Leo Tolstoy on God

LEO TOLSTOY ON GOD: "When you look inside yourself, you see what is called 'your own self' or your soul. You cannot touch it or see it or understand it, but you know it is there. And this part of yourself--that which you cannot understand--is what is called God. God is both around us and inside of us--in our souls.

The more you understand that you are at one with God, the more you will understand that you are at one with all His worldly manifestations."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hold the Vision. Live the LIFE!

 "FOCUS" is the title of this Epic Mother Nature photo. FOCUS is indeed what keeps us in the moment .

Somewhere in our distant childhood, we got the impression that we were moving into a life that already was waiting for us.

We had a sense that the "future" was patiently waiting for us, and all we had to do was to grow up, and it'll all be there.

Photo Credit: Epic Mother Nature 
Have you grown up yet? Do you know what I know now as ...The Truth?

It takes a while.

It takes a long while to realize that life is not waiting for us somewhere in the future.
It takes a while to realize that life requires more of us than us just being good and good things will automatically happen for us.

It may take a long, long while to realize that life needs our active participation.

I guess it all starts with the books we read, having a beginning, middle and an end.

Those story are already written. And they are written in such a way that we're led to believe
that you do A, and B follows, then C, D, E, F.



The part we may have missed throughout all the story telling is that our future is in our present, and there's no end to our story, except the one we're writing.


We are creating our lives in each moment we make a choice.

That's the part we missed.

Each moment of our lives dictates the future we're going to walk into.
Each decision we make tells us about the path we intend to follow.

So, yes, we learn from our parents that our behaviors, actions and choices do have consequences.
We hear their advice and warnings to do and be right with the world, and to walk a certain
way.

With our parents as our guides and leading the way, we thought that they already were in a world that was fully formed, and all we had to do was to grow up and discover it.

The part we missed, the really essential part we missed, is that our parents, too, and those before them and generations before, simply were moving into the world that also was unfolding before them as they walked.

The future is now.
The past is now.
The present is our life.

See where you are ...and take stock.

Where are you?
Are you happy?
What brought you here?   

Understand that where you are now...is Holy ground.
This is the life you've created...good or bad...by the power
of your conscious thoughts, habits, behaviors, beliefs and
practices.

Soo.....
As you look around you...
...You may feel stuck.


How do you get out of here?
How do you get out of feeling stuck?

Don't panic.
Don't panic about the past that got you here.
Don't panic about the future that is not yet here.



See yourself in the moment.What are your thoughts?Who do you think you are?
 Who do you think others think you are? Do you care what others think you are?  What image are you projecting of yourself?  Is it accurate to the picture you are carrying about yourself?  Is it reflecting you?


No.

Yes.
Maybe.

If you don't know about the image you have about yourself.
If you think others see you in a way you do not see yourself.
If your reflection is showing up differently than you intended,
then, begin to recreate.


Begin to hold the image of yourself that you want to see on the outside.

If you see that all you've done was to berate and belittle yourself,
comparing yourself to other people and falling short: you've got work to do!

You've got work to do because the only image you should be holding
of yourself is the one that honors you and your journey so far in life.

Anything less?


Is a false impression you're giving to the world.

You owe it to yourself...and the world...to allow us an accurate
view into the Soul that is you.

Let the world see who you are...
Don't look for people's approval.
Just show up tomorrow...

In the moment.

Your past is gone.
Your future is yet to be.
Time will reveal to the world just who you are.

But that person...for tomorrow's world...is being created today. Now.
In this moment.

Keep that vision of the way you want to walk into the future
ahead of you....
But remember:                                                       In each step you take today...
In each choice you make today...
You are dictating whether the vision will become real...or distorted.

Hold the vision.
Live the life.
You've got the Power to CREATE!

Namaste',
Che'



Monday, July 4, 2016

When Freedom Has Us "Trapped!"

EDITOR'S NOTE/UPDATE 7/7/16: This piece was written before and for the July 4th celebration. In light of the recent incidents involving the police in Louisiana and in Minnesota, we are given reason to pause and state: being aware of who you are at all times in the eyes of the other, without buying into their stereotypes of you, may in time prove to be the best defense.
*********************************************************************************
Ironic, isn't it, that those of us living in the United States should be enjoying almost every liberty known to man currently walking this Earth, yet so many of us still are "trapped" and in bondage to so much.

We are trapped because we refuse to see outside the boxes into     which others have painted us...and we've accepted... about ourselves.

As an African-American woman, who chose to be both single and childless, who chooses friends of many ethnic races, religions, creeds, and lifestyles, I refuse to be trapped into any of the boxes life would place me.

I'm simply not checking into the boxes.

Of course, I check boxes when it's for business reasons. To me, it's just plain silly to try to make a political statement when others simply want to go about doing their business. Folks: it isn't that deep...just check the box!








And with this attitude, doing what's the easiest without making a big deal when it doesn't matter, I find myself free from the ropes that I see so many tying around themselves.

I see so many Afro-centric acquaintances of mine consciously making the statement all day long, especially on social media: "I was born black, I am black, and I will die black." 

My question and statement: So $@%*@$ what?!

So was I born black. It's not going to change anything by walking around with a sign on your back. 
Trust me: 
They SEE you!

Racism is here to stay.

You can choose to join the racists by playing their game, OR, you can simply go on with your life...proudly black...proudly white...proudly Asian...proudly mixed race. At the end of the day, it's your pride in knowing who you are...being who you are...and using all the skills and talents that came with you when you were created that will set you FREE.

Don't get trapped in the color of your skin. It's an excuse to sulk, and many use this as an excuse not to like others who are different from themselves. 

We don't change people's opinions one iota by fitting into the stereotypes they have created about us: with me, it would be an angry black woman...IF...I let them.

Let them wonder about you...
Let them wonder why you choose to be different...
Let them wonder about the source of your good.

Let them. 
Just keep on keeping on.
THIS is what FREEDOM truly looks like for those not encumbered by race: (She Hesitated to Sing the National Anthem...then DELIVERED!) 

Don't get me wrong, there are demonic forces that will try to raise all hell to get you to respond and react the way they expect you:

STAND YOUR GROUND!

I'm talking about standing your ground to be the beautiful expression of God that you were creating to be...and walking freely on this Earth...especially if you live in these United States.

STAND YOUR GROUND TO BE YOURSELF AND FREE.

See their racism and their antagonism as an opportunity for you to RISE above the B.S. and become whole.

If you feel "called to battle" for your people: then, go ahead.
But if you're sulking through life "just because..." then you're trapping yourself, and fitting very, very nicely, into the box of disempowerment into which they have placed you.



Beyond race, there are so many other boxes, we know we have forced ourselves into because at some point and time, "the others" decided that we should be "this or that."


I'm talking here about those who decided that every woman of a certain age should be married and bear kids...or else: she's lesbian, bisexual or something else.

To hell with that...to hell with ALL that...(I'm not the only one who's fed up too. See this piece on the Actress Jennifer Aniston speaking out: (Jennifer Aniston Finally Snaps...")

We all have a right to live and create our own rules about how we're going to navigate this world.

Questions:
  • How many people have you seen rush into marriages... for the sake of appearances?
  • How many of these people are now trapped in bad relationships...for the sake of appearances?
  • Who in hell has to wake up to those people that so many trapped themselves into marrying...or partnering with...for the sake of appearances?
Going further down the road to how we lose our freedom to people, places and things: think about how every day we trap ourselves feeling "less than" through comparisons, envy, hate and unforgiveness!

Every day many of us wake up, picking up the burdens, and the neat packages we have placed in our lives, carrying them day in and day out, trapping us into a slavery of our own making.


So what, if he/she has a bigger house?
So what, if he/she has a bigger pay check?
So what, if  on the outside, he/she seems to have
a more fulfilling life?
I tell you, no one gets anywhere by these invidious comparisons, by carrying around a bundle of hate, or a bundle of envy, or a bundle of unforgiveness.  According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the popular Buddhist monk, in today's Gratefulness.org:
Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.
Thich Nhat Hanh




Let go of these wild animals in your life!
Tame these beasts and become the master of your own destiny.

Remember this: true freedom comes from the Spirit of the Lord...the Spirit of your Soul...being allowed to roam freely through your body...without any encumbrances.

God does not see us as a black or white or Asian or mixed race. God, our Soul, knows us by how much or how little we permit his Spirit to walk through our lives...in freedom.
The Spirit in us longs to be FREE.
Allow it! Get the wild animals that trap you...out of the way.


If you seek true freedom... 
If you seek wholeness... 
The wild animals of hate, envy, jealousy, comparison, competitiveness and unforgiveness are the ones you should  keep "boxed in."Channel your energy in the right way. 

        



    Set yourself FREE!
Namaste',
Che'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Many of the graphics used on this post came from social media. Where the source can be identified, those sources are noted. Apologies to those images not credited because of no identifying source.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Don't Be a Grasshopper: On Becoming a Spiritual Giant

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post is dedicated to all those seemingly ordinary people I know who became extraordinary by reaching within to become Spiritual Giants. 
Becoming A Spiritual Giant Requires Us to Walk Unencumbered Through Life 
                                         With The Spirit, Joy and Freedom Of A Child
Grasshoppers are intended for special, "low-flying," missions. Now, if that's not telling it about the species' role in life, then nothing else will offer clarification.

So: Who among us wants to be a grasshopper?

Frontal and closeup view of grasshopper shows more character than the hopping creature we know 
Now, we may interpret the "low-flying" part as meaning a reconnaissance mission, giving it more potency, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's take the term on its face value.



Again, then:
Who among us wants to be a grasshopper?
South African grass hoppers. Photo Credit: Matt Harvey via Trek Earth
No? 

So...let's move on.

The next stage for us then is to be an ordinary human being, going through life not exactly sure why we're here but following the next step by next step...just not making trouble. Life is good...but it's....ordinary.
Or-din-ary. With little excitement...little disruption...little purpose. 
We go along to get along.
Rumi, the esteemed Persian poet and Sufi mystic, warned against an ordinary life. 

If we're lucky, one day we may wake up to some disruption in our lives. Something unsettling happens via a person, i.e.a spouse, partner, family member or friend; an event, such as an accident or illness, loss of a job or  finances, or a thing, such as reading a special book that gives us a totally different perspective on life.

        That is...if...we're lucky!
All we know is that our tidy pattern is suddenly disrupted, and life is not ordinary anymore.
                                                      Count it a blessing!


In order to move from ordinariness to extra-ordinariness, where we move from innocence in childhood to spiritual giants in adulthood, we must break the steadiness of an unimaginative life, overcome fear and claim our greatness.




I'm not talking about the type of greatness that so many actively seek,  where everyone knows your name. In speaking of Spiritual Greatness, I'm also not talking about making lots and lots of money.*

 I'm talking about the type of Spiritual Greatness where you have the confidence to know that you can overcome any situation...any obstacle course... placed in your life and in your way. I'm talking about a Spiritual Greatness that allows you to look at any situation you encounter on any given day with the eyes of an elephant to an ant.  
Day to day, so many things can come against us. But it's our ability to rise above these situations...some, mere annoyances; others, major challenges...that makes us spiritual giants, or little grasshoppers jumping around as if our house always is on fire.

I'm talking about Spiritual Giant-hood that allows us to jump over and climb over any person, place or thing placed in our way, trying to stop us from moving forward to reaching our goals...  however little or big those goals might be.

Spiritual Greatness does not come from cowardice
Spiritual Giants are not born from cowards, or those seeking to protect the status quo.





For us to achieve Spiritual Greatness and become Spiritual Giants:

We must grow strong enough spiritual muscle and spiritual boldness to walk unencumbered through life, seeing problem people and problem "things" the way a lion views sheep, or the way a giraffe views a turtle.
We must be able to walk by these "obstacles" with the confidence of a lion and stand with the calmness of a giraffe.

When we begin to sense that there's more to this ordinary life than responding to those who would try to push us down, or those intent on causing strife in our life and our world, then we are moving more towards a peaceful existence and the discovery of the reasons why we are here on Earth at this time doing what we're called to do. Once we begin to sense that life has a deeper purpose for us than just being here "going along to get along," we are at the start of our spiritual journey.


And when we're awakened to the startling truth that life is more than the next thing to do, the next right people to meet, the next right job to take, the next high salary to achieve...we have then given our Souls permission to launch a full-scale disruption to our days and ways.
There's really no turning back to an awakening of Truth, seeking a way to emerge through us and within us. 
There's no being born half way. Truth will find a way to push itself out of us.

And just like a baby needs nine months of gestation, Truth needs a cycle of time to fully emerge.

Then, like a child going from babyhood to full maturity, Truth needs time to slowly develop and grow a new way of being and seeing into the world.

What the Truth that's emerging from you ...and me...needs...is time.We must be patient with ourselves in order for us to be led to Spiritual Greatness... so that we can become the Spiritual Giants we're intended to be.  
If there's a being 'born again,' this is it!
As we try to get through our days, disruption to our Soul/Spirit gets more intense. We can no longer settle into the little lives we may have created. 
We long for more...answers.
We want to know more:
...about where we came from
...why we came here
...and what we are really, really supposed to be doing while we're here.

Yes the job..the career...is fine.
Our marriage is fine.
Our life, including finances and other affairs, is fine.
So is our health: fine

But...where is the... joy?

We can no longer "rest in peace" going through the motion of our daily lives.

                  We are awakened!

The search begins...perhaps by going back to church, if we were brought up with religion.
Then through spiritual group after spiritual group.

We're beginning to change.
People around us don't know what to make of the change.
It's not that if we were not nice we suddenly become "a nice person."
It's not that we care, even to be considered nice.
But we're taking a more thoughtful approach to people...and our interactions with people. We may even begin to push ourselves away from people who no longer seem to fit. 
We've got a greater mission in life. We may not know where it's leading...but our relationship with this inner self is getting more intimate and stronger.


As we begin to change in ways many do not understand,  people in our lives may walk away. Let them. This means they were only there for part of your journey. The people who are in your life to support you will remain. 
As we grow in wisdom, we also may find that not everyone smiling in our face deserves to be in our space.

Remembering what the Soul knows and why we came back here to do the Soul's work is critically important to our peace and state of well being.

Learning our way back to the Soul takes focus and our full Presence to each moment in our lives.
In order to get to the other side of emptiness in our lives, we must rid ourselves of behaviors and habits that may have lulled us into the ordinary life.
It's extremely tough to give up the daily pleasures that others do so freely and without concern, but the only way to get through the fog that's created when we're separated from our Soul is by stepping boldly forward and literally jumping into a new way of living... when we're called by our Soul to do so.

Our minds must remain uncluttered and unencumbered with the daily nonsense others would have us engage and indulge. Don't waste your energy on such things. You've got work to do!

Knowing where you are called and where you should focus will be the greatest challenge of the search. But you're well able. You will find unexpected teachers showing up at times when you doubt your ability to go forward or grow forward.

  • Trust. 
  • Go within.
  • Get past the Fear.
  • Decide this is the moment and time
  • Pray
  • Take the Leap of Faith



To become a Spiritual Giant:
  • Remove all doubt from your mind that you deserve the best that life has to offer in terms of Peace, Freedom, Joy and Wisdom. These are the gifts of the Spirit that money can never buy.*   
  • Know that the price you pay to get there will not be an easy one. People you once loved may revile you and hate you.
  • But ...if you don't give up and make it over to other side...you will know unequivocally that whatever price you paid...was worth it. 
*I want you to start NOW to begin to accept that you are a blessing to the world and you are here for a purpose. 
*I want you to step boldly forward NOW to do your task, looking neither to the left nor right for approval. But walking straight ahead, led by the spirit within and buoyed by the light you see ahead of you.
*I want you to know NOW that life is skewed towards supporting you. 
You don't have to know how God is going to work through you. But you'll begin to see transformation once you begin to commit to living a different way of life.

Your job is not to figure things out. 

Your job is to get out of fear mentality and seek the good you're seeking.

Although I can't tell you exactly how it will work for you, I can tell you what truly will:

1. Meditation
2. Prayer
3. The Silence
4. Staying Present to your life
5. Releasing those who keep you stuck and/or in chains to them.
6. Realizing...truly...that while life may be eternal
your time on Earth is not. 
7. Doing what you must do NOW, i.e. always the next right thing.
8. Believing there is a God.
9. Knowing, beyond doubt, that this God loves you,
wants the best for you, and ALWAYS goes before you
to make your way easy...no matter how trying life may seem.
10. Giving Thanks. Staying Grateful, no matter how things seem.


Awaken to Truth.
Grow through Truth.
Become the Spiritual Giant you were intended to be...filled with light, laughter, joy, peace...and yes...wisdom.

Namaste',
Che'

*NOTE: If you want to make money and buy lots of things, there are several folks on the Internet offering you those ways...ranging from a few hundred or thousand dollars a pop. You'll discover over time, these joys are fleeting. 

Personal Authenticity: "To Thine Own Self Be True"...

"To Thine Own Self Be True and it must follow as the night, the day, Thou canst not then be false to ANY man."
William Shakespeare.