Doing the things that you love doing will…

Yesterday, I was watching online tutorial on an educational site. I needed a break so I decided to browse the site to see what else was available. It wasn’t long before I found a video by someone I haven’t seen since high school.

Let me preface by saying that I was pretty shy in high school. I didn’t have many friends but there were a number of people that would be kind and say “hi” to me or stop to talk with me now and again. Rays of sunshine: This woman was one of them.

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She was an ultra talented artist. I always admired her gift and her tenacity for choosing to pursue developing it.  And here she was, all grown up, presenting a video about her history, her growth, her successes and how she got to where she is today.

I smiled through the entire video. Because I always felt that she would go places and do great things. She had that mindset, even in high school. It was good to see her both proud of and happy with her accomplishments.

It also reminded me of what I used to love to do back then, and how I had chosen to set my “hobbies” aside to focus on my education and to prepare so that I would get a good job so that I could support myself. Back then, in my household, my joys were “hobbies.” And, to tell you the truth, I didn’t have it in me to push to succeed in them. I couldn’t see art or writing being my “ticket out of there”– “there” being my life of poverty.

They were decisions I don’t regret because they led me to where I am today. My life isn’t perfect but my experiences were crucial to my self-awareness and spiritual development.

Truthfully, I wish I hadn’t let them fall away entirely. And after watching that video I’m even more determined to, in some way, write and to draw every day. They are parts of me I don’t want to lose. They bring me joy and to put them aside to make room for some preconceived notion of what an adult is supposed to do to be a productive citizen is inconceivable to me right now.

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a small work in progress

Doing the things that you love doing not only brings joy to your heart, it affects how you are in the world. If more people experienced joy in the work that they do or the activities they pursue, the world would be very different than it is right now.

Is there anything that you’ve been conditioned to believe you had to give up to become an adult? Think about it. Perhaps a person can be an adult and still do the things that he/she loves doing.

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All that is…

We as human beings seek to label and define things. It’s what we do. We can’t help ourselves.

knowledge

In our quest for knowledge and understanding, we name the things in our lives to derive meaning from them.

The Big Bang, the Creator, G_d, Allah, the Father, Spirit and Holy Ghost, Jesus, Muhammad, the Powers that Be, the Aliens, the Universe, the Nothing, All That Is…. In our quest to define things so we can understand them, we’ve given names to the energy that created our world, ourselves and everything around us.

In this climate of mean-spiritedness, must we assert that our words, our labels are the only correct label and that everyone else is “wrong”? Can we not, instead, see how we as human beings are so very similar in our need to understand our world that we name things to gain understanding?

We are all humans, living and breathing, with hopes and desires and dreams, with concerns and fears, with a need to belong, to feel loved and to feel protected.

What if we could see that all these names and labels for the creator of the universe and all within as simply words of a different language, a dialect or colloquialism? Not one of them wrong, just different.

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Because after all, the energy of creation that was here before any of us existed is what it is and will always be what it is, regardless of whatever label we humans place on it. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, only different. Our labels don’t affect it in any way.

What if we embraced the differences, instead of calling them out and rallying against them? What if we could see and understand, that despite the names and labels we give things, that we are all human after all?

What if we all rebelled against this current climate of xenophobia, hatred and distrust and instead embraced the tenets of our collective faiths? What if we helped lift one another up, rather than knocking each other down? What if we truly treated one another as brothers and sisters in this journey of life together?

I can imagine a world where this would be true and it is not only beautiful, it is what we should have. It’s all that should be. And …

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Living in the moment means…

 

This morning, as I was bundled up in my comforter fast asleep, my beautiful dog came into the room. Concerned that I was still asleep (it was after 8am and she’s an early riser), she came over to the bed and gently pawed at my comforter revealing my hand. She put her paw into it and gently nudged me.

“Mom wake up,” she was whispering. “It’s a crisp clear day. You’re missing it. Come on!”

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OK, I know dogs don’t talk.

But what else could she have said? Little D is a dog, yes. And as all animals know, the place to be is in the here and now. It’s a beautiful day, she could be having breakfast, and going on her walk in the sunshine, sniffing the grass. She could be hearing the birds, searching for her nemeses in the trees (aka squirrels) and she felt the need to remind me that this precious moment was passing us both by.

To her, each moment is a moment of opportunity to be savored and sleeping it away is something she just doesn’t understand (unless of course she’s tired and wants to sleep :)).

This morning, my Little D was a reminder of how important it is to not only be in the moment but to live in it. To find joy, hope, beauty and adventure every day. It is there, however subtle it may appear to us humans, to be recognized, savored and reveled in.

So, after Little D put her paw into my hand, I smiled and joined her in reverie. After all, the sun was shining and it was the start of a beautiful, crisp winter day.

As naive as this sounds, you have to be willing to be receptive to the good around you. Living in the moment means being willing to shed the grumpiness, the preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be and to see the good that is around you, one moment at a time. Once you start being aware of the good things, more good things will follow. One after the other, after the other.

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The Outcome of the System of Reiki is …

In our society, many individuals feel that the reason for taking a course or attending a school is that ultimately it will provide you with either an increase in status or the knowledge necessary to further you in your career and, as a result, an increase in income.

 

Reiki is different. I’ve said before that the study of Reiki is a life path. It’s not a course to complete and be done with. It’s a continuing way of life that not only benefits the person studying it but the world around them as well.

 

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The tenets of Reiki bear a striking similarity to tenets of other spiritual paths in that they’re meant to further the evolution of the soul, to help one be the best person one can be.

While I was looking for some inspiration this morning, I looked to a source I could count on. Although I haven’t studied with the founders of the International House of Reiki, I’ve found a wealth of information and inspiring articles on their site. When I found this wonderful reminder of why I began studying Reiki in the first place, I wanted to share the link to that article with you all.

So, without further ado:

The Outcome of the System of Reiki | International House of Reiki

Source: The Outcome of the System of Reiki | International House of Reiki

Professional Reiki training classes by Bronwen and Frans Stiene authors of The Reiki Sourcebook & founders of the International House of Reiki.

To keep sadness at bay …

(Note added later: This is a long post. I almost didn’t finish it but I decided to keep going, just in case anyone else was feeling the same way I was when I started it. I’m posting without checking for errors so please forgive those if you should find them.)

A while back, I wrote a post about imagination. And, it is true a good imagination can be a wonderful thing.

However, in the last few days my wonderful imaginative process has been bombarding me with many, many “what if” scenarios that are not very good or very nice.

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I probably should have prefaced this post by saying that I’m a recovered depressive. Recovered, because I have overcome what once was most likely severe clinical depression. It wasn’t easy, but I defeated the depression monster many years ago.

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However, even though I’ve filled in what were once the deep pits of despair with the fertile topsoil of hope doesn’t mean that that monster doesn’t try to rear its ugly head now and again. Usually, I’m able to beat it back. But these last few days have been hard.

It doesn’t help that everywhere you look there are images of chaos. And, I could feel it trying to jab at my defenses. Except my defenses were down. And, that monster broke through, farther than I should have let it.

(OK, so the picture above is actually of a giant pile of manure. However the analogy isn’t lost on me so I’ll run with it.)

What depression spews at us is in reality a giant pile of manure. Yep. All of its little jabs and insults. All those images of bad things that could happen that it throws at you–All of it–It’s cr*p. How depression wins is to make you believe that it’s not cr*p so that it sticks with you and weighs you down.

And, I’m not saying that bad things can’t happen or that when they do it’s not real. Nor that one shouldn’t feel sadness when it’s warranted. I’m not saying that. Just that it’s the reaction to those things and events that depression tries to make much worse in order to gain a foot-hold.

What set it off in me of late was that:

  1. I realized that my long-awaited and looked-forward-to travel plans might not actually materialize.
  2. I’ve been holding back a storm of emotions as a result of the election, which has added to my disappointment and sadness.
  3. My ability to help my mom on a daily basis through her chemotherapy and fight with cancer is quickly coming to an end, since I have to go back to work to be able to pay the bills.
  4. There is so much uncertainty floating around the country, and now floating around my thoughts as well.

All of those things washed over me. I let my defenses down and spurred the monster of depression in to action. I allowed the ugly monster to sling manure once again.

And it stuck. It worked … for too long a time. So much so, that I started and stopped this blog post several times.

And while I was looking for graphics to illustrate this post, I came across some that made me laugh and some that reminded me of a time in my life that was awesome. With that laughter, I also remembered my strategy for beating down the monster.

(And I remembered that I should stop watching the news on TV, or any “breaking news” items that bombard me online. Too much of that negativity will mess you up.)

It helped. It helped me to put the monster back in its place.

In case you’re feeling down about the way things are too, I’ll share it with you.

One Good Thing.

Think of One Good Thing.

 

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Something that lightens your heart.

Something you’ve read.

A favorite book or poem.

Something you’ve seen or heard.

A favorite show or movie that makes you laugh.

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Something that makes you smile.

 

Something that inspires you.

A beautiful piece of art.

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Something in nature.

A kindness.  A hug.

A kiss.

 

Take that one good thing and embrace it. Feel how nice it makes (or made) you feel. Let it remind you that there are good things out there for you to experience. Let it remind you that you are worthy of feeling good and that you are a beautiful soul.

It might not be easy at first but try to find one good thing. And then another. And another. You can journal about it/them–write them down to help you remember them. Put them in a mental piggy bank full of good things as you gather them. It might take a while but don’t give up. Keep adding to that bank until it’s filled to overflowing. word-cloud

At the same time, cross out each negative thought. Push negative thoughts slung at your by that depression monster out of your mind and replace them with one good thing after another.

That’s how I began my recovery from depression so long ago. And as I started feeling lighter, I made myself available to have experiences that were good and real. I ventured into real life looking for good things to hold on to. I made new friends who lifted me up. Read books that inspired me. Got interested in drawing and creating art. One good thing at a time.

And, by all means if this method doesn’t get you far enough, if you just can’t do it alone, please find someone to talk to. Professional help is out there if you are willing to reach out for it. Although I battled my depression on my own, there have been times in my life when talking things out with a psychologist really helped me. I wouldn’t hesitate to seek out such help if I needed it again.

There are sites online that are free, if cost is an issue. And of course, if things are getting to be too overwhelming, get professional help quickly. If you feel like doing something extreme, please call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. Or if you prefer, visit the website at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/#

If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and need someone to talk with visit the website at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ Or as the website says, “If you’re thinking about suicide, you deserve immediate help – please call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.

Here’s another site that looks promising. I haven’t had any experience with it but I thought I’d include it here: 7 Cups https://www.7cups.com/

Whatever way you choose to battle depression, take the first step. Don’t let the depression monster win.

 

Wishing you light and love,

Lucinda

We Vanquish Hate With …

There have been many hateful ideas, words and acts infused into the 2016 presidential election. And not only have they come from the candidates, but the supporters that follow them as well.

Even the best of us have at one point felt the anger, fear, disgust and the hate while watching the drama unfold. We’re human. We feel these things. However….

How can we come back from this? How can we reclaim trust in not only the government but the world around us?

There have been some who have already offered us an answer.

Here’s one that’s been around for a long time:

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Hay Copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (Excerpt):

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal….

…It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Sources: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm)

And another answer:

It’s not solely the government’s responsibility to create the atmosphere of change, of unity. It’s up to each of us as well. Listen to the words. They’re a wake up call. Living them is a step toward healing. Living them is a step toward putting out the fire of hatred.

Quoting Michael Jackson: If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change.

Just because others aren’t there yet, doesn’t mean you can’t begin to make that change today.

(Sources: YouTube, Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc)

And still more answers:

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1 John 4:20 – 4:21

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

 

Mark 12:31

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

(Sources: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org (and http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-John-4-20/ and http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-John-4-21/))

And more:

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From the Tora

“Do not take revenge, do not bear a grudge against a member of your people, love thy neighbor like yourself.1

1 Vayikra, Parshas Kedoshim, 19:18.

(Sources: http://torah.org/learning/jewish-values-love/)

 

Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Excerpt: …the Torah tells us “to walk in all God’s ways” (Deut. 11:22). Every human being is created in the image of God. That makes God our role model. We try to clone ourselves after the Almighty!

Practical Ways to Emulate God

In describing the mitzvah to walk in God’s ways, the Talmud says: “Just as He is merciful, so you be merciful. Just as He is kind, so you be kind.”

(Sources: http://www.aish.com/tp/b/sw/48966591.html#.WCS-P1XPnqk.link)

And another:

From the teachings of Islam

“But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, The Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this World: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: For Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (28:77)

“Allah forbids you not, With regard to those who Fight you not for (your) Faith Nor drive you out Of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. (60:8)”

(Sources: http://theislamiccenter.com/worship/understanding-the-meaning-of-the-basic-foundations-of-islam/)

So it is also that Reiki’s precepts have answers for us.

I will not worry.

Worry is a face of fear. And fear of the unknown, fear of others, fear of what hasn’t even happened yet fuels the fire of anger. Let it go or it will devour you.

I will not anger.

Although it can be useful to spur us to action, uncontrolled anger is useless and moves us further from any constructive, positive results. Again, it will devour you if you don’t transform it into positive channels.

I will be kind to my neighbor and all living things.

Sound familiar? Kindness is contagious. Sure, there will be some people you encounter who will not spread the kindness you offer them. But sowing the seeds of what you want to see in the world begins you.

I will be true to myself and to others. (Or, I will be honest in my work.)

Truthfulness, which apparently has been difficult of late for many, is crucial to building trust.

I will be thankful for my many blessings.

And yes, we do have a great deal to be thankful for. We are, after all, living in one of the greatest countries in the world where freedom reigns. Where else could a protester burn someone in effigy without being hauled off to be imprisoned, tortured or executed? This is FREEDOM.

We take it for granted because it’s part of American life. But there are so many other countries where even complaining about the government would be a death sentence.

We don’t need to make America great again. It already is the greatest nation in the world. Can we make it better? Of course. But that feat begins with each one of us. Every action. Every day.

We owe it to our children, and our children’s children to be the role models of how we want things to be. We owe it to them to emulate the behavior we want to see in our country. Even if others can’t or won’t behave. We can

Let’s move forward. Let’s agree to disagree but disagree to hate. Let’s vanquish hatred by striving for tolerance, understanding, compassion and love.

 

 

(Note: Updated to correct formatting errors and to include references.)

 

10 Simple Statements of Gratitude That Will Make Your Life Easy & Lighter

One of the Reiki precepts is giving thanks for one’s blessings. Sometimes, especially when things are tough or times are bad, it’s difficult to feel thankful. However, looking closely at what one does have can help reveal many things to be thankful for. Lorena has some nice examples of things to be thankful for:

HPYS' Blog

Years ago when I heard that being grateful could change the perspective I had on my life and assist in recovery from depression, I decided to jump on board and follow the advice of one of my mentors. I have to admit that I thought that giving thanks to things and people with real intention was going to be easy and quick, but as I was beginning the process, I realized that it wasn’t an easy task.  It didn’t make sense to me then to be grateful for people and complicated situations that brought discomfort and bad memories.

Writing and saying those statements of gratefulness out loud was powerful. Day by day I could feel my shoulders lighter, my spirit happier, and the things that used to bother me and put me in fear and a hysteric mood would vanish just by simply recognizing what I was grateful for that…

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