Monday, January 5, 2015

Today's Challenge: Look for the divine within the ordinary trials of you...

Today's Quotation:

The "trials of ordinary existence" are the divine curricula for spiritual maturity.

Skye Jethani

Today's Meditation:

It is difficult to imagine how many opportunities I have squandered in life to learn and gain invaluable spiritual wisdom, simply because I was looking for something extraordinary. There is endless sacredness and beauty present all around us at every ordinary moment of our lives--in our family, friends, and neighbors, in songs and laughter, in the rushing brook, throughout all of nature and the expanse of the universe.

It becomes quite easy for us to ignore the ordinary, perhaps because we have seen it all before and it seems so understandable. The flowers bloom every year, so what is the big deal? Yet we are wrong... those blooms are not the same blooms as they were last year, or the year before. The world around us truly is holy, from the very next person that we will run into... to the flowers and trees, birds and animals... to the infinite amount of matter spread out throughout this massive universe. And until we are able to see each creation in its own sacred and unique right, we will fail to understand and to learn the "divine curricula" they speak to us.

From the food on our tables, to the falling snow and rain, to the smile of a child, to the comforting embrace of a caring friend--each and every creation is an extraordinary, unique, and holy creation of God, just as I am. And by recognizing the sacredness around us, and allowing ourselves to focus our awareness on it, we allow our lives to become much richer.

Today's Challenge: Look for the divine within the ordinary trials of your life today.

Questions to consider:

How rich do you feel your life to be? What are some of the sacred things in your life?

Does failing to notice the sacredness in the ordinary rob us of our riches? How might being able to see the divine in the ordinary existence of life add to them?

Is sacredness reserved for saints, priests, and pastors? Why do we tend to feel that they somehow have better access to the sacred?

For further thought:

All thoughts, all passions, all delights, whatever stirs this mortal frame, all are but ministers of love, and feed his sacred flame.

Hartley Coleridge

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Today's Challenge: Make the most of your life today by entering all four rooms of your proverbial "house."

Today's Quotation:

There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms--a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.

Rumer Godden

Today's Meditation:

As a child, it had never really occurred to me that there might be more to me than just the person I thought I was. But as I have grown older and learned more about myself and life, I have come to realize that who I am consists of many differing parts--and that if I simply try to improve one of these parts while neglecting the others, I generally fail in the long run.

Lasting change requires our lives to be in balance, our personhood to be in harmony with all our essential fibers of being. And if we "go into every room every day," we are sustaining that balance and making sure that we are aware of where we stand as far as these four elements of ourselves are concerned. Perhaps I have been at a spiritual low for the past few days. Without this awareness, I might not understand what is bringing me down, and I have no way of seeing that some spiritual nourishment may be all that is necessary. Maybe the stressful feelings of the last few days are the result of emotional turmoil. Again, unless I pay attention to my emotions, I will not be able to address the issues that are causing the turmoil, and those stressful feelings will continue.

Each day... open the doors to those rooms you rarely frequent. Open the curtains and let the light guide you, direct you, and strengthen you as it weakens those negative things that hate the light. Open the windows and add fresh air into what has otherwise become stagnant. In doing so, we serve to strengthen our inner selves and help ourselves to remain aware of all that is going on within us.

Today's Challenge: Make the most of your life today by entering all four rooms of your proverbial "house."

Questions to consider:

What do you see when you enter each room of your house--emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually? How often to you frequent each room?

What are some ways in which you can encourage yourself to work on improving upon all aspects of who you are?

Are there any other rooms in your "house" that you recognize?

For further thought:

Personal growth is a process of identifying the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual changes we desire, and working in each area to improve and reach our fullest potential.

Dr. Christina Hibbert

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kissing... (a poem)

Today's Challenge: Ensure that all your interactions today express love, concern, compassion and kindness.

Today's Quotation:
Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough; money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go; first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.

Mother Teresa

Today's Meditation:

All too often, when we think of giving, we think of financial gifts and material goods. And although it is very important that people have money and things, as Mother Teresa points out, "these things are not enough." Money and things can be obtained, or even replaced, but love cannot. And people need to be loved. They need to know that their lives matter, that their concerns are heard, and that their importance exists.

So much of the ills of our societies exist because people feel unloved. Heartbreak and depression--a result of feeling rejected and unloved--are cause for the majority of the harmful and negative things people do in life. Just imagine how much less crime, misery, and hatred would exist in this world if people just felt loved.
So how can I go about spreading love throughout this world? Can I give love to others without making them feel uncomfortable? Can I give love in appropriate and meaningful ways? Can I give love equally and without conditions to those who are close to me as well as to complete strangers?

This world needs our love. Spread it through service toward your fellow man, through encouragement and genuine concern, through compliments and compassion, and through any other meaningful contributions you can make in the lives of others. And although our loving efforts may seem small, or we may not always see the results of them, the differences they make are tangible and essential for all of life.

Today's Challenge: Ensure that all your interactions today express love, concern, compassion and kindness.

Questions to consider:

In what ways do you give? In what ways do you try to spread love?

Think of someone you know as a loving person. What are some of the things this individual does that make you consider them to be so loving?

What are some excuses for not spreading love? How legitimate are these reasons? If you do not spread your love because of these reasons, can your love be unconditional?

For further thought:

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

Amy Carmichael

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year... Same Mission (educate, empower, and entertain...) The journey continues with me...

Today's Quotation:

Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself.

Aisha Elderwyn

Today's Meditation:

New Year's resolutions do not necessarily have to be about changing a negative aspect of ourselves. Sure, we have flaws, and it is good to be aware of them and to work at reducing or eliminating them. But when we only look at the negative, and direct all our energies on only fixing what is wrong, we often find ourselves facing more difficulty and failure that generally leaves us no better off than we were before. Perhaps as Aisha mentions, the trick instead is to look for potential and places in our lives where we can excel.

When we spend our time focusing on things that we do well, and work hard to become even better at them, we set ourselves up for a high margin of success. And it is far easier to make positive changes in our lives when we are met with success instead of failure. Thus, with each little success we come that much closer to meaningful and lasting change.

This year, instead of looking for all the things you would like to fix in your life, focus on the things that you do well and work at getting even better at them. Just imagine the potential that you might create for yourself and the wonderful things you might accomplish. Remember, the most effective way we can strengthen our gifts is to use them to grow and further ourselves. So why not "just be yourself" this year and work on being the best version of yourself that you can be.

Today's Challenge: Resolve to change and build up a positive aspect of yourself this year.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to you "to just be yourself?"

What are a few things you are good at? How much time do you spend developing those gifts?

What kinds of activities can you do to develop your own strengths?

For further thought:

In this new year, may you have a deep understanding of your true value and worth, an absolute faith in your unlimited potential, peace of mind in the midst of uncertainty, the confidence to let go when you need to, acceptance to replace your resistance, gratitude to open your heart, the strength to meet your challenges, great love to replace your fear, forgiveness and compassion for those who offend you, clear sight to see your best and true path, hope to dispel obscurity, the conviction to make your dreams come true, meaningful and rewarding synchronicities, dear friends who truly know and love you, a childlike trust in the benevolence of the universe, the humility to remain teachable, the wisdom to fully embrace your life exactly as it is, the understanding that every soul has its own course to follow, the discernment to recognize your own unique inner voice of truth, and the courage to learn to be still.

Janet Rebhan