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‘When you look back at your own life, you see that with the suffering you went through, you would have avoided it each time if you possibly could, yet when you look at the depths of your character now, and the fact that you’re sitting here doing this work, you see it’s all a product of those experiences.

Weren’t those experiences part of what created the depth of your inner being?
I look back over the times when I was suffering miserably. I certainly wouldn’t lay it on myself if I’d had a choice, but it happened. It was part of the working out of my life plan, and now when I look back in perspective, I see the power of those experiences. I see how they deepened something in me that was necessary for the moment.’

– Ram Dass

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7a8bacd29e6f80e2af8227283e0fcef8‘After decades of research into the meaning of Enlightenment and a series of dark nights of my ego, I came to find that the definition of Enlightenment is simply this: the release of the resistance to what is. Out beyond resistance, right in the heart of all distress, all pain and all despair, is untarnished Enlightenment just waiting to be realized. When we drop the resistance to what is, the clarity of True vision is restored .

Enlightenment is an awareness already inside of us and when we remove the blocks that veil us to this Truth, Enlightenment is revealed. What are the blocks that we need to remove? Block 1: The resistance to what is. What resists what is? Our ego! Block 2: The resistance to Self Love. What resists Self Love? Our ego! Here’s the deal about Enlightenment: the undoing of ego resistance requires a Universe of Self Love to undertake. But hey, in Truth we are one with the Universe so guess what? We have a Universe of support in this Self Love department!

The release of the resistance to what is is not about checking out, turning our back on injustice, or not standing up for what’s right. The release of resistance is about checking in, accepting this moment exactly as it is and saying “Okay, I trust that whatever’s going on right now has been invited in for my Awakening and the Awakening of Humanity. Instead of resisting what is, I will use this situation as an invitation for Enlightenment. I will choose to take action from a place of Love, and to start, I will Love my Self that much more . ”

There’s a great intelligence in our suffering, for our suffering is a gateway to our Enlightenment. Enlightenment is not about reaching some static plane of cushy bliss by any means. Enlightenment is an underlying Peace that endures even in our deepest Human grief and it is often through our darkest hour that we pierce the veil of suffering and enter into a surrendered state of Grace. From this place of non-resistance a profound alchemy occurs, we transcend the egoic spell of fear and doubt and the remembrance of an Omnipotent Love is returned to us. Give resistance it’s freedom and you will know Enlightenment.’ -Alana Leigh

Instagram @alanaleighjewels

Spritual Practice -Bo Lozoff

There is no spiritual practice
More profound than
Being kind
To one’s family,
Neighbors,
The cashier at the grocery store,
An unexpected visitor,
The con in the next cell,
A stray cat or dog,
Or any other of the
Usually “irrelevant” or “invisible”
Beings who may cross our paths
In the course of a normal day. 

Certainly
There are spiritual mysteries
Beyond description
To explore,
But as we mature,
It becomes clear that
Those special experiences
Are only meaningful
When they arise from
And return to
A life of ordinary kindness.

Bo Lozoff

Living With The Wound -Mark Nepo

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‘There is a need to be specific
if we are to survive,
which requires being honest,
the way seeing requires
the eyes to stay open.

It means I can tell you
when you hurt me
and still count on your love.

It means being honest
with myself, knowing
the ugly things are not
always someone else’s.

I’ve been thinking how
practical people cut the cord
to those who’ve broken hope,
the way breeders shoot horses
with broken legs, as if
there’s nothing to be done.

Now I know they do this
for themselves, not wanting
to care for a horse that cannot run,
not wanting to sit with a friend
who can’t find tomorrow, not wanting
to be saddled with anything
that will slow them down.

I used to think it bad timing.
When I was up, you were down.
When you were ready,
I was scared. But since
we’ve never given up on each other,
it’s clear that drinking wonder
when we’re sad is how we shed
the things we love about pain.

I have a right to joy
even when lonely,
even when in pain,
and you never need
to cover your wounds
when entering my house.

If your voice breaks, I’ll be a cup.
If your heart sweats, I’ll be a pillow
on which you’ll chance to dream
that weeping is singing
through an instrument
that’s hard to reach,
though it lands us like lightning
in the grasp of each other
where giving is a mirror
of all we cannot teach.’

 

-Mark Nepo

The Art of Now -Jeff Foster

THE ART OF NOW

When you get truly creative
you get truly messy too!

You make endless mistakes,
and your mistakes only fuel the creativity.
And the end result
is nothing liked you planned,
thank goodness!

You love what you made!
You brought something out of nothing!
You participated in a miracle,
and ‘You’ weren’t there at all.

This is true meditation:

To be grateful for mistakes.

To witness an ordinary moment painting itself
on the sacred canvas of Now.

To be messy, imperfect, but so very ALIVE!

– Jeff Foster

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‘Each of us has something to do in this lifetime. We all have negative emotions to be purified and positive emotions to be cultivated. All of us need to reconnect to our source and drop our personal stories, don’t we? Men, women, old, young, from here, from there – it is the same. All you can do is your practice. There is nothing else. Don’t get caught up. Don’t stop. We have to learn how to get out of our own way. Because ultimately, the only thing standing in our way is ourselves.’ –Tenzin Palmo 

Human hands hold and preserve a young plant

‘Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult over comings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say ‘thank you’ to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for. Sometimes I see someone who has endured so much find their way through the pain tunnel to a truly better place. I am not talking about the bypassing of the pain-body. I am talking about the courageous working through of the emotional debris. And then I marvel at the human spirit, which creates whatever tools it needs to overcome the odds and find its way home. We ARE simply and utterly worth fighting for.’-Jeff Brown

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“Embracing the paradox that we simultaneously are and are not our story is precisely what enables us to keep writing new ones. My story about the abuse I experienced at the hands of my father will always be a part of me, but it no longer defines me. Of course, I sometimes spiral back into trauma; unlike the self-help pundits who say it’s possible to simply let go of the old hurts by cleansing them with a dose of love and light. I know that even as the impact fades, this experience is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.

That said, healing is not a linear journey. Old trauma is wrapped up in the fabric of the new stories I’ve created for myself, and the resulting pattern is not nice and clean and neat. In fact, the deeper we all go, the messier and more chaotic it will get. It is the contrasting loops of darkness and light, life and death, defeat and triumph, that make the human story such a compelling and gorgeous one…”

 

-Kelly McNelis

(~an excerpt from ‘Women for One’ founder Kelly McNelis’s new book, ‘Your Messy Brilliance’)

A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING -Jeff Foster

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A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING
Life,
Break in me whatever needs to be broken.
Fix my hope of ever being fixed.
Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me. Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.
Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.
Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.
Where I am still holding on, help me let go.
Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.
Help me laugh at my own seriousness.
Allow me to find the humour in the dark places.
Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.
Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.
Let gratitude be my guide.
Let forgiveness be my mantra.
Let this moment be a constant companion.
Let me see your face in every face.
Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.
Hold me when I stumble.
Breathe me when I cannot breathe.
Let me die living, not live dying.
Amen.
Jeff Foster

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‘Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.’