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Practice Self Care

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These past couple of weeks or so, I have delighted in practicing self care. 

It seems that practically every book I've read recently makes some reference to practicing self care, and most importantly, loving ourselves.

For the first time in years I am actually whittling down a pile of books I have been meaning to read. I tend to read non-fiction, so often I do read inspirational books, and a lot of self-improvement, but this year I am reading a number of historical works as well, and brushing up on the main characters and events of the late 15th century, to the mid to late 16th century, a period I have found fascinating, because of the strong women who lived and ruled then.I am especially interested in what was happening theologically, and the rising movements of the time.

I also decided to brush up on my French, and have been using Duolingo and some old textbooks to do so. I have wanted to do this for years! Every night, I carve out some time to do my lessons.

My daily routine includ…

Love Yourself First

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I finished reading three books this week, and in all of them I found this essential message repeated, over and over again, in various permutations: 

Love yourself first, then you can love others.

Appreciate who you are. Do not put yourself down. Do not sell yourself short. The poet Rumi once wrote:

"The whole Universe is inside of you. Ask all from yourself."
You have everything that you need. Right now. In this moment. A dear soul reminded me of that last night. No matter how bleak, or dark things may be - there is a Light that shines within you. Why?

Because you ARE Love - you are a fragment of the Universal Force that binds us all.

But, you have to recognize it. And accept it first.

Then you can shine that Light and Love for others.

But start with yourself.

Today.

Tomorrow.

And every day!

(Photo by Veronica Martinez)


Your Life is Your Practice

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"The awakened mind has two attributes.  One is compassion, what some would call love. The other is clarity, what some would call sight. They are not really two things.  Each is a function of the other. When you see, really see, you just love. When you love, really love, you just see. You see things as they are, not as you expect, and in that wide open space is love." ~ Karen Maezen Miller
In the book "Paradise in Plain Sight," the author, Karen Miller, dedicates nearly two decades of her life to restoring a Zen garden to its former glory. This is no small feat. Along the way, she also seeks out a Zen teacher because she deems that her life is lost.

"Your life is your practice."

This is the message he entrusts her with.

How simple is this? How pure? How unique? And yet how challenging?

"Your life is your practice."

Your life is the medium and the message. 

Your life is the vehicle for the manifestation and the embodiment of love.

Your life is the WAY...

We spend o…

Enjoying and Loving Your Life

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"Each of us inevitable, Each of us limitless - Each of us with his or her right upon the earth, Each of us allow'd the eternal purports  of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here." ~ Walt Whitman, (Leaves of Grass)
"There is nothing more impoverished as the deeply unawakened heart; and nothing enriches us more, and brings more life and meaningfulness, that the awakened heart." ~ Christina Feldman
It amazes me how every day one can receive the messages needed, if one is open to them.

Last night I was reading a chapter entitled, "Making the conscious decision to love your life," in Lorna Byrne's "Love from Heaven: Practicing Compassion for Yourself and Others." 

In this section of the book, Lorna, who has had a life long ability to see and communicate with angels and beings that have passed on, states that to love is our most important mission in life. Love is indeed our essence. And so, to experience a love and zest for life, is of paramount…

To Risk Change

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I awaken drained and exhausted, after several days of sadness and heaviness for the state of affairs in this world, and the perception of my own.

Everything in the news seems to consist of a blockage - an impediment for communication, compromise and collegiality - a challenge that is seemingly insurmountable, and yet in my heart of hearts, I know it is not true...

Did not Gandhi once exhort us to be the change we wanted to see?

Messages come from so many different places, and I receive two that are particularly notable, one as I finish the book that I am reading, "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lamott:

"...Things that grow are what change everything.  Moments of compassion, giving, grief, and wonder  shift our behavior, get inside us and change realms  we might not have agreed to change...  The world keeps going on.  You can have another cup of coffee  and keep working on your plans.  Or you can take the risk and be changed..."
And then this:

"When we med…

A Little Bit of Mercy and Compassion

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"A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just." ~ Pope Francis
Yesterday, after I finished reading the Sunday papers, I noticed I was very sad. Practically everything I read was depressing. The despair felt contagious. I was overwhelmed by the state of affairs in the world. How did we get this way?

I thought to myself, we need more mercy and compassion...

It so happens that I have been reading the book "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lamott, a very timely little tome indeed!

I quoted this book in my last entry, but now I am knee deep in it.

Ironically, on page 51 (Psalm 51 is the Miserere, one of my favorite and most recited, I could not help but note), Lamott offers this explanation:

"Misericordia is Latin for 'mercy,' from misericors, 'merciful,' which is 'to pity,' and cor, 'heart.' Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone's troubles. It's not something you do - it is something in…

Let Love Flow from Your Heart

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We live in troubling times...

We live in sad times...

In a time of much despair...

But, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other. We have forgotten that at our essence we are Love. And we can shine that love. We can increase the Love that is on this planet. We can make a difference...

Every book I pick up recently has the same message.

The world needs your love and mercy. The world needs your kindness. We come into this world as pure love, but we forget who we are at our essence.

So, let's take a moment right now to remember who we are.

Yes, right now!

Stop!

Find a comfortable seat. Close your eyes...

Place one hand over your heart. And your other hand over that one, as if you were holding or caressing your own heart...

Feel your beating heart. Listen to it...

Visualize that every heartbeat pluses with Love...

FEEL that Love!

Let it embrace you and saturate every fiber of your being...

FEEL it's warmth!

Your heart and body is filled to overflowing!

Now send that Love out! Send i…