Friday, December 28, 2012


Most of us have opinions about what is happening in our lives and in the world around us. And let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It gives us a way to see where we stand concerning an issue ~ and as such it helps us discern what we want in our lives; what we want to be part of and what ‘is not for us’.

That being said it is also true that opinions tend to be polarizing. Especially in this time in which pretty much everything that is happening has its polarities ~ leaving hardly any middle ground to navigate. And when opinions start to polarize an issue, it is really easy for the balance to be lost.
After all, we know our opinion is the right one, and therefore the other person must be wrong. And if they fail to come around to our perspective, our point of view on the matter, then it doesn’t take long before either party draws a line in the sand...

And funnily enough it is not just the negative, or ‘against something’ opinions that can have this effect.  I have found that even positive, or ‘in favor of something’ opinions can pit the parties against one another. Although I have to admit that the issue or topic at hand does make a difference.
Let’s face it, very few people are against world peace ~ we pretty much all can agree on that achieving  world peace is a good thing.

Just reading posts on for instance Facebook it seems that two things can really get people to express their opinions:
The sense that something is taken away from us.
The sense that another person or group tells us what to do ~ in other words authority.

Obviously these points are related. Something that is taken away from us, usually touches us on a personal ~ even emotional ~ level. An authority that tells us what to do and how to do it may actually push buttons that are buried deep down in our make-up ~ perhaps even in our subconscious levels ~ and sparks a reaction that can border on rebellion. Either way it is very understandable that we have an opinion about what is happening...

From a more spiritual perspective, having strong opinions does have a caveat. If we are not careful our opinions can become judgements rather than the expressed discernment about that particular situation. And as soon as we start judging others because of their beliefs, their ideals, yes even their opinions ~ we can suddenly find ourselves in a negative spiral that some may say even has karmic repercussions.

Opinions can be productive as different opinions can show different sides of an issue ~ to use them constructively, the ultimate goal should be to resolve the issue...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The joy of giving

Christmas is the one occasion when the joy of giving is just as much, or perhaps even a greater part of giving gifts than any other occasion during the year ~ like birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.
Yes there is still that underlying current that says one doesn’t want to give less to a loved one than other family members might ~ in other words, there is a certain status to the gift giving ~ yet still a lot of it is for the joy of giving...

Giving to others makes us feel good. Both for seeing the joy of the other person receiving the gift as well as feeling good about ourselves for having given to the other person.
It’s a win win experience.

And as it is something that makes both the receiver as well as the giver feel good ~ it makes me wonder why we are doing it only a certain time of the year, or at certain occasions.

There is the expectancy of receiving gifts just as you have given gifts ~ a give and take that goes along lines that say: ‘If I give them this gift they owe me one...’ And while that is a very human thought, it does seem to take away from pure joy of giving; the act of giving in and by itself.
And of course there is a price tag. The actual cost of the gifts is something hardly anyone can afford on a whim throughout the year.

Yet if it is all about the joy of giving, there are many gifts we have to give to another person that don’t have that hefty price tag...
Like a smile. Or a phone call, a text message, a card... Taking the time to truly listen to what the other person has to say, or being patient enough to let the other person talk it out... Helping another person with what they feel they need help with rather than with what we ‘know’ they need help with... The tolerance that allows the other person to be different, and to live their life in their own ~ yet different ~ manner.
They are all gifts that are hard to come by in the world today.
They are also gifts that don’t have an actual price tag ~ they are priceless!

All they require is an attitude that there is always joy in giving, and a willingness to truly see the other person at face value.
And when we allow ourselves to live our lives that way ~ the season of giving lasts throughout the year!

Friday, December 21, 2012


When we allow our expectations to live a life of their own, it can spark all kinds of surprising outcomes.

For one, other people hardly ever live up to our expectations ~ especially when they are not aware of them. It would be so much easier if we would let them know that there are certain things we expect of them ~ whether that is in a relationship, in a work environment, or just with friends or acquaintances. Yet as far as expectations go, we may have a tendency to keep quiet about them ~ setting ourselves up for disappointments as the people around us are not living up to our expectations.
There are also events that we have expectations about. For instance that winter starts at the winter solstice; providing us with a beautiful white Christmas. Or that come the spring equinox the weather will turn to this nice, soft, sunny, mild temperature. Either one of those hardly ever happens where I live. And while one can always hope for it ~ it would be silly to expect it.

The big one event that is wrapped in all kinds of expectations ~ good and bad, funny or logical ~ is the ‘end of the world’. It has been predicted to happen any number of times in any number of ways... And every time the date that was set in the prediction goes by I have this anti-climactic feeling. Like something big you sort of are looking forward to experience happens in some unobtrusive way that is hardly noticeable at all. The ‘end of the world’ expectation that has arguably received most attention over the las decade or so stems from the Mayan calendar. Of course the Mayans had an incredible grasp of time, and a sophisticated way in which to measure time ~ so when that yard-stick of time that they set up ran out, the expectation became that something would happen to the world. Something major. Something severe. Something...
As that day arrived it has left me once again with this sense of experiencing an anti-climax. Other than a slight sense of chaos ~ which is not that unusual for me ~ nothing big happened.

Of course it makes sense. Mayans kept track of cycles of time. So it is not that the world would end; it is likely that just this current cycle of time ended to give way to the next cycle of time...

Yet, no matter how we look at it or perceive it, the fact that a point of time, an event goes by so uneventful really is an anti-climax.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Every once in a while there is a day that has a certain stillness to it, a sense of calm.
It is not because there is nobody outside, or nothing is happening. It hardly ever has anything to do with the weather. Or the time of day... However it does seem that such a day filled with stillness is more apt to come along closer to the Winter Solstice...
It is just that sense of quiet that invites us to listen rather than to spring into action.

A day like that can be a pensive one. It can be a day to step back from all the activity and to take a look at life ~ to observe where you spend your time and energy. To see what things bring happiness into your life, and where true fulfillment comes from. To separate the meaningful from the superficial ~ the productive from the frivolous...

A day like that may encourage you to look at who you are. Your hopes and dreams, wishes and desires. At the things you are anticipating and your expectations. The self-imposed rules and limitations ~ attitudes. Even the righteous indignation that pops up every once in a while...

And so a day like that can become a day to take stock. To observe where you are at, and to look where you are going. A day like that can instigate the desire to change things if you don’t like what you are seeing.
Now that you have taken that step back from all the normal, day to day happenings chances are that suddenly you become aware of the things that are no longer needed in your life, things that can be ~ or perhaps even should have been ~ released from your life. Things you have carried along for a long, long time that all of a sudden you can let go of.

In the stillness of that day, new ideas can come up, new plans may be made. It is like we get a new compass in that energy of stillness, the ability to change direction.
And while such a day filled with stillness is not necessarily a life altering event in itself ~ it gives us the opportunity to turn inside of ourselves, examine where we are at, evaluate our lives, and start the creation of a new base, a new foundation from which to move forward.

So while the stillness in itself doesn’t change us ~ through the stillness we change ourselves...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jumping out of the box

Like the children’s toy Jack-in-the-box ~ when we decide to jump out of the box, it often comes as a surprise. To ourselves as well as to others...

When we jump out of the box ~ out of the fixed space we were in and away from the known things we were doing ~ we are suddenly confronted with a world full of possibilities and potentials. The only thing that in all likelihood doesn’t work for us anymore is doing the things we have always done the same way we have always done them...
Jumping out of the box can be like putting on a pair of glasses that allow you to suddenly see the whole world around you with 20/20 vision; and only when you have that experience do you realize how little of that world you were actually seeing before.
Jumping out of the box can be a truly life-altering experience as it prompts us to leave behind the fixed ideas we have had and puts us on a journey of discovery into the things we really like, we really want, we really need. Bringing us realizations as to what is truly meaningful and fulfilling in our lives.

It can bring surprises into our own lives in the sense that once out of that box we are no longer bound by its limitations ~ whether they were real or imagined ~ and therefore we can begin to explore new avenues, check out new things, wander into new directions. In doing so we may discover that the things we thought we liked are okay, yet there are better things that up to now we had never given any attention. By the same token there may be things out there we always dreamed about, but now that we actually have them within reach they aren’t quite as enamoring as we always thought we would be.

To the people around us, seeing us jump out of the box ~ the structure that is predictable and easy to understand ~ and into the flow of energies and situations that is happening all around us can be somewhat bewildering. All of a sudden we are not quite that predictable anymore. We may react differently, start doing different things, attract new friends and acquaintances into our lives. Perhaps develop new interests, new hobbies; trying out new sports. Or even changing careers.
To the people around us, as soon as we have jumped out of the box we are no longer the person they have always known...

Yet in this multi-faceted time, with its flow of energy, its patterns, in a sense even its newness ~ there is a lot to be gained by jumping out of the box!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Out of the box

It seems to me that as time progresses, the energies around us are becoming ever more fluid. Hardly anything is ‘set in stone’ anymore. The solidity we have grown up with is more and more giving way to a flow of things.

And that can be a flow of events, a flow of situations where one leads to another and another... It also applies to our thoughts as one concept can lead to another, and another... Even our energy, our vitality seems to be more of a flow these days rather than a fixed state of being.

While these are compelling changes that give us a lot more freedom of movement whichever way you want to look at it and truly let us step out of the box ~ they do come with their own challenges.
When events, thoughts, or even our energy starts flowing ~ it can become harder to focus on any one thing, while it is still difficult to observe the patterns in the flow. Therefore, getting stuff done becomes more complicated...

Often, how this happens can be more easily observed outside of ourselves as inside of our lives we can be so caught up in life itself that we hardly notice things are moving in and out of it differently than they may have done a couple of years ago.
Yet when we look at those around us, it may strike us as so obvious how they are not focused, trying to do multiple things all at once and nonetheless failing to get any one thing done.
Because the way we used to do them doesn’t work quite as efficiently anymore...

To make things even more chaotic, this is true for every aspect of our lives.
The fairly fixed understanding that could easily be grasped that says: “When I do this the result will be that...” is fading into history while we are scrambling to discover what will actually work in this new and exciting energy.

One field where this seems to become more and more obvious is healthcare.
Where not so long ago a certain set of symptoms equated to a specific disease, this seems to be less and less true nowadays ~ leaving treatments non-effective...

The only thing that is totally and thoroughly obvious is that the new energy is out of the box!
And rather than holding on to the way thing were, we are likely to be better off when we start looking at the flow of energy. Learn how to discern patterns in that flow ~ and act on those patterns rather than on any one specific detail.
The energy is out of the box; it is time for us to jump out as well!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The weight of words

Have you ever noticed that words, besides their energy, also carry a certain weight?
Words like ‘responsibility’, ‘discipline’, ‘obligation’ seem to have a much greater weight than words like ‘playfulness’, ‘vacationing’, or ‘yoga class’.

I have found that there are few words, however, that carry a greater weight than ‘I have to...’
I have to put the garbage out. I have to do this job. I have to be home in time.
And with every ‘I have to...’ it seems the burden becomes greater.

Often everything we ‘have to’ do is placed sometime in our future. It can be something that ‘has to be done’ today, or perhaps this week, or this month. Either way it is something that we are not doing right now. Because right now we are juggling in our minds all the thins we ‘have to do’, with the usually limited time we have available to do them.
It seems that the more we think about it, the heaver the load gets to be. And we haven’t even started yet...

And that could well be at least part of the problem.
By thinking about all the things we are going to do because we ‘have to do them’, we have put our focus into the future. We are aware of what problems may be laying ahead if something we intend to do drops off the list sometime later that day or that week. We are totally conscious that this may cause a problem down the pike. It is a mighty burden!

The only thing we are not focused on anymore is what is happening right now. Right here.

It is one of those things that is very helpful to become aware of as how we put things into words can give us a hint as to whether we are doing the best we can with what we got ~ or whether we are burdening ourselves with an extra weight...

Now, having a good understanding of everything on our todo list is a good thing. But once we have our todo list, we may be better served by saying things like ‘I am starting with...’, or ‘I am going to...’ rather than ‘I have to’.

Keeping our focus and our awareness in the present lessens the weight.
Using words or statements that enforce us being in the present allows us to be busy without being overburdened.
It permits us to do the things we intend to do on a lighter note, with a spring in our steps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The energy of words

Words have energy. They not only convey a message through their meaning, they also carry an energy that gets the message across on an entirely different level. And sometimes that energy that is set into movement every time that particular word is used, becomes more important than the meaning of the word itself.

For instance, every time I start a sentence with the words ‘I can’t’ ~ even if the rest of that sentence is totally logical, truthful, and perhaps even somewhat innocuous ~ the energy it brings across is that I can not. I am not able to do that.
The subconscious picks up on that and pretty soon there are more and more things in my life that I feel I cannot do. Whether I am lacking in the proper education, in time, in energy ~ it doesn’t matter. I have succeeded in giving myself the message that I can not...

By the same token, every time we approach a situation from a positive (that is without being in denial about what is really going on) ~ telling ourselves that we can handle it. That we will get the help we need when we need it. That even as our lives are a little chaotic at the moment ~ we will find our ways through it and bring a comforting flow back into our lives. The energy of those words is also picked up on by our subconscious ~ however these words or statements are more empowering to us.

In general one can say that all words or statements that have a confining feel to them ~ like ‘I cannot’ ~ have a tendency to make our world smaller and can make us feel less empowered, whereas words or statements that have an expansive feel to them will make our worlds bigger and yes, enhance our sense of empowerment.

This means that it is a good idea to ~ every once in a while ~ listen to the words we use. Whether we use them in a conversation with others, or in an inner conversation ~ whether we are saying those words out loud, or just thinking them to ourselves...

‘I cannot...’ can have multiple meanings from the implied ‘I am unable to’, to ‘I don’t feel like it’, or ‘I have other plans’. In many cases either of the alternatives can work out better for us in the long run as neither alternative is carrying the same debilitating energy of ‘I cannot...’