Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

I believe that life is a journey, often difficult and sometimes incredibly cruel, but we are well equipped for it if only we tap into our talents and gifts and allow them to blossom. – Les Brown

We all have talents and gifts to offer to the world. Some of you may not be aware of them because it is something that just seems to come so naturally to you. My mother is a great cook, a very thoughtful, kind, and caring person, a great listener, wise, well-organized, likes to have fun, and is a just a joy to be around. She has a way of making people feel comfortable. She never speaks a bad word about anyone. She is supportive but will tell my father, brother, my daughter, and me, if she thinks we’ve said or done something wrong. She will make a pot of soup or cookies and give to her friends/family if they are sick — or for no reason at all. When one of her best friends was undergoing chemotherapy treatments she cooked meals for the woman and her family. She is one of those people that everyone likes, yet she once told me that she didn’t have any talent and that she wasn’t “good at anything.” Of course I had to correct her on that line of thinking. We can’t all be Hollywood celebrities or famous athletes, authors, musicians, chefs, writers, etc….but we can make a contribution to this world. Just say …

This little light o’ mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light o’ mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light o’ mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
–written by Harry Dixon Loes (1895-1965) in about 1920

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. –Edith Wharton

Let this year be the year that you let your light shine!

Do you need a little more inspiration? Check out these people who are letting their light shine:

Armless Pianist Liu Wei – Lost his arms in an accident at age 10. He managed to do everything with his feet and started to learn to play piano at age 19. His dream is to become a musician. He is now 22 and just won the China’s Got Talent Show on Oct. 10, 2010.

Interview with Stephanie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” saga.

Paul Potts

Lessons from My Father
“My dad, I still think, had the most beautiful, simple checklist for what you should do in life: Do something you really love that you would do it anyway. Do it in the most adventurous place you can do it. And make sure that it helps other people. And if you feel there’s a genuine need for it, and that through that need you can help other people, you’re home.” — Diane Sawyer

How are you letting your light shine? OR, How do you plan on letting your light shine this year?


You might also like: Our Deepest Fear

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This morning I stopped by my blogging buddy’s blog — “Delicacies,” and found she had posted a cute Christmas video. You’ve got to check it out! Just click on the title here: The Digital Story of the Nativity

Keeping in that same Christmas spirit, here is another video I think you might enjoy — whether you are Christian or not. It’s called “A Social Network Christmas.”


You might also like:
Merry Christmas, My Friend
Santa and His Singing Reindeer
What Not to Get Your Wife for Christmas
The Art of Gift Giving

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We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. — Marcel Proust


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When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” –C. S. Lewis

The message of this old Chinese parable is…We are not always able to accurately assess what is ultimately good and what is ultimately bad in any given situation.

The Old Man and his Horse (a.k.a. Sai Weng Shi Ma)

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend.” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”

The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?”

“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is one fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned. With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

“You were right, old man,” They wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this. Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”


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Have you ever stopped to think about the purpose of relationships? Do you think they are just for our own enjoyment? Do you believe in soul mates?

Years ago I heard a phrase from a book that caught my attention. The name of the book was “The One: Finding Soul Mate Love and Making It Last,” by Kathy Freston. The book went on to become a New York Times best-seller and was re-titled as “The One: Discovering the Secrets of Soul Mate Love.” Here’s the phrase:

“No matter what the question, this is the answer: we are here in each other’s lives to facilitate in one another a higher state of consciousness. We are here to open each other’s eyes to God. We don’t talk about that; it certainly isn’t the spoken goal of most partnerships. But that is what is at play.”

I don’t really know the purpose of relationships but do believe we are here to grow.

Being the curious person that I am, I just had to go buy the book. So, if you haven’t realized it yet, there is no problem-free relationship. People seem to think that if they just find their “soul mate” they will live happily ever after without any relationship problems. According to Kathy, that isn’t the definition of a soulmate. This is a little bit of what Kathy had to say about soul mates and relationships:

“A soul mate reflects back to us that which is unhealed while testifying to what is already perfect. Soul mates provide different things at different times: sometimes a safe haven from which we can branch out and explore, and sometimes challenges that bring us to our knees. In every case, they help us as we make our way along the path leading to the innermost sanctum where Spirit resides.”

We need the challenge relationships provide by calling us out on our prejudices, and we need people – partners, friends, casual acquaintances, and even strangers – who will walk with us as we make our way to our soul’s potential.”

We want things to go smoothly, but it seems we need the challenges relationships present in order for us to grow.

Here’s some more food for thought from Kathy Freston:

“I realized that somewhere along the way, we as a society had lost sight of the truth. Instead of finding peace within ourselves, we looked for happiness in the form of another person, situation, or thing. We would work hard to “get” someone, but then the relationship would “fail.” Either the magic seemed to wear off or we never took the chance to commit to a partner because there might be a better deal just around the corner. Or, saddest of all, we suffered quietly in an unfulfilling marriage, dreaming of what might possibly set us free.”

“The challenge of finding and keeping a soul mate is the perfect impetus for our metaphysical maturation. Our love relationships bring us face to face with our demons, and we are willing to confront them and learn how to better ourselves because we want so badly to fulfill love’s magical promise. It is by using the experiences that arise within the context of partnership – both joyful and painful ones – that we come to embrace the enormous spiritual capacity that lies within us, making us capable of magnificent things, not only in the area of relationships, but in every area of life.”

“We can’t possibly know or dictate what will bring us our awakenings; no two people are exactly the same, and one soul certainly requires different lessons than the next. We simply have to rise to greet the occasions as they present themselves to us. The perfect set of conditions for bringing about your soul’s unfolding is always at hand, but you probably won’t recognize this while you’re going through it.”

Our spiritual task is to calm our overactive ego, to catch it when it starts climbing into the driver’s seat and tell it when to get back where it belongs. In terms of love relationships, we need to become more focused on treating our partners – or potential partners – with respect, honoring the fact that they have their own higher mind to follow and we have no right to push our personal agenda on their lives. We need to stop insisting on getting our own way and allow them to be who they are. We can make suggestions and we can express our opinions, but it gets us nowhere to insist on having things our own way. We can’t change anyone else; we can only work on changing ourselves.”

“Power struggles are a major problem in love relationships, and I have found that whenever a power struggle develops between partners, at least one of the following aspects of ego is at work: 1. The need to be right; 2. The need to be in control; 3. The need to be distracted; or 4. The need to feel superior or inferior.

1) The need to be right pits us against each other. When we are attached to being right, we feel compelled to defend ourselves at all costs. We don’t want to see the other person’s side of the story, because if we did, it might threaten the case we’ve built. So we dig in our heels, hoping to wear the other person down. We do this because deep down inside we feel small and afraid. The ego believes only one of us can win, so it’s fighting for its life.

If we were to take a more spiritual approach and recognize that the Spirit in me is the same Spirit in you, we would no longer need to be right. Rather than fearfully clinging to our smaller, more selfish agenda, we could shift our goal to finding common ground.

2) The need to be in control is the ego’s way of urging us to hold tightly to the reins if we want to be safe. We’d better put things in their place, including our partners, says the fearful voice inside us. When I get into control mode, it’s usually because I am scared that things won’t work out as I think they should, and that, at the end of the day, I won’t be okay.

3) The need to be distracted is the ego’s way of coping with the anxiety of going it alone. There is a tremendous amount of fear and pressure that goes with the belief that you have to figure everything out for yourself. When the responsibility becomes too much, the ego looks for distraction; it is a way of surviving. And in our society, there is no shortage of distraction from the deeper issues of our humanity. Sensational news, demanding work schedules, lifestyle pressures, sports events, e-mail, computer games: these are just a few of the stimuli that compete for our attention. And trumping all of these is the drama we can create in our relationships; nothing beats a good knock-down drag-out fight to get our mind off the gnawing fear that we can’t keep it all together. When we sweat the small stuff, we successfully distract ourselves from the larger anxiety that the ego maintains of being separate and alone in a big, scary world.

In other words, you may make a big deal about your husband coming home an hour later than he said he would, or lay into your wife for not running the household as well as you think she should, but really, deep down inside, you are just trying to distract yourself from the absolute terror of not being able to keep all the pieces of your life together. But you see, we are not meant to hold it all together; we are not the glue of life. Spirit is. We are at our best when we accept our role as co-creators with Spirit.

4) The need to be superior or inferior is the ego’s way of keeping us apart from each other by focusing on flaws. It plagues us with attacks of self-pity or delusions of grandeur that keep us from the fundamental truth that we are all created equally and from the same source. Because the ego has no awareness of our inherent Oneness, it sets us adrift on our narcissistic wanderings. Our sense of worth should never depend upon how much better or worse we are doing than someone else. Rather, it should be rooted in the knowledge that we are all created perfectly by God.

These four ego-driven needs present obstacles to our awareness of deep and unconditional love because they keep us focused on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. They drive us apart rather than bring us together. Each time you see one of these needs arise in your thoughts or actions, recognize it as a warning to relegate the ego to the backseat.

Ego may present us with many pitfalls, but it also has its benefits. It assists us in recognizing and celebrating our differences. We are unique, after all, and this uniqueness works in concert with our core spirituality. As we learn to coexist and enjoy the different qualities we all have, Spirit is renewed and expanded. Life becomes more textured and lovely.

The question is not whether ego is good or bad, but rather to what degree we allow it to rule our lives and relationships. Ego is an aspect of the mind that serves a purpose; we just can’t let it get out of hand. If we keep choosing to stay alert and awake to all the forces at work within us, we can create a well-balanced and soulful partnership.”

Here’s two good reads about the Ego:

Ego – The False Center

Edging God Out

About Kathy:

Kathy Freston is a health and wellness expert and a New York Times best-selling author. Her books include Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness, The One: Discovering the Secrets of Soul Mate Love and Expect a Miracle: 7 Spiritual Steps to Finding the Right Relationship. Her newest book is THE QUANTUM WELLNESS CLEANSE: The 21 Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Body, Mind, and Spirit, (Weinstein Books). Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Dean Ornish penned the introductions for her two latest books and her work has garnered accolades from such respected names as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Neal Barnard, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Deepak Chopra. http://www.kathyfreston.com/

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May you be blessed this holiday season…

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How many times have you missed the blessing because it didn’t come in the way, shape, or form you wanted, or expected?

You can say the message of the following story is — trust God but use common sense. However, it also makes me think about our expectations and how we sometimes miss the blessing/missed being blessed because we are too focused on it appearing the way, or by the means, we want or expect. Sometimes we don’t even realize our prayers have been answered because it didn’t happen the way we had in mind.

Parable of the Drowning Man

There’s a man, let’s say his name is Dave. Dave owns a beautiful house on the bank of a river. Over the last few weeks, the town Dave lives in has been hit with one storm after another, and with each storm the river rises. This morning the Weatherman on the local news forecasted the storm of the century. The river that Dave lives on is expected to crest at 30 feet above its normal level; Dave’s house and life are in danger. The News is encouraging people who live on this river to voluntarily evacuate. Dave ignored the evacuation suggestion and shouted at the TV, “God will take care of me!” The river water continued to rise. Local neighbors with boats rode around and offered Dave a ride to safety. Dave said no thank you to the ride and told his neighbors, “God will take care of me!” Dave was now sitting on his rooftop because the water was up to the second floor of his home and was still rising. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to Dave’s house to rescue him. Dave refused to leave and told the Coast Guard, “God will take care of me!” The water continued to rise and Dave drowned. As he approached the gates of Heaven he asked St. Peter why. He asked how could God let him die when he had such faith? He said he always believed God would take care of him. How could God forsake him now when he needed him the most? St. Peter said to Dave with a sigh, “Dave, God tried to take care of you but you refused his help. He sent you a warning and suggestion to evacuate in the newscast, he sent you a rescue boat and then he sent you the Coast Guard in a helicopter. But, you refused all the help that God was sending you because you were failing to see that God can only help you, if you let him. Everything was right before your eyes and you refused to pay attention and accept it.”

Are your expectations blocking your blessings?

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Life Is
by Mother Teresa

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but will attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

*Kent Keith originated this poem in 1968, and Mother Teresa placed it on her children’s home in Calcutta in a slightly different version. As a result, many have attributed it to Mother Teresa

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Once upon a time there lived a bear in a cave deep in the woods. Nearby was a meadow in which a farmer kept his cattle — and one large, ferocious-looking bull. Each day the bear hid at the edge of the woods, watching the bull. The bear was known as the strongest, most fierce creature for miles around. No other beast in the forest dared to tangle with him. As the bear watched the bull peacefully gazing, he wondered which one of them would win a test of strength. He thought about this for many days. Then one morning he decided to challenge the bull to a fight to the finish.

The bull had just chomped down on a fresh clump of clover when he looked up and saw the bear barreling across the meadow toward him. He stopped chewing. The red flag of danger popped up in his head. The bear skidded to a halt in front of him. The bull lowered his head menacingly, his sharp horns aimed right for the bear’s throat. For long moments they stood in place — eyeball to eyeball — neither one of them moving. Finally the bull grew tired of the stare-down and asked, “What do you want, Bear?”

“I want to fight you,” growled the bear.

“Why?” asked the bull.

“Because, I want to prove that I am a stronger and better fighter than you are.”

The bull laughed. “I thought you really wanted something. You can’t possibly win against me. I have sharp horns that can cause terrible injuries.”

“And my claws are sharp and quick,” the bear shot back. “I have defeated many an enemy — anyone who would harm my cubs or take away my mate. I am the king of the forest!”

“Then go back to the forest,” the bull bluntly advised. “This is the meadow.”

The bear blinked in surprise. “I beg your pardon…”

“I mean, what’s the point of me fighting with you?” the bull asked. “What would that prove? We are not enemies. I have not harmed your cubs or taken your mate.”

“It would prove that I am the strongest.”

“Okay,” said the bull, smiling. “I’ll buy that. You are strongest. Now leave and let me graze in peace.”

“Just one cotton-pickin’ minute. What do you mean by that?” The bear raised a club-like paw. “I will tear you to shreds. Defend yourself.”

“What you do is up to you,” the bull answered calmly. “But if you do, what will all your friends — the ones who are watching us right now — think about you?”

“They will think that I am the strongest,” yelled the frustrated bear.

“I don’t think so. I do not choose to fight you just because you choose to fight with me. I would only fight to defend one of the cows in my care. If you attack one of them, then I’d be obliged to give you a good lashing.”

“I can’t attack them,” protested the bear. “They can’t fight back. There would be no victory to it.”

“Exactly,” answered the bull. “But what if you did? And what if I should try to defend them? What if something should happen to me? Who would protect them then? You? Would you trust me to protect your cubs if something happened to you? What would happen to your family if you lose the fight?”

“I never thought of that,” said the bear.

“Go back into the woods, Bear,” said the bull as he turned to walk away. “Live in peace. And I will stay in the meadow and do the same.”

The bear turned toward the woods. He had come spoiling for a fight — to prove which one was the strongest. But he had learned an important lesson from a very wise bull. In peace, there are no losers.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14 NIV)

[ by Ed Price, © 2001 — from ‘The Loving Heart’ ]

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“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” –the Dalai Lama

“Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same.” — the Dalai Lama

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” — the Dalai Lama

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” — the Dalai Lama

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