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Musings On The Path: Daily Spiritual Reading; February 1-7
February 1: Creating Your Best Life
“When you are tempted to get discouraged, remind yourself that according to God’s word, your future is getting brighter; you are on your way to a new level of glory. You may think you’ve got a long way to go, but you need to look back at how far you’ve already come. You may not be everything you want to be but at least you can than God that you’re not what you used to be.” Joel Osteen
Are you living the life you’ve always imagined? What is stopping you from living your best life today? Often the hardest part of living the perfect life is deciding what that looks like. And what seems ideal now may have changed from when you were younger, and it will probably change as time passes.
Determine what you would like your life to look like. What do you want? Make a list. Write in your journal. Create a vision board. These activities help clarify your vision of your ideal life. One day, several years ago, I was having lunch with one of my daughters. She asked me what my ideal life looked like. At first I shrugged, not even thinking. But she persisted, and I described what would be ideal for me. At the time, I was working as a newspaper reporter, nearly 60 hours each week, for a pittance of a salary. As I thought about my ideal, I described how I would get up and run in the mornings, and do yoga, then spend the remainder of the morning writing. Then I would do yoga at lunchtime, followed by performing massages (I’m a certified massage therapist) and life coaching. My daughter smiled and asked what was holding me back.
Describing my ideal life, and picturing myself living it planted a vision. Within six months, I quit the newspaper, began teaching yoga, and increased my massage business to support my family. I also stopped using my time and talent as a writer to benefit someone else, and began writing what felt good to me. I believed in the possibility of my dream, and created my best life.
After you envision your ideal, believe that you can achieve those goals and more importantly, believe that you deserve success. Often we sabotage our own dreams, by saying we want one thing, and then doing things that are counterproductive to success. Fear holds you back from achieving many of your desires.
Fear disguises itself in many ways. You’re afraid you can’t get a different job, you fear no one will love you, you fear failure. Rather than let fear hold you back from your desires, take a step in the direction of your dreams. When I described my ideal life, I was terrified that it might actually work. I was afraid of losing a regular paycheck. I was afraid I wasn’t a real writer.
You create your best life one step at a time. For me, the first step was deciding what I really wanted. The next step, find a place to practice yoga. Third step, give notice of my leave. When I did that, my boss laughed in my face. But I took one small step at a time. Great things are accomplished one step at a time through consistent effort. Don’t worry about how far you have to go or how much still needs to be done. Celebrate the distance you’ve already travelled, and look ahead to the very next step.
Today, celebrate the fact that you are on the path to your best life. Wherever you are on the path, look ahead with anticipation and hope, and look back proudly at how much you’ve done. In this moment, on this day, take one more step toward the life you desire.
February 2: Who Do You Love?
“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.” Joseph Joubert
For many years, I looked at my life as a ladder. I stood on a rung near the bottom, working my way toward some unknown and undefined goal. I imagined God at the very top, unreachable. Along the way, as people moved through my life, I mentally placed them on my ladder. Most looked down on me from above. Some reached up from below, and my heart ached for those unfortunate souls. Some people even shared my rung.
Walking the path of healing, I have mostly shed the ladder concept. Now, I try to view life as a circle, containing me and everyone else. We are all here equally and God fills the center of the circle, sharing his message of love and forgiveness.
Climbing off the ladder was not easy. I have slowly learned (and I sometimes forget) that I am no better and no worse than any other person. More importantly, I am learning to love myself. I wasted many years, imagining myself on the bottom rungs, unloved and unlovable. It wasn’t until I learned to love myself that I could fathom the truth of life as a circle.
Learning how to love is hard. Many times we feel judged by others and judged by God. We have trouble finding value in ourselves, and our love is crowded out by feelings of superiority and inferiority.
God loves you exactly as you are right now. You are deeply and completely loved. Now is the time to forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve already made, and the ones you have yet to make. Begin to love yourself, exactly where you are, and you can share the message of love and forgiveness with those around you.
Today, remember that you don’t have to like everyone. It is more peaceful to reach a place free from judgement and criticism. Greet everyone you encounter today with a silent acknowledgement. “Namaste. The spirit of light and love of God that lives in me honors that spirit of light and love that dwells in you.” In this way, you share love with yourself and others, all day long.
February 3: A Crying Shame
“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.” Anais Nin
What are you ashamed of? Shame is usually cast upon one person by someone else. While you may feel guilty about your own actions, shame comes from outside. It is put upon you by someone else.
As a kid, I knew we were poor. That didn’t bother me until other people pointed out my shabby clothes, or my torn shoes, making fun of our poverty, then I became ashamed.
Shame is a powerful, negative emotion. It is the sense that at your very core, who you are is not okay. Shame tells you that you will never be good enough. If you can learn to reject shame, you can change your life. While guilt is a legitimate feeling that what you did was not okay, shame is an ugly monster that tries to impose guilt for being who you are.
It is okay to accept who you are. Because you do something wrong and feel bad about it, that does not make you a bad person. Making mistakes is how people learn and grow. Healing and living your best life require that you accept yourself, regardless of your mistakes.
Today, recognize that you are enough, exactly as you are. Sure, if you’d like to make changes to your life, you can always do that. But at the center of who you are, learn to accept and love yourself. There is no shame in being human.
February 4: Finally Free
“I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going.” Jim Vilvano-Jimmy V, college basketball coach and broadcaster.
One of the benefits of a consistent spiritual practice is that it is freeing. As you study, learn and remember to breathe, you will find that life gets easier.
That’s not to say that you won’t face difficulties. Some days I wake up feeling out of sorts. On those days, reading offers no solace. Usually, if I focus my mind, I can figure out a specific thought or idea or event that sent me spiraling. Sometimes it is just that I’m tired and need to rest. Sometimes I need a good cry. Sometimes I need to eat. Trying to fix myself during those times is counterproductive. I let the tears flow. I take a hot bath. I have a snack. And then, I go to bed early.
In these moments of emotional upheaval, I know on some level that I will be okay. It may not be at the forefront of my mind in my moment of madness, but somewhere deep down, I truly know that all will be well. That peace of mind allows me to be free. I don’t have to feel guilty, ashamed, or victimized. I can breathe and accept myself exactly where I am. In those moments, I offer myself love and gentleness, much as I would to a dear friend.
As you travel your path of spiritual awakening, embrace the freedom that awareness offers. You are free from victimization. You are free to create your own life. You are free to experience the greatness of God every day.
Today, spend some time enjoying your life. Whatever gifts the Universe brings, acknowledge them, embrace them, and best of all, celebrate your freedom!
February 5: Flying High
“The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one who can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can’t make anybody believe he has it.”
The path of wisdom is not without pitfalls. Many a prophet has come down from the mountain to share a word of wisdom, only to be stoned and ridiculed as a heretic. As you study and learn, you may find yourself living more intuitively. One of the ways God speaks to you is through your intuition. Everyone has it, but few people harness it.
Intuition comes to us as an immediate understanding. It is instinctive rather than conscious. It is feeling, not reasoning. When you listen to your gut, you will know what to do. Your body reacts to the messages from the Universe long before your brain receives conscious input.
Consistent study and being in tune with nature will help you hone your intuition. Keep your head up, eyes open and your spirit alert and attentive. Events don’t happen in a vacuum. Often the people who are soaring through life above the sleeping masses will see signs long before an event transpires. Don’t be afraid. Listen to the small still voice of truth and recognize this gift will help you rise above trouble.
Today, listen to your gut. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, respect your intuition. The small, still voice is available to you, if you are willing to listen.
February 6, The Light Within
“In order to experience everyday spirituality, we need to remember that we are spiritual beings spending some time in a human body.” Barbara de Angelis
You are the light of the world. I am the light of the world. God’s light is within each one of us. Humility means accepting that truth about who you really are.
It may seem arrogant to say, “I am the light of the world.” Living many years with a fundamentalist Christian background, it not only seems arrogant, but also blasphemous. Jesus clearly said in the bible that He is the light of the world. How dare I, or anybody else, proclaim such a thing?
The truth is, we are all children of God. Children of the Divine. Creations of the Universal Higher Power. Each of us has been created with a purpose, assigned to us by our creator. That purpose ultimately is to share love. As you share your love, and God’s love, you shine. Your being becomes transformed. You become light. Hence, you are the light of the world.
Everyday life is a spiritual experience, if you acknowledge it as such. Each day presents a new opportunity to share love and light with those you encounter. What calling could be higher? You are the light of the world and everything you do has significance. Your spiritual practice becomes your life as you focus on bringing love and light to those around you.
Today, practice shining your light. Share love. Offer someone a sincere smile, a kind word, or a helping hand. In these small ways, you impact every life you encounter. As you interact with others, remember that you are the light of the world.
February 7, Embracing Change
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” Jim Rohn
Your life is a work in progress. The final strokes of your masterpiece will not be laid on the canvas until you lay your body down. Until that final moment, embrace the adventure of your life. Fall in love with the flow.
I feel secure when I follow a common path. When I wear the right clothes, say the correct things, and follow the proper order, then I feel secure and in control. But the real me wants to break out of that mundane shell, don a brightly colored hat and throw caution to the wind. I do own a large selection of hats. When I wear one of them, I feel bold and brave and shocking. Although the control freak inside feels uncomfortable and out of place, the real me wants to freely express myself.
If you do the things you’ve always done, you will continue to get the things you’ve always had. This is true in all aspects of your life, from relationships to work to your health. Are you ready for something different? Now is the time to shake things up a bit. Try taking a different route to work. Listen to a different radio station. Do something to shake up your normal, dull routine. The worst thing that can happen is you won’t like it. If that’s truly the case, then tomorrow you can return to the dull and boring ruts worn in your common paths. What if you discover something new and fabulous that you love? It is worth the risk.
Change can be scary. If you take small risks daily, doing something out of the ordinary, you will find yourself ready to tackle those big changes with grace and equanimity.
Today, do one thing that scares you. Step outside your comfort zone, if only for a moment. Meet someone new. Try something different. When you control the tiny changes, you won’t be caught so off guard by something really big, and outside your control.