Friday, April 30, 2010


A good question to ask ourselves every once in a while is: How balanced am I right now?
Because by the nature of balance, which is a continuous movement of interaction inside and outside of ourselves, counteracted by that which helps us stay in that balanced space (or regain that balance when we have lost it temporarily) ~ consciously bringing our balance to our awareness can really help us in our day-to-day lives.

There are situations that make us instantly aware that we are unable to maintain our balance, like sudden, unexpected events or even accidents.
On the other hand, all the more often our balance tends to slip away because we get overwhelmed not all at once, but bit by bit, in a way where from one day to the next, we may not even notice a difference... One day we may feel we have a productive, albeit busy life ~ pretty soon we may not know what to do next because the list of things that really need to get done seems endless. At this point, anything happening in our lives is too much to handle, we may find ourselves having difficulty focussing on even the smallest tasks...

It is at this point that the scales have tipped. We are out of balance, and we may not have a clue as to how we got here; how this could have happened to us...

Yet, with 20/20 hindsight it is often easy to pinpoint the telltale signs along the way:
• Being too busy to go and do something fun.
• A suffering social life.
• Placing everybody else's needs before your own.
• Trying to multitask to the point where you start a lot of things, but nothing seems to get finished.
• Not sleeping through the night, or waking up tired.

So when we are wondering how balanced we are right now, the answers to these five questions may point you toward the answer, and also show to what aspect of your balance you may have to pay a little bit of extra attention:
• When was the last time I did something fun?
• Do I have a healthy social life?
• Do I take time to fulfill my own needs and desires?
• Do the things I take on move smoothly from start to finish?
• Do I wake up relaxed and rested in the morning?

As with all questions we ask ourselves ~ it is important to answer them honestly; in other words, it is important to be honest to yourself... For instance, if you would answer: “Yes, I have a healthy social life, I just don’t have time for visiting with friends right now” ~ that actually is an indication that your personal balance has room for improvement. Whether you see it as a problem or not.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A well known perspective on balance in the world of today is: “Stability of one's mind or feelings.” A more conventional way of looking at balance is: “A counteracting weight or force.”

This may mean that in order to stay balanced, to keep stability in our mind and feelings, we need a counteracting weight or force that ensures the scales won’t tip in either direction.
Immediately two things come to mind when I start thinking about this.
The first one is the question that if the scales won’t tip, if I can reach that balance; wouldn’t that be a static place? A point of stagnation even?
Not necessarily. It means that whenever something happens that we feel pushes us out of balance, we don’t wait until we actually are out of balance, but we immediately start counteracting this movement with something that will restore our perfect balance.
And that brings me to the second thing ~ what weight or force can we use to counteract that which causes us to lose our balance?
At first glance it may seem that there is an infinite number of answers to that question, as every person has his or her own way to regain their balance...

So let’s look at what balance really is; the stability of one’s mind or feelings. This means that in order to be balanced, we need to look inside ourselves. Even though we can go to places of great balance and harmony ~ we can turn to nature or go to a spa, have a massage ~ all that these things outside of ourselves do is help us restore the balance, the peace, inside of ourselves.

From this perspective, there are four main directions we turn to in order to regain our balance, where all of these have in common that we take time to be with ourselves. Just ourselves. Even 15 minutes away from everything else; 15 minutes of stillness so that we can listen to our inner selves, can do wonders for our balance!
These four directions are more or less dictated by astrology. For those of us with the sun in an air-sign, taking time to ‘talk it out’, or to ‘write it out’ usually works well. Those of us with the sun in a fire-sign will find that any form of physical movement like hiking or jogging will help to blow off steam. The ones among us with the sun in a water-sign often find that expressing themselves creatively through colors and/or shapes brings back balance. While those that have the sun in an earth-sign will find that sitting down, taking a deep breath and drinking a cup of tea will do the trick.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Success or Failure?

There often seems to be but a narrow margin between having success and failing...

Those that are successful may tell you that, while it may not have been easy to get there ~ we only have to be successful at about 20% of the things we want to do in order to keep being successful.
Almost by the same token, those that are not successful ~ that may even be failing at anything they take on ~ may put in 200% effort; from a logical perspective they may even be doing everything right, and yet they may never reach that measure of success they set out to achieve.

This leads me to believe that the difference between success and failure is more a matter of conditioning, a matter of attitude; even a matter of imagination than anything else.

In the Dutch language there is this saying: ‘If you were born being a dime, you’ll never become a quarter’. And whether it is put in these or in different words, many believe that where we are coming from dictates where we can go.
And yet there are also those that feel that, coming from the space they are at, they have nothing to loose ~ so why not go for it? After all, anything else is better... And lo and behold a fair number of people thinking along those lines do succeed!

There seem to be three things that make the difference:
• Do not believe anything you are told if that is not also your personal truth.
• Imagine not only where you want to go, but imagine you are already there.
• Adapt a ‘can-do’ attitude.

The first one ensures that you won’t give your power away to anyone else...
And it is not egotistical in any way to live according to your own personal truth, and in your own way reaching the goals you set out to accomplish.

Imagination will show the way to being successful, and once you have achieved one success ~ to being successful in new areas; taking on different things. As long as there is the power of imagination, there will never be the proverbial ‘end of the road’.

The ‘can-do’ attitude may well be the most important one!
Because it allows you to go for it. It blocks all doubts and hesitation. It doesn’t care whether you have the right education for what you want to do ~ after all, if you really need it you can still get it.

It even permits you let go of the fear of failure. Because even if you would fail; so what? The ‘can-do’ attitude will help you to get yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

So rather than imagining all the reasons why you cannot do something ~ imagine how you can do it, and go for it!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Imagination is probably more important than we give it credit for...
Whereas fantasy is not based in reality ~ or even is a flight from reality ~ imagination is our road map to where we are going. Without it, we would be stuck right where we are now; just because we cannot imagine ourselves being anywhere else...
All great plans started out at some point in the imagination of the person that thought: ‘What if...’

What if... my business would really take off?
What if... I would be rich, like having won the lottery jackpot - rich?
What if... I could travel to where-ever I would like to go?
What if... I could help groups of people becoming more aware?
What if... there would be peace on earth?

And just by pondering the question with an open mind, we are giving it positive energy. It is the first step to actually manifest it in the physical world ~ yes, even the ‘peace on earth’ thing.

As soon as we can see in our mind’s eye what it would look like ~ whether ‘it’ is something mundane or spiritual; something personal or something global ~ a path forms that shows us how to get there. And again, it is to a certain extend up to our imagination whether that path is wrought with challenges and obstacles, or whether it is smooth, even easy-going.

This doesn’t mean that imagination is the only thing that is needed.
We can imagine things; we can think about it all we want ~ at some point we need to bring that which we have imagined outside of ourselves. Usually that is when we start talking about it, making logical plans, doing actual research as to what we need in order for our plan to be successful; and finally, we need to put in some physical action.

If your ‘what if?’ is about getting rich by winning the lottery jackpot ~ buying the lottery ticket maybe all the physical action that is required. If you trust yourself more than the lottery, maybe looking into what is necessary for you to get that really well-paying job is a better route.

Of course, as soon as you are thinking: ‘oh, finding that job is going to be sooooo hard ~ and even then, I would have to put in 80 hour workweeks...’ Then that is what you are imagining, and likely what you will bring into your life.
On the other hand, if you are imagining 20 hour workweeks at double the pay you have now with your 40 hour workweek...

As the seraphim Julian has said: ‘Imagine the greatest, most wonderful thing you can achieve ~ and realize that is only going to be your first step!’

Friday, April 16, 2010


We all want to be recognized to a greater or lesser extend. And although the spotlight in a popular game show on TV, or even the spotlight of an important scientific breakthrough or accomplishment can be kind of overwhelming, or even frightening to most people ~ pretty much all of us sort of expect to be recognized and greeted by an acquaintance when we bump into each other on the street...

And with this vast sliding scale from ‘fame and fortune’ to simply saying ‘hello’ to each other ~ recognition is an interesting word to ponder.

On the ‘fame and fortune’ end of the scale, recognition comes with a toll to pay. It often means that life becomes more public; putting privacy at a premium. On the other hand, in the situation of that moment, money may be available ~ and with that the luxury of, for example, high class hotels and fast cars...

On the ‘saying hello to each other’ end of the scale, life is as private as we want it to be. Other than friends and family, no-one is interested in how we choose to live our lives.

In a work or job situation, recognition takes on yet another meaning.
If the work we are doing is not recognized as a ‘job well done’ by our boss or our customers ~ we may eventually find ourselves being out of work.

While we may not be going after ‘fame and fortune’ necessarily, a certain amount of recognition is needed to function in our world.

The difference is that this healthy, even needed recognition is not just tied to our personality; it is tied to our abilities. To the things we do, to the services we have to offer...
It is the recognition that allows for others to call upon us when they need our help. The recognition that permits ourselves to be ‘out there’; to show others what we have to offer.

To make known to the world around us what we desire our unique spot to be in our community...

If not for this specific type of recognition, we would be hermits!
Whether we would live off by ourselves in a deserted area, or the next block over ~ if who we are and what we have to offer to the world is not recognized, the result is the same.
We are on our own.

This points to yet another side of recognition ~ our recognition of others. To recognize and say ‘hello’ to friends, yes ~ but also the recognition of the abilities of others.
Sometimes it is easier for us to recognize an ability someone has than it is for themselves! Through this recognition we can then support the other person; help them recognize what they have to offer to the world!

Pondering recognition it seems to me that whether one desires the spotlight, or the privacy ~ through recognition we can help ourselves and support others.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


There are as many ways in which to measure success as there are areas in life in which we desire to be successful.

Having a successful relationship may depend more on how well you are able to meet the (emotional) needs of the other person. Being a successful artist might be measured by where your art has been shown.
For many of us, at least part of our success is measured by to what extend we can live our life in the way we want to live it. For instance, if we really want to take that trip abroad every year, we could call ourselves successful if we have both the vacation time as well as the financial means to make it happen.

This also means that even when financial gain is not at the top of our list of priorities, in one way or another money comes into play when we are talking about success.

The ‘better job’ more often than not is the job with the better pay attached to it. Almost bringing us to apologize when our ‘better job’ has less pay ~ but way fewer hours ~ and before we know it, we hear ourselves argue that the pay per hour is better, but we finally found ourselves that job where we didn’t have to work as many hours.

In our society money is important ~ if only to pay the bills ~ and with that it becomes a factor in how we measure success. Consequently there are those that view people to whom money is not quite as important as less successful...

It can bring up a polarity in perspectives that seems to be very much of this day and age.

Where in the past monetary gain wasn’t a part measure of success, but rather the measure of success, socially as well as personally ~ in the energy of today there seems to be a much greater variety as to what part money plays in our sense of success.

And with that a lot of other yardsticks of success are coming to the surface...
Like ‘work ethic’, honesty, honor, health, service, family, and on and on.

And even when the same yardstick is used ~ success can be viewed from totally different perspectives! Take work ethic, for instance. For someone with a strong work ethic, being on social security may not feel like being successful at all. Where as a person with a different work ethic may consider himself very successful once on social security...

Ultimately success and the way we measure it is a very personal thing.
What makes (or can make) you successful?

Friday, April 9, 2010


Throughout life we make sacrifices. We sacrifice childhood’s innocence for our teenage years. We sacrifice our youth for adulthood. The relative freedom of study for the stability and salary of a job. Being on our own, for family life. And so on.

And it seems that even the things we gave up without a second thought, even the things we were eager to give up at the time ~ have a different meaning now that we look back...

Take childhood for instance.
We couldn’t wait for it to be over. To leave grammar school and go to junior high. To stay up ‘late’. To have friends over; or go over to friends. And as we left childhood behind without ever looking back ~ so did we lose our innocence.
The way in which we could look at the world around us in wonder, marvel at a spider’s web. How our imagination could bring us adventures...

But growing up those adventures we had in our imagination are called ‘daydreams’ ~ and as it turns out, daydreaming is not a valued or productive use of our time in our now adult world. All the ‘what if’s’, the thoughts and ideas as to all the things we are going to do ~ they are left in the realm of our daydreams of way back when.
We have adjusted our expectations to meet the reality of a life with a family, a job (or even two jobs) and the house with the picket fence.

Without even realizing we have sacrificed our ability to dream big! To set our goals at the very edge of what we can imagine; only to push them further out the moment we can dream of how to reach them... We have settled for ‘reality’, and in the process we have discarded all the things that could have been!

I’ll be the first to admit that some of those ‘could have beens’ would not have made it on to my short list, no matter what. Climbing Mount Everest is not for me. And neither is becoming a railroad engineer, or a doctor, for that matter.

But then there are the things I used to aspire that might have been, and that still cross my mind every once in a while ~ like being actively involved in the performing arts. Or working in forestry. And then there is my personal all time favorite; working with horses...

Every once in a while we come to a crossroads and we look back at our lives and make up a balance ~ of all the things we have sacrificed; all the things we gained.

And at some point we ask ourselves ~ was it worth it?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Doing the things you want to do most...

On a day to day basis, are you doing the things you want to do most?
Looking at my own life I have to admit, I am coming pretty close to doing just that. And yet I never quite seem to reach the point where I can whole heartedly say: Yes!! I’ve done it!

Another thing I always thought was true is the axiom that if you are doing the things you really want to do and enjoy doing; if you are really good at the things you do ~ then you will be recognized for it.

I find that, apart from actually doing the things I want to do most ~ it is also important to me that I have something to show for it...
It is nice to be successful at doing things you really want to do ~ it would be even better yet, if that success would be reflected in something as mundane as an actual income. If that success would make my life easier from a monetary perspective.

So is that then all there is to it?
You do the things you want to do, and enjoy doing most, to the best of your ability ~ and you will be recognized for it and be able to make a living doing it?

In a perfect world it would be.

For many of us it doesn’t seem to be quite as easy though.
Somewhat depending on the degree of Calvinism we grew up with ~ there are always questions like: Can I really make a living having so much fun? Isn’t what I am doing way too frivolous to actually ask money for in return? This is my God~given gift; shouldn’t I just use it in service to mankind? Should people pay for that service?

And pretty soon we have talked ourselves out of an income.
In the process we have taken ourselves down; devalued the things that matter most to us ~ and in essence convinced ourselves that we deserve to live week to week.

It turns out that if we value what we are doing, others will too. If we do what we want to do most and enjoy ourselves while doing it; that joy ~ as the French say: joie de vivre, the joy of living ~ radiates from us, attracting others to us.
In other words, the way in which we respect ourselves and value the things we are doing dictates our success, the way it can be measured in recognition and monetary return.

After all, if we fail to respect ourselves or to value the things we do ~ why would others respect us or value our work?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cycles II

The cycle of day and night is tied to the sun. When we can see the sun, it is day; when the sun has fallen below the horizon, it is night. Consequently the days are light, the nights are dark.
Still we know that, even though the sun has disappeared and darkness is upon us, the sun will rise again tomorrow ~ bringing light to us once again.

The full cycle has a part that we can see, feel and be aware of ~ and a part that we cannot see, but when we trust that whatever is there, it will work out just fine.

Looking at a tree, its cycle doesn’t end when it falls down. It’s cycles lasts until the last tiny amounts of minerals have been absorbed by the earth, nurturing the earth such that it can sustain new trees.
The part of its cycle that we may be less aware of, the parts where it decays and gives back to the earth, is just as important as the part where we could see and feel and experience the tree ~ when we sought its shadow on a hot and sunny day...

The same is true for animals, and even for insects.

So how does that work for us humans?
Many cultures believe that the soul doesn’t die. The soul is eternal. Ever on a quest to grow further and wiser, always looking for new and different experiences ~ the soul has a cycle, like the sun, from the seen to the unseen and back again.
When the soul is in the body, incarnated, we can experience its expression on an earthly, physical level. And this expression can be shared and celebrated with others that have a physical existence. When the soul passes on and the body dies ~ the soul embarks on a new and different part of its cycle in the unseen world of spirit. And unseen to us, the souls now has an opportunity to share and celebrate its expression with others in the world of spirit...
Or, as the Seraph Julian taught us: “When you die, you are being born into my world.”

From our human perspective; the soul and spirit that inhabited ‘the temple of the soul’, the person, is lost to us when he or she passes over. And when they move into the unseen part of their personal cycle, embarking on a new adventure ~ what is left for us are how we remember them in our hearts.

And although we cannot see it or experience it (yet) ~ we trust, and have faith that whatever is there, it will work out just fine.