned from the people who have guided me toward the divinity that fills us, connects us and inspires the beauty that I contribute to this life as I grow in strength through every experience of both joy and pain.

Thank you for the love I have learned from the people who have guided me toward the divinity that fills us, connects us and inspires the beauty that I contribute to this life on our precious Earth as I grow in strength through every experience of both joy and pain. 

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Much love to you all. Happy holiday season and may you be abundantly blessed through acceptance of the blessings that are at all times at your fingertips.

~~~S Wave~~~

Cry, Laugh, and Pick Up the Phone

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

– The Dalai Lama XIV

It has been a trying week for our nation. In light of the tragedies that we have experienced in Boston and Texas, I  reiterate the importance of connecting with those you love. (See Holidays and Hurricanes from last November.) It seems that through tragedy we do strengthen the bond that we have with others and experience a renewed sense of community.

hug

What else can you do during weeks like this? Cry. I recently heard that tears contain toxins that your body flushes out as you cry. It turns out that a man named William Frey was the first one to discover this. He found that emotional tears (as opposed to other kinds, like those we get from onions) contain the most amount of stress chemicals like leucine-enkephalin and prolactin. Crying also has been linked to lowering heart rate and the production of endorphins. It’s a wonderful thought. I like to think that it is not random that crying “feels” good. Our body—knowing always what we need—is doing something purposeful, not wasteful

On the other side of that coin though is the healing power of laughter. Today was a markedly gloomy day for me compared to the previous 2 months or so. Let’s just say I purged a lot of leucine-enkephalin and prolactin today. At one point while in the car, something crossed my mind that made me chuckle out loud despite my melancholy. I noticed that it felt good. So I tried to think of something else that I knew would make me laugh. So I thought of this:

got your noseFor some reason it just always makes me laugh. That laguh felt good too. I wanted another and so I recalled one my own recent blog posts, It’s Not That Serious. Then I wanted another laugh and another. I’ve heard of people doing “laughter yoga” and even though I have difficulty picturing a group laughing session, I can see why laughter would be a part of a wellness regiment. Laughter is good for your chemical makeup. Like crying, it produces endorphins. It also relieves muscle tension, strengthens your heart, and boosts your immune system.

After crying and laughing and having a long (and long overdue) phone call with a loved one, all my problems weren’t solved. The world wasn’t nicer. The future wasn’t clearer. Boston wasn’t healed. Those lost in Texas weren’t returned to their loved ones. I hadn’t reconciled all my questions with God. But, I was calmer. My mind wasn’t spinning like it had been most of the day. I felt loved. I felt more hopeful.

So don’t forget to let yourself cry if you need to. Yes, even you men! Let your body clean itself out. And then don’t forget to laugh. Can’t think of anything to laugh about? Then find your nearest Laughter Yoga class. And if all that doesn’t work, call someone you love and let the mysterious and beautiful human connection heal you a little bit. It will most likely heal them too.

Have a beautiful Sunday. As always, I am so thankful for YOU.

~~~S Wave~~~

The Opposite of Love

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

– Saint John

We teach that hate is the opposite of love, but I’ve been thinking that it is actually fear that is the opposite.

As I was writing about the things I want to transcend, I realized that most of the things that we want to overcome can be reduced down to a fear. Let’s say, for example, that I want to overcome a concern about what others think of me. That’s reasonable. But where does that concern come from in the first place? Fear, right? Fear that if someone thinks something negative then I’ll be shunned, rejected, left. So isn’t it really from the fear that I would have to be liberated first?

Fear, though, gets forgotten as our attention and our “treatments” gets directed to what are really just the manifestations of the fear. We end up being held back from knowing the fullness of our Selves and the beauty of our dreams because the underlying fear isn’t addressed. Imagine if that fear was gone. What if the prospect of rejection, neglect, and abandonment just wasn’t scary in the first place? What if you weren’t scared of loss, of death, of pain? Sounds pretty liberating.

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In my experience, the first step to getting free from fear is recognizing that it’s there. When you think you are upset by something, try being still and asking our mind and your body what they are really scared of. Accept the answer you get without judgement and with great compassion. Connect with your belief in a higher power that is interested only in your greatest good. Then you are ready to begin to let that fear go.

Some fears are easy to change simply by CHOOSING to believe in something different. For example, if I declare that I believe in all things working together for good, it is much easier for me to release the fear of failure, because even “failures” must be part of the good that is unfolding. They lose their power.

Other fears of course aren’t so easy to let go of. The process might be longer, but it is the same in principle. No matter what your belief system is, if you sit with compassion and listen to the pain that resides in you, asking it what it needs and offering YOUR love to it, I believe that it must dissipate. Because love does cast out fear.

Media credit: Leah Piken Kolidas

Media credit: Leah Piken Kolidas

Besides your own liberation and accessibility to your dreams, there is another benefit to realizing that fear is the opposite of love: you begin to have more compassion for others.

I have someone in my life who must have been sent to teach me about loving others! I sometimes find this person to be condescending or dismissive toward me which then triggers sensitivities in me and make me feel hostile toward her. It’s a terrible, but common cycle. This morning, as I was thinking about my experiences with her, these realizations about fear  entered my mind at the same time and I realized that the two are related. I realized that just as I have fears that lead me to operate in less than love, so too does everyone.

As I reconceptualize her condescension as a product of fear–hers and mine–I can feel compassion for the two of us. We become reduced to our essences…two souls traveling in this journey on Earth together and navigating our experiences with our own level of consciousness at this point in time and space. Separateness becomes comradery. We’re in this together! Why be cells that are battling against each other when we can come together and form something new??

Of course she may not have the same realization, but suddenly that doesn’t matter. I recognize and express gratitude for our connection and I embrace her in a protective, prayerful energy that genuinely desires her highest good. It feels good to be free. And to let her be free as well.

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I have been receiving a lot of wonderful, simple insights during my times of prayer and meditation. I post these most frequently on our Facebook page so don’t forget to visit us there. You are all such joy to me. May you be free from fear today!

What is Written On Your Banner?

This is going to sound odd, but it will make perfect sense by the time you get to the end of this post:  Sometimes my friend and I place a banner over one another.

This began years ago during our prayer time together. I don’t know exactly how it started except that –knowing us–one of us probably had an intuition to do it and so we went with it. For us, it means that we are claiming something for the other. For example, I might say, “I am placing the banner of ‘I AM COMPLETE’ over you,” when my friend feels a strong sense of lack. She might place a banner of “STRENGTH” over me when I feel scared. You get the idea. It’s not a literal banner (that would be pretty cool though) but it is a spiritual proclamation of allowing, inviting, and claiming that thing to be so.

In Song of Solomon, the lovesick maiden coos, “He led me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love.” Moses built an alter and named it, “The Lord is my Banner.” We wave our literal banners to demonstrate our allegiances and our pride. In a spiritual sense, the banners we place over ourselves, our days, our friends, or our homes do the same. We can either be intentional in placing our banners, or we can be unintentional. If we are filling our homes with stress and worry, then our banner unintentionally reads, well, STRESS and WORRY. Or maybe FEAR, because isn’t that the root of stress and worry anyway?

Today, I had a moment in which I asked myself: What does my banner read today? If I had to be honest, it would have read IMPATIENCE in that moment. After all, there I was stuck in L.A. traffic running 30 minutes late already. Luckily I remembered the power of my intention. I took down that banner and unfurled the one that reads: TRANSCENDENCE. Today—heck, maybe for the rest of the month!—my banner will read TRANSCENDENCE. I claim transcendence at all levels. Transcendence above my immediate circumstances and the emotions they trigger. Transcendence above my ego. Transcendence above my physical urges. Transcendence above my mortality. Transcendence closer and closer to God.

So I want to know!…What is on your banner today??

What are you connecting with and claiming? Can you think of someone who doesn’t have the strength to lift their own banner right now? Can you lift one for them? Let’s connect not just in love, and not just through energy, but also in power and for strength.

Have a beautiful, transcendent day!!

Love, the Liberator

“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates.”

– Maya Angelou

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Today I took a meditation hike. I listened to Vive’s album, Chakra Songs, and ended my walk on top of a ridge at Hollyridge trails.

Today's meditation spot

Today’s meditation spot

I thought a lot about love up there and what can sometimes keep us from being able to love in the way we want to. Maybe you’re like me and have certain familiar walls up that impede the exchange of love between you and others. And by love I mean love that moves no matter context, no matter mood, no matter consequences. The “do unto others” and “turn the other cheek” kind of love. Today I decided that I’m tired of my walls. My walls have been defending me for a long time. Letting those come down puts me in all kinds of harm’s ways. Unfortunately, those same walls also keep me locked in.

I want to be liberated.

I believe that God is pure pure pure love.  There is no other ingredient in God but love and there is no other source of love but God. I believe that God’s love is unconditional. I know that showing and receiving that kind of love isn’t something you can fake or really even learn. Perhaps allowing (as opposed to concocting) unconditional love to flow in and out of me–which is really what it (i.e., God) wants to do anyway–is THE ultimate defense and simultaneously the ultimate liberation.

I’ve never thought of it that way. I’ve always thought that to love others meant letting myself get hurt and that somehow I would have to grin and bear that. It always meant being a martyr. Moreover, it was something I had to work really really hard at doing. But imagine answering hate with genuine love, answering betrayal with genuine love, answering neglect with genuine love. Imagine having a response of love be your nature.

Why can’t it be so?

One thing I have learned from years of trial and error, is that just saying a genuine “YES!” to what you feel bubbling up inside you makes the heavens and the earth respond. Things begin to happen. Changes occur. I have felt something bubbling up in my spirit and it has to do with this question of love. A new understanding is brewing.

So be it. Here I Am!

A woman offering up her heart for the divine intentions inside and outside of me to do what they will for love. I say YES to the challenge of letting old defensive walls crumble, and I know that the universal response will not disappoint. I surrender my human efforts and wait for a path to appear. Let’s see what happens!

Birthday Gratitude

I cherish this quote. It reminds me to give thanks for all the things in my life that are precious to me. Sometimes they go overlooked, but they are worthy of my impossible constant gratitude. I recognize, as well, that they are my lifesavers. Indeed, they are my very life.

Read this aloud to your own heart, slowly. ❤

lifesavers

Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.

– Karen Eiffel (played by Emma Thompson) in Stranger Than Fiction

Postscript: Today is my birthday and on this day I want to tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you who has shared in the creation and blossoming of this little endeavor, Life As a Wave. You  have been a lifesaver as well, giving me another reason to rise to the challenge of remaining optimistic, hopeful and full of faith no matter what. May our exchange of words continue to buoy us through the waters and gently demand our continued growth as individuals and communities.

With love,

~~~S Wave~~~