Tag Archives: life lessons

How to Overcome 7 Spiritual Blocks to Success

spiritual blocksEverybody has a dream in their heart. They stem from our unique gifts which are part of our higher purpose here on this earth to share with the world. When the life we’re living is not in alignment with this calling, it can result in feeling less than happy and fulfilled.

But, it’s not always easy to muster up the courage to go after your dreams and break status quo. What if you fall short? Where do you even begin?And those who do find the strength to go for it sometimes give up too soon upon realizing it’s more difficult than they imagined. Things aren’t happening as fast as they “should.”

I’m here to tell you – don’t give up on your daydream! What that little voice inside is telling you and the direction your heartstrings are pulling you is some not-so-subtle guidance on how to live your life with intent and purpose. If you want to be ridiculously happy, you have to follow the calling and live and breathe your truth.

But how? It takes time, persistence, flexibility, focus, energy, and a darn good sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either. As an unconventional 7-figure CEO that runs multiple business ventures, I have fallen flat on my face plenty of time. And, yeah, I’ve even felt like throwing in the towel a time or two. It sucks when the Universe punches you in the gut. But, it happens to the best of us. And, there is usual a pretty major lesson and opportunity for growth within … if you stay open to it. In these instances along my journey, I got up, brushed myself off, and kept trying. And, in the process, I learned a thing (or seven) about what really limits our success and learned how to overcome these blocks. They’re not what you typically hear about or learn in business school, either. While business savvy is important, these truths touch more on the spiritual side. They can help elevate your success to a whole new level.

How to Overcome the 7 Biggest Blocks to Success

  1. Don’t stop believing. Not believing in yourself & your vision will kill your dreams faster than you can say “hold on to that feeling.” (That’s a Journey reference for you young folks reading this!) Belief is the cornerstone of every successful person’s repertoire. When you don’t believe in yourself, other people energetically pick up on it, as will the Universe. You attract more of the energy you put out, so you don’t want to be putting out a lot of self-doubt and other negative and low-vibe thoughts. Self-love and confidence, on the other hand, are very high-vibe and will resonate with the Universe in a way that allows you to more easily bring your vision to life. Many people start out with a strong belief, but allow it to wane when the going gets tough. In trying times, it is important to always go back to the “why” behind what you’re doing. What impact do you want to have in the world and on your life? How do you want to feel as you go about your day? Are you more focused on the cause or the applause. Reconnecting with these pure intentions will help you stay connected to your dreams and vision in a positive way.
  2. Fix financial woes. Whether it’s not having clarity on what you need to make vs. what you need to spend, or not understanding the amount of capital it actually takes to start-up and fund a business, running out of cash is a very common reason that many businesses go under. But, digging even deeper, many people have money “issues” at a subconscious level. Perhaps it’s the notion that making money is not spiritual (as money being the ‘root of all evil’ is a common misconception), or it could be a deep-rooted belief that one is not worthy of financial abundance. These limiting beliefs are often a show-stopper when it comes to aligning your purpose with earning a living. As a result, dream-chasers can end up packing it up and heading back to day jobs they don’t love (That is, of those who weren’t too scared to risk leaving in the first place). Taking the time and making the effort to have a clear understanding of financials as well as uncovering and healing any deep-rooted money blocks can exponentially increase the likelihood of business success and financial abundance.
  3. Don’t quit before the finish line. Some people will never know how close they really were to success because they threw in the towel right before their big break. Times will get tough and you will be tempted with every ounce of your being to call it quits. And, there might even be times when that is the right decision. But, more often than not, if you are following your heart, you probably just need to look at things with fresh eyes. What makes one successful is digging in when you really feel like giving in and giving up. Instead of calling it quits, get back up, dust yourself off, be open to the lessons you are blessed with, revamp and try and try again. You wouldn’t train for a marathon and then give up a mile before the finish line. No way! Walking, limping, or even crawling across are perfectly okay. Same goes with your life and dreams. Just don’t give up!
  4. Bust through internal blocks & limiting beliefs. Energy-sucking thought-vampires come in all shapes and sizes. Much like the money “issues” that often come up, there could also be some deep-rooted beliefs that you will never be successful or that you don’t deserve to be. Or, perhaps it is your own greatness that scares you the most. These beliefs often stem from childhood and we might not even know they are there. I find that self-reflective journaling and meditation are highly effective tools to help bring these destructive thoughts to the surface so you can heal them. Find a quiet spot to mediate and before you begin ask yourself “What am I most afraid of? What is holding me back right now?” As you sit in silence, the voice of your heart and soul can rise up over the negative chatter in your brain. Be open to whatever thoughts come and go in your meditation and simply label them “thoughts.” When you are done, take your journal and allow the feelings and observations to flow out of you through free-writing. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Just let it all out. When you’re done, reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself. It can be pretty eye-opening and life changing!
  5. Listen to your gut! At any given point, we have at least a hundred other people in our ears: friends, family, business partners, random strangers on the internet. Many of them mean well (some not so much), but they all have opinions about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. While it’s always a good thing to keep an open mind and give some value to the thoughts of others, at the end of the day: You are the guru. Always! We all have our own internal guidance system built-in. When we learn to become still, we can clearly hear the gentle guidance of our heart and soul. Learn to take what others say and do with a grain of salt and, instead, follow your own intuition. It will never lead you astray.
  6. Be adaptable. We often find ourselves out there trying to steer the river instead of just going with the flow and allowing the current to take us along for a ride. We get so attached to the vision in our own mind that we sometimes forget we are actually co-creators in our lives. Yes, I believe in taking accountability for our own actions and that we can manifest our own reality. But, at the same time, there is so much in our lives that is completely out of our control. Once we learn to become easy-going and less-attached, we soon realize that the Universe has an even greater plan than what we originally intended. What does that mean to you? Sometimes the plan has to change. You need to be willing to re-write again and again. We must learn to hold our vision and dreams ever so loosely (like a cute baby chick). Imagine what happens when you squeeze that baby chick too hard. (Oh no! Right?) The same thing can happen to your dreams. So, be easy. Learn the art of unattachment while striving for achievement. It’s a delicate dance.
  7. Be in alignment. When you’re listen to the calling of your heart and soul and what you do is alignment with your truth, amazing things start to happen naturally. Otherwise, it can seem like nothing is going like it should. This would be the equivalent of getting up and doing something everyday that you don’t love … just for a paycheck. Figuring out a way to line up some of your passions with your work is the recipe for a happy and fulfilled life. When you combine the use of your talents with fulfilling your purpose, the impact you can make in the world as well as your own happiness have limitless potential.

Of course, business savvy is always a plus when it comes to turning your dreams into reality. You need to bring a unique offering to the table or have the ability to solve problems and a strategic business plan that covers all the business nuts and bolts. But, there is so much more beyond the physical world that also plays a major role. When you combine both the practical and the metaphysical, you become a powerful creative force to be reckoned with, you dream-chaser you! Now go make some magic happen. xo

(To learn more of these strategies at a deeper level and turn your passion and purpose into profits, join Dawn Gluskin’s six week online course: The Time is Now! Registration is now open. Also, join the Type-A Zen movement by signing up for email inspiration & following on Facebook and Instagram.)

37 Life Lessons in 37 Years

Today is my 37th birthday.  And, I must say, it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far.  As I look back over the years and 8874397636_8fce870bcf_omany phases of my life, I realize how each stage, success, stumble, triumph and heartache has had a significant impact on where I stand right now.  And despite the rough patches, I love it all.

From a shy yet studious little girl, to an artsy and somewhat rebellious teenager, to a happy-go-lucky big-dreaming twenty something with a bit of a wild size, my metamorphosis were plentiful in my early years.  Now into my thirties, my heart has grown a few sizes larger and overflows with motherly love as I’ve discovered what matters most in life.  And, my entrepreneurial experiences have been a crash course in lessons of life, business and self that, at times, brought me to the brink of what I thought I could handle, only to be rewarded nicely for sticking it out and seeing it through.

As I continue to step more fully into myself each day and bring to light my mission of helping others build their own dreams with joy and ease, I’ve racked my brain to think of my top 37 life lessons so far. On this day of celebrating another trip around the sun, I share these with you and hope you find inspiration as I have. Enjoy!

Top 37 Life Lessons So Far…

  1. Happiness comes from within.  We spend way too much of our lives looking for outside validation and approval that eludes us. Turns out, it’s been an inside job all along.  Go inward.

  2. Be grateful for everything.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Our entire life is a precious gift.  The pleasure, the pain – it’s all part of our path.

  3. Subtle shifts in perception will transform your entire life. When feeling fearful, angry, hurt – simply choose to see a situation differently.

  4. In being true to yourself, you can’t possibly make everybody else happy.  Still, it’s better to risk being disliked for living your truth than to be loved for what you are pretending to be.

  5. The world is our mirror.  What we love in others is a reflection of what we love about ourselves. What upsets us about others is a strong indication of what we need to look at more closely within ourselves.

  6. Everybody comes into our life for a reason.  It is up to us to be open to the lesson they are meant to teach.  The more someone rubs us the wrong way, the greater the lesson. Take notes.

  7. Trust.  In troubled times, just know that the Universe has your back and everything is going to be alright.  If you’re not there yet, trust in hindsight you will understand.  Your higher good is being supported, always.

  8. Never take things personally.  What others do is a reflection of what’s going on in their own life and probably has little or nothing to do with you.

  9. A walk in nature cures a lot.  Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting.  Bonus:  you can learn a whole lot about life in your observation of the awesomeness which is nature.

  10. Hurt people hurt people.  Love them anyway.  Although, it’s totally okay to love them from a distance.

  11. You have to feel it to heal it.  Bring your fears and weaknesses front and center and shine a blazing spotlight on them because the only way out is through. The hurt of facing the truth is SO worth it in the long run, I swear.

  12. Perfectionism is an illusion.  A painful one at that.  Ease up. Strive for excellence, sure, but allow yourself room to make mistakes and permission to be happy regardless of outcome.

  13. Take the  blinders off.  Don’t become so laser-focused on your own goals and desires that you miss out on the beauty in life and the people around you. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with eyes wide open.

  14. Celebrate the journey.  It’s not all about the destination.  Savor all of your successes, even the small ones.

  15. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person.  It’s about you and for you so that you can gain the peace and freedom you deserve.  Forgive quickly and often.

  16. We are all incredibly intuitive.  When we learn to become still and listen, we can tap into some pretty amazing primal wisdom.  Listen to the quiet whisper of your heart. It knows the way.

  17. Let your soul shine!  Be authentic. There  is nobody else on this earth just like you.  Step into your truth wholeheartedly and live and breathe your purpose.

  18. We are powerful creators. Seriously, bad-asses. With intention, focus, and persistence — anything is possible.  Know this.

  19. I am full of light.  You are full of light.  We are all full of light.  Some cast shadows on their own brightness.  Be a beacon of light to others and show them the way.

  20. Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile.  Be goofy.  Take chances.  Have fun. 🙂

  21. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.  And, love and support them right back! Life is too short for anything less.

  22. Learn the delicate dance. Have big beautiful dreams and vision.  Chase them with much passion. But, also hold on to them all ever so lightly.  Be flexible and willing to flow as life comes at you.

  23. Giving is the secret to receiving.  Share your wisdom, your love, your talents.  Share freely and be amazed at how much beauty in life flows back to you.

  24. On that note, be careful not to give too much.  If you empty out your own cup completely, you will have nothing left to give.  Balance is key.

  25. Say ‘YES!’ to everything that lights you up.  Say ‘no’, unapologetically, to anything that doesn’t excite you or you don’t have the bandwidth for.  Time is one of our most precious resources that we can never get back. Manage it wisely.

  26. Sometimes we outgrow friendships.  It doesn’t mean they’re bad or you’re bad.  It just means you’re on different paths. Hold them in your heart, but when they start to hurt or hold you back, it’s time to give space or let go.

  27. Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life.  Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.

  28. Overcoming your fears is one of the most empowering things you can ever do for yourself.  You’ll prove to yourself you can truly accomplish anything! Major self-confidence booster.

  29. Our bodies are our vehicle to our dreams.  Treat them with love and fuel them with the best health to feel vibrant and energized.  But, never obsess over image.  Looks are subjective and will fade in time, anyway.  Feeling good, healthy, and comfortable in our own skin is what matters most.

  30. Let those that you love know it often and enthusiastically.  You can never say it or show it too much. Your time, total presence, love, and genuine concern for their wellness is the greatest gift of all.

  31. The present moment is where it’s at.  It’s the only one promised to any of us.  Learn from your past & enjoy the beautiful memories, but don’t cling or let them haunt you.  And, dream big and be excited about the future, but don’t become obsessed.  Love this moment, always.

  32. Life is full of highs and lows.  We need them both to grow to our fullest potential. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

  33. We are all connected as one human family. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else — just at different stages of our journeys and dealing with life the best way we know how.  Recognize that the other person is you.

  34. Practice daily gratitude for all the blessings in your life, large and small. Not only is this a high vibe practice that feels amazing, in practicing regularly you are creating space for even more abundance – of joy, love, health, and prosperity.

  35. We are not the center of the Universe, although our ego can make us feel that way at times.  Step outside of that way of thinking and see the world and other people’s perspective in a whole new beautiful light.

  36. The world needs more love, light, and laughter.  Go be love. <3

  37. You are the guru.  For much of our lives, we have been told what do, how to think, what looks good, what “success” is. You don’t have to buy into any of it. Feel free to peel back the layers. Think for yourself.  Break the mold. When you stop doing what everybody else wants you to do and start following your own intuition, you will be ridiculously happy.

In looking back at your own life, realize that every high and low is all part of your amazing story. Own it!  Take cues and guidance from the Universe and you will continue to go on an incredible ride as you fully step into your truth and power.

Age is just a number, but the higher it gets, the more wisdom and life experience we’ve amassed.  You are never going to be younger than you are in this present moment again.  So embrace it, love it, and enjoy it fully!

Here’s to many more beautiful years of seeking-truth, questioning all that does not sit right, and making your greatest impact in the world!  I look forward to adding more lessons as life continues to give me the opportunity to learn, grow, transform, share and expand.  Hope you will too.

With much love,
Dawn

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Is it Possible to Give Too Much?

Giving Hands I’m a giver. Being born with a giant heart, I’ve spent my life compassionately trying to help others whenever possible. When I see a group of kids standing outside the grocery store trying to raise funds for whatever cause, I always open my wallet. Same with those who show up at the doorstep. I’ve given up nights and weekends to serve on volunteer committees. As an employer, I’ve showered my staff with bonuses and growth opportunities in gratitude for their service. At home, we regularly clean out our closets and cupboards and donate any excess we can. These actions, as small (or big) as they are, have just been a natural extension of what I stand for. Being of service to others is very fulfilling and, frankly, something the world needs more of. However, like all good things, it can have a dark side. Yes, I do believe it is possible to give too much. Let me explain.

When I went in to business for myself in 2008, we were blessed with rapid growth and business “success”. As our employee size and bottom line grew, I knew that I wanted to give back even more. I created a program for our employees to pick a cause in the community and take paid time off to volunteer. We also donated to many others causes through sponsorships and workplace giving programs. I was invited to chair a local non-profit event, which was a pretty big undertaking, but my big heart told me to say yes as I dove right in to the responsibility. And, any time a friend asked for support on a project of their own, I was there to help them in any way I could. It felt great to have the capacity to give back so much. So, what was the problem?

After several years of very strong business growth, we experienced our first major down cycle. The company started losing money. Fast. Instead of laying people off right away, which would have been a strategic business decision, I felt compelled to work even harder to get our profits back up and keep things chugging along. Tried as I did, the economy was taking its toll. I was essentially losing tons of money to keep others on the payroll. Ouch. The ship was taking on water fast and I had to do something before it went under. Alas, I had to get smart and do what my heart dreaded – lay people off.

At this point, I felt like a failure. I was stressed about money. My heart ached for those who had to find new jobs and I felt guilty because they would struggle to pay their bills. I was hard on myself for not magically pulling it all together. On top of that, I was spread very thin with my volunteer work, my home life, and I had just recently become pregnant with our second daughter at the time. People continued to call on me to ask for help, but I finally had to draw the line in the sand and say “no”. I just couldn’t do it any more. It was time to help myself.

I secretly wanted my former employees to be like “thank you for keeping us on so long even though I know you were losing a lot of money.” Some of them did. But, others, of course, were stressed out about their own situation and a little less gracious. Some even hurtful. I wanted the organizations that I volunteered for to be like “Oh, we totally understand. Go take care of yourself and your family.” And, some of them were. But, others seemed disappointed and became less friendly when I couldn’t put in the hours any more. I wanted the friends whose projects I couldn’t support to be like “I understand you can’t support all of them..” And, most of them were. But, others took offense when I didn’t help.

So, here I was, at a pretty low point in my life. I was trying to resurrect my business, feeling horrible about it, and trying to take a step back to pull myself together so I could focus on what mattered most, the beautiful life I was creating inside my tummy. And, instead of offering support, some of the very people that my big heart had gone out of its way to help in the past were upset or disappointed in me because I could not or would not give to them any more. That twisted the knife even more. And, it hurt.

But, I couldn’t blame them, really. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t their fault. It was I that had taught them how to treat me, after all. I had spent so much time give, give, giving that I never set clear boundaries for myself and what my personal limitations were. In my eagerness to help others, I forgot to help myself. People got so use to me being a “yes” that they seemed less than satisfied when I finally had to say “no.’ Also, it had occurred to me that, even in my toughest times, I never asked anybody else for help. I had let the world know that I was a huge giver, but sent a message that I was some sort of superwoman that didn’t need any help. Therefore people were, go figure, not likely to offer their support. Truth be told, whether in the form of understanding, compassion, or just a little pat on the back to say, “it will be okay,” I would have been wide open to receiving that type of encouragement.

Like with all times of trouble, here within lied some incredibly valuable lessons for me. I used the turmoil I was experiencing in my outside world as a reflection of my inner-workings and took some time to go inward and grow from it all.

I’ve since prioritized what matters most in my life and choose to focus my time and energy on what makes my heart expand with love. I accept that, inevitably, I will have to disappoint some people along the way. And, unapologetically so. We simply can’t help everyone. I’ve discovered that we can work more efficiently and have a greater reach when our own truth and boundaries are honored. Often, saying no to others often means saying yes to our own life and dreams.

I’ve learned that everything needs to be in balance to experience harmony. So, I’ve put my intention out into the Universe that, as much as I give, I also want to feel supported. It’s a yin and a yang thing. And, since then, many special people and blessings have turned up in my life. When we are open to receiving, the Universe shows up for us.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have the same big huge heart that I was born with. And, when my cup floweth over, you betcha I’m going to share with those who need it. But, now I am careful not to empty out my own cup completely in the process. I have to honor myself and my family first. Then, I can divvy out what’s leftover as I see fit. People respect and understand personal boundaries. But it is up to us to effectively communicate them.

It’s amazing how much more you can give when you’re careful not to give too much. It’s also pretty remarkable just how much more support you receive once you open yourself up to it and let the Universe know you are ready.

To my fellow big-hearted ones, may you continue to bless others with your graciousness. But, please remember to take care of yourself and be ever-so-careful not to empty out your own cup in the process.

***

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photo by: Artotem

Your Words

your-words

 

Your words. Your own words.

I remember the first time I tried to formulate this sense, this feeling, this awareness. I needed no words to express it to myself, but then there was my friend telling me how insufficient, how inadequate she felt as a student. She told me of her failures and shortcomings and I struggled with this thought, this sense, this feeling I had that would not be shaped and fitted properly into language.

I found it hard, maybe harder than I would if our teacher did not stand beside us listening in on the conversation. If he hadn’t listen to me trying to say that it is infinitely more important to be a good “you”, than to be a good student, I might have found it easier to find the words.

But this was exactly what I was trying to say.

That being you, that succeeding at being you, that being good at being you, is far more important than being a good student, a good person, a good human. That fulfilling your own potential is far more important than satisfying the ideas of others, of any “others”.

I blurted out a bundle of words to my friend that day. They might have communicated my thoughts, likely they didn’t. We moved on to another subject, our teacher drifted away. Did he mind? Did he mind me saying than my being me, than my friend being her, is of far greater importance than us being good students of his?

I did not believe he minded that at all.

Because he knew that too.

Find Out What You Want – Step #10

want-find

 “Oh you know what you want!” I thought to a friend who, not being in my head, could not hear a thing.

You know exactly what you want, you are aware of it distinctly, you can hear yourself telling yourself just what is, only…

Only there are other things you are telling yourself as well, like:

“Oh I should not want this” or “my mother will hate me for wanting this” or “this is a stupid thing to want” or “he will be so disappointed in me if I want that” or “what will people say” or “this will not make me money” or ” I am not enough” or “I can’t do this to her” or …

And herein lies the issue: the thing you want gets drowned, crushed and smothered underneath a huge pile

of crap.

Top 10 Life Lessons Learned From My Dad

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 9.55.32 AMWhere I am concerned, my Dad’s heart is always on his sleeve. He is so grounded in truth, so deep in his thinking, and so moral about humanity that I wonder how I got so lucky! Of course he doesn’t see it that way, and wonders instead how he got so lucky to have me. We have been through a lot together over the years, and in his “lead by example” way I have learned so much from him that I have taken into my own adulthood. My favorites:

1. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You  never know what kind of day someone is having and what they’re  going through. Know that most bad moods, angry words, or scowling faces have nothing to do with you. Put yourself is someone else’s shoes when you can and try to see life from another’s perspective.

2. Don’t judge someone by what color their hair is, what their job is, how many tattoos they have, or who their parents are. Just because they don’t fit a socialized mold of “acceptable” doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the most caring humans you might ever meet.

3. Every dream and every goal is attainable no matter how far out of reach it may seem at the time. Break down your dream into small steps. Do three things a day that will lead you closer to your dream.

4. Religion is a personal decision and something to be used with respect and love. Don’t push your beliefs, or your lack of belief, on anyone else. We simultaneously walk our path alone and together, and each person has their own way to self-discovery and their own definition of “divine.”

5. Your past is not an excuse for your present. Not. An. Excuse.

6. Don’t hide who you are just to make the people around you more comfortable. You have every right to shine and to be yourself, because yourself is pretty fabulous!

7. Be dedicated to your body and your health. Life is so much easier when the body is whole.

8. “Disappointments, failures, weakness, making wrong decisions and mistakes are all part of life. Some of the most valuable life lessons come from these times,” taken verbatim from a letter sent to me in college from my Dad.

9. When your family needs you, really truly needs you, drop absolutely everything and go to them.

10. Anything worth doing has a certain amount of fear associated with it. Don’t be afraid of that fear and know that moving forward can be scary. Again, taken verbatim from a  letter my Dad gave me upon high school graduation…”As you head in a new direction in your life, don’t let fear keep you from moving ahead. Moving       forward can be scary because you are going into the unknown. Staying  where you are is usually safe and comfortable but you never get anywhere. You have so many qualities that will take you anywhere you want to go.”

Above all…always let your kids know you support them one thousand percent, no matter what they do, where they go or who they become. They need you and life is a whole lot easier to manage with that kind of love.

Who Will Love a Little Sparrow?

House SparrowI left my door open in the warm weather and a sparrow decided to hop in and explore my house. Instead of leaving by the open door it decided it needed to try and leave by the window, and it fluttered helplessly against the fly-screen, sensing the outdoors, panicked, feeling trapped.

I did all I could to shoo it towards the still open door. It wasn’t having anything to do with that, and so it flew upstairs. It followed its bird nature, seeking freedom in altitude. That’s a good thing to do outside, but totally the wrong thing to do in a house. After I’d captured it and set it free it occurred to me that we can learn from the sparrow.

The poor trapped sparrow was afraid of this larger creature (me) and would not take any hints – just as most of us get hints from the universe about what we need to do and then we fight against them. Eventually the universe will put each of us back on course, even if it takes a major upheaval to do that. In my case I had to throw a towel over the bird, pray I hadn’t hurt it, and gather it up.

All that it suffered was ruffled feathers and a small loss of dignity.

If only we could all recover from our mistakes so easily. If only we all chose not to resist the universe and its promptings.

 

Related Articles:

What the Sleepy Dog Taught Me About Compassion

The “F” Word: 5 Steps to Practice Forgiveness

8 Reasons to Be More Present in Your Life

What the Sleepy Dog Taught Me About Compassion

Hackley Sleeping
Photo Credit: Andres Meneses

This is one of my favorite little stories:

One afternoon, a tired-looking dog wandered into my yard and followed me through the door into the house. He went down the hall, laid down on the couch and slept there for an hour.

Since my dogs didn’t seem to mind his presence, and he seemed like a good dog, I was okay with him being there, so I let him nap. An hour later he went to the door motioned for me to let him out and off he went.

The next day, much to my surprise, he was back. He resumed his position on the couch and slept for another hour.

This continued for several weeks. Finally, curious, I pinned a note to his collar, and on that note I wrote, “Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap. I don’t mind, but I want to make sure it’s okay with you.”

The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar. “He lives in a home with three children in it. He’s trying to catch up on his sleep. May I come with him tomorrow?”

While lighthearted, this points toward the mood of compassion. Compassion can be described as letting ourselves be touched by the vulnerability and suffering that is within ourselves and all beings. The full flowering of compassion also includes action: Not only do we attune to the presence of suffering, we respond to it.

There is a wonderful expression that says: “Be kind. Everyone you know is struggling hard.”

It doesn’t matter what age we are, if we’re in these bodies and on planet Earth, it’s not easy. That doesn’t mean that we’re always slaving away or that life is bad, it just means life can be really challenging at times.

Because we are conditioned to pull away from suffering, awakening a compassionate heart requires a sincere intention and a willingness to practice. It can be simple. As you move through your day and encounter different people, slow down enough to ask yourself a question: “What is life like for this person? What does this person most need?” If you deepen your attention, you’ll find that everyone you know is living with vulnerability. Everyone is living with fear, with loss, with uncertainty. Everyone, on some level, needs to feel safe, loved, and seen – just like the dog who just needed a place to rest.

To be kind, we need to slow down and notice.

Enjoy this short video on: The Warmth of Compassion

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance (2003)
For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

5 Mother’s Day Life Lessons – Wisdom From A Wise Mom

The Beauty of Old AgeBy Jay Forte

As I write this, it is early – just after 6 am. I am in New England, in Putnam CT, at my Mom’s house. Today, she turns 80. And as in all good Italian families, my siblings are all flying in from around the country to celebrate – to celebrate her birthday, our family, her impact and her wisdom as a remarkable mother.

We tried to keep the party a surprise, but when you are the mother of six, you seem to have this natural ability to always know what is going on. Somehow, she knew things about her party that some of my siblings didn’t even know. This sets the stage to share some great wisdom from someone – from a powerful, loving and capable mother – who has lived a long time, has learned much and never misses an opportunity to share what she knows. Mom is a wonderful cook – so you’ll see that so much of her wisdom involves food. We’re Italian…what can I say?

1. You are as old as you think you are.

Though Mom turns 80 today, there is nothing about her (save some really gray hair) that makes anyone think she is 80. Her cooking, gardening and painting has her up and down stairs, in and out of the house, all around town and doing what she loves. When you wake up happy in life, you stay young. When you do things you love, you stay young. When you treat yourself with care and respect, you stay young. When you eat really good food (she means healthy), you stay young. Age is a number; being and feeling young is a mindset. As she says, the greater the age, the better the bragging rights.

2. Be interested in others.

Ask questions and be interested in the answers. Learn to listen. Show up and be present with the people in your life. Not only do they have information to help you learn how to “do life well,” but they are also the treasures of life. It’s the people in our lives, not the things, that make life amazing. Remember the important things in others’ lives. Stay connected, send a card, make a call, bake something, share some soup…

3. Treasure your family.

Our families are in our lives for a reason. They keep us supported and strong; we learn respect, manage our emotions, share, support, love and celebrate. Families are the training ground for living a great and happy life. We learn how to successfully be in the world from our time with our families. And in the process, we find those we can rely on and count on in every day of life.

4. Do great things with your life.

Each day we have the opportunity to bring our best to the world. Never miss it. Learn what you are good at by trying new things and experiencing life. Then show up with your A-game to all that you do. Since you do not get this day back, make each day outstanding by improving any part of the world you touch. Inspire people to step up and stand out in life.

5. Be grateful for whatever you have.

There will always be those who have more and those who have less. It isn’t what you have that matters; it is how grateful you are for what you have. This is the reason to say grace or thanks before a meal. It is the same reason why every time you look at your spouse, partner, kids or friends, you should smile and think how blessed you are that they are in your life.

Though today is Mom’s birthday and we are celebrating her, we are mostly celebrating what she (and other mothers) have taught us to be ready to live our own versions of great and happy lives. Think young. Be great. Inspire others. Be grateful. Treasure people. And mostly live around the table – because all important things can be discussed, debated, invented or solved over some kind of pasta or roasted chicken and finished with biscotti.

Celebrate, applaud and learn from the powerful women in your lives.

photo by: VinothChandar

The Hospice Diaries: Transcending the Traditional

HAND IN HAND IS THE ONLY WAY TO LANDThis morning, as I lie in bed, contemplating what the next few days might bring forth on all planes–physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually–what the days could look like, I begin to wonder how I could possibly best manage to “enjoy” them.

As I contemplate how to cope with moving my mother from hospital to hospice, the word “creativity” bubbles to the surface.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty – [kree-ey-tiv-i-tee] / noun (source: dictionary.reference.com)

The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.

Precisely!  I set my intention to transcend all that is traditional; to question the agreed upon realities–the thoughts, feelings, patterns, relationships that our culture has embedded into my mind (our minds) about death, dying, hospice, family, love, self.   I set my mind to create new meaningful ideas and expressions, to utilize the most under-utilized resource that humans have: the imagination.

I breathe and imagine.  I imagine how it feels to be soothed and comforted.  I am strengthened by the calm.  I imagine slowly and carefully moving through the day, perhaps slipping once or twice into a dark spot, but always able to catch myself and, once again, find calm.  Serenity and peacefulness are there once more to comfort.  While my inner-resources are sometimes obfuscated by clouds, I realize that they are always there for the taking.  I need only remember that they are there.

In knowing this to be true, in knowing that I have the ability access serenity, which enables me to clear a path to be fully present in these most extraordinary days, I am able to find satisfaction; to “enjoy.”

Spread the word–NOT the icing!

Janice
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For the best life and wellness wisdom, visit:  Our Lady of Weight Loss

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photo by: Neal.