Thursday, December 31, 2009

May we be grounded in this vision for 2010:

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

God's Imagination

So much of our energy, time, and money goes into maintaining distance from one another. Many if not most of the resources of the world are used to defend ourselves against each other, to maintain or increase our power, and to safeguard our own privileged position.

Imagine all that effort being put in the service of peace and reconciliation! Would there be any poverty? Would there be crimes and wars? Just imagine that there was no longer fear among people, no longer any rivalry, hostility, bitterness, or revenge. Just imagine all the people on this planet holding hands and forming one large circle of love. We say, "I can't imagine." But God says, "That's what I imagine, a whole world not only created but also living in my image."

Wyatt Lloyd Lehman

Made his arrival at 3:06AM this morning (12/31/09). He weighs 6 pounds 14 ounces and is 21 inches long. Mom and Dad are exhausted but elated.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I thought this article was worth reposting...

As we head toward the new year and all the resolutions that entails:

Questing for Compassion

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama

SPECIAL TO SOUL’S CODE: DR. JEANINE AUSTIN — Many of the great spiritual teachers throughout time emphasize the power of love in action, also known as compassion. As a life coach for women, when working with clients I will often offer applications and strategies that are love-based.

When my clients are desirous of monumental shifts and changes, why mess with weaker ideologies?

I believe there is no greater power or law than that of love in action, or compassion. Divinely inspired love is the most potent force in the universe.

Love has the alchemical potential to transform anything into something that transcends its form or (perceived) limitations. Compassion is the understanding that we are connected to others regardless of race, creed or orientation. Compassion is without judgment; it acknowledges the Divine in every person, including ourselves.

As a society, we may be tempted to think of love or compassion only as fleeting emotions. Yet compassion based on love is centered on generosity, healthy boundaries, and spiritual maturity. It is a force that heals, not romantic, transitory, or trivial.

I have noticed that there is no dearth of tools or strategies to assist clients in the quest to become healthier, happier, and abundant. In my 25 years of experience as a professional, I have known nothing to heal as quickly, or completely, as compassion. Unfortunately, compassion doesn’t have the sexy appeal of a pill, a diet, the latest trend, bestselling book or charismatic and popular new guru. However, I know compassion to be the great healer. Compassion is truly God’s most powerful gift and greatest elixir.

Six truths about the healing properties of compassion

1. Body: Compassion towards yourself and others makes you feel better about yourself, so you are more likely to align your body to fit a loving image of your authentic self. When you are compassionate towards yourself you seek to eat healthier and exercise your body. True compassion will help you to embrace a gentle but disciplined approach to yourself and others.

You will refrain from beating yourself up emotionally when you are not making choices that support your healthiest body, and you will love yourself enough to begin again. A healthy body is born from consistency. Compassion allows you to love yourself enough to do what it takes to be as healthy as possible.

2. Attractiveness: Compassion makes you feel more joyful, generally happier, and more relaxed. If you are happy you feel more attractive, and you are more attractive (literally and metaphorically). When you feel the sense of joy that being a compassionate person gives you, you are much more likely to attract the job, the partner, the friendships, and the experiences you desire.

3. Abundance: Compassion makes you feel more connected to Source. When you feel aligned with the Divine you know that you are abundance. If you feel abundant, trusting God to provide what is needed, you attract and step into the reality that you are one with Source. Furthermore, those who feel lack tend not to give. When you give, you feel abundant because you signal to yourself that you have more than you need, and have enough to give.

4. Authenticity: If you focus on what is essential (love and love in action: compassion) you are more aligned to the truth of who you are. You tend not to be involved with situations that do not resonate with who you really are. You know you are love and that you are love unfolding. You are on “purpose”.

5. Meaning: Compassion gives your life meaning. If you are living a meaningful life, you are more likely to be deeply fulfilled. You find deep satisfaction that is unwavering and not based on being affected by changing outside circumstances. If, like A Course in Miracles tells us, “Only the love is real”, what leaves a legacy, but love?

6. Healthy Boundaries: Buddhist doctrine considers compassion to be a particularly important value in life. Interestingly, Buddhist nun Pema Chodron has written about “dumb compassion”. Compassion is being generous of spirit from a healthy and loving place. It is not about allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. Compassion can mean saying “no”. Compassion can mean saying no to what doesn’t work for you. Turning our back on a situation may be the most generous way to handle a situation. We can always have the choice to release a sister/brother or a situation with love.

If you wish to maximize your own human potential, remember that compassion or love in action, is the choice which will take you to the most actualized, realized and ultimate place possible.

Even if we never see someone’s secret face, let’s remember that they have one. Not to acknowledge this might originate from callousness, naiveté or some other form of denial. In the end, we hurt only ourselves if we don’t embrace compassion. After all, when we extend compassion, we are one of the beneficiaries.

Jeanine Austin holds a Master’s degree in clinical social work and a Doctorate in life-coaching. Her passion is helping women live a joyfully authentic life. Dr. Jeanine provides one-on-one coaching that honors each woman’s unique expression. Jeanine offers a free consultation by Email Visit Simply Divine Solutions and Compassion Quest International for more information.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Doing "The Right Thing"

Sometimes, I find myself doing/suggesting the doing of something that is patently uncomfortable to me on one or another level, BUT knowing it is the right thing to do. Have you ever done something like this? And, usually, it turns out ok. It really was the right thing to do.

However, once in awhile, that which was intended to be "the right thing to do" backfires and becomes the very opposite of what you intended. This happened to me this year.

Against the wishes of my husband and sons, I insisted on something because I thought it was "the right thing" to do. And, at the time, I fully believed it was the right thing to do.

But now, 4 months later, it seems that I was fundamentally wrong, because it turned out to be a very wrong thing, with repercussions that are going to diametrically alter my husband's family. Possibly forever.

I wrote the words possibly forever and I started crying over this, yet again. For 19 years I have fought this war to keep my husband/sons in touch with his mother/their grandmother. I have dialed the phone and put it in the husband's hands on the right days to call her...mother's day, her birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas...I have struggled to work through every argument she and I had. I have held my tongue when I wanted to defend myself, my husband, my sons, because to do so would deepen the rift and possibly break the peace.

And now, 19 years later, I do something I believe is the right thing, and the war is over. The war is lost. I feel like I beat my head against the wall for 19 years for nothing. The beating is over, but my head still hurts. I cried myself to "sleep" last night (well, what passed for sleep) and I've walked around in a fog of numb all day.

In some ways I knew it was just a matter of time. One day I knew my tongue would slip and I'd be flip or something and things would be perceived the wrong way. But I never imagined this. Where I would do the right thing and basically be punished for it.

Anyway...It's over now. There's no way back that I can see. I should be relieved...but I am not. I am just sad.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Fathers...Mine in particular...

My father has been in and out of the hospital twice in the past 30 days. First for extreme pulmonary edema (from the bottom of his feet to his armpits), the second time because the swelling was coming back and he caught it before it got that bad again. My youngest sister lives with my father and my step-mother (she's been my step-mother since I was 2) and she was pretty hysterical because he had lost 41 pounds and had become so frail that she thought he would not live until Christmas. So, my next to the youngest sister bought herself and I a ticket to Pahrump, NV to see our father before he dies...

The first thing we noticed was his thinness and frailty. He is down 45 pounds, to 166. He is gray. He looks weary. He has to have oxygen when he sleeps. But by the time we left, his physical frailty had paled in my mind compared to his emotional/spiritual frailty.

My father didn't live with me when I was growing up, therefore I tended to idolize him. It was quite a shock to me to find out he is just a human being (which I figured out after I moved in with he and his wife when I was 13). But still and all, he is my Daddy. Almost always patient. Always strong. Always almost an optimist.

Now? Now he is a cynical, almost bitter man railing against the evils of the world, stating that the earth would be better off if humans had never been created. It is downright scary to watch and listen to. And it gave me more cause to worry about him dying than any of the physical issues he is having.

Physically, I think he's going to make it. He has a good physical therapist from Gentiva. He has a nurse checking on him. And mom is one of the best cooks on the planet. So his physical needs are going to be met, and he will grow physically stronger each day.

However, we all know that the physical is only half the battle, and I fear he will lose the battle on the spiritual end of the spectrum.

Dad and mom moved to Pahrump, NV when they retired. It's a little Podunk town in Nevada, about a 90 minute drive West and North of Nevada. It's inhabitants are anti-government and pro-guns. It's not where I would EVER have pictured them, and they hate it there. Which they discovered too late to save themselves from it. I wish that there was a way for them to move away from there, to move closer to friends and family, but, alas, none of the family has the means to do that for them, and they are unable at this time, so they are stuck there.

When I got home, I sat down to write my father a letter. I made sure he know how much he means to me, and how much I enjoyed seeing him. But then I expressed my concern for his spiritual depression/bitterness. I told him "You have allowed this place to poison your heart/mind with bitterness. Not just you, by the way, all of you have done this. Pahrump may be a cesspool to live in, but you are better than this. You are stronger than this. Don’t let this piddly-assed little town drive you to anger and bitterness!!!"

And I told him that the world isn’t necessarily getting worse than it was. The difference is MEDIA. Because of the media we now know all the bad things that people do in all kinds of various places. Before, we could only know what was going on in our own neighborhoods and towns and perhaps on a state level with occasional forays into national. If we sought out information, we could find world news also. But it wasn’t dumped on us non-stop. Now it is.

I told him to turn off the news. Find good news things to read, and to trust me that they are out there...inspiring things, selfless things that people do every day. To read good books. To listen to upbeat music. To stop letting the poison eat him away.

Then I shared my vision with him. And I added:

Dad, people are just people; broken, hurt people running around in life doing the best they can with what they have. Every person wants the same things, love and happiness. Sometimes they get the “how” wrong and end up greedy instead of seeking love & happiness. But underneath it all is a broken human being, desperately trying to make their life work.

This is what we are here for. Learning how life works. Learning to come through the trials and tribulations without breaking…without turning cold, cynical and bitter. This is where forgiveness of the humanness of others comes into play.

I am worried about you becoming so cold-hearted and cynical that you push all the people who love you away from you. I’ve seen this in others. I was heading that way myself, but my vision helped me, and focusing on finding good and seeking joy has pulled me out of the cynical pit in which I was drowning.

I love you dad. I love your humor, your way with people, your love for your troops. Think of the world as just one big troop, dad. And learn to love them all in spite of themselves. It will revolutionize your life, I promise you this."

I hope he listens and changes his course or I fear the bitterness will kill him where the COPD, Emphysema and Pulmonary Edema could not.