Happiness on Joy
Two slices of joy
One heavy spread of happiness
Start with the slice of joy filled with pieces of excitement of discovery and victory.
Take a deep breath in and feel the air fill your lungs.
Heavily slather happiness all over the 1st slice of joy
Breathing out, let go of expectation.
Place the 2nd slice of joy, the one that holds profound truth and love, on top to complete the sandwich.
Inhale, knowing that each breath you take nurtures your mind, body, and soul.
Enjoy your sandwich!
Water fades away
I clean many things with water. My body, my hands, my dishes, etc.
Where does the dirt go? We say it was “washed away”, but isn't that just an accelerated form of fading away?
What if I thought of water as fading dirt away as I clean? Could I then more openly accept the fading away over time of aging, loss, and death?
What else might I let fade away?
Spots in my eyes
Somewhere in the course of my lifetime I developed faint spots in my vision. Most of the time they are invisible, but from time to time I see little floating splotches interfering with my view of reality.
Today I'm realizing that these spots are a reminder to look past the small things. Without conscious thought, I spend the vast majority of my time with spotless vision.
Yet at times when I see one of the spots it can become a fixation. The harder I try to make them disappear, the more distracting the spots become.
I'm learning that the way past the spots is letting go, not fixing. By letting go and looking beyond, I get a full field of vision.
Where are spots getting in the way of your true sight? When can you let go instead of trying to fix?
Mindfulness within and without
In my life I have found that mindfulness exists in two very different spaces.
The first is where there is a lot going on. Within a busy space and time, I can direct my attention to find peace in my breathe, my senses, my awareness of the world around me. One could call this crowded mindfulness.
The second is where there is very little going on. With empty space and time, I can drop deeply into practices that connect me to a sense of peace and calm. One could call this empty mindfulness.
Where in your life are you in need of more mindfulness? What is the balance of crowded and empty that best suits your practice?
Living in story
I tell myself stories in my head. I tell other people stories with my voice. Yet the deepest stories, the ones that guide my way of being, are rarely heard fully by myself or others.
What stories are quietly shaping your life? How might you bring them into your awareness?
Expanding your emotional center
Like many people, especially as a man raised in the USA, I grew up believing that emotions made me weak.
I have always wanted to live in peace. For decades I believed that strong feelings of sadness, fear, anger, guilt, shame, or even happiness would pull me away from my center, peace, and self.
In the past year external factors have pushed me to experience emotions more fully than ever before. I have consistently feared that such feelings would take me away from a sense of centeredness and peace. The experience has been terrifying.
Yet each time I allow myself to feel fully I find my peaceful center expanding. Like a muscle, my capacity to hold space for my feelings grows stronger with each moment of authentic emotional opening.
Over time I have learned that my emotions lead me more authentically to myself. A deeper and more profound center of peace has been painfully excavated by feelings of sadness, fear, anger, guilt, and shame.
Are you willing to let your emotional center expand, even if it means facing the full force of your emotional experience?
First and last
The word for “spirit” and the word for “breath” are the same or nearly the same in many languages, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Maori, Japanese, Russian, Thai, Chinese, and Sanskrit.
When I was born, my first breath was an inhale. At that moment I arrived.
When I die, my last breath will be an exhale. At that moment I will depart.
I believe that my breath/spirit came from and will return home somehow. For me, home is with the God of my understanding.
Where did your first breath come from and where will your last breath take you once this life is over?
At times fear is a biological overreaction. Inherited from my distant ancestors, I feel the fear of a sabertooth tiger when my life is in no real danger.
At times fear is a notification that a personal boundary is being crossed. In that way the fear is adaptive and fully valid in my modern life.
Where do you know fear to be an overreaction?
Where do you know fear to be a reminder to protect your boundaries?
Someone once said, “The best way to survive is to keep breathing.”
I learned today that I take approximately 1,000 breaths per hour. That's 24,000 breaths per day.
How many of those inhales and exhales are unconscious?
What might change if I were aware of just 10 breaths per hour? 100?
Depth of forgiveness
I can forgive with my mind, and it becomes an intellectual exercise. Feels like a solution to a problem.
When I forgive deeply I have to feel the pain and loss. It calls me to let go in an awkward and confusing manner. Yet this is where true forgiveness lies.
Who in your life can you forgive? Perhaps yourself?
Are you forgiving with your mind or your heart?