This past weekend I went to a garden store. I was looking for some different ideas for my garden, as some of the annuals that I had planted didn’t seem to be doing too well. As I looked around I came upon a flat of the plants that I had planted. There was a sign above them that told where to plant them and how to care for them. The sign concluded by saying: “Removing dead blooms will promote more blooms.” Aha! That was what I was doing wrong. I wasn’t pinching off the dead blooms. I went home and pinched them, and already I can see a difference!
Another metaphor for life. In order to grow, I need to pinch off the dead blooms within me.
Many of us walk around with lots of dead blooms which sap our energy and discourage the growth of full colorful blooms. These dead blooms could be resentments, a lack of forgiveness, an unresolved argument with our partner, friend or family member, a poor self image, negative thinking, a lack of self care, a lack of spiritual practice etc. For me, I find that negative thoughts (which emanate from a deep hurt) are the dead blooms I carry and I see how very much they hold me back from getting into life and giving it what I have to offer. Only this morning as I was meditating I again became aware of some negative thoughts and quickly began replacing them with positive thoughts. It was amazing how quickly I began to move from a place of low energy to a place of growing energy. Pinching those dead blooms almost immediately encouraged new growth and energy!
What are the dead blooms that you still carry with you that sap your life force? Perhaps today we could do a little pruning and in the process, feel the life force grow within us!
I had a physical trainer once who said to me: “A little exercise done consistently is much better than a lot done sporadically.”
After a late Fall and Winter of being a slug – physically at least – I have, of late, been slowly getting back into my exercise routine. The older I get, the harder I find that it is to get back into a routine after a time away. It helps me tremendously, though, when I remember what that trainer said. When I realize that I only have to do a little consistently it helps motivate me. On the other hand, when I think that I have to do a lot I get a bit paralyzed and chances are I won’t do anything.
This is a good metaphor for life.
Sometimes we get paralyzed when we think of everything we’ve got to do or should be doing. The thoughts get so daunting that we sometimes end up doing nothing. Whether it be working on a relationship, a project at home, time taken for spiritual growth, dealing with an addiction, caring for the poor and less fortunate of our world, or whatever it is that we feel Life is asking of us – it helps when I just think of doing a little bit consistently. Those recovering from addictions talk of taking things just “one day at a time.” The thought of not doing something the rest of my life is too much. But the thought of just not doing it today is more palatable and motivating.
What is the nudge that you feel from Life? What improvement for yourself or others is it asking from you? Just do a little bit today. . . . Then tomorrow, do a little bit again. “A little bit done consistently is much better than a lot done sporadically.”
Last evening I had the pleasure of spending a little time with a friend of mine who radiates wonderfully positive energy. She lights up a room when she walks in because of the light within her. This is a woman who has suffered deeply in her life. Despite that suffering, she maintains a deep faith and belief in the goodness of people and in God. Despite adversity, she looks for the positive in her life and what, even seemingly bad experiences can be leading her to.
She is one who looks at every event and person that comes into her life as a teacher and an energy brought into her life for a reason. Because she believes so deeply in Goodness, even tragic experiences become a conduit, a door to deeper living and loving. Does she get down at times? Yes. But her faith, her positive attitude and her self giving spirit lift her from what could be a depressing life filled with self pity. Instead of wallowing in self pity, she looks consistently to the needs of others. She is also one who makes mistakes at times, but rather than spending days berating herself, she admits it, deals with it and then goes on with life.
She may not be rich materially, but she is firmly convinced that she will be taken care of. Because she believes this, she doesn’t cling to what she has, but freely gives. And because of her wonderfully positive energy, she attracts wonderful people and things into her life. I wanna be just like her when I grow up!
This gives me pause to think about the energy that I am putting out there. Is it attractive? What kinds of things and people am I consequently attracting into my life?
If I’m not “attractive,” what can I do to change that?
The other day I had the pleasure of visiting a friend of mine who is a monk. I drove to his monastery to spend the greater part of a day with him. As I headed out of the city and into the country I could literally feel my body relax and my mind calm. As I entered the silence of the monastery I could feel something shift within me. It felt as if my inner gas tank was being filled and as if a Divine Chiropractor was adjusting my body spirit so that I could be more lined up with the Source Energy within me. It was wonderful visiting with my friend; but, to be honest, I yearned for a bit more time in solitude.
On my way there and back I listened to a set of talks by Dr. Wayne Dyer on “The Power of Intention.” He spoke eloquently about being lined up with Source Energy within. It struck me that this is one of the most important things that we need to be about in our living – to take time to line ourselves up with this energy. If we are lined up, then the rest of life will flow. If we are lined up with this Energy within wonderful things simply begin to manifest in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
We live, however, in an ever more frenzied society that runs at fever pitch and is suspect of such a “waste” of time. I am convinced that this incessant stream of activity keeps us forgetful of the Power within us and so we live like squirrels running on treadmills, . . . going nowhere fast. The irony is that if we would “waste” a little time in silence getting focused we would live much more meaningful and productive lives. It is no wonder that those who we would consider “enlightened” spent significant time in silence and meditation; . . . and they accomplished wonderful things! The fact is, the more we “do” and the more we avoid this “holy waste of time” the LESS we will accomplish. Perhaps we should waste a little time today and step into the stream of Divine Energy.
Spread the word! Don’t hold it in and don’t let anyone convince you that you are not a Word spoken in time for a reason.
Each of us has a mission, something to accomplish and someone to touch. There is something in you and you alone which can make a difference in someone’s life.
Unfortunately some are convinced that they don’t have much to offer. Some have been told that because of who they are they have nothing spiritual to offer others. They said the same of the Christ. What good can possibly come from Galilee? Isn’t this Joseph’s son? “If you find that the world hates you, know that is has hated me before you (see John 15: 18-21).” As a young gay man I felt I had absolutely nothing to offer. I still at times feel the pain of knowing that some people, who love what I say when I give talks, out rightly reject me when they find out I am gay. Whether one is gay or not, sometimes we feel or are made to feel that we don’t have much to offer. And so we hide in a very small world. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I started this blog; to reach out in cyberspace, to share a story and a word that will hopefully lift others up. If you find that you are inspired by what is said here, spread the word. Tell others about this blog.
The fact is, each of us has a story that can be an inspiration to someone else. We just need to get out there and spread the word! . . . Someone is out there with your same story who yearns to be lifted up and given a word of hope.
John 15: 12-17
“There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
If I live life focused only on myself and what I can get out of life or this person, I will always be frustrated and unsatisfied. Lot’s of relationships fail because they are entered out of a sense of need. I feel an emptiness or lack inside and then I meet this guy or gal and he or she makes me feel whole and happy. And if my neediness is great, I quickly begin to drain them of their energy. A relationship based on how this person can fulfill MY needs is doomed to failure. A life based merely on what I can get from it and not what I can give to it is a half lived life and will not lead to joy.
It’s amazing what happens when we begin to give to life! I was taught by nuns when I was a boy and they often said that if you give, you will receive a hundredfold of what you give. OK, let’s face it, some of their ideas were pretty wacky. But some of them were right on! Watch what happens when you begin to give to life. At the minimum we will have a sense that our life matters in some way, that it’s making a difference and this alone can bring a sense of peace and joy within.
The energy or resources that we send out to the world come back to us and often times in increased measure! If we look at our world, at our relationships and at ourselves, lots of unhappiness emanates out of a sense of self centeredness. When we begin to let go and give of our time, our love and our resources amazing things begin to happen. Give a little today . . . and watch what happens!
John 15: 9-11
“All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete!”
I believe it was Thomas Merton who said that one of the hallmarks of a genuine spirituality is laughter. And any who really knew him would tell you right away that Merton was often to be found telling jokes and rolling about in laughter!
Where did we ever get this notion that God doesn’t want us to be happy? The Source of all that is DOES want us to be happy, and even more than that, God wants us to be joyful! True spirituality will lead to joy! If it doesn’t lead to joy, it’s not authentic. Look around at “spiritual” people. Do they exude a sense of joy or do they walk around with pain or fear written in their faces? Having a spiritual path is about being “redeemed” from pain and that which weighs us down in life, that we might live life to the full. If it isn’t, why bother?
Am I feeling a sense of joy in my living and loving? If I am not, then something in my spiritual practice (i.e. life) needs to be adjusted. The first question I need to ask if I am feeling stagnant is: Am I watching my thoughts and reaching out in love to those in need? Oftentimes I find that I begin to be less joyful when I am mired in negative thinking and when I am only looking to my own needs to the exclusion of the needs of others. Love and positive thinking are keys to joy.
Look around you. Look at yourself. Do you see joy and laughter? Plant some seeds of joy today, then stand back and watch them grow!
John 14: 27-31
“Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you.”
The peace that the Christ speaks of, I believe, is a sense of peace that one has within. All hell could be breaking loose, yet we still can have peace within. No matter what is happening in our lives or our world that is upsetting, we all can go to an inner place of silence. Eckhart Tolle describes this well in his book The New Earth when he speaks about the ego and how the ego can get all agitated about this or that; but it’s all fleeting. It’s all an illusion. Days, weeks or months later, the upset, whatever it was, is a distant memory and we find ourselves smiling again. The trick is to realize, PRECISELY IN THE MIDST OF THE UPSET, that this is an illusion, that in the future this will pass. In radically accepting the present moment as it is, we open ourselves to an energy and a stream of life that is much deeper. It’s like a storm on the ocean. The surface waters could be all churned up, but if we go deeper we will find a place of calm.
Easier said than done hugh? Indeed!
Sometimes we just have to trudge through the muck, but realize, at least in our minds, this this will pass. However, I believe that if we make attempts to go to that place of inner silence we will begin to experience the place of calm in the midst of the storm. Sometimes this entails doing something different, out of our normal routine – like going to a different place that takes us out of the norm and opens the door to a different vista within. Whatever it is that we do to get to that place of inner calm, we must DO something. In taking even one small step we will begin to feel empowered and less of a victim of life’s circumstances.
Acts 14: 5-18
I was flipping through the channels yesterday afternoon and came upon an airing of the Mass that the Pope was having at Yankee Stadium in New York City. When the Mass was over and he was walking out, people kept reaching out, some shoving their way to the front, to touch him. This struck me. Fifty some thousand people screaming and cheering and reaching out to touch this man as if he were a god.
Why is it that we have a tendency to look outside of us for what is Divine?
Look at this reading from Acts. Notice that is was not Paul who healed the man from Lystra. Paul simply noticed that the man himself had faith, the man himself had come to believe and now was the time to stand up and walk! When he does, the crowd goes wild and they begin to look at Paul and Barnabas as if they are gods. Paul and Barnabas then desperately try to convince them that they are simply human! What happened to the man could happen to anyone, . . . if they just believed!
The Power is within us. Each of us is a spark of the Divine, a word spoken in time and we do not walk alone! There is a Power within us that can lift us from that which may paralyze us.
What is holding you from living fully? What part of your life is paralyzed? Do you believe that there is a Power in you which can free you to stand up and walk? There is a Power within us which is able to remove that which holds us from living life to the full. We need not look any further. We only need to surrender to that Power and believe that we can be freed. Imagine it! See yourself as you want yourself to be! See our world as you want it to be, . . . and believe that it can be!