* Steps to Find your Middle Ground

find your middle ground

This list is for all the list people out there. Enjoy the steps I have discovered in finding my own middle ground and living life in balance 💛

  • Notice! Take time to pause and be aware of the incredible gift of life that you share with others and with nature. Wake up to the little things. Wake up to  your self. Wake up to it all. This is called living mindfully. Become a keen observer.
  • Accept that life has ups and downs. Really! Some one told us when were little that life should be a breeze. This is called wishful thinking. Be grateful for the highs and graceful in the lows. This is called living life well.
  • Become present. Stop lamenting the past or worrying about tomorrow.  Living is in each moment. Now. Take a deep breath.  Then an other.  Notice you are still here… not there.
  • Get to know yourself. Take that first scary step of self discovery. Turn off the tv.  Sit for a while. Journal about what comes up. Have a meaningful conversation. Listen more to others. Listen more to yourself.
  • Let go of judgments. We think that judging others or ourselves makes us feel strong. Judgments come from fear of not being in control  and having things go our way. Our way is not the way. There is nothing wrong, so stop trying to be right. Stop comparing, criticizing  and start letting others be. Let yourself be.
  • Realize that you are not your thinking. You are the one who is aware of your thoughts. You are awareness within a physical body, with an imaginative and fearful ego-mind that creates stories. Your thinking is not the truth about who you are or the world around you.
  • Find the peace within. Beyond the next breath and the next thought there is a deep reservoir of peace waiting to be stepped into. This cool refreshing stillness has always been there and will always be there for us to access. To connect to this wondrous pool becomes our practice… whether its in mindfulness meditation, yoga, sitting in nature, or while commuting on the train,  realize that you too can find your own middle ground.

This blog is my way of helping people get their feet wet.

get your feet wet

Photo by Larry Hobbell

 

* Universal Law of Growth

growing bud

Today I want to share this extract from the PBS stream of Stephen Hawking’s “Genius”.

“Given the right environment and conditions we cannot fail to grow. 

Life cannot not grow.  Everything is the universe follows this rule. From a cell to a fungus, to a worm, to ourselves. Just think about it. When we fail to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually there is something that is holding us back or containing us.

With mindfulness meditation and self inquiry we can start to tune into ourselves and the environment that can support our growth.

Luckily we can create our environment. We aren’t plants or simple life formations, we have the ability to think envision and create.

I see Buddhist monks in monasteries cut off from the modern world where the seeds of  meditation and spirituality are planted and grown in just the right environment.

To aspire to be like this, in this culture and society may not be possible. In this environment we can grow in a different way.

To allow ourselves to become all that we can be, we must nurture ourselves and the environment we are in.”

May we all continue to follow the universal law of growth, by nurturing ourselves and the environment that we are in.

Namaste

 

* Are there Missing Words from the Serenity Prayer ?

The serenity prayer continues to be an inspiration to many of us. Today, I had a conversation about being okay with ambiguity, and this post came to mind. I hope it inspires all of you dealing with uncertainty in the highs and lows of life💛

Find Your Middle Ground

Most of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It’s moving and inspiring.

“God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Praying_Hands_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_p

I was reading it online and noticed some variations. Different words were emphasized.  Look at the interpretations below:

images1783827

Which words resonate with you?

No matter which words resonate, it dawned me that there may be some missing key words for me and some of you.

These are:

Controlling – Letting Go – Trusting

To me the Serenity Prayer is about letting go of control and trusting to something bigger than ourselves.

When you read the Serenity Prayer, instead of it soothing you in a “I wish it could be” sort of way,  think about how you can really bring it into your life and what you might consider differently. How can you…

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* Inspiration – conflict

conflict

“We feel conflict.

The conflict we feel is not a problem.

It is a messenger.

We do not need help; we need only understand that there is no choice in life but to follow the conflict where it takes us.

If we are prepared to go there, we may discover the actuality of self and the nature of our sorrow.”

~ Steven Harrison

This is a message I wish I had heard many years ago. Although, to be frank, I probably would not have been ready to hear it!

All emotions are messengers and reflect a deeper state of our being. As long as we avoid looking at the uncomfortable ones we limit our growth and ability to connect fully to our higher Self and life.

Our ego mind will tell us we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings and judge us for not being better than this.

Yet it isn’t a problem. There is no better or worse.

Let go of judging how you think you should be.

Allow your mind to be open to it. And then your heart.

Be kind and compassionate towards yourself, until you are ready to follow where the feeling takes you.

 Namaste

* Inspiration – Self Inquiry and Dreadlocks

Mooji

“You know, in Jamaica, when we make dreadlocks in our hair, we keep twisting and twisting, but in the beginning they simply do not stay.

For a while nothing seems to be happening but you must just keep twisting and putting some beeswax in it. Then one day you wake up and it has all come together by itself, and you say, ‘Wow, it just did it by itself.’ Afterwards, the whole process just continues naturally.

Self-inquiry is a bit like this.” 

~ Mooji *

I love this analogy from Mooji.

Whether we want to bring about change, or intend to evolve as human beings, the answer lies in commitment and consistent practice. Only then will will reach the feeling of natural ease.

Spiritual self inquiry requires this, along with courage and an open heart to uncover who we truly are.

Namaste

*Mooji (2015-12-03). White Fire: Spiritual insights and teachings of advaita zen master Mooji (Kindle Locations 1464-1467). Mooji Media Publications. Kindle Edition.

* Haiku – infinite love

yearning for peace

~

The heart yearns for peace

How much can I give this world?

My infinite love

~

These words came to me as my offering to Poetry for Peace. There are now over 140 voices sharing their words and souls on Neba’s Forgotten Meadows blog.

May this be a never ending movement.

Namaste

* There Are No Perfect Human Beings

Let’s embrace all part of ourselves today, especially our imperfections 💛

Find Your Middle Ground

It’s time to give up the illusion of being perfect and accept our human nature.

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

So what?…

So expect others to have their good days and bad days.

So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time.

So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.

Accept that life is a…

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* Pack Leader Returns

master returns

Three dogs and wife with happy hearts

Return of the pack leader from family visit

Greetings of wagging tails and warm embrace

Carlino’s tomato pie to make homecoming complete

A fit hero’s return for making the trip to see Mother

As the days ahead remain uneasy and unknown

Let the love and gratitude expand and grow

Moving us, and moving us forward

Together again

 

* Inspiration – Losing and Finding

self discovery

“Every now and then, life causes you to lose your phone, lose your job, lose your relationship, the things you think are important, so you can see that you have a full life independent of them.

There are many things you feel are so essential, but without them, you find you still have your Self, which is more than all of them put together.

You cannot lose your Self. This is the most important thing.”

~ Mooji *

Have you ever given yourself this gift?

I know, it probably didn’t feel like a gift at the time…

I appreciate this reminder that we are all in essence spiritual beings. It is the core part of ourselves that never changes. This true Self is accepting and always there, no matter what circumstances our small self finds itself in.

Coming into meditation and prayer in times of trouble allows us to feel the stillness within and connect to our true Self and Source within us all.

 

*Mooji (2015-12-03). White Fire: Spiritual insights and teachings of advaita zen master Mooji (Kindle Locations 1452-1455). Mooji Media Publications. Kindle Edition.

* Haiku – open the door

door to inner light

~

Find Your Middle Ground

Its time to open the door

To your inner light

~

 

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* Pause … and Refresh

mindful pause at work

“Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focusing attention on your inner energy field. … When you resume thinking, it will be fresh and creative.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Most of us know this to be true, yet how many times do we take time for a conscious pause in order to refresh ourselves? I know that I used to pour myself an other cup of coffee and push through.

Let’s face the truth – This “where there’s a will, there’s a way” mentality results in mediocre work, as well as stress and fatigue.

For goodness and wellness sake, move your body and take a few deep breaths. Get out of your head for a few minutes … and notice the difference.

Taking a lunch break during the day is often overlooked nowadays. Yet this is the most important thing we can do to be fresh and creative!

I’m grateful to teach Mindful Hatha yoga at lunchtimes in two companies right now. Bringing together mindfulness and movement ensures everyone feels better and goes back to work with a lighter step and a smile on their face 😊

Please follow this link for more inspiration on Mini Mindful Moments.

* The Depths of our Relationships

masks in relationships

I read an interesting article some time ago by coach Michael Neill on how there are different levels in our relationships with others. I’m not talking about literal closeness, for example a brother is closer than a colleague at work, but more about our ability to truly connect in an authentic way with an other person.

Have you noticed that you can feel a deep connection almost immediately with a stranger? Or feel like a member of your family is hiding behind a mask and being superficial? … That’s what I am talking about.

“Surface Level – How we pretend to be 

On the surface, people present themselves to the world in whatever ways they would like to be seen. They may be clever or cynical, light and cheerful or intellectual and deep. This is our persona or the “mask” of our personality, often revealing our fears, judgments, and insecurities in the very attempt to hide them.

Whether we enjoy or dislike someone’s personality is fairly arbitrary – an accidental coming together of our own innocently acquired preferences and prejudices from a young age.

But like it or not, at some point the mask slips and we see through to…

One Level Deep – The selfish self

Underneath the masks of personality, we’re continually navigating the world through a swirl of thought. Because we feel that thinking is coming at us from the outside world, we tend to see our actions, as one of my clients once put it, as being ‘the only sane response to an insane world’.
This is how we justify our ambition and ruthlessness; our cruelty to ourselves and others. After all, if it wasn’t a dog eat dog world out there, who would ever want to eat a dog?

When we see through someone’s “nice person” or “tough guy” mask, we often see only as far as this level. And it’s difficult for most of us to feel warmly towards someone who is seemingly only out for their own self-aggrandizement or self-preservation.

Until, that is, we see through to…

Two Levels Deep – Doing the best we can as we’re all in this together

There is a quote often attributed to Philo of Alexandria that we should “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is not only true in the physical world, where our bodies begin to decay long before our thoughts are ready to let go, but also in our innate psychology.

Every human being I know wants to love and be loved; to be happy more and suffer less; and to feel like in some way their life had meaning and value. How they go about achieving these aims is a product of their level of understanding and experience of the world.

It’s easy to love people “two levels deep”, because we see ourselves reflected in them. We all have a natural compassion for the suffering of others and an abiding conscience which ensures that while we may at times act in ways that are harmful to ourselves and others, we do it in spite of and not because of who we are at core.

Loving people at this level doesn’t mean we have to live with them or let them get away with murder, literally or figuratively. It just means that we don’t get so upset by their humanness or carried away by our own delusions that we can escape the human condition.

While seeing through to people’s innate humanity makes for richer and more wholesome relationships, there is a level beyond even that which takes us past the illusion of separation which allows us to play judge and jury to our fellow humans…

interconnection

Three Levels Deep – Who we are before the fact of thought

Who are you before thought comes into the equation? Mystics throughout time have described our essential nature as being made of spirit – a name for the invisible life force that makes up the visible world of form.

It’s difficult to even talk about “loving someone” at this level because rather than two or seven or even seven billion separate people, there is simply the presence of Love with a capital “L” – and as we dissolve and surrender into that Love, we fulfill the age-old proverb that “we are that which we seek”.

We are one in shared consciousness and spirit.”

p.s. This makes me think about how that pesky neighbor, or annoying colleague and Donald Trump appear one level deep for many of us.