Lessons come in many varieties and are found in many places. All are opportunities to grow. Reframe your "failures" as lessons. You have learned what did or did not work. The end of a relationship? Surely there were some nuggets of wisdom, pro or con, you gleaned from it. Lost a job? You have picked up valuable skills. Made a mistake? There is a lesson in there too. Look for the opportunities to turn "failures" into successful experiments and wisdom gained.
My motto has always been: "Learn something new every day."
Have you ever had a day when everything goes as planned; someone pulls out of a parking spot in a crowded lot just as you approach; you think about someone and she calls. Maybe you stopped to talk to a stranger in a bank line and learned in those few minutes that you had someone or something in common.
This is synchronicity.
It happens more often than you realize, but you're not always tuned into it. Life often robs you of the stillness needed to experience the here and now. When your mind is preoccupied with what has happened or what is going to happen, you can't possibly be present in the moment.
You need to slow down and attend to the present, to experience the opportunities that lie before you.
Sounds crazy, no? I suppose it does, but hear me out. There will be more questions in this post than answers, as the answers are yours alone.
What if you could accomplish everything you thought was important in your lifetime? How would you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave?
Writing your obituary serves as your strategic life plan. Put on paper all the things that you would like said about your life. Was it a worthy one (in your judgement)? Have you done everything you want to do yet? Have you lived up to the reputation you wish to have? Is there old business to be cleaned up?
While writing your obituary seems strange and disconcerting, I promise you that doing it will lead you to live your life intentionally. Give it a try.
No challenge comes without a lesson (or two). It is often hard to find your reserve, when life is throwing curve balls your way. Stop and think: What is it this challenge is teaching me? What am I not facing that I need to face? Who should stay and who should leave my life?
Whatever the question, go inside and allow yourself to FEEL the struggle. Know that this, like other challenges in your life, will pass and leave behind a stronger foundation.
After facing numerous challenges and losses, of my health and my relationships, I am stronger. Each successive challenge became easier to bear, not because it was an easy one by any means. It was because I had inside me, the knowledge that I had survived those other tests, therefore I would survive the latest one too. When you allow yourself to be immersed in the sorrow, pain, loss, whatever ails you, you come out stronger. If you step around it, it will stay with you for so much longer.
Be brave: cry, scream, rant, rave, write, sing - do what you must to express your pain. On the other side is strength and fortitude that will help you through any other trials you may have. See it as a gift.
When we judge another, it positions us as superior. Is that what we really want? Do we want to set ourselves apart from others, in isolation from them? Or is it more rewarding to be inclusive?
We are raised with messages that support the separation of some people from those who are different. When when we learn to suspend judgement, we grow. We see the opportunity to make more of the whole than we can individually. Pay attention to the tapes. Whenever you find yourself judging any aspect of another person - just STOP - and think about meeting him or her where they are.
Find spirituality in individuals - their strengths, their challenges, their differences and the humanity you share.
Do you have a space of your own that is sacred and inviolable? It can be a corner of a room, a "shrine," the garden - anywhere you can call your own. This is where you can dream, meditate, listen to music, feel the breeze or sun on your skin. This is a place of renewal, where you can think, and heal yourself. Make it comfortable with as few distractions as possible. And remember to go there on a regular basis!
Before proceeding, I wish to alert you to my use of pronouns. It is cumbersome to use him/her or his/hers throughout a commentary, without distracting from the message. Since the commonly accepted genderless connotation is almost always the masculine, I will be uncommon and use the feminine version. I trust that I will offend no men reading this, just I have not been offended by the typical use of masculine, gender-neutral language. Some day, someone will create a satisfactory gender-neutral pronoun and make things less complicated!
What is spirituality? Is it a thing, an experience, a way of living, a state of mind? Is it tangible, intangible, a leap of faith? Spirituality is often described as a connection to one’s inner self, to God, to another, or a fleeting experience. Spirituality takes many forms, since it is defined in such a personal way.
Spirituality is often identified with and defined by formalized religion. Practices and observances are followed to bring one closer to her God, or in the case of Eastern religions, to herself. The common theme among religious definitions of spirituality is integration; of one with various aspects of herself or of one with God.
Spirituality is intangible because it is not something you can see, feel, taste, hear, smell or touch. Yet, it is your senses that enable you to feel spiritual. Let’s look at some examples:
As you lift your voice in music, a mood is created that moves you. You may feel God’s presence, or you may feel calmed, energized, joyful, etc. This very tangible “thing” called music, moves you to feel something that can be hard to define. Given the variety of music choices, the mood and degree of spirituality it incites will vary. If you have ever observed a Baptist church congregation in musical prayer, you would see some passionate engagement in a spiritual context.
Other practices such as meditation create quiet places so you can “listen” to your inner voice; commune, if you will, with your subconscious. It is in this quiet that you can really listen to the things that your conscious mind doesn’t allow you to hear.
Spirituality, however sought and attained, is the conduit for self-reflection, connection with a larger reality, and consideration of a universe bigger than oneself. It is often the source of inspiration, the way to find an elusive answer, a path to peace.
Even those who do not follow formal religion can experience spirituality by observing natural and common phenomenon: the colors in a sunset, the air after a spring rain, the steady sound of crickets on a cool evening, the feeling of a baby’s skin, the taste of food. Anyone who had ever moaned in ecstasy after tasting some delectable food knows exactly what I am talking about!
Nature and religious experiences provide ample opportunities to be inspired spiritually. Why don’t you share an experience Describe the situation and what you felt. Be as specific as you can. Try to make us experience what you did, on the occasion.