Traditions to bring people together 2

For this post I am again going to take from some of the religious traditions that were shared on Oprah’s Belief series and then share some of my own ideas of how you could incorporate the ideas into your world. Enjoy.

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Zen Buddhist Lotus Flower: In one part of the series you were able to catch a glimpse into the life and traditions of Zen Monks. They shared a special lantern celebration.  I did a little bit of my own research and found The Lotus Lantern Festival that celebrates Buddha’s birthday. It is traditionally called the Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) and was originally more of a religious and national event, not like a festival.  Here is a link to give you an idea of what it is like. It looks amazing–lanterns take the form of fruits, animals…it looks beautiful. People can even make their own lanterns.

In Buddhism the lotus is a symbol of the true nature of beings, which remains unstained by the mud of the world and is realized through enlightenment. Traditionally the lotus (“padma’’) is a very important symbol in India and for Buddhism. The lotus has been ascribed with special meaning since the time of ancient Indian mythology.
The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. The flower closes and sinks underwater at night, to rise and open again at dawn. Untouched by impurity, the lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind.*taken from buddhachannel.tv      

My idea:   Create your own lotus lanterns with your family & then hang them somewhere special–above the dinner table, outside in a tree, etc.  Here is a Youtube with an idea of how to make them      This may be a great idea for a New Year celebration. You could create lanterns & even write something on them–hopes for the new year, gratitude for things from this previous year, dreams, desires, etc.

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Bringing people together through music: In the series it explained how Israel is a place torn apart by religious separation, but luckily a music group was bringing together young people from different religions and having them work together to create something beautiful–music.      Music has a power all its own–it heals, it transcends, it liberates, it inspires, it brings people together. It is a heavenly gift that swells hearts here on earth.

My idea: Step out of your usual music comfort, listen to something completely new, maybe even foreign and see how you feel. Music can have positive and negative effects, so make sure you select genres that lift and inspire the soul. Also, step out of your music comfort by attending a local concert and experience the symphonic melodies first hand. Try it out and see how you feel.

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Trust yourself: This part of the series I can honestly say, I was yelling at the television. I could not believe this guy would free climb (no ropes or anything) to such incredible heights. It was somewhat terrifying. You would definitely have to have tremendous faith in your personal belief in what you could do. One slip–you would be gone.

My idea: Do something that you have never tried or something that scares you. When you are able to accomplish a personal hurdle, you definitely feel you have reached a higher point for yourself. When you continue to trust your instincts, feelings, gut, desires, etc. you will be in a better personal place.

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Pray: Prayer was a huge message throughout the series. Whether it was the woman with cancer and was surrounded in a prayer circle to people praying in a sacred place, prayer beads to traditional dances that went on for days…prayer was shared in every culture and religion. It was a beautiful sentiment.  Prayer I believe holds a very strong gift, whether you pray alone or in a group, there are answers to what you need.

My idea: Give thanks in all you do. Hold a prayer in your heart. If you have a big decision or struggle you are facing, do not be afraid to ask others to help pray for you and your situation. Have faith and know you are not alone. I just read a great story this morning that shares some great examples of prayers being heard. Check it out—http://www.faithit.com/the-refs-said-if-he-points-at-god-again-hes-done-thats-when-his-sister-slipped-him-a-note/

Well, I hope these ideas help you to have a beautiful day.  Peace to you. -H

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Are you important?

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“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”  -Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

I pulled into a local supermarket and as I parked a young girl in her twenties approached the car next to me. I noticed she was in tears, I rolled down my window and asked her if she was okay, she hysterically responded about her boyfriend and how terrible he was to her.

Just then two elderly people (her grandparents) approached her and tried to calm her down. They were not exactly calm themselves. I patiently watched and noticed a small boy in the back seat. I continued to watch the situation, wondering what I could do. The couple noticed that I was concerned and began to share a few details. I listened and slowly got out of my vehicle to help. Many thoughts ran through my head as I surveyed my vehicle looking for anything that may help the situation.

I looked over at the young girl who continued to cry and I said, “You are beautiful, things will work out. Everything happens for a reason.” She graciously said thank you. The grandmother jumped in, “That is her problem, she is too pretty.” My heart sank and a deeper understanding filled me.  I shuffled through my purse looking for a business card and handed it to the young girl and told her to call me anytime for anything.  The older woman looked at me and said, “Are you important or something?” I was taken back, “No, I just like to help people. So please call me if you need a ride, help with your little boy, anything.”

I could tell the situation was calming down, so I left it at that. They were all very gracious.

When I walked away I thought about the comment, “Are you important or something.” The small gesture of giving someone a business card seemed to be a symbol of self-worth in this woman’s mind. I tried to put myself in the perspective of someone dealing with someone’s pain, trying to help her grand child, yet seemingly misunderstanding the deeper worth of a soul.

We often do not see our own value or personal worth, we see job titles, material trophies, the paths that seem to be lit with a seemingly brighter light. We wish and hope for more, thinking that it will help us feel better about our lives.

We forget that we are divine. We forget that we need to go through tough experiences that will bring us closer to our spirit, our inner joy and connection. We forget that we are given everything we need, we arrive happy, but it is our choice what we do with that happiness. Do we nurture it through self-love, giving and gratitude or do we starve it by seeking happiness outside of us??

Ask yourself…Are you important? How do you feel when you ask yourself that question?

Do you look at your life and feel worth (you feel you are moving in a direction to be your personal best, to have a worthwhile life) or do you feel weighed down by life (things seem to be an energy drain, you feel heavy and unfulfilled).

During this month of February, I urge you to take the time to step back and evaluate where you are on a personal level. Do you feel love toward yourself?

Here is a simple exercise to get your feelings flowing… Mirror Mirror

Precious jewel, you glow, you shine, reflecting all the GOOD things in the world. -Maya Angelou

1. Take this work seriously. You could easily just walk away and avoid your feelings for fear of what you will face. Do not walk away from this activity. Take this seriously.

2. Be honest with your feelings.

3. You can use a full body mirror, a wall mirror or a hand mirror for this activity.

4. When you talk to yourself, make sure you look into your eyes. There is a needed connection on a deeper level.

5. Look yourself in the eyes and say, “I love you”

Write down any thoughts and feelings. Be honest. This may be very hard for you to do, so look within for any thoughts or feelings that will help you with the inner work you need to do. (ie maybe you do not like how heavy you look, so you have a hard time looking at yourself…notice these feelings)

6. Ask yourself, “What do you see?”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

7. Ask yourself, “Who are you?”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

8. Then say, “I love you just as you are.”

Write down any immediate thoughts or feelings.

9. Finish with, “I deserve love.”

Write down any thoughts and feelings.

10. How do you feel? Did any surprising emotions or thoughts come up for you?? Did you cry? Were you honest with your thoughts and feelings?

Make sure you take the time to journal any thoughts or feelings that came up for you. You may need to work on processing your feelings through self love, acceptance or forgiveness. You may need to go deeper to understand why you had these feelings and explore the reasons.

If you did not have any thoughts or feelings…make the statements again. Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself, “I love you.” Sit with this statement and repeat it if necessary until you have a reaction of any kind.

If you had loving personal thoughts, embrace these warm feelings and see their strength and beauty.

If you had a mix of loving and hurtful thoughts, embrace the good and seek understanding with the rest.

Nurture and love yourself through this process.

Lots of love to you.   -Heather

Believe in the LOVE that surrounds you

Image“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”  -Martin Luther King Jr.

Belief, Faith, Divine timing, Destiny…there are many words that describe the feelings you need when something shakes your world. I call it, “A Faith building step.”

My husband just found out last week that his company is being sold and there is not a position for him. Moments like this can get a little scary for anyone, but I have a little history with my husband in a similar situation and it took him to a dark edge that nearly took his life, so it does rattle me a bit. But, I remembered a story about a couple who had just lost their job & they decided to share in a toast to the future and not tell their families. I decided to take that route. It makes sense to not want the energy of people worried, concerned and asking you if you’ll be okay. Who wants that?? So, we are stepping out into the unknown, having faith that there are doors that will open and staircases that will appear.

It is in moments like these that we have the true opportunity to grow, to let go of our ego, our must have’s, our spending habits, our stability and hold to the hope of something greater. Something greater than us all, that has the ability to inspire decisions, to guide and direct, to teach something necessary, to help us learn about ourselves on a deeper level. It is our choice to look at the good with the bad and make the most of our journey. I am looking at this opportunity as a new adventure, possible places that will be filled with new experiences, new friends, new changes. Change can be hard, but it helps us grow and in any growth we learn to have a little more faith, to believe in divine coincidences, to trust that everything will be exactly what we need.

Here is a beautiful story that perfectly illustrates our need to believe and have faith in the designer of our lives…

On a remote airstrip almost a half century ago, a small plane was preparing to taxi into position for takeoff. An unexpected storm system was approaching with heavy rain and gusty winds. It had already started raining and the wind was picking up. Suddenly, a lone figure, with his coat over his head in a futile attempt to keep dry, ran from the terminal to the plane, his silhouette outline by lightning, the wind now almost tearing his coat from his grasp. Upon seeing the man on the runway the surprised pilot shut down the twin engines and opened the door. The man came on board, had a rather heated exchange with the pilot, and then turned to the eight passengers. “My name is Walter Beech,” he said, “I am the designer of this airplane and I supervised its construction. I know what it can do and what it can’t do. This plane is not designed for weather this severe and I urge you to get off with me now. I know your destinations are important and this represents an inconvenience, but please, don’t remain on the plane.”

The pilot interrupted angrily. “I have been flying this aircraft for years and I, too, know what it can do and what it can’t do. If we avoid further delay we can get ahead of this storm. I urge you to stay on board. I will get you to your destinations.”

One woman stood and walked forward to get off the plane with Walter Beech. The two watched as the plane left the ground, climbing several hundred feet. Then what began as a slow roll quickly became an ugly, uncontrollable spin as the aircraft fell from the sky. All aboard were lost.

The woman standing with Walter Beech was Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the President of the United States. She would later tell reporters, “I felt it wise to take advice of the designer and builder of the airplane.”

God always sees clearly what is best for us. But there will always be options. There will bo those other voices enticing us down paths that may bring immediate gratification, but that may ultimately bring sadness and despair. I urge you to listen to God’s advice. He’s the designer, the only one who can get you to where you’re supposed to be. -Dan Stuecher (When I’m needing a fresh Start, pg 78)

 
I know this faith building step in our lives will take us to a new destination where we need to be. It may be uncomfortable, may be filled with ups and downs, but in the end, I am walking with a knowing that it is just what we need at this moment in our lives.
This knowing helps me feel that there is always a loving guidance that surrounds us.
I will keep you posted on our journey ahead. Wish us blessings, guidance and love. Thank you.
Best wishes in all you do today.  -Heather