Tag Archives: GIFTS

Have a Merry Intentional Holiday – an Intent Gift Guide!

Do they really need another silk tie? Or a generic gift card?
As you are doing your holiday shopping, we are excited to help include intent in your gift giving! Whether it be something for you or those you love, these mindful gifts are something we’d be proud to place under the tree.

If you’re wanting something pretty and personal:

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My Intent creates original jewelry featuring personalized words of intent.

Joy? Gratitude? You choose. We’re also happy to share our Intent discount code ‘INTENT20’ to receive 20% off your purchase!

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Dreaming of a Green Christmas : 3 Ways to Make Your Holiday Environmentally Friendly

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 9.10.28 AMBy: Elizabeth Eckhart

The holidays are a time of family celebrations, reconnecting with old friends, and celebrating all that we’re thankful for. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of stress, busy schedules, and worse of all, excess. No matter how frugal you may be, chances are you’re finding that extra cold weather and party hosting costs are eating into your budget. And perhaps, if you’re like many other Intent Blog readers, the idea of so much waste, with food and energy, may bother you quite a bit. In order to both keep our habits clean and green, and save some costs, we’ve put together a list of energy saving holiday tricks to get you through the season.

Decorating Tips

If you haven’t already, consider replacing all your holiday lights with energy efficient LEDs, which actually perform better in cold weather. For larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, and place all your lights on a timer or just unplug, ensuring that they won’t be left on during the day when no one can enjoy them. When shopping for outdoor decorations for yourself or others, keep in mind the wide availability of solar powered options.

If you’re really feeling green, you can also decorate with candles. Many families already use luminaries along outdoor walkways on special nights. Consider holiday scented candles, which are a beautiful addition to any home. You can also turn off the lights inside when your brightly decorated tree is on and lit. This will not only save energy; it will immediately make your home feel full of holiday spirit.

Hosting Tips

It may go against holiday tradition, but you can cook some party dishes in the microwave. The typical microwave uses 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven, so even one dish can make a large difference. Using the same reasoning, look up recipes you can create using a slow cooker. Since you’ll still be using the oven for trickier dishes, check progress through the window instead of cracking open the door (which can make the temperature drop 25 degrees in less than a minute!), and feel free to turn the oven off before the food is fully cooked. As long as the door stays shut, your food will finish perfectly and on time. Using glass or ceramic pans also means your dish will cook more quickly, so turn the oven down 20 degrees to save costs.

To keep your fridge running efficiently no matter the number of guests, keep it as stocked as possible — an easy task if feeding a large group of people! You can also defrost items in the fridge instead of a watery sink. Both tips will result in the fridge keeping cooler with less energy.

If you do happen to find your fridge is full, hold off from hauling out the spare fridge, and instead keep extra beverages and holiday leftovers cold by storing them in the garage or in the backyard. And as much as you’d like to clean up quickly following a large holiday meal, your fridge will thank you if you wait until all the food has cooled to room temperature before storing it away.

On the day of your party, turn down the thermostat to 66 degrees. Most people will find this is a comfortable range in a holiday sweater, and the increased body heat should take care of the rest. Keep a few blankets handy for older guests and chronically cold friends. If you plan on setting the mood by using the fireplace, install a tight-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a window nearby. Open-hearth fireplaces actually draw in the heated air from your home and send it straight up the chimney — a problem glass doors can stop. With increased holiday lights on top of heat usage, your bills may still come out higher than expected. If you haven’t already, start monitoring your light usage and reevaluate your energy plan using sites like Energize Connecticut and TexasElectricityProviders.com. Not only can you switch to less expensive plans, you can also choose to have most or all of your energy generated from green sources such as wind or solar.

Gift Giving and Shopping

Although many of us enjoy wandering around decorated stores during the holidays, perhaps even stopping to see Santa, before the perfect gift emerges on its own, you can save time and costs by planning out the gifts necessary for each person. Make use of outlets and strip malls, which mean you have less driving to do from store to store. You can also shop for products made locally or buy materials to craft gifts on your own, which not only supports local businesses but detracts overall from the amount of overseas transit costs and pollution that trucks, boats, and planes cause. The same goes for shopping online  — if you buy your gifts from one store instead of three, you’ll have lower costs associated with packaging and transit.

Regarding the actual gift, aim to buy fewer gifts that use electricity and batteries. An amazing 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season, which means a lot of energy is used. If you must buy electronic gifts, definitely opt for the energy efficient versions, and maybe even throw in rechargeable batteries instead of singular usage batteries.

The holidays are the perfect time to show appreciation for those around you. Whether it be through gifts, parties, or decorations, the holidays can be exciting, albeit expensive. But, if you plan accordingly and shop wisely, you’ll find the damage to your wallet and the earth can be greatly reduced.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Rethink How to Celebrate The Holidays

HolidayHappiness_1224210-01They’re back – The holidays. From mid to November to early January, many faiths and traditions celebrate. It has indeed the potential to be the most wonderful time of the year – a message that much of the music of the season shares with us.

But with the extreme commercialism that has come to define them, it is easy to lose sight of the real reason for holidays. How we celebrate is entirely our choice – we have the ability to remove or add things to ensure our celebrations are as we want them to be. Though we have the choice, we can get overwhelmed and intimidated into letting the commercial voices tell us how to celebrate the holidays. Don’t give in. Decide early, before the season is fully on you, how you want your celebrations to be.

I regularly see frantic gift-buyers rushing through stores with names of people to buy for. This focus on tangible gifts is still a challenge as our national media and commercial marketing has us believing that lovely diamonds, new cars, electronics and gift cards are the way to share how you feel about others. Though it activates our economy, what is its true place our celebrations? Gifts are truly gifts when they share something of us in a meaningful way with another. So, before you buy one more thing, consider the following gift ideas:

  1. Give the gift of time. Though we may be physically present, the pace of life can frequently make us mentally absent. Make time to fully show up in your relationships. Not only increase your contact – phone and face-to-face – but be more involved and interested in your relationships. Plan events together and really show up. Making time and being present for someone feels amazing. Who needs your gift of time?
  2. Give the gift of friendship. Redefine what being a friend means to you and show up this way to your relationships. Value them more. Be more involved. Share more. Connect at a deeper level. Say what you feel. Who needs your gift of friendship?
  3. Give the gift of patience. Manage your comments, opinions and tone. No two of us see the world in the same way so our responses to similar situations will likely be different. Not right or wrong; just different. We don’t have to agree. We just allow others to be who they are and to have the patience not to force them to see things always from our perspective. With our aging parents and our developing teens, patience can work miracles. The great thing about giving patience is that it generally gives you a similar gift in return. Who needs your gift of patience?
  4. Give the gift of forgiveness. Use this time of year to settle an old disagreement, right an old wrong and be the bigger person. Celebrate a renewed friendship or relationship that had felt the effects of ego, emotions and misunderstandings. Forgiving is a gift we give to others because we know they are human and sometimes humans get things wrong. And again, maybe by giving the gift of forgiveness, you may get it back. Who needs your gift of forgiveness?
  5. Give the gift of acceptance. Life isn’t easy – we are each trying to find our way. What if we were more accepting of others as they define their lives, values, interests and directions? The gift of acceptance is one of the best and most powerful. I received this gift from my grandfather. When I came out, he called to find out how he could learn more about what being gay meant to me so he could support me; he accepted me. That was years ago. I remember this gift every day. Who needs your gift of acceptance?

Rethink your holidays; transform them from commercial events into powerful celebrations of people and relationships. We are on this planet together to learn from each other and to participate together in the wonders of our world. Celebrations are a way to bring us together to help us learn more, connect better and build a stronger sense of community.

We have been trained that a nicely wrapped present means I love you. But spending time, being more forgiving, accepting, patient, friendly and present are more powerful ways of saying the same message – they just get less marketing dollars. Though some may think this approach just gets them out of the hassle of buying a gift, it actually takes considerably more work to show human to your relationships. But think of this one additional and important benefit: as you give these, you are changed. You become more present, more loving, more forgiving and more patient. They benefit, you benefit. That is what true celebration is.

Consider as the volume escalates on holiday music, ads and deals, that things don’t say ‘I love you’; your voice, heart, time and commitment say ‘I love you.’ May your holidays be merry. May they be happy. And may they remind you celebrate the wonderful people in your life.

5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Love Letter

shutterstock_67207468Yesterday was National Love Note Day, but I like to think that any day is a good time to tell someone that you love them. Love notes also don’t automatically have to go to a romantic partner – they can go to siblings or parents or friends, anyone that you want to know that you care for them.

Writing love notes – whether platonic or romantic – can be daunting though. Maybe we try too hard to be Shakespeare or Cummings, setting the expectations so high that we give up before we even begin and miss the entire point. In belated celebration of Love Note Day though I say we put those fears aside, break out pen and paper and give our hearts a voice. Still reluctant? I’ve compiled a few tips to help you out. Let’s get romantic, Intent.

    • Set the mood – The best love letters are written when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. The only way that happens is if you write from a comfortable place. For me, that’s at my desk in pajamas and listening to a playlist of songs I’ve curated that remind me of the person I’m writing to/about. For you it could be writing from bed or in the kitchen with the TV playing in the background. Maybe you want to light a candle and dim the lights – whatever allows you to get into the head and heart space that connects with how you feel about your love note recipient.
    • Find an anchor – Why are you writing the note? Is it an anniversary? Great, start by thinking of your favorite memories over the past year with this person. Are you in a long distance relationship? Then you should be mentally compiling the things you miss about that person. Are you saying thank you for them being there during a difficult time? Begin asking yourself why that meant so much to you and how were they able to comfort you. Knowing the motivation for the note gives it a purpose. This helps keep the note grounded and helps you avoid going on tangents. Words mean more when there’s a reason to say them (and yes the reason can be just because you love them – but you still have to answer why).
    • Be honest (and yourself!) – This isn’t your high school chemistry homework, so don’t cheat! Have faith that if you’re moved to be writing your affections and/or gratitude for this person down that they share the same feelings for you. For you – not Pablo Naruda or the sappy movie you found on Netflix. The point of a love note is for you to tell someone you love them, so they should be able to hear it in your voice. When you carbon copy from someone else you’re just telling your note recipient about that other person’s feelings. Why should they care about that? Use your own experiences as inspiration and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to respond to them. How’d it feel the first time you held their hand? What was the first moment you knew this was a person you wanted in your life? How’d you know? The most romantic things to say are already inside of you, you just have to allow yourself to let them out.
    • Avoid clichés and euphemisms. Be specific – If you’ve already started and there is a line about your recipient’s “ocean colored orbs” then throw it away right now. We can argue that saccharine euphemisms like that are an example of dishonesty, but moreso they are generic and…awful. It’s fair game to talk about the recipient’s physical attributes, but make them as specific to them as you can. So instead of “I love your smile” try “I love the way you laugh with your entire body; the way your head tips back and your hands clap as if it’s the most hilarious thing you’ve heard. I love that it take such a small thing to touch you but you give your all to it.” Look how much more you’re telling that person! It not only shows that you’re paying attention, but that you appreciate these details about them, that the way they laugh tells you something genuine about their spirit. Be specific and you won’t have to worry about about sounding like a Hallmark card and the details are what can make a good love note truly great.
    • Get creative with metaphors – For those looking to take their note writing skills to the next level, try mapping what you want to say over something else you’re passionate about. Since I majored in music in college and spent most of my formative years at concerts or listening to my iPod I often find musical metaphors slipping into affectionate notes I write. Heartbeats become drums, voices are melody and the relationship as a whole is a song, etc. You’re still required to be honest and follow the rules above, but metaphors help you say things in a creative new way, especially if this isn’t your first time at the love note rodeo. I’ve seen both sailing and kite flying as great metaphors for love. I once managed to use eating trail mix as a metaphor for learning patience in a new relationship. You can use anything as long as you’re comfortable, anchored, honest and specific.

Do you have any advice for writing love letters? Share with us in the comments below! 

3 Way To Make The World A Better Place

Wonderful TimeBy Jay Forte

At last count, there are just over 7 billion people on the planet. Even with that extreme number, no two of us are exactly alike in abilities, interests, strengths, talents or passions. Our differences are intentional – they enable each of us to invent lives that fit us – to find our own way in a world filled with people, and to bring to our world what we do best. We get to be who we are. This is at the essence of building a better world.

Though we each have this built in “great life” advantage of customizing our lives around our abilities and interests, few of the 7 billion on the planet do this. Because we were not each born with an owner’s manual that gives us some clarity about what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us, we have to show up each day to our lives to discover this. And in this life, we are met with the loud voices in our faith, history, family, schools and society that tell us who we are to be, how we are to think and what we are to do. We abdicate our power to own and direct our lives when we use others’ rules to build our lives. These lives frequently are filled with regret – wrong job, wrong marriage, wrong faith, wrong town, wrong whatever. When this happens, we show up to our lives less than we could be. We shortchange our lives; we shortchange our world.

Creating a better world starts with clarity about who we are. Here are my three ways to make the world a better place:

  1. Know yourself. It is difficult to make the world a better place if we show up to areas in our lives that do not match our best abilities. We are each born with unique talents, strengths, and passion that not only prepare us to be great at some things, but give us the interest and desire to pursue those things. To make a profound difference in our world, we will first need to know what hardwired abilities came with us. Since we never got an owner’s manual for this information, we have to instead use each day to observe and assess our reactions, responses and abilities. We gradually learn what we are great at, passionate about and what matters to us. We are then challenged to do something with this information.

  1. Be yourself. Scan your world for applications to connect the best of you with the world. This way you show up to those areas that connect with you. You have both ability and interest in these areas. If we all loved and were good at the same thing, we would be in continual competition. Instead, our uniqueness creates opportunities for each of us. We get to show up to our lives exactly as we are – we show up to our world in a more significant way; our actions are stronger, our thinking is more profound, our commitment is more intense.

  1. Allow others to be themselves. Bullying, judgment, criticism are the hallmarks of humanity. Instead of supporting others to discover and be their best selves, we use much of our time finding fault with the approaches others have in how they live their lives. We judge their looks, work, hobbies, how they spend money, what they eat, who they marry, what they believe, etc. Knowing how difficult it is to discover our own abilities and gifts – and to openly and successfully live them, why would we add any complication to the process for others? Plato is credited with the comment, “Be kind, for everyone one is fighting a hard battle.” That battle is an authentic life. How can you end the judgments and allow others to show up who they are and how they are. How can you support others in their quest to bring their best to the world, particularly if it looks different than what your best looks like?

It is human nature to judge. I actually think it is part of our core brain hard-wiring – the part that looks to keep us safe. By judging, we are constantly assessing our world for challenges or concerns; it is innate. So, as with discovering our abilities, we will also need to work at dropping our guard and allowing people who look, act, think and dream differently than we do the room to be who they are. This only challenges how we think things should be and does not encourage how they could be. We let our stories, fears, concerns and traditions inhibit all that could be.

The world is built by those who are right here, right now. If those who are here are more concerned with telling others how they should live, instead of living fully themselves and allowing others to live fully, then we limit our lives and our world. We let our personal histories and belief systems interfere with who others are and how they should live. We spend our time trying to correct or judge others, instead of amplifying our personal impact in our greatest ability areas.

So, imagine the world we would create if we spent more time developing our gifts, and more time encouraging others to discover and live theirs. It starts with each of us. Today, it could be you and me. I’m in. How about you?

Know yourself. Be yourself. Allow others to be themselves. It isn’t complicated. It just challenges what we know. But a view of a better bolder life and world makes it completely worth the effort.

Photo credit: Robert Bejil

3 Ways to See the Gift In Each Moment

My Little Gardner Many people assume ‘gifts’ mean specific things or having certain people in their lives. Though those are definitely good definitions, I think the real gifts are the moments we have because it’s in these moments that we get to experience the events, the people, the things, the thoughts. It’s really the moments that matter.

Many of us rush through the moments, often thinking this one isn’t as valuable as another one coming up. Or that we can’t possibly be happy until something in the future happens. With this type of thinking, we spend our moments waiting, counting down the days until we can be happy, healthy, or have something we told ourselves we can’t have or be right now. With this type of thinking, we always seem to be in a place that is never where we want to be; we’re always aware of what is missing or wrong instead of what is great or right.

But here is the wildest thing. All we ever have in life are the moments. Life is built by the moments. And each one is neutral – it just is. We add the meaning. Each moment carries not only the potential for joy, but information and wisdom, as well. And when we tune in, we are part of the moment, and can learn from this to influence the quality of the very next moment.

We have the choice to either show up to the moments in our lives or let them fly by. So how can we more effectively see the gift in each moment?

  1. Show up to the moment. Right here, right now is all that is going on for each of us. Tune in to the moment. Using each of your five senses, figure out what information this moment is sharing with you. How awake are you to your feelings, thoughts and everything else going on around you? Whether you are folding towels, walking the dog or sitting in a business meeting, commit to being there. Notice everything – the texture of the towels, the breeze and moonlight when you walk the dog, the emotions of the people in your meeting. Each is there for you to enjoy, and to learn from. Being in the moment introduces you to a larger and more significant world. And being in the moment helps you discover your unique abilities. Since we were not born with an owner’s manual, everything you need to find out about what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you will happen in the moments of your life. Tune in and you gather information. Have this information to make the most out of this moment and the next.
  2. Stay in the moment. Fight the urge to rush past where you are in search of “something better.” This moment is the accumulation of every event and moment you have ever had. All of what you know, have experienced, what you have done, who you have met – it all leads to this moment. Enjoy this moment. Stay with this moment. And while in it, watch for information to help you choose wiser when it comes to moving to the next moment. Be more aware of these moments and you’ll find they last longer. Ignore them and they vanish – they, and life, flies by.
  3. Be grateful for the moment. Say thank you for each moment. As they say, “have an attitude of gratitude.” Acknowledge the greatness of being right here, right now. For all its faults, there is more right than wrong with the world. And though we can see the negative – the lack of certain things, the challenges life often brings – take the time to see how amazing things are and how wonderfully blessed we are to be part of them. Be grateful to have choices in each moment. Be grateful to have a voice in how our moments unfold.

Lives are the accumulation of moments. A great life is the accumulation of great moments. No moment is happy or sad, powerful or bland, enjoyable or boring, unless we make it that way. The moment is neutral; its value is in how we show up to it. We can make the moments of driving to a dentist appointment or to school an event by singing, noticing details of the drive, sharing stories. Or we can miss the moment locked in on our phones, cruising the Internet and unaware of others in or out of the vehicle.

Each moment is a gift. How present are you to the moments in your life?

How My Meeting with the Richest Man in the World Changed My Life

We all have one.

No matter who you are.

A unique gift, that you were born to give.

Are you giving your gifts fully?

On my first trip to India, over a decade ago, I met the richest man in the world in the poorest state of the country, called Bihar.

It was an insane 118 degrees. Exhausted, I collapsed on a bench in front of the Bodhi Temple, the main temple in Bodhgaya. Before me were ten beggars in formation, as if on some kind of beggar’s row, bowls in hand. This is business as usual in India, I thought. Same old, same old. I’d become somewhat numb to this. I mean, how many beggars can you help in a day?  I’d cried a river, so I decided not to pay them any mind. Until, that is, my eyes fell upon the one beggar sitting on the floor in front of the temple.

Dressed in a blue cloth, and nothing else, a man was singing his heart out and drumming to his song. His hymns were to God, this much I knew from some of the words I’d studied. He sang with such devotion, purity, passion, and joy that it melted my numbness.

After a few minutes I realized that this man was blind! I thought, “Wow, he can’t actually see how much money he’s being given. And, he can’t see if anybody’s even listening to him.”

Clearly, this man wasn’t singing his song for wealth or fame.  As I witnessed the purity of his expression to God, I ached to have that kind of goodness of intention in my own life. Needless to say, I was deeply moved.

Then I looked closer and saw that the beggar had stumps instead of arms! It took a second to compute. Unbelievable. Blind and without hands! He showed such mastery with this drum that I’d failed to notice this enormously important point. And yet, with every ounce of his energy, he beat his drum and sang his heart out like any passionate musician I’d ever seen.

Damn!

He can’t see!

He has no arms.

He has no hands!

I started to weep, head in hands, standing right there in plain view of the other beggars. Tears were streaming down my face. I felt humbled. We’re so spoiled in the West. If this guy wanted to moan and complain, I’d give it to him. I’d say, “You, Sir, can be the one person alive I’ll give a special victim voucher to for whining.”

The more I focused on him, the more the tears fell. I thought about how I’d eat if I had no hands. Or how I’d pee. Or how I’d maneuver around the world without sight. In an instant, I saw and felt how very little I’d been appreciating what I had, always thinking there must be something more, that there was never enough.

Just when I thought I’d been hit with the full effect of the lesson, I realized that the reason he was not running around hustling foreigners like the others wasn’t because he couldn’t see or use his hands, but because there was something else I’d missed entirely. Unbelievably, this man had no LEGS! When I saw that reality, I just lost it, dropping to the dirt and sobbing.

Unbeknownst to him, this man with nothing was teaching me one of the most powerful lessons of my life. With a heart full of gratitude, I approached him and humbly knelt alongside him on the dirt. I looked at him. He turned and seemed to look straight through me. With no eyes, he somehow looked into my soul. I could literally feel his gaze pierce through me.

“How do you do it?” I asked. “How do you come out here day in and day out, singing and giving and sharing like this?” I was expecting the scent of roses, the heavens to part, and some great wisdom to pass his lips. He looked at me simply and with one line said:

“Is there anything else to do?” His words slayed me – simple yet so profound. Then he looked away and resumed his singing.

After his song was through, he looked at me again and said: “Life might give you what you want. Life may never give you what you want. But you can always give life who you are.” He then turned back around and started singing again, like nothing had happened. That’s when I realized that this was not a blind man, but a man with extraordinary vision. He could see his own gifts and gave of them freely.

That’s when I knew how poor I was.

I had all these gifts inside of me, and yet I wasn’t giving them.

I was the poor man. I was the beggar.

If the man who has nothing dares to give no matter his situation, then we who have plenty have no excuses.

Whether you know it or not, you’re playing your song to life anyway—your love song, if you will—every moment of every day. Don’t think they can’t hear you. Don’t think they’re not paying attention. Your song is as unique as you are. It’s as loud as a college marching band. As obvious as a billboard. As beautiful as a flower.

Every time you share yourself and your gifts, you do make a difference. Sometimes you may not directly see the difference you make, but rest assured you are.

So, sing it loud!

Really…… Is there anything else to do?………

Love.Now

Kute

PS – If you feel ready to LIVE your gifts to the fullest and dive into living your destiny join me on the most amazing adventure of a lifetime www.boundlessblissbali.com!!

PPS – I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me what your unique gifts are?

 

photo by: seeveeaar

Sing Your Song

You were born with beautiful, unique talents and gifts that nobody else in the world possesses.  These amazing qualities are like a song that you compose throughout the course your life.  Your song originates from the deepest part of you that holds the secret to who you really are.  What will your song be?  Where will it take you?  It’s up to you.

You decide what notes are in it, its tempo, how it sounds and what part it plays in your life.  You have the ability to make it as beautiful, sublime or frightening as you wish. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what it sounds like, just that you sing it.

Your song is yours, sing your song.

Take care,

Guy

www.guyfarmer.com

 

Letters – the best gift?

Every so often someone sends me a letter of appreciation about my writing. It gives me a bit of a boost. It’s nice to know that the words are helpful. Lately I’ve started doing the same thing. If I read an author I think is truly excellent, I’ll wing off a few words.

That’s not as easy as it sounds, though, since most of the writers who make me feel that way have been dead for a long long time.

But on the rare occasions when I find a good live writer, I find the process of writing a ‘thank you’ peculiarly interesting. It means I have to work out, in detail, why I like the books concerned, and then I have to try and relay this feeling to the author, and do so in ways that are intelligent and intelligible. After all, one doesn’t want to unintentionally insult the person, and one doesn’t want to be boorish. Even a sincerely-felt piece of praise can come across as ignorant if one is not careful, a bit like a peasant congratulating a king on having a ‘cool hat’ when admiring the crown jewels.

Sharing one’s pleasure in a book in this way sharpens one’s awareness of what the book has been, and continues to be.Giving back, in appreciation, is a gift that rewards the giver, too.

Opening the Door: Fighting Against Our Gifts

Are you fighting your natural born gifts? Open to them and watch your world unfold into the flow.

As human beings we often have a tendency to fight against using our natural gifts. Many stories of success start with an individual who is ignoring the call of his or her inborn abilities. There are many possible reasons for this resistance, from fear that the calling will be too difficult to a disbelief in the very work one is being asked to do. We may feel too small, too distracted by other people’s ideas about what we should do, or too uninformed. Whatever the case, the resistance to actualizing ourselves has very concrete consequences, and many of us have been called out of hiding by an illness or a twist of fate that unequivocally dismantled our resistance. In other the words, the universe knocks, and if we don’t answer it knocks louder.

For example, if you are meant to be a psychic or a medium, and you aren’t using that gift, you may get headaches. If you are meant to be a healer and are trying to be a lawyer, you may have trouble getting or keeping a job. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still be a lawyer, but perhaps integrating your gifts into your work is what is calling you. On the other hand, you may simply feel an underlying anxiety that you are not on the right path, doing the right thing. Pay attention to this feeling, and ask for guidance from the universe, being open to all its communications, from subtle internal yearnings to powerful dreams. As you begin to risk opening the door to your natural gifts, your life situation may shift in a powerful way. However, you may find that small steps in the right direction, such as taking a class or setting aside one night a week to paint or write, is enough for now.

The first step on the journey to our calling in life is to listen to our internal voices and respond to the knocking universe at the door. As we do, the symptoms and anxieties that have haunted us will fade into the background, replaced by opportunities, both big and small, to open the door to what we are truly here to do.


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