|Sending Love Ahead to Your Day
Days of Affirmation
by Madisyn Taylor
Send love to your day ahead and remember to stop and catch the miracles.
Upon waking, many people consider the coming day with trepidation. Because of the natural human tendency to focus on what we fear or dislike, it is easy to unwittingly send a message of unease into the future that negatively impacts the quality of your day. However, while our lives are busy and frequently replete with challenges, they are also rich with joy and experiences worth savoring. We can attract this natural bliss into our lives by starting each day with a message of love. When you send love ahead to your day, that love will manifest itself in your interpersonal interactions, your professional endeavors, and your domestic duties. Tasks and circumstances once made trying by your own anxiety are transformed by your love, and you will find yourself approaching life’s subtle nuances with great affection.
Each morning, when you have cast off the fog of sleep, take several deep, grounding breaths and reaffirm the love you have for yourself. Speaking a loving, self-directed blessing aloud enables you to access and awaken the reservoir of tenderness in your soul. Before you leave the comfortable warmth of your bed, be sure to tell the universe that you are eager and ready to receive the blessings it has set aside for you. Then as you prepare to meet the day, visualize yourself first saturated by and then surrounded with a warm and soft loving light. Gradually widen the circle of this light until you are able to send it ahead into your future. If you are commuting to work, send love to the roads upon which you will drive, your fellow commuters, and your parking space. If you have colleagues who arrive at your workplace before you, send them love. Likewise, a day spent being a parent or addressing household chores can benefit from the sentiment that precedes you. Sending love ahead to everyone you will meet and everything you will do can ensure that your day is suffused with grace.
If you have difficulty sending love to those situations and individuals you deem particularly frustrating, consider that the warmth and tenderness you project can change your life for the better. Each morning, in sending this love, you will exercise your power to control the ambiance of your existence and to color your day with positivity.
We can excel easier in our lives when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.
Within each of us, there is a well of energy that must be regularly replenished. When we act as if this well is bottomless, scheduling a long list of activities that fit like puzzle pieces into every minute of every day, it becomes depleted and we feel exhausted, disconnected, and weak. Refilling this well is a matter of finding time to focus on, nurture, and care for ourselves, or “you time.” Most of us are, at different times throughout the day, a spouse, a friend, a relative, an employee, a parent, or a volunteer, which means that down time, however relaxing in nature, is not necessarily “you time.” Though some people will inevitably look upon “you time” as being selfish, it is actually the polar opposite of selfishness. We can only excel where our outer world affairs are concerned when our own spiritual, physical, and intellectual needs are fulfilled.
Recognizing the importance of “you time” is far easier than finding a place for it in an active, multifaceted lifestyle, however. Even if you find a spot for it in your agenda, you may be dismayed to discover that your thoughts continuously stray into worldly territory. To make the most of “you time,” give yourself enough time on either side of the block of time you plan to spend on yourself to ensure that you do not feel rushed. Consider how you would like to pass the time, forgetting for the moment your obligations and embracing the notion of renewal. You may discover that you are energized by creative pursuits, guided meditation, relaxing activities during which your mind can wander, or modes of expression such as writing.
Even if you have achieved a functioning work-life balance, you may still be neglecting the most important part of that equation: you. “You time” prepares you for the next round of daily life, whether you are poised to immerse yourself in a professional project or chores around the home. It also affords you a unique opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, and your tolerances in a concrete way. As unimportant as “you time” can sometimes seem, it truly is crucial to your well-being because it ensures that you are never left without the energy to give of yourself.
Removing Obstructions: Allowing Our Light to Shine
When we remove obstructions in our path, our light can more easily come forth.
There are times when we may not feel at our best and brightest. At those times we can take a look at what we might do to let our inner light shine to the fullest. Because we are physical, mental and spiritual beings, we need to determine where our spiritual light is being filtered or blocked. We can work from the outside inward, knowing that we are the only ones with the power to dim our lights, and as we clear away the layers we can get out of our own way to feel the warmth of our own light shining again.
As vehicles for our mind and spirit, our bodies require proper maintenance. Caring for ourselves is like polishing – helping to clear away the accumulation of physical debris that keeps us from operating at our fullest capacity. A simple shift in our thoughts can positively affect our mental state, moving from complaints to gratitude and applying the powerful light of love to any shadowy thoughts. A change of scenery can allow us to see the world in new ways too.
Once we are free of our restrictions, we can become still and connect to the power at the center of our being. It is always there for us, but when we forget to connect, or siphon our power in too many directions, we cannot make the most of our energy. Starting from the inside out may direct us to take the right steps for our journeys back to the light, but sometimes it can be difficult to find the stillness if our bodies and minds are in the way. As we practice steps to keep our energy flowing freely and without obstruction, we shine our light brightly, illuminating our own paths and making the world around us glow as well.
|Daily OM: Judgment Versus Opinion
Staying Open And Fluid
Judgment closes us down and is final, whereas opinion leaves us open-hearted and open to change.
Most of us understand that when we judge someone, or someone judges us, it is a negative emotional experience. As a result, we naturally want to avoid being judgmental, but this gets confusing when we feel we have to suppress thoughts that could actually be offering us guidance. For example, we may meet someone new and suppress a negative feeling about them, thinking that we don’t want to fall into the trap of being judgmental. Later, though, it may turn out that paying attention to that thought could have helped us take care of ourselves or someone else.
It is important to learn to distinguish inner guidance, and having an opinion, from judgment, otherwise we run the risk of not listening to our intuition and not allowing ourselves to form opinions. Inner guidance and opinions both help us to interact more intelligently in the world, so we don’t want to throw them out in an effort to avoid being judgmental. Our intuition usually makes itself known to us in a flash, and often has a physical component–a flutter in our stomachs, sweaty palms, or a chill. When we use this information to help us navigate a situation, we always benefit. Similarly, having an opinion about a person or an idea allows us to converse about it in a focused way with intention. Listening to our intuition and forming opinions are both positive outcomes of our ability to interpret the information that comes our way.
When we make a judgment, on the other hand, we attempt to have a final say on whether someone or something is inherently good or bad. Judgments close us down instead of opening us up; opinions have a lighter quality and are amenable to change. Once a judgment has been made, there is no more conversation or consideration, whereas opinions invite further debate. Intuition guides us from moment to moment, but, unlike judgment, never makes a final decree. In other words, it is only healthy to be open to the information we receive and to allow ourselves to process that information. As long as we stay open and fluid, we can trust that we have not fallen prey to the trap of judgment.
For a more grounded life, choose not to get caught up in the fast-paced world around you.
1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the rat race and quell consumerism. You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive.
2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world.
3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place.
4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to.
5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you.
6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don’t have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors – can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship.
7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion.
8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull.
9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality.
10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often “on the go” and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.
Love exists to be expressed, not withheld.
It’s easy to take our feelings for granted and to assume that the people we care about know how we feel about them. But while those we love are often quite cognizant of our feelings, saying “I love you” is a gift we should give to our loved ones whenever we can. Letting people know you love them is an important part of nurturing any kind of loving relationship. Few people tire of being told they are loved, and saying “I love you” can make a world of difference in someone’s life, take a relationship to a new level, or reaffirm and strengthen a steady bond. Everyone needs to hear the words “I love you.” Three simple words � I – Love – You. When you declare your love for someone you admit to them that you care for them in the most significant way.
It can be difficult to express your love using words, particularly if you grew up around people that never expressed their affection verbally. But you should never be afraid to say “I love you” or worry that doing so will thrust you into a position of excessive vulnerability. It is important to share your feelings with those that matter to you. Part of the fulfillment that comes with loving someone is telling them that you love them. Besides, love exists to be expressed, not withheld.
If you love someone, let them know. Don’t be afraid of the strength of your emotions or worry that your loved one won’t feel the same way. Besides, the words “I love you” are often best said to another without expectation of a return investment. As each one of us is filled with an abundance of love, there is never any worry that you’ll run out of love if your expression of love isn’t said back to you. Saying “I love you” is a gift of the heart sent directly via words to the heart of a recipient. Even though it may not always look that way, love from the heart is an offering that is always unconditional and given without strings attached. That is the true essence of the gift of “I love you.”
There is power in knowing your personal limits – your willingness to accept these limits can give you the means to flourish.
Every human life is defined, to some extent, by limits. No one person is capable of fulfilling every possibility. We are all born with unique aptitudes and sensitivities, and it is these qualities that largely determine the paths we will travel in life. What invigorates, excites, and inspires one individual may exhaust or overwhelm another. When we understand what we as individuals are capable of reasonably handling, we gradually learn to accept that we have control over our wellbeing. Yet determining where our limits lie can be difficult, as it is likely we have been told time and again that the discomfort, fatigue, and stress we felt while engaging in activities outside the range of our comfort zones was all in our heads. If you have never before given thought to the notion of personal limits, creating a list of those tasks and situations that leave you feeling drained can give you insight into your own.
You will know definitively that you are operating within your limits when you have the necessary energy and drive to address your personal and professional commitments. This is not to say you should not push yourself or work to extend the range of your capabilities. The wisdom you gain through dynamic self-examination will give you the tools you need to create an individual life strategy that allows you to achieve your goals without compromising yourself or your needs. The limits you honor by focusing your energy on what you can do rather than what you cannot do will not interfere with your ambitions unless you allow them to interfere. You can thrive within your limits, actively shape your circumstances, and avoid anguish by simply recognizing that certain aspects of life nourish you while others drain you, and doing your best to perceive the fine line between applying yourself diligently and overworking yourself.
You may be surprised to discover that your limits change over time. Your willingness to accept these limits as they reveal themselves to you can smooth your passage through life and give you the means to flourish.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else,
in order to say yes to yourself.
We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important. It seems to say, ironically, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to keep putting self-care off–easy, that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical.
Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can even encourage yourself by saying “I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others” or some other mantra that will encourage you. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be composed of massively time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.
Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off in spades for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.
Using our spiritual vision, we can look deeply into the inner light that guides us, seeing clearly
what is not visible.
Hawks have the power to soar high above the earth, giving them a perspective previously only available to the inhabitants of the heavens above. Because of this, people from various cultures throughout history have seen them as messengers of spirit, bringing wisdom from the heavens and the value of their higher vision down to earth. From their vantage point, riding on the wind and sunlight, they remind us today that there is a bigger picture to be seen. When we get bogged down with the details of what is right in front of us, hawks help us remember that we are part of a larger plan and that everything fits together beautifully and perfectly. Once in this expanded frame of mind, we can harness their reputation as visionaries, using their keen eyesight to focus on the exact spot that truly needs our attention. With inspiration and focus on our goal, hawks teach us how to interpret and then follow our personal vision.
Hawks were thought to be able to look directly into the sun and see what is not visible to the rest of us. Using our spiritual vision, we too can look deeply into the inner light that guides us, seeing clearly what is not visible unless sought: our personal truth glowing within us. With that knowledge, we, like the hawk, can confidently ride the winds of chance, moving as one with the flow of whirling energy. This ability is what inspired the Egyptians to make hawks the hieroglyphic symbol for the wind.
The hawk’s ability to live on land but visit the sky is a good reminder for us all. They remind us that their strength and survival comes from communing regularly with the spirit and bringing the guidance received into earthly affairs. Soaring in the province of the heavenly bodies of the sun, the stars, and the wind that moves the clouds reminds us to consider a larger perspective, one that inspires us to move through the world we inhabit with strength, certainty, and grace.
DAILY OM ~ 10 Steps to Making Change Easier
by Madisyn Taylor
Change doesn’t have to be hard, here are 10 steps to help make it easier.
1. Begin by making small changes or break up large-scale changes into more manageable increments. This can make you feel better about handling the changes you are about to make while making you more comfortable with change in general.
2. Mentally link changes to established daily rituals. This can make changes like taking on a new habit, starting a new job, or adapting to a new home happen much more smoothly. For example, if you want to begin meditating at home, try weaving it into your morning routine.
3. Going with the flow can help you accept change instead of resisting it. If you stay flexible, you will be able to ride out change without too much turbulence.
4. When a change feels most stressful, relief can often be found in finding the good that it brings. An illness, a financial loss, or a broken relationship can seem like the end of the world, yet they also can be blessings in disguise.
5. Remember that all change involves a degree of learning. If you find change particularly stressful, try to keep in mind that after this period of transformation has passed, you will be a wiser person for it.
6. Remember that upheaval and confusion are often natural parts of change. While we can anticipate certain elements that a change might bring, it is impossible to know everything that will happen in advance. Be prepared for unexpected surprises, and the winds of change won’t easily knock you over.
7. Don’t feel like you have to cope with changing circumstances or the stress of making a change on your own. Talk about what’s going on for you with a friend or write about it in a journal. Sharing your feelings can give you a sense of relief while helping you find the strength to carry on.
8. Give yourself time to accept any changes that you face. And as change happens, recognize that you may need time to adjust to your new situation. Allow yourself a period of time to reconcile your feelings. This can make big changes feel less extreme.
9. No matter how large or difficult a change is, you will eventually adapt to these new circumstances. Remember that regardless of how great the change, all the new that it brings will eventually weave itself into the right places in your life.
10. If you’re trying to change a pattern of behavior or navigate your way through a life change, don’t assume that it has to be easy. Wanting to cry or being moody during a period of change is natural. Then again, don’t assume that making a change needs to be hard. Sometimes, changes are meant to be that easy.