Life as Performance: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 32

Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

When I attune my mind to the Oneness that is All of Life, I understand my place in Wholeness. I am the very Presence of Life, and this Presence of Life is me. I am blessed through this understanding. In return I bless all I encounter.

Reflection

Do you know what makes a singer/musician/rock star great? One answer (so I’ve heard), is the really great performers can get up on stage thousands of times doing the same song, and do it with all the passion they had for it the very first time they performed it. Think about it…musicians who are on tour go from city to city performing the exact same songs. The crowds are different, but the performance is the same. But each time…each time the truly great performers sing their hearts out. They perform as though the music is fresh and new and vital…because to each crowd it is. I would think it would be really easy to become complacent singing the same songs over and over, to become stale and boring. But the truly great performers, they know how to tap their passion and convey it to the audience; there is almost a transmission of energy that goes out, that the audience feels from the performer, an excitement about the music.

That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

To me, this idea is a lesson for anyone: bring passion and excitement to everything you do, no matter how many times you do it. For many musicians, this is their job. Wouldn’t you like to bring that passion to your job? Your repetitious, mundane job? Maybe you would say, “well, they love what they do, of course they are passionate”. True, I’ll give you that. But… don’t you think they still have to rise to the occasion and generate the passion sometimes, especially when they’ve performed a song over and over and over? If they can’t do it, then they need to figure it out. If they can’t figure it out, they become stale and boring. For performers, it’s a matter of shelf-life: if they get stale, they’ll be thrown out; they have to give the audience that energy or they will be replaced. For them, generating the passion is critical to their career.

What a learning curve it would be if generating passion were the standard for keeping a job: You must bring passion every day, or you’re out of a job. Lots of people who are not musicians do this, already. When your livelihood depends on your ability to generate excitement and appreciation in others, you learn to do it pretty quickly, I would think.

Now, applying this discussion to your practices–your writing, your prayers, your yoga, your chanting, your Journey. How much passion do you bring? How much energy to you generate toward accomplishing the goal of your practices? (Your goal can be peace, physical health, enlightenment, whatever it is for you.)

This idea is at the heart of why people who don’t like rituals object to them: because when people perform the same rituals over and over with no passion, the ritual seems to become stale and boring. It’s not the ritual that is stale and boring, just like it’s not Hotel California that is stale and boring when it’s performed for the gazillionth time. It’s that the practitioner does not bring the vitality to the ritual.

Repetition of a ritual can be very liberating, and can expand your mind if you let it. Bringing passion to what you do, even when you have done it a gazillion times before makes you go deeper into yourself to find that passion, that energy, that aliveness that you can bring to it. Aren’t you worth that?

This is a lesson I have been working on, consciously now, for a few weeks. It’s not so easy. But I would dare say, it’s bringing me much learning and growth. I want  to be able to go deeper and deeper into my own vitality, and bring that to the surface…again and again and again.

 

 

 

Turn Back O Fear: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 31

We are on the final stretch, the last 10 days! Pat yourself on the back–you are doing great. I know sometimes it does not feel like anything is “happening”–at least I feel that way, sometimes. But I can assure you, that if you have been taking a few minutes each day to read and think about the Guiding Thoughts, you are changing; your perceptions and perspectives are broadening, and you are allowing more love and light into your mind and your heart–and I hope you have seen that love and light encourage bold action, especially in a world that loves its darkness.

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Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Life is a process of Self-discovery. I embrace All of Life, for All of Life is who I am. As I embrace Life as my Self, I come to understand Life as me. Life embraces me gently and joyfully in return.

Reflection

In case you haven’t noticed, or haven’t followed along long enough to notice, the Journeys dovetail with each other. Sometimes it feels more like puzzle pieces making up the picture of my convoluted life, but it’s the same principle: The themes from the Journeys fit together and work together to lead me to greater insights, self-knowledge, and self-understanding.

Here’s what I am talking about: I’ve been working on abundance for a long time (pretty successfully, if I do say so myself). Abundance is one of those things that is so tangible, so recognizable, it feels sometimes easier to see the advances and the retreats–more so than with spiritual experiences like freedom or worth or fulfillment, which are less tangible.

I have a financial situation that I’ve been working out, and I feel myself retreating. I feel myself afraid, like I have been afraid in the past. I see it; I recognize it. I feel myself hesitant, untrusting, and uncertain. If ever I needed courage in a tangible situation, this is a good example.

In this situation, courage is about not letting my old fears win. It’s about trusting myself, trusting God, trusting life, and knowing that Life embraces me gently and joyfully. 

Here is why this is important: have to do it. I have to make sure my fears don’t win.

How do I do this? I must be proactive in stopping the thoughts of fear. I do this by interrupting them, and redirecting them. It’s like SparkyJen commented two days ago, “Whenever I feel myself reeling, I simply say: ‘Peace Be Still,’ because this is where I want to reside. It typically stops me in my tracks, allows me to regroup, conjure up a smile; maybe even a giggle. Once I feel I’ve ‘got this,’ I continue…”

With my recognition of old fears and patterns, luckily I am able to catch myself before I begin reeling. Sometimes that’s even harder, because my mind wants to seduce me into thinking it’s not that bad; you can indulge in some negativity, some fear, you know there’s a part of you that loves feeling sorry for yourself, loves wanting to be the victim, thinks someone else should take care of this…

BUT NO. I must stop these thoughts, and replace them with thoughts that take me where I want to be: Peace. Trust. Openness.

It takes openness to embrace All of Life, right? A hug starts with the arms wide open.  I want to be open to Life, and embracing All of Life, including situations that remind me of myself at a time when I felt less confident, less trusting, less worthy, and more fearful when it comes to big financial transactions. 

I am not that person anymore. Those fears and feelings are old, no longer part of me.

Shussh mind! Be still. I have been in a process of self-discovery for too long to let you seduce me into believing something untrue about myself, or have me slip back into an old pattern or way of being. I am amazing! and I do amazing things! I am loving and kind, and life supports me, enriches me, and wants me to be happy fulfilled and abundant!

Why Worry?: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 30

Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

We are aware, we allow, and we accept What Is. We go within to our silent Self which Knows and follow our Inner Wisdom to Truth. We practice Divine Balance in thought, word, and action. We are! We are our Self! We are our Self of Love!

Reflection

There are so many layers and levels to “What Is”. There is the what is mentally–those thoughts rumbling around; there is the what is emotionally–whatever feelings/energies swirling in and through me; there is the what is physically–what I see, touch, hear, taste, smell; and there is the what is that goes on in those “other realms” of finer and more subtle energies, vibrations, and movements–like dog whistles or the eternal sound of Om permeating all that is!

Did you know:

  • While humans can hear sounds whose frequencies range between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz, we’re most sensitive to frequencies between 2,000 Hz and 4,000 Hz—which happens to be the range of human speech.
  • the human eye can transfer data at the rate of approximately 8.75 megabits per second–but most of this is filtered out by the brain, which selects what is relevant or not relevant.

There is so much to the human experience that we simply do not register, but which “is” all the same.

Who knows what is possible, what our limits are, what we can learn or do or be, if we only unfilter some of our perceptions (slowly–we don’t want to be overwhelmed and go insane!).

My larger point, though, is that our conscious brains (as far as we have currently evolved), do not and cannot process all the information that we get. Fortunately, it does not need to. There is Inner Knowledge, which does it for us.

Recently, I found out that though I had been a finalist for a job, I was not offered the position. I went over the interview in my head, and “found” exactly the point where I had “said the wrong thing”. I knew it. I just knew that it was that moment in which I did myself in. Then, there was another professional interaction where I knew I was saying exactly the right thing. Later, when I juxtaposed these, I wondered, why do I say the right thing some times, and the wrong thing other times? And it hit me. First: everything is always right.  Second, things seem wrong, because my Inner Knowledge Knows it’s not what I need…so out of my mouth pops something that shifts my direction, and brings me something different than I expected (which I interpret as “saying the wrong thing”). When I come upon the exact right experience (which my Inner Knowledge will Know), then all of my words and my actions will align with that experience for everything to fall into place.

Why worry? My Inner Knowledge is taking care of me.

Peace Now: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 29

Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

We accept our light and our lightness! We feel our Self expand! As we perceive change around us, we remain anchored in our Being of Light. We allow ourselves to sit peacefully in the still place of nothingness as life moves quickly around us.

Reflection

Life is moving quickly. This is a good reminder today. There is more to life than “me” and the things I experience. There is a whole world out there, populated with people who are doing their best, just like I am.

I think lots of people are in a whirlwind, are reeling, and they don’t even know it. It’s “just how life is”.

Taking just a moment to breathe, and be aware of something bigger than me, something deeper than the activity buzzing around me feels peaceful. I want to remain in that peace. But there is work to do, tax information to prepare, research to do, families to feed…and life continues barreling down.

Even when my body is still, I can still feel a sense of bustling activity. Breathe. Just breathe.

Peace is possible. Peace is possible in doings. I can be centered, rested and restful, focused, aware, balanced, and at peace all the time. I know this is possible. It seems like life is a practice of going into this state, remaining there for a time, then falling out of it, due to some new circumstance or situation. Then, I have to learn how to get back into the state of peace, with more factors to consider. Infinite peace, in infinite situations, in infinite combinations of situations and inter-relationships. I know it’s possible, because I keep doing it, and I keep getting better at it.

Today is  good reminder…because I am tired and I feel overwhelmed. And I know that all that means is that I am learning how to find my peace now, in this situation, in this circumstance. And I’m doing it.

Do thy part!: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 28

I am feeling very intensely today about following my heart. However, I am not sure what this means for me right now; thus, I am left with more questions than answers. Perhaps my questions will help you find your own answers–or your own questions.

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Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

We allow ourselves to connect with our pure Inner Divine Heart of Oneness We are aware of the expression of the Divine Heart through us, as us. We connect with our heart, and are aware of embodying its pure Love intention for All. We are filled with Joy as we embrace our heart’s Love.

Reflection

Following your heart takes courage. Really listening to your heart, your soul, and your being, and doing what is within you to do, takes courage.

I would not say that it is easy to follow the precepts of the world: life is full of decisions and learning, mistakes and effort, struggle and strife (that is, until we figure things out–then life becomes easier). But in some ways, following a path that is laid out before you through social expectations (go to school, get a job, have a relationship, make babies, etc) is easier than really listening to your heart and following what is within you.

But this…this…following your heart, listening to your heart, doing as your heart wills, is so very important, and crucial to fully expressing yourself fully, as a divine expression.

There is a section of the Bhagavad-Gita in which Arjuna (a warrior-prince) is lamenting to Krishna that he is being asked to kill in battle. He is truly distraught over this, even though he is a warrior. Krishna says to him (paraphrased): “Life does not end, you can’t kill Life. Don’t worry about it. Do your duty. You are a warrior. Warriors kill (though death is but a beginning). It’s better to do what you are than not do what is yours to do”.  (The full text is below.)

Do thy part! In other words: do what is within you. Do what is your duty (according to your heart, your soul).

How have I shunned my heart? How have I not been true to my soul? How have I not listened deeply enough? How have I not performed what is mine to do? How do I know? How do I listen deeply enough so that I know, and so I know that I know? Why is this concept speaking to me so loudly? What do I need to learn? What is mine to do? ( I do not currently have these answers, but at least I have the questions!)

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Krishna:

That which is can never cease to be; that which is not will not exist. To see this truth of both is theirs who part essence from accident, substance from shadow.

Indestructible, learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all; It cannot anywhere, by any means, be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed.

But for these fleeting frames which it informs with spirit deathless, endless, infinite, they perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight!

He who shall say, “Lo! I have slain a man!” he who shall think, “Lo! I am slain!” those both know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never. Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever; death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!

…This Life within all living things, my Prince! hides beyond harm; scorn thou to suffer, then, for that which cannot suffer.

Do thy part! Be mindful of thy name, and tremble not! Nought better can betide a martial soul than lawful war; happy the warrior to whom comes joy of battle–comes, as now, glorious and fair, unsought; opening for him a gateway unto Heav’n. But if thou shun this honorable field…if knowing thy duty and thy task, thou biddest duty and task to go by–that shall be sin! (Bhagavad-Gita, Sir Edwin Arnold edition. Chapter two)

Life needs you: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 27

Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Love is strong! Powerful! We embrace Love and wield it through our awareness of Oneness. Oneness destroys the illusions of the mind, of the past, and of the material world. We move forward courageously with Peace in the Truth of Love and Oneness.

Reflection

Raw sewage is being dumped into the Puget Sound as I write. The world’s oceans are 30% more acidic than they were 250 years ago, threatening life in the oceans. The ozone is (still) being depleted. Half of the world’s rain forests have been destroyed since 1990 (since 1990!). Oil spills happen on average every two months. Wolves and bears are being killed while they hibernate. One third of the world’s population does not have access to clean water.

When I think about these things, I feel like the world is an absolute mess. I cry at how we are hurting our beautiful planet, and all its amazing life. I do what I can: I recycle. I bless my water. I garden organically. I drive as little as possible. I feed the birds. I revere and bless all life. It never feels like enough. How can one person feel like they are doing enough in this state of the world?

But then…

But then, I also see that everyday people are giving and sharing in extraordinary ways, helping each other, bringing love and kindness into the world. For example, the Born This Way Foundation is launching a Kindness Channel, which features young adults reporting on acts of kindness, and HappytheApp is launching an app that will connect people who need a sympathetic ear with a compassionate listener, offering encouragement, support, and affirmation to callers. So many people these days are involved in Yoga, in coaching, in positive thinking. It is all very encouraging. I feel hopeful. I feel like people will not stand idly by and let the world fall apart. People are growing bolder, more outspoken with taking actions to mitigate oppression and hate, the senseless destruction of our natural resources, and the systems that let us get to this point in the first place.

I am thankful to all the people who are mobilizing, who are speaking out, who are out there, consciously changing the world, making it a better place for everyone. It takes courage to do these things; it takes courage not to fall into a pit of despair and hopelessness; it takes courage to speak out against systems and paradigms that have been in place for decades, even centuries; it takes courage to envision a new world, and to word toward it.

To all of you: thank you for your participation and your encouragement, for your care and your motivation. You are helping everyone on the planet with your energy, your love, your work, your small and large acts of kindness, your desire to go further, do more, and be better. We are the change. This is how we change the world. One person, one act ripples over the planet bringing that uplifting energy to all it encounters. Never doubt your power, never doubt your impact. You matter. Life needs you.

 

 

 

Responsibility leads to courage: Journey of Courage 2017 – Day 26

Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

We are responsible! We are able to respond with and through conscious awareness of our inner-centered, silent knowingness, moment by moment. Anchored in the inner harmony, we face our own thoughts and actions with courage.

Reflection

Why do I need courage to face my own thoughts and actions, especially if I am anchored in inner harmony?

Ahh. I see it now. It has to do with responsibility. (duh!).

Responsibility itself takes courage. There is a part of A Course in Miracles that talks about how poorly we have been taught (because of where we have placed our faith and reliance), and how poorly we have thus created. Creating poorly means creating from fear, from separation–which means that as we create situations out of fear and separation, we experience fear and separation. We must unlearn how we have taught ourselves, and shift our faith and reliance from ourselves to the Holy Spirit, so that we create from Love and Oneness.

This is a learning process. It’s not like we can just wake up one day and say, “OK, I’m going to create 100% from Love today”. (Maybe some people can do this, but so far, not me, and believe me, I’ve been working on it.) And then, even when we begin to create from Love, there are still effects from past fear-creations that may come up in our experience. So, the process is two-fold: Create NOW from Love; transmute effects of the past through Love. I suppose in a way, these are both the same thing, because NOW is the only operative time-frame.

What this asks us to do, though, is to be responsible for everything we encounter, whether it’s the effect of a past mistake, or a pure-in-the-moment creation. We must respond to everything with and through conscious awareness, and Love.

Dealing with past mis-creations in the moment especially requires attention and strength–be vigilant! It’s like pouring water through a pipe that is all gunked up on the inside. The more pressure you use, the faster the gunk washes away. The more frequently you respond with Love, the more you will be creating from Love. The faster and more frequently you can respond with Love–especially in a situation that is fear-based–the faster and more frequently you will experience the effects of your Love.

However, if you try to wash the gunk away using just a trickle, it will not move out and through the pipe very fast. If you spend 5% of your time thinking Loving thoughts, creating from Love, the return will be only 5%. If you continually respond to fear-based situations with fear, your trickle has turned to a drip.

I know, I know, I get it. Responding to fear with Love is one of the hardest things to be aware of, and to accomplish. When someone is accusing you of something that you didn’t do…when someone is hostile toward you…when, from nowhere, someone flings a psychic attack of guilt or not-good-enough or unworthy…FIRST you must get to the point where you can recognize the falsehood: You are an amazing beautiful being, fully Loved, fully worthy, innocent of ALL transgressions, no matter what “they” say. You are worthy and deserving of every good thing, all beauty, all abundance, and all kindness. Don’t let anyone ever tell you or try to convince you otherwise–Reject their falsehoods! Let no one tell you lies about yourself!

When you can recognize your worth, your beauty, and your strength, in the face of someone else’s hostility, you have become conscious of your anchor of inner harmony. Hold that space. Stand strong in that space. If that is all you can do, when faced with hostility, it’s enough. Don’t give in to fear; keep fear at bay. That’s enough.

But keep getting stronger. Keep working. Because as you do, you will not just stand, you will speak and act with Love and compassion, even in the face of fear, hostility, or attacks.

That is courage…and how responsibility leads to it.