Acts of Contemplation: Finding Grace and Wisdom When There is Nothing to Be Grateful For?

Life sucks!
My life is so boring!
Nothing ever turns out the way I want!

Wait, just breathe and take a look around.
Have I tried to be present in the moment?
Have I tried something new?
Do I really know what I want?

Everything I try fails!
No one really cares about me!
And, I don’t care about anyone!

Maybe I should put your energy into what I am passionate about.
Do I care about myself?
Not caring about anyone, means that I do care about someone.

Every day is just as pointless as the next!
If only!
If only!
If only!
Why should I be grateful?

Everyday Iwake up is a gift !
“If only” will never come. But, “Now I can” is always an option.
If I do!
If I can!
If I see!

Why should I be grateful?

The more I offer appreciation for whatever I have, the more I will see the abundance that I actually have.
The more I see the abundance of what, the better I am able to enjoy every bit of my life.
The more I enjoy my life, gratitude will become my ally and the radiance of that change in my perspective will show me the importance I have in the lives of all I meet.

The official day for gratitude (in the US)-Thanksgiving- is over. Back to the norm of looking for what we lack versus what we have. I’m not saying that everyone falls into this category, nor that this is a daily routine, but at some point in a day/week or month it is easy to lose sight of what we have to be grateful for. I work with a law of polarities, so these slip ups are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, these lapses in seeing the positive and having gratitude can foster a deeper awareness of be fully present in those gifts of hope and inspiration. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but having gratitude for those things that have disappointed or failed to meet our expectations, opens a new dialogue and potential for what can be learned from the experience and more importantly how we can choose to respond (or react) to what befalls us.

Awaken prepared to give thanks that you have, indeed, awakened for another day.
Move through your day, expecting that there will be harmony and discord, and be thankful that within each is a lesson to be gained.
Return to your home each evening, fully present in the experience of your day and gratitude for the space of sanctuary and rest.
Surrender into a sleep of breath that will fill you in your slumber; a heart that beats strongly in maintaining life and enter into dreamscape with thanks for the anticipation of another day at dawn’s light.

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Acts of Contemplation: Feed Me!

-Lamb meatballs and penne in a wine rose tomato gravy- 

Food is one of the first experiences we have as we enter this world. The closeness that evolves from the child suckling at mother’s breast; first solid foods and explorations; favorite foods served on special occasions and a meal lovingly prepared that nourishes both body and soul. This is the magick of food and the deep memories that food awakens.

Most of the time I enjoy cooking and becoming empty nesters when our five children left home several years ago still has not dampened my enthusiasm in cooking smaller meals for my husband and myself. Adding a little variety to developing my cooking skills comes from having to prepare meals that are both vegetarian (for myself) and carnivore traditional (for my husband).

Even when I am short on time, everything I prepare is done with the intention of love. This is the magick of food and the invoking of it’s nourishing properties as a sacred component to what the offering will be and to whom it is offered.

What is it that you are preparing for yourself and your loved ones to consume? Are you infusing it with the sacred heart? Are you taking time to offer up thanks to the sources of what is on that plate and those who have processed, packed or picked the ingredients you are using?

Food recreates the setting in which it was first experienced. Was this offering in a space of comfort, contention or celebration? This is often why we crave certain “comfort” foods when sad. These are the same foods that we had at a joyful celebration. Moreover, we engage all of our senses in these experiences. Taste, texture, sight, smell and even the sounds associated with the food we are eating contribute to the overall magick of the experience.

-Sharp cheddar topped Tempeh, fresh tomatoes, zucchini and mushroom saute-

As living organisms we require food to survive, grow and remain healthy. The quality and quantity of that food determines the outcome of health or disease. Give pause to your choices. Take a moment to honor the act of eating and what you have chosen to nourish and satisfy your body. Make each meal a sacred act filled with gratitude for what has been provided.

Stand at the hearth of offering. Prepare with Love and consume with gratitude. And, when you have found your sacred nourishment, open wide and say…. 

Feed Me!

Want to read more about our sensorial gifts? Check it out here..
Engaging Your Senses

Acts of Contemplation! Act Now and Stand Still

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The world moves on around us and still we choose to remain still. People come and go in our lives and still we choose to remain still. Years pass quickly, even those that feel like forever, yet we chose to remain still. We choose to remain as observers of our lives and hope that we will largely go unnoticed. Even those who step into the light of recognition, choose a mask and that is what they project to the world. The truth hidden and buried as we choose to remain still.

And, what of all that stillness that we wrap ourselves in? Does it protect? Does it shelter? Does it give comfort? Does it bring awareness? Does it bring joy?

What if in our standing still we also chose action? What if the truth of our standing still was crafted in the choice of remaining anchored and rooted. Pressure builds, and action ignites into new perceptions that need the anchor of foundational quiet and stillness. The stillness that is the pause between the last breath of exhalation and the next of inhaled action.

Our stillness does not need to hold us inert. Our action lay in the pregnant pause of what will become. The “becoming” of a stream of informed will that has grown in the stillness of listening and observing.

The action that is born of this stillness is powerful and palpable in its effects. This is the action that stands strong in the face of challenge. The action that uplifts another so that they may find their own place of stillness. The action that speaks its truth, unashamed, yet mindful of the power of those words if ill-placed, having felt its sting. The action that finds its purpose and without wavering follows it to its natural course of ending as the newness of beginnings weaves a new path.

The world moves on around us and still we choose to remain still… knowing that the most powerful action of fully embracing the gift of humanity lay in the stillness of knowing your manifest power…so,

Act Now and Stand Still!

Acts of Contemplation: I Think I Can! But, Should I?

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We all want to be successful and foster growth in all areas of our lives. This is largely what keeps us motivated. We fill our days, and often nights, with thoughts of how to make more money, be more productive, have more, be more and do more. And, with each incremental success, the desire to exceed what we have reached takes hold and the “wanting” begins anew. You are familiar with the phrase, “the grass is always greener, on the other side”? We don’t have to look very far to see that the “other side” is our own back yard!

We have been conditioned to believe that we must keep trying. That this is the “positive” attitude to have. But, at what point do we stop and simply enjoy where and who we are?

Life is full of opportunities that allow us to stretch beyond our perceived capabilities. The real lesson in all of these lay in realizing the simple joy of satisfaction that is achieved in having tried. A deeper lesson; one that is often discarded is that of knowing when to rest in whatever has been achieved through your efforts and measuring it as neither more nor less a success.

Oftentimes we miss out on the exhilaration of feeding and nurturing what is in the hurried pursuit of moving on to the next level of what should be. Maybe, just maybe, what “is” is exactly what should be!

The next time you have your sights set on a specific “I think I Can”, take a moment to pause and look fully at where you are right now. Savor this “now” and think on all that you have gained from what already exists. Then, decide if there is more to be gained in this present “now”. And, if so, settle into that space, happy and whole right where you are.

Acts of Contemplation: Screaming in the Silence

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The last post focused on the emotional aspect of our humanity and the way in which we allow our emotions to guide and direct our responses. If only it were that simple, but to this equation is added what is acceptable behavior in accord with societal, cultural and communal rules of order. “Speaking your mind”, which is actually the result of what the heart and emotions have formulated as conclusion, is often seen as a negative trait, rather than being acknowledged as an act of courage.

“Holding your tongue” may be more acceptable, but at what cost to claiming your personal power and being forthright in what you are feeling. We are continually moving through the delicate balance of what is appropriate, what is truth and what is honoring and being accountable for what emanates from these two points.

What happens when this balance sways in the direction of pent up emotion. When these emotions reach their boiling point and what you want to say can’t be said. What is the recourse? For me, this energy becomes that of screaming in silence.

There are people I love and care deeply for and still these people can bring me to a space of frustration and emotional turmoil. Lashing out is not always the best practice,, but I have also come to realize that holding everything in is just as non-productive and damaging. I pick and choose carefully where I allow my anger to find its mark, and most often what has provoke me are small bones to pick, when I really take the time to breath into a response rather than jumping to the first reaction.

This approach usually works, but for those times when I need to release strong and potentially erosive feelings I find a quiet place of solitude. In this space, where I can let go and allow raw emotion to spill from me, I call up what has provoked such intense feeling.  I pull it up, open my mouth and shatter the silence of this space with a full bodied scream. I do this until the purging of what upset me is complete and the  energy of my space of choosing has accepted my release and transformed it into pure and dynamic flow.

This is the magick of the silence and the power of emotional release emanating from a vessel that is human, manifest and potent in its ability to feel, to react and to respond. Not only do I feel better, but whatever would have been the object of my wrath has not taken that energy from me. This is an important observation that we do not realize when we allow our anger or negative emotions to get the best of us. We imagine that we are blasting away at whatever caused these emotions and that by doing this somehow we will feel better. Usually we do not! Often we feel depleted and drained; having offered up the energy of our power to the other. And, not always do we see the results of change that we hope this outpouring will have in changing the outcome.

Now this is not to say that I do not express myself and speak up when my emotions have been reached critical mass, but it is all in the timing as to how much the resulting outcome changes me (for the better) and allows me to stand in the fullness of my power and ability to express myself. Actually, waiting until after I have “screamed into the silence” gives me the composure and anchoring to be effective in what and how I communicate. These emotions have been tempered and refined and I am now in control, which is after all, the desired outcome!

So, the next time your emotional self reaches its bursting point, breathe into the silence, scream your frustration into powerful, raw energy acknowledging that you are magickally human…

Next Post

I think I Can- But Should I?

Acts of Contemplation: Time to Re-Think It

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The last post discussed the intricacies of Focused Awareness and the effects of the choices made in a state of being fully present and mindful…

“The ultimate goal is one of movement and action. Whether we choose to be co-creators in the paths and subtle nuances that flow through our life, we continuously move in one way or another. To have focused intention as we move through our day means to respond, rather than re-act to what the present moment has to offer us.”

And, as the paragraph above outlines, these steps of focused choice become the catalysts that move us out of the stickiness of an inert and veiled existence. Weighing into all of these actions are emotions and the how we feel about whatever the choice of focus may be. However, before our emotions can truly serve us in being decisive in action, what we THINK is the first provocateur in urging us on.

Self-Help and Thoughts

Go into any bookstore or online and there is a plethora of information indicating that our physical state of being at all levels is directly impacted by what we “think”. The Law of Attraction and positive thinking will create the correct formulary to provide whatever is needed. Disease is at time psychosomatic and hypochondria is a state of mind. Self-worth, ergo who and what we bring into our lives is primarily an outcome of what we perceive to be true about our worthiness. These statements and more permeate the aethers and even the ephemeral worlds are affected by the collective thoughts of its members.

All of the above is true- and false. We are indeed molded by our thoughts, but they are not the sole creators of our life’s condition. Our thoughts are very powerful indeed, but so is the veiling of delusional thought that we become entangled in when striving only and singularly towards only those thoughts of positive nature. The fact of the matter is that positive and negative are also the semantic products of what we think those words to mean. Intention is the true garment that is selected when addressing our thoughts and purging them of what we consider less than positive.

Think On This!

Those negative thoughts that arise when we witness and atrocity, spur us towards resolving the inequity. Those negative thoughts we have can be forewarnings of a bad relationship or someone who wishes us harm. The negative imagery we see played and replayed in the media, gives us pause to be grateful for the safety and security of our own lives or calls us to champion those who have lost their voice and will.  You see! It’s all in the perspective as to how we think about those things we have been conditioned to avoid.

Focus on This…

Our thoughts flow like a never ending waterfall, their ability to carve and smooth the craggy rocks beneath the point of impact measured only by the force of impetus from the heights from which the flow cascades. We can re-think how strongly we wish that current to be. We can use our minds as productive tools that flex their muscles as each situation demands or simply blows all of its energy in a single lifting of unsteady weight.

So, just breathe into the possibility and potential of multiple outcomes, giving thought neither to the positive nor the negative. Settle into what feels right and let those feelings circulate stimulating mindful responses. And, then simply “be”. Resting in a myriad of potentials. Wait for it! Wait for it! Wait for it! And, then re-think what those potentials are. Make it fertile with your feelings and then Choose which thought you will manifest.

 

Next Post
All Warm and Fuzzy Feelings…

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Focused Awareness: Take It All In

eyes-of-imagination-dreams-can-come-true-31082845-1024-702Our first post will hone in on cultivating Focused Awareness. To be fully present is to be able to experience the moment. To be aware is to know what surrounds you. And to focus means to be able to point the lens of refined experience precisely and with clarity in the direction you have chosen.

What does the phrase “to be fully present” mean to you? Questions you might ask yourself in arriving at your own definitions may be:

What is it that I choose to give my time, energy and awareness to in my daily life?
How do I focus that awareness to inform my actions?
What is the outcome of that choice?
And, am I fully present in the receiving of that outcome?

These are just a few of the questions for consideration when crafting the intention of Focused awareness.

For the most part we are so conditioned in modern society to move at such a rapid pace that although we feel that we are progress issuing forward and taking its all in as we go along, the reality is that we are missing many of the simple high points of what being a physical and incarnate being hash to offer. We are in effect on auto pilot and asleep at the wheel!

Stop!

For me, the concept of being fully present involves engagement. Not simply occupying physical space, but bringing all of my awareness into that space and the time captured in that moment. This requires that I stop and allow the space of time to really see what surrounds. This giving pause enables me to incorporate sensorial experience; emotional response; mental analysis and allows me to formulate my next actions from a place of discernment and a focused intention about how to move next. This may seem like many steps to be taken in the singular moment of being presented with choice, but it is these singular moments that in accumulation form the foundation of our life experience.

Look!

Observation is our best friend when we are cultivating focused awareness. When we are in the act of observing we call upon a variety of related sensorial skills that stimulate the correct responses and reactions. Select a location where there will many people passing through that location. A coffee shop**, train station or mall are excellent places to observe. Then, just sit quietly taking in everything that surrounds you. As you scan all of the scenario, select a singular person or action to focus more definitively upon. Make note of as much of the detail as you can about what you have chosen as your point of focus. Make note of how you feel about what you are observing. What emotions are invoked? What thoughts are moving through the inventive mind? What memories (if any) may present themselves of yourself in a similar situation? Breathe into each and every identifier that passes through your being. When you are ready, shift your focus back to the entire picture once again.

Listen!

The next step in focused awareness is the act of listening and tuning into what information has been received. Some may consider this the intuitive self or being psychically active. The truth is that to some degree we all have the ability to perceive events and people that are not of this time line or corporeal existence. The key lies in the ability to tune out distraction and settle into that receptive state of being.

Listening to the inner voice of guidance is something we all actively engage in; whether it be the inner critic who tells us we are unworthy or the conscience that speaks up when moral dilemma looms large or the inner champion that encourages and pushes us to our greatness. Using this Inner listening is the informer that processes what we have been actively focused upon. When we make choice to be fully present in our lives, the inner voice has more to say because we are feeding it more to comment on.

Going back to the exercise of observation; after you have spent some time taking in all the information and detail of what you have directed your focus towards, silently retreat to your inner landscape. Breathe deeply calling forth a receptive ear and open mind to receive the deeper wisdom of the synthesized product of your experience. Listen for guidance and the relevance of what you experienced to your own life. Perhaps the lesson of what you have observed is one of being more cautious about what information your provide to a stranger. Perhaps the lesson was one of benevolence and seeing the direct impact of a kind word, charitable offering or soothing touch. Listen and learn from these experiences of full engagement.

Move!

The ultimate goal is one of movement and action. Whether we choose to be co-creators in the paths and subtle nuances that flow through our life, we continuously move in one way or another. To have focused intention as we move through our day means to respond, rather than re-act to what the present moment has to offer us.

In conclusion….

The steps I have outlined may seem daunting and like too much trouble to go through. You may also be thinking that the time it will take to be mindful and go through each will delay everything you do. And, to some degree you are correct. However, you have already been exercising your Focused Awareness simply in the reading of this post. You made choice to click on the link and then made further choice to turn your attention and time to reading it. And, hopefully those actions have set off a course of curiosity, debate and more in your response to what I have proposed. It is all a matter of choices made.

The aspiration is one of balancing and learning what is deserving of your careful dismantling of a given situation and what can pass through without further scrutiny. This discernment comes from the intentional practice of using a small increment of time to purposefully be fully focused and engaged; such as what I suggested in the observation models. The results are a more satisfying experience of everything in your life.

As example of one of the ways in which observation and application of Focused Awareness can open up the creative self, read through the writing indicated below. This entire experience and the poetic product was the result of 20 minutes!

** The Cost of Doing Business
This is a post I wrote in December of 2010 while sitting and observing at a Starbucks. Enjoy!

Next Post:
Time to Re-Think It
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Acts of Contemplation

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Exploring Focused Awareness, Stillness and Meditative Action

Welcome to the new series on Magickally Human. From the title you can surmise that we will be taking a look at the various ways in which we seek to find the answers to our deepest questions. It may not overtly appear as though this is the goal, but the underpinnings of each action we take to dive a little deeper into the space of our mind, the silence in pause, or the activity of movement has a question mark embedded within.

Some of the topics for exploration will include:

Focused Awareness
Practices of Stillness
Active Meditation
Receptivity
Anchoring
Silence
Expansiveness
Interaction and Retreat

The goal of this series is to explore ways that we can cultivate contemplation while remaining actively engaged in the human experience. The Magickal part in being human is that we can engage all aspects of ourselves in the ordinary and mundane activities; not only those times we choose to remove ourselves from the worldly distractions. A walking meditation, sets the mind in a contemplative state, but still requires that the practitioner remain alert and aware to remain safe in the environment.

We can practice stillness in the midst of a confrontation or conflict and adopt the demeanor of expansiveness when your presence needs amplification and your words need to be recognized and heard. We have choice of being socially interactive or carving out our space of quiet and reflection where we can renew and replenish our reserves. This space of quiet and reflection may be the swimming pool, the dance floor or in a theater. It’s all in the attitude!

Our first post will hone in on cultivating Focused Awareness. To be fully present is to be able to experience the moment. To be aware is to know what surrounds you. And to focus means to be able to point the lens of refined experience precisely and with clarity in the direction you have chosen.

Next Post:

Focused Awareness: Take it All In

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About This Series:

These posts will occur every other week, with related posts occurring in the Sacred Vessel Blog. This seemed to work very well with our last series about the Five Senses, so let’s carry on with what was successful. 

The Sacred Vessel Series is entitled:

Magickal Alignment

An exploration of energy and the practices that support and enliven our spiritual/magickal work

Magickal Alignment

Begins next week

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