Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How I Found Real Connection Without the Internet

I'm just back from teaching a weekend workshop on my Be Love Principles for Unity of DC held at the beautiful Capon Springs Resort in West Virginia. This gorgeous family friendly resort is nestled in the mountains where traditional modern communication is tricky at best. It's a rare opportunity to "unplug" and truly relax and unwind in a stunning environment.

OK, I admit it.
It took me a minute to "unplug." While there were ways to communicate with the outside world (leave a message at the front desk or find one of a few hots spots on the resort campus) I came to see one of the most refreshing aspects of the weekend was simply surrendering to the circumstances. Little did I suspect the beautiful gifts that would follow.
I noticed a few things over the weekend.
Our group ate all meals together and the conversation was varied, deep, fun and fascinating as I opened freely to strangers and they opened to me. We swapped stories, exchanged recipes, commented on the endless supply of food and greeted other guests as they walked by our table. We sang "Happy Birthday" to the lady one table over as the staff wheeled out a cake and uttered "awww" in unison as an adorable toddler scampered by. I can't remember a more enjoyable time as each group member shared their unique story and life perspective. Only later did I realize no one was glancing at a phone or waiting for an email that inevitably would have disrupted the flow of friendly communication. I like this no phone thing at the table. (Wonder if my family members are reading this?)
I also noticed what happened when I surrendered to the quiet. At night with no TV or phone, I rested in my bed and could clearly hear the trickling sounds of the mountain stream behind my building, right off the back deck. The evening air was cool and crisp and I found myself easily able to relax into the quiet. I was surprised by this since I was dealing with a strained back and was physically uncomfortable. The sound of the water did help relax me and I noticed I was able to think about the workshop I was presenting in new ways. A different view on my work was able to emerge thanks to the quiet.
I've meditated for years so I'm used to the quiet. This was different. And amazing.
As the workshop sessions progressed, I felt free from the modern burden of constant communication. I had certainly come prepared to teach, but I found myself in a new sense of flow with the material. I was able, more than ever before, to allow the intelligent, creative and expansive energy of Love flow through me as I spoke to the group. When I was surprised by an attendee's question (this was an amazing and engaged group!) I was able to flow with a response. Could the presentation have been better? Certainly! And it will be as I incorporate my notes into the next class. 
As we ended the weekend, the pastor brought me into the middle of the room and the participants surrounded me for a final blessing and healing. It was powerful! I am so grateful to the amazing men and women who attended, to the spirit of Love that guided me and to the lessons I remembered about "unplugging" so I can "connect" to what's real.

Monday, September 9, 2019

How to Stay Present in a Crazy World!

I'm not one to contradict Buddha...but I sometimes struggle with the statement above. Do you?

I've studied ancient spiritual wisdom as well as the teachings of modern mystics and they all mention the value of "being present." I understand the concept. To me, being present is having your full focus, attention, thoughts and feelings on the person or situation right there, in the moment you are experiencing.

Yeah, that's easy enough to do. 

Not. Even. Close.

I mean, come on...do those mystics deal with family issues, car accidents, health scares and financial problems? These are just a few of the real-life events clients talked with me about last week. They’re facing challenges and doing their best to live from their own divine core while they face the uncertainly of life as a human.

That’s exactly what mystics do. They understand our challenge is to be anchored in love while we live our daily lives. Why? The rewards include less stress, more confidence, a feeling of being in flow with life and feeling “on purpose.” Add to that a happier, more joyful life experience, a sense of oneness and desire to be in service all while enjoying a sense of deep peace. And there’s more…people who consistently live in the present moment have described feeling “more freedom.”

I know when I’m focused on the present moment, I’m free of stress created by my relentless rehashing of the past and free from worry about the future. That’s when I’m best able to align with my inner wisdom, and fully receive the guidance that leads me to the life I’m here to live. I’m guided to love, to service and back to the truest part of me.

Is that easy? While I believe it can be, it hasn’t been for me.

I have a long way to go to consistently be present and yet I’m daily reaping the rewards of my efforts. A life dedicated to love is far happier than the one I used to live that seemed to be dedicated to stress, overwhelm and worry. Go figure…

If you want to be more present, here are a few tips to try:
·       Commit to a daily spiritual practice: I recommend starting the day with what I call “the 3 M’s” to incorporate mind, body and spirit. Total time spent is up to you…start with a few minutes on each and work up to a more substantial routine. Yes, you have time for this:
.1.     Meditation:  Even starting with five to ten minutes a day can make a huge difference in your ability to feel calm, happy and more present in your life. If you’re new to meditation, check out free apps like CALM or INSIGHT TIMER.
.2.     Motivate: Turn off the news, put down your phone and read or listen to something that inspires and motivates you. I start the day with the daily lesson from A Course in Miracles plus time reading an inspiring book.
.3.     Move: Stretch, do a few yoga poses, walk or go up and down the stairs to bring awareness to your body first thing in the morning.
·       Ask questions when you feel overwhelmed or stressed in a situation. Questions could include:
.1.     What do I really know to be true, right now, in this moment? Is that really true?
.2.     What’s it like to be me in this situation at this instant? What would it be like to be a happier, more peaceful and trusting version of me right now?
.3.     Where are my feet? (I love this one that I learned from my mentor, Robert Holden. It brings me out of your head and back into my body every time.)
·       Get back to nature: Any time it’s possible, take a mindful walk in nature. Relax. Breathe. If that’s not possible, bring fresh flowers into the house or office, pet your cat or take a break and look at nature photos. All will help shift your brain chemistry and bring you into the present. Whatever you do, be mindful of the activity and give it your full attention and focus.
·       Heart Breath: My number one way to be present is to imagine breathing in and out of my heart space. I teach clients to breathe love in the back of their heart and radiate love out of the front. Start with at least five repetitions.

There are few things in life as sweet as finding your balance, experiencing joy in small moments and feeling at peace about the past and future. Learning to live in the present moment does this and more. Still need a bit of help? Ask Love to guide you.