Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Praying For All the Children

They are the light of the future, divine light that has just come into this world.

PRAYING for all the CHILDREN in the world.... 
who at many places, in severe conflicts are suffering so much - injured, killed, orphaned, distressed, traumatized and displaced.

We pray from the place in our hearts where we feel the heartbreaking pain that tears our heart apart when we allow to really feel what is happening on this planet. We pray from the place in our hearts where there is love, just love, that takes no sides but embraces the wholeness of life.

May the seeds of divine love, also and particularly manifested in the children, be held in our hearts. And may Grace flow into the world!

 The photo of this happy child embraced by love 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brené Brown: Love and Belonging

Defining Love and Belonging

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbing, and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.
It took me three years to whittle these definitions and concepts from a decade of interviews. Let's take a look.

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them - we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

... If you look at the definition of love and think about what it means in terms of self-love, it's very specific. Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves. This is a tall order given how hard most of us are on ourselves...
It's worth noticing that I use the words innate and primal in the definition of belonging. I'm convinced that belonging is in our DNA, most likely connected to our most primitive survival instinct. Given how difficult it is to cultivate self-acceptance in our perfectionist society and how our need for belonging is hardwired, it's no wonder that we spend our lives trying to fit in and gain approval.

It's so much easier to say, "I'll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I'm part of this." From gangs to gossiping, we'll do wheat it takes to fit in if we believe it will meet our need for belonging. But it doesn't. We can only belong when we offer our most authentic selves and when we're embraced for who we are.

Practicing Love and Belonging

To begin by always  thinking of love as an action rather than a 
feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner
automatically assumes accountability and responsibility.

- Bell Hooks

... When we don't practice love with the people we claim to love, it takes a lot out of us. Incongruent living is exhausting.

... In addition to helping me understand what love looks like between people, these definitions also forced me to acknowledge that cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. They aren't endeavors that I can look into if and when I have some spare time. They are priorities.

... Loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage. In a society that says, "Put yourself last," self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary. 

~ Brené Brown, excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection:
Let Go Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are 

Hafiz: Love Sometimes Wants to Do Us a Great Favor

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor:
hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

- Hafiz

The Way of the Bodhisattva

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
~ the way of the bodhisattva - shantideva - 8th century
from Tara Brach

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brené Brown: The Infinite Power of Our Light

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

 Brené Brown 

Hafiz: Happy Virus

I caught the happy virus last night
When I was out singing beneath the stars.

- Hafiz

Rumi: Where the Light Enters

The wound is the place where 
the Light enters you.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

C. JoyBell C.: The Miracle Is In the Unfolding

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.