Musings On The Path: Daily Spiritual Reading; January 15-21
January 15: Standing Strong
“Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.” Edwin Louis Cole
Walking a path of live, kindness and forgiving may seem simplistic and weak. Being kind does not mean you cannot stand up for yourself. It does not mean you are weak. You can be kind and also strong.
Every day will present problems. It is important to set boundaries and know what you will allow into your life. Being strong does not mean being unkind, unloving or unforgiving.
You can protect yourself and stand strong when you define what you will allow in your life. The past has useful lessons for today, if you are willing to look back and learn. Dwelling in the past is not healthy but reflecting on the past and using it to define your boundaries will help you today.
Worrying about the future is as harmful as dwelling in the past. Instead of fretting about what might happen, look forward with planning and expectation. Worrying will not protect you from the future, but planning and forethought will help you prepare for possibilities.
A wise person understands that the past affects them. A wise person also devotes some energy to building the future. Ultimately, a wise person walks through each day, sharing love and kindness while not allowing others to harm them.
You teach others how to treat you. Decide what you will accept and what is intolerable. As problems arise, you have an opportunity to establish your boundaries in a kind and loving manner. Once you determine your boundaries, it is important to let go of the outcome. Some people may not like your new boundaries. That is okay. You decide how you will be treated. Their response has nothing to do with you.
In learning to stand strong, you learn to value yourself. When you respect yourself, you allow and expect others to respect you. Your boundaries reflect the measure of how you love and respect yourself.
Today, stand strong in love and kindness. As you define your boundaries, allow yourself to feel peaceful. Notice how inner peace and a sense of strength develop as you set boundaries for yourself. When you respect yourself, you will become stronger.
January 16: A Powerful Prayer
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mahatma Gandhi
Have you ever been so overcome with emotion that you were left speechless? In the midst of overpowering emotion sometimes there are no words and our hearts cry out directly to God.
At such times, words are too small to express the longings of our soul. A wondrous vista, stretching to the end of the earth; a painful wrenching of a loved one from your arms; an explosive rupturing of the sky as lightening ignites the earth; great wonders remove us from the mundane energy of ordinary life and thrust us directly into God’s path.
Prayer is the connection between your spirit and God. Religion uses prayer, but it is not the exclusive tool of any one church, belief or faith. Prayer and meditation are tools you can use to improve your relationship with a Higher Power. It is a way to link your soul to the Source of Life.
Prayer takes many forms, from chanting and singing to whispering and pleading. The words are not important. Your heart is important. Whether you are pleading or praising, prayer brings you closer to the Divine.
Simple prayer opens the door for God t work in your life. As you walk through your daily life, begin a conversation with God. If things aren’t going well, ask God to help you see things differently. And on the days when everything is going right, the birds are singing and the sun is shining, remember the most simple, heartfelt prayer: Thank-you.
German theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart famously reminds us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank-you, it will be enough.”
Today, remember that a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude opens your heart to the blessings in your daily life. Begin your day with thanks, and as you go about your day, see if you can keep God involved in your internal dialog. When you come to the end of the day, another thank-you bookends your gratitude completely.
January 17: So It Shall Be
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs
What if you could do whatever you wanted, without worrying about failure? What would you do if money were no object? The truth is, you can do whatever you want. You have the power to create exactly the life you want to live.
The first step in living your best life is to identify what that looks like for you. Would you be funnier, thinner, more successful? What would you BE, if you could BE anything? First you have to decide. Make up your mind.
After you decide what you will be, then you can begin doing the things that such a person would do. What would a thin person do? What would a successful person do? What would a happy person do? First you decide what you want to BE, then identify what you need to DO. When you begin to do things in alignment with your desires, you will have the things you desire.
Be. Do. Have. It is a Universal Paradigm. In the Universe, “havingness” does not bring us to a place of “beingness.” Rather, the paradigm is the other way around. By being what you desire, and by doing things from this place of being, you will discover that you have the things you desire. According to author Neil Donald Walsch, who authored the “Conversations With God” series of books, “In life you do not have to do anything. It’s all a question of what you are being.”
Discard the “haves” from your life. As in, “I want to have this, or I want to have that.” Instead focus on what you want to be and move forward into doing. The “haves” in your life will naturally arise from your positive being and doing.
Today, focus on what you want to be. If you want to be more kind, then do the things that a kind person would do. If you want to be healthier, then do the things a healthy person would do. Would a healthy person really eat that? Yes? Then go ahead, be healthy. What you have at the end of the day will be a result of what you desire to be, and what you do as a result.
January 18: A Beautiful Heart
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
We are surrounded on all sides by breathtaking beauty. You don’t believe it? Take a look at the stars on a clear night. Those same millions of lights surround us day and night. Their spectacular beauty dims in comparison to the powerful glory of the sun, but still they shine on. Look closely at one flake of snow and its complex pattern of crystal and light. And now, behold an acre of diamonds, surrounding you in a snow-covered field.
Beauty is all around you. Gratitude is the spiritual practice of opening your heart to the beauty that surrounds you.
It is so easy to plod through each day, unaware. With eyes focused like dead lazer beams on the task at hand, many people never notice the beauty of creation. Those poor, lost souls never gasp in wonder at the sheer magnitude of beauty surrounding them on this glorious planet, and far beyond, into the endless sea of stars.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t mean paying a heartless thanks for a required service. Gratitude is an expression of your soul to the Creator of the Universe. From a moment of unbridled passion in which you are completely enraptured with the beauty around you, gratitude springs forth from your being.
Today take a moment to pause. Breathe deeply. Open your heart to the beauty around you. Expressing gratitude begins there, in your open, vulnerable heart. It then travels outward and into the Universe, creating a harmonious vibration. With that vibration, with a full heart, acknowledge God’s presence in your life.
January 19: The Victim Mentality
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” Miguel Angel Ruiz
It is easy to get caught up in a victim mentality. If you’ve ever been in an unhealthy relationship with someone, then you may recognize the feelings associated with victimization: helplessness, rage, frustration, anger and resentment. These feelings surface when you feel powerless.
Becoming a victim is as easy as giving up your power. You become a victim when you let someone ignore and invade your boundaries. When you give your power away, then you become a victim. If you have been victimized by someone else, or even by your own negative thoughts or habits, then it is time to reclaim your power.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. First, don’t take anything personally. This is easy to say, and hard to do. The truth is, what someone else says or does has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Each person is living their own life, their own version of reality, their own dream. The things they think, say and do have nothing to do with you. Even if someone says or does something directly to you, it’s still not about you. This is about their dream. Leave them behind as you choose not to be a victim, by not taking things personally.
This is your life. You have complete control over your version of your reality. Oftentimes, victimization is the result of trying to control others. You have no control over anyone but yourself. Don’t play the victim card when what you really want is control. Instead, realize that you control you. You can choose not to be a victim when you remember that you have no control over anyone but yourself.
If you feel like a victim, take a look at your own behavior. Are you sabotaging yourself? If you let your own negative thoughts or behaviors impact your life, then you are victimizing yourself. Now is the time to own your power. You have the power to change your mind and change your life.
Today you can begin reclaiming your power and releasing your role as victim. Don’t get overwhelmed by focusing on the magnitude of making drastic changes every day for the rest of you life. Instead, reclaim your own power right now, in this moment. You are not a victim. Change can occur today, in this moment. Every tiny step you take toward healing is one step closer to releasing yourself from the victim mentality.
January 20: Releasing Resentment
“Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly.” Lawrence G. Lovasik
It has been joked in the past that resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Resentment is a bitter pill of indignation over a perceived wrong.
It may be that you were dreadfully wronged. As you are learning not to take things personally, you will realize that the harm caused to you by another was really not about you. That is the first part of releasing resentment; realizing that the wrong was not about you.
You can let go of resentment and still maintain your own power. By accepting the past and releasing it, you leave energetic space to set your own boundaries.
The new year is a good time to move forward past historic hurts, injustices and wrongs done to you. Let your heart rest by cleaning the slate and starting again.
You have the power to make a choice: resentment or healing. You can’t have both. Releasing resentment will help you walk in a balanced, harmonious way. The key to overcoming this toxic emotion is to forgive the person. Acknowledge your own feelings of frustration, fear, hurt and anger. Feel the way your body responds to those emotions. Sit for a moment and experience your own pain. Feel it. Be aware of the presence of that energy in your body. It is okay to feel this way. Now, breathe deeply and hold that person in your mind. Inhale deeply while holding thoughts of that person and say out loud, “I forgive you.” Now, breathe out and release the negative energy of anxiety, fear, anger, pain. Let it all out. Let that empty feeling sit. If you are still experiencing negative emotions, repeat the process until you feel internally peaceful.
When at last your heart is at rest, take a moment to bless the person who hurt you. Say it out loud. Ask for God’s hand of blessing and abundance and healing in their life, as well as in your own life. Ask God to help you see them differently. Hanging on to resentment does absolutely nothing to the other person. It does nothing for you. The only path to healing is to release resentment and free yourself from the burden of carrying around past hurts.
Today is the perfect day to release resentment. You don’t have to forgive everyone all at once. Start small. Forgive recent and less painful transgressions. The larger, deeper, more painful experiences of your past can be forgiven. Gently allow yourself the space to forgive, and when you are ready, release them to the Universe and continue your own journey toward healing.
January 21: Taking Care of Yourself
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” Max Ehrmann
How are you? The question gets asked and answered many times each day, usually as a courtesy. But how are you really? Don’t just toss off, “Oh, I’m fine.” Take a moment to evaluate different aspects of your life.
How is your spirit? Do you take time to nurture and heal your soul? Spend some time today connecting to your spirit: walk in the woods and feel the energy of the earth infuse your soul; listen to beautiful music and allow the vibration to wash over and restore your soul; pray or meditate and allow your soul to connect directly to your Higher Power.
How is your brain? Spend some time reading, studying and learning today. Pull out the chess board, a crossword puzzle or an old algebra book. Practice a foreign language. There are many ways to challenge and exercise your brain and studies show that the more you continue to use your brain, the healthier it will remain.
How is your health? You don’t have to run a marathon, in order to be healthy. Gentle, consistent movement will get your blood flowing and increase the endorphins in your body. Yoga, walking, stretching: these moderate activities benefit your health without hurting your body. And don’t forget to properly nourish yourself with plenty of water, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of whole grains. Being physically healthy doesn’t mean sacrifice, torture and deprivation. Healthy means paying attention to what your body needs and wants, and giving it that.