To say that nothing is required of us in the spiritual journey, that we are only passive bystanders, seems to me to not be accurate, but almost simultaneously (and seemingly contradictorily) it seems obvious from my perspective that if we try too hard, we will end up hypocrites and blind guides instead of bearers of light, filled with a Divine Love.
Life is short. To dwell on yesterday or dream about tomorrow is a mistake for it is here and it is now that your life is happening. Love and joy happen now. Peace is experienced now. Hope and excitement don’t exist outside of Now. Let us endeavor to live in an Eternal Now, where we have no time to spend on worry about the future or shame about the past because we are too busy being mindfully engaged in wherever we are and with whatever we are doing.
Too many people are living not with hope, but carrying dread about what tomorrow will bring. There is a way to exist free from the worries of tomorrow and that is to live liberated in the joy of today.
I am thoroughly convinced that everyone believes in “God” on some level; in something that is beyond themselves and transcends their personal understanding. I also feel that anyone who claims to not believe in this “Transcendent Something” simply does not feel that the established ideas surrounding “God” are sufficiently large or inclusive enough to be applicable to all peoples at all times. There are many ideas that have been perpetuated about God that are, in my opinion, simply not true or useful. The notion that God is loving is one of them.
True generosity is only capable of flowing forth from a soul who knows how freely and undeservedly he or she has received. This kind of Giving is not something one does but is a defining characteristic of who one is. It is a heart condition that permeates every facet life.
Extraordinary things are not done by extraordinary people; they are done by ordinary people with an extraordinary ability to persevere despite the odds and obstacles. People are extraordinary to the degree that they believe that their dreams are of value and that they can have a genuine impact on the world. The difference between the extraordinary and everyone else is that they didn’t give up and, often times, the only difference is that they were willing to try what seemed impossible at first glance.
I have a little story and challenge for you. Yesterday, I encountered a man outside a restaurant. I said hello to him and his response was muffled, barely audible. He was hunched over, smelled like urine and looked like he was on some kind of drug. I had some money in my pocket but didn't give it to him... I honestly thought it would just get used on substances (a thought I try to never entertain about people because I firmly believe it's my job to help, not judge).
Progress has little to do with up or down, promotion or demotion, more or less. Progress, on a personal level, has to do with the development of our True Self; a deepening inner-knowledge of the things which are actually of value in our lives.
When waves crash against you in the sea, you discover how well you can actually swim. Life is no different. When trials rush in like a flood, one finds out whether or not they can actually stay afloat; it’s not until that moment that you really know.
How to be you. It seems strange that one would even need to talk about this at all, as if this is something people aren’t actually good at, but I’m afraid we must. What’s more, I’m not sure if I am qualified to teach on this topic, or speak as any sort of authority. I’m often plagued by my own inconsistencies and haunted by my lack of ability to “be who I really am.” Although this is true, I give a lot of thought and energy to living an authentic life, free from the pressures that are relentlessly trying to make us all to conform to and fit in society’s mold. I’m not writing as an expert, but as a friend, who is trying to be who I am created to be, and to encourage you to do the same.
Very often we become complacent. We like the way things are going, the way things have been; we get into a rhythm that is comfortable but not necessarily fulfilling. Shaking it up a bit in our lives is not only possible for everyone but is, in a very real way, important for us if we want to continue to grow and develop as people both creatively and otherwise. Risk doesn’t have to mean skydiving or doing something extreme like moving to a new country or a career shift. We can begin to employ risk on a weekly, even daily level in order to cause fresh growth and richness of experience in our lives.
This week, we are going to add a bit of generosity to the mix! When we start to bless others with the work of our hands in intentional ways, we really begin to discover fulfillment with what we're doing!
Too often in life we give lots of time to what we believe is necessary and allow no time for things that are just as important; those things that make us feel alive, joyful and exercising our passions and gifts! With this "Outward" week, let your passions bless the world! Even if it's just doing something for yourself; a more joyful you is better for everyone!!
**The assignment at the end of the call, and a new habit to begin to implement was; look at your schedule and determine one thing on your calendar that is non-essential, then take it out of your calendar and replace it with one of the activities in your life that brings you joy!**
So this week is the kick off for the Renaissance Life Challenge: Inward, Outward, Upward! This will be one month of weekly assignments designed to help us grow in our health, spirituality and creativity! You can send me an email if you want to be part of the group, or just follow along here... but if you actually sign up we are doing video calls together too!!
On this topic, I happen to be an expert. I haven’t had a bad day in over a decade and I believe that living in this reality is possible for anyone. Before I explain further, I want to be clear about what I am not talking about. I am not suggesting a ‘fake it till you make it’ ideology that rests upon telling yourself that you are happy even when you feel like crap. I’m not saying life isn’t hard sometimes or that trials are all in your head. I’m not talking about surface level happiness, but something more profound, fulfilling; life changing.
Challenges cause us to go beyond our normal potential; we are shaped by trials.
Life is good when it's easy; when we can focus on laughing and our everyday existence is defined primarily by an underlying sense of joy and contentment. These seasons should be savored and enjoyed, for they will inevitably transition into times where we are confronted by a need to persevere. It is not the good times that shape us. If one travels by kayak or a canoe (my brother who completed a 5,200 mile expedition knows this well!) they will never complain about the times when the current carries them. These are good times; coasting and enjoying the sun on your face and breeze in your hair. But the way you get stronger on such a voyage is when you travel against the current. When one paddles, struggles, portages and battles storms are the times when strength and fidelity (on a mental and physical level) are developed.
Pride comes before the fall. We have risen so high in our minds and hearts, beyond anything that could be called a humble state, that a catastrophic tumbling seems inevitable. I am not writing here of politics or the "powers that be" but of our own hearts; of you and of me. Our personal pride is evident in our desire to shout instead of to listen; to be heard instead of to be kind. When all our attention is focused on how others are wrong, the pride in our hearts is exposed, for what we are really saying is, "I am right."
Brothers and sisters, I'm not pointing a finger. If you could hear my voice right now it is calm and desiring peace. I know there are problems, I see them too, but while we confront problems head-on let us not make the mistake of attacking one another. Unless humility, marked by kindness to others, is restored a fall will come and in such an event there are no winners.
Love and peace to all and any who might read these words.
Hey everyone! My work and Renaissance Life has just been featured in Tattoo Master Magazine out of the UK! Check it out if you get the chance! Will be available for purchase Feb 24th.