I had an interesting dream the other night. I was on a spaceship and due to a setting, some people saw an illusion (luxury furniture, plush rugs, a tidy space) while others saw reality (cheap furniture, threadbare rugs, a mess). It was like a movie scene that magically changes an Ikea chair into an upscale-designer one with the wave of a hand.

The dream got me thinking about reality and perception. How do we know what we’re sensing is the truth? Humans only perceive a tiny fraction of what exists when it comes to our senses. For instance, we only hear sounds in the 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz range but as we know, sound exists above and below that level. Similarly, of all the possible photon wavelengths available, our cone cells detect only a small sliver: the 380 to 720 nanometers range.

Why then do we act with such assurance about the reality we perceive? Why do we insist on our version of the truth when it could be less than accurate? A dog has a far different version of reality than I do because a dog can hear a lot more than I can. Is my reality any more true or less true than the dog’s? If my senses aren’t 100% reliable, what can I trust?

Reflection of woman in water

Perception can be so easily skewed. Photo by nine koepfer on Unsplash

In this day and age, we’re encouraged not to trust anyone, especially mainstream media, the government, or anyone in a position of authority. I understand the impulse because journalists make mistakes sometimes and the government can withhold information from the general public. On the other hand, what makes a random person on the internet trustworthy?

I just read an article on Elle.com about Bay Area mom influencer Katie Sorensen who falsely accused a couple of abducting her children. To be clear, there is no evidence that crime took place. Sorensen made the whole thing up to attract Instagram followers, which is exactly what happened. Her account ballooned after the fake video was viewed 4.5 million times. And if you’re wondering, yes, Katie is an attractive, white, blonde woman and yes, the couple she accused are brown.

People believed Sorensen’s story because she made an emotional video. They were moved by her sentiment. My spiritual teacher says, “One races after the idea that has come into one’s mind like an unbridled horse, without considering its good or bad consequences. The horse may move along the right path, or it may fall into a chasm. One cannot be certain.”

We’re living in a time where sentiment is being exploited and rationality is on the decline. There are YouTube videos galore extolling various conspiracy theories: that furniture and home goods company Wayfair trafficks children, the Earth is flat, the government is run by reptile people, COVID-19 is a sham, etc. People prey on our emotions and also our skepticism. They either tell lies or ask questions that are seemingly unexplainable: “Why did the government do XYZ?” and then answer the question by saying, “They’re lying to you.”

toy pinocchio

If only our noses grew like Pinocchio’s when we lied. Photo by Florencio Rojas.

It’s easy to say someone is lying and significantly harder to prove the truth, as evidenced by the Sorensen tale. The police had to investigate her story, interview the couple she accused, and use numerous resources to determine Sorensen lied. Instead of immediately buying everything presented to us, whether it’s a mainstream media news article, YouTube video, or Instagram post, how about asking some more questions; like, “How do I know this source can be trusted? What is the evidence?”

Talk is cheap and people are lazy. It takes a lot of effort to pull off a conspiracy. Have you ever worked on a group project? Then you know it’s next to impossible to get every person on the same page and carry through with a plan. Yeah, it can happen, but in all likelihood what we view as a conspiracy is actually incompetency and fallibility. People make mistakes. They change their minds. It doesn’t mean there’s a cover-up.

My spiritual teacher says, “Rationality is a treasure of humanity,” and I’m seeing just how true that is.

I dream of a world where we ask more questions. A world where we don’t immediately accept whatever is told to us, no matter who is telling it. A world where we practice discernment to determine whether something is real and true or merely playing on our emotions. A world where we develop a rationalistic mentality and put it to good use for the betterment of all.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Just Wait

Sometimes I have temporary amnesia in that I forget how much can change in a day, an hour, an instant. If I feel blue, I think I’ll always feel blue. If I feel happy, I think I’ll always feel happy. I pretend a state of being is permanent when in reality, it’s anything but. For instance, I’ve been hawking my bank account, just waiting for payments to come in. I started to fret about what I would do if I didn’t get paid, the steps I would take. And then, cha-ching! The money arrived! Hallelujah! I literally danced with joy.

But the opposite also happens. I can cruise along, feel that all is right in the world, and then receive a text message that a friend died. Before receiving the news, I could have been smiling, but after reading the text I would start crying. Emotions are like this. They’re energy in motion. I rarely remember that though because I’m either chasing the happy, feel-good emotions, or I’m pushing away the sad, feel-bad emotions.

wait sign

Wait it out. Photo by Semyon Borisov on Unsplash

Our society does this too. We are encouraged to buy things – shoes, a phone, a car – or use drugs – alcohol, weed, ketamine – to chase away the pain. Our brains encourage this sort of behavior because they are in a perpetual quest for more dopamine, the feel-good, “more” molecule. But instead of trying to create a feeling, what if we just … waited? What if we instead recognized everything, EVERYTHING we’re feeling is temporary?

The temporary nature of life is on my mind because I wasn’t speaking hypothetically about receiving a text message notifying me of a friend’s death. That happened. I saw him on a Zoom call and then two days later he died of Parkinson’s. It’s surreal to me how quickly things can change. And my friend’s death is shaking me up because he was a staple of my childhood. Someone who was always around. I took it for granted he would continue to be, even after he got sick because I forgot everything is temporary.

My spiritual teacher says, “This expressed universe is nothing but a collection of temporary entities which are undergoing constant metamorphosis according to the sweet will of nature.” We are all temporary entities and we are all constantly changing. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. When I remember this, every emotion becomes easier to bear; every experience becomes richer precisely for its impermanence.

This isn’t a profound post, I’m not revealing a truth you don’t already know, but maybe like me, you forget. Maybe you forget the person next to you is not immortal and neither are you. Maybe you forget the pain you feel will end. Maybe you forget at any moment you can feel euphoric because you received good news. Instead of chasing after a feeling, what if we pulled back a little, practiced more detachment and surrender, and understood all we have to do is wait? Because even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, you’ll feel great again soon. I promise.

I dream of a world where we understand emotions are constantly changing. A world where we realize we can’t force ourselves to feel one way or another and we stop trying. A world where we understand if we just wait, we’ll feel great again.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

As you’ve likely heard, the first-ever Amazon labor union was formed on Friday. What I love about this story is the David versus Goliath aspect. I can think of no better representation of a modern-day Goliath than Amazon. After all, Amazon accounts for more than 40% of ecommerce, according to emarketer.com. The next highest percentage of internet commerce is Walmart, coming in at 7.1%. So. There’s that.

And, regarding workers specifically, Jeff Bezos said in a New York Times article he didn’t want hourly workers to stick around for long because he viewed a large, disgruntled workforce as a threat. That attitude shows because the company spent $4.3 million in 2021 alone on anti-union consultants, according to U.S. Department of Labor filings. And maybe you’re saying, “Amazon doesn’t need a labor union because employees have great working conditions!” That’s what Amazon is touting, but the reality doesn’t match because Amazon measures the time each employee spends off task at its warehouses, meaning every bathroom break is accounted for. If a person spends too long in the bathroom, they can be and have been, fired.

I could keep going, but I already wrote about the poor working conditions in a blogpost last year. Instead, let’s talk about our David, Christian Smalls. First off, how perfect is that last name to represent David?!? Also, he’s someone Amazon discounted because, in a leaked memo obtained by Vice in 2020, an Amazon layer told Jeff Bezos that Smalls was “not smart, or articulate.”

David statue

Keeping it classic here with the David sculpture. Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Take that, Amazon! The man you viewed as not smart or articulate spent the last two years talking to workers on Staten Island, holding cookouts, conversing with them at bus stops, and educating them on why a labor union is necessary. And it worked. Despite previous failed attempts, the Amazon factory known as JFK8 has a labor union. The vote wasn’t close either – the “yeses” outnumbered the “no’s,” by 500 votes. Yes, Amazon is fighting the outcome because of course they are, but still. In this day and age when we hear so many stories about corruption, plutocracy, and big corporations doing terrible things despite the opposition of the general public, it’s nice to hear a story about how the little guy can still win.

It reminds me of a quote from my spiritual teacher who spoke a lot about dharma, or the essential characteristics of human beings. There’s a lot to say on the subject, but in brief, my spiritual teacher praises the higher qualities of human beings; the ones that are aligned with truth, justice, generosity, and compassion. He said whenever human beings follow these higher qualities, their well-being, victory, and prosperity are ensured.

Furthermore, “whoever goes against these ingrained human characteristics … will be doomed to destruction. By divine decree, everyone has the right to live in the world with dignity. If anyone creates any obstacle against this dharma-oriented system, if they oppose it, they are bound to be destroyed. No one has ever been victorious or will ever be victorious by opposing dharma. Always remember that when dharma is with you, whoever will oppose you will be razed to the ground – their destruction is a must.”

A caveat here is sometimes that destruction is slow. It can take decades to appear and/or may happen in another life. However, I take heart knowing that in the long run, the righteous, the justice-oriented, the person who is fighting for a better world, like Christian Smalls, in this case, will win.

I dream of a world where we remember real-life David versus Goliath stories exist. A world where we understand sometimes the little guy does trounce the evil, big conglomerate. A world where we realize if we continue to do good in the world, to follow our higher nature, eventually we will succeed.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I had a humbling experience on Friday. While listening to my new favorite podcast, “The Happiness Lab,” the host Dr. Laurie Santos discussed inattentional blindness, or the inability to perceive objects if we’re not paying attention to them. She ran an experiment with her Yale students where she showed them a video of people passing a basketball. She asked her students to count the number of passes among people wearing white shirts.

When they revealed the answer – 15 passes – she said, “Great! But did you notice the person wearing a gorilla suit walk through the circle of players?” Invariably, the students said, “No. What? A person was wearing a gorilla suit?” When I heard this, I thought to myself, “Wow! Really? They didn’t notice? I bet I would pick up on the person in the gorilla suit. After all, I’m a highly sensitive person and notice things people miss.”

spiritual writing

You would think a gorilla is easy to spot! Photo by Patrice Audet on Unsplash

Dr. Santos also mentioned when people are pressed for time, they are more likely to have inattentional blindness. In other words, rushing causes us to stop noticing small details. Well, on Friday night, I was rushing and received a telephone call from a friend named Michael. I have six Michaels in my contact list and texted the most recent Michael that showed up in my text conversations and said, “I got your message, I’ll call you in an hour.” I called him in an hour, he didn’t answer, and I noticed his outgoing voicemail recording had changed.

It was only after my friend said, “Hey, did you mean to call a different Michael?” that I put it together. D’oh! Called the wrong one! Here I was thinking I’m immune to inattentional blindness and it turns out, no, I am not. I zeroed in on the name “Michael” and blocked out the last name. The experience reminded me that I am one among many. Yes, I often fall into the outlier category, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone else and, yet, that’s exactly what I started thinking on Friday before calling the wrong “Michael.”

My spiritual teacher says most people suffer from some sort of complex: an inferiority complex, superiority complex, fear complex, etc. He adds that “a complex of any sort is a psychic malady, a psychic disease. To consider oneself superior to others is a serious human mistake. Similarly, thinking oneself inferior to others is also a mistake. To suffer from an inferiority complex is also a psychic ailment. You must not encourage either a superiority complex or an inferiority complex. You must maintain a psychic balance; you must maintain a mental balance.”

Maintaining a mental balance for me means recognizing I’m human, I make mistakes. It means adopting an attitude of humility, or freedom from pride and arrogance. When I looked up the origin of the word “humility,” I found it stems from the Church Latin word humilis, which literally translates as “on the ground.” Also, part of the word humility’s etymology is other words that mean “Earth.” I like that. Being humble means keeping my feet on the ground, staying present here on Earth, and recognizing I’m no better and no worse than anyone else. In other words, I am also likely to miss a person wearing a gorilla suit.

I dream of a world where we recognize we are no better and no worse than anyone else. A world where we understand we all have strengths and weaknesses but that doesn’t mean we’re superior or inferior to others. A world where we place ourselves on equal footing with our fellow human beings. A world where we adopt an attitude of humility and realize we are likely to miss a person wearing a gorilla suit.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Both Can Be True

My friend Kat Nadel, a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) facilitator, mentioned she’s writing a blog about eight things NOT to say to Ukrainians right now. One of those things is including the words “at least” anywhere in your response. For instance, if a Ukrainian says, “My 12-year-old niece had to travel by herself to Romania and now she’s sheltering at a refugee camp all alone,” and you say, “That’s terrible! At least she’s safe.”

Saying “at least” is discounting the experience, feelings, and perspective of the person sharing. “At least” never makes anyone feel better. It’s not connective, it’s not empathic. I know we’re encouraged to look on the bright side of things, to be grateful, and I agree with those practices, BUT not at the expense of emotional connection. And that’s what saying “at least” does. It puts distance between you and whoever is sharing.

We have a name for this practice: toxic positivity. It’s “dismissing negative emotions and responding to distress with false reassurances rather than empathy,” according to UW Medicine. “It comes from feeling uncomfortable with negative emotions. It is often well-intentioned but can cause alienation and a feeling of disconnection.”

spiritual writing

This picture makes more sense as you keep reading. Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

Yep. Sure does. It’s also interesting for me to realize that not only do we “at least” other people, we also “at least” ourselves. I’ve done that for the past few weeks. Whenever I’ve been irritated or concerned about something – my shoulder hurting, waiting on money from clients, wishing I wasn’t so tired, etc. – I’ve said to myself, “Well at least I’m not in Ukraine.” It’s true, I’m not in Ukraine, but that doesn’t make the pain I feel in my shoulder dissipate. Instead, I feel bad that I feel bad.

The thinking goes, “I ‘shouldn’t’ feel what I’m feeling because other people have it so much worse.” And yes, they do, but why does it have to be a competition? Why can’t I feel heartbroken, worried, and shocked about the situation in Ukraine while also feeling dismayed, sad, and concerned about my shoulder? I can! Both can be true!

The empathic response to both myself and others is to say, “I hear you. It sounds like you feel _____. Do you have a need for _____?” And that’s it. No fixing, no changing, no pitying, just presence to what is alive both in myself and in others. This is so very hard but it seems to me what we all need more of is true connection. We need true witnessing of someone else’s pain as well as our own. Let the pain, the feelings, all of it, be there because this is what it means to be alive. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I try to inoculate myself from pain, from hardship. It’s my dream to have an easy, cushy life but, um, that’s not feasible.

Even the uber-wealthy, the people who have every material object they can desire, are not inoculated from pain or hardship. Even for them, divorce happens, death happens. To be alive means to endure something you don’t enjoy. It just does. And instead of turning away from the pain or engaging in toxic positivity, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stay with it. To cry about people fleeing Ukraine in droves. To worry about rising gas prices. And to say “ow” when our shoulder hurts.

I dream of a world where we meet each other with empathy, not toxic positivity. A world where we understand while someone will always have a worse situation, that doesn’t change our situation. A world where we realize we can feel upset about events in the world as well as sad about occurrences in our own lives. A world where we remember both can be true.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Facebook keeps showing me pictures from trips I took to Europe years ago, including one from Denmark in 2016. What I remember about that trip, other than laughing and exploring the country with a dear friend, is how everything reminded me of something else.

For instance, gazing out a train window, I could have sworn I was in Iowa, not Denmark, because the land was so similar. At the beach, the combination of the sand’s color, dunes, and water reminded me of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I know there are places in Denmark that are completely unique, but all in all, whenever I travel, I’m reminded everything is more the same than it is different. Yes, the landscape, but also the people.

I may not speak the same language as someone else, but we both care about our friends and family. We both want to be happy, to feel secure in where we live. We all have the same needs, and in times like these, all times really, it’s important to keep focusing on what binds us.

spiritual writing

These rocks say it all. Photo by Phyllis Poon on Unsplash

In our world, there are some people who are trying to create division. There are some people who use one group or another as a scapegoat for the world’s problems. They speak in broad strokes like, “All of these people are like this,” or “Those people are like that,” which is dangerous. When we enhance separateness, that creates conflict because at the root of mistreatment is an “us” and “them” mindset. It’s easier to justify atrocious acts when a person becomes someone who is “not like me.” Or even worse, not human.

My spiritual teacher corroborates this and says “us” and “them” thinking makes different groups become more violent toward each other. We’ve seen this over and over again. Frankly, haven’t we had enough? I’m not so naïve to think there will never be any conflicts in the world, but I think we start moving in a better direction when we realize, to paraphrase Shakespeare, that we all bleed when we are pricked, that we all feel pain and sorrow, that we all want to be happy and to realize our dreams. We want the same things even if how we go about achieving them is different.

I’ve used this quote before but it continues to be relevant. My spiritual teacher adds, “Human society is just like a garland which is made of different types of flowers, woven together by one common thread. The overall beauty of the garland is dependent upon the beauty of each flower. Likewise, each strata of society must be equally strengthened if we are to maintain the unity and solidarity of society.”

We must all be lifted up. We must support one another. We must see each other as people who are just like us if we have any hope of maintaining unity and solidarity. Peace comes from a place of connection and that starts with recognizing we are more similar than different.

I dream of a world where we recognize what unites us rather than divides us. A world where we focus on our similarities, not our differences. A world where we remember people are people everywhere. A world where we work together to create as much peace as we can.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

As a highly sensitive person and an empath, I feel everything. Not only my own emotions, but other people’s too. If the folks around me are scared, I’m scared. If they’re sad, I’m sad. I’ve tried numerous ways of dealing with this high degree of empathy. When I was younger, I did my best to numb out, to not feel anything. Long story short, that was a disaster. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried all the other things: clearing, shielding, visualizing, smudging, etc.

Those methods work to a degree, but also, it’s exhausting to constantly feel like I have to protect myself from other people’s energy. This week my chiropractor said something to me, offered a suggestion, that has thus far made a world of difference. I spoke with her about joining a Zoom call organized by members of my spiritual community in Ukraine. They are holding a 24-hour kiirtan indefinitely to promote peace in the region. (Kiirtan is a type of spiritual singing, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term.)

As soon as I jumped on the Zoom call, despite feeling gleeful because I just received good news, I hooked in to the emotions of my spiritual family and they were not gleeful, rightly so. Instead, the energy of the collective – even though only one person was singing the same phrase in Sanskrit over and over again, or in other words not outright talking about the situation – was fearful and sad.

spiritual writing

We can all be like this sunflower, absorbing energy and beaming it out. Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

I told my chiropractor I don’t know how to separate myself from intense energy like that and she said, “I’m not sure you can.” It was the first time someone acknowledged that maybe all this clearing, shielding, visualization, etc. doesn’t work that well because we can’t separate from one another. We’re not supposed to because we’re interconnected.

I’m not a physicist, but it seems to me that’s what quantum entanglement is. According to Live Science, when two or more particles link up in a certain way, no matter how far apart they are in space, their states remain linked. They share a common, unified quantum state. Researchers found, “[I]f two particles are entangled, meaning their quantum states are strongly correlated and become unified, then measurements of one of the particles automatically influence the other, no matter how far away the particles are from each other.”

That certainly sounds like my experience of being on the Zoom call. I was influenced by people thousands of miles away. Instead of trying to separate myself from others, which is likely impossible, what if I used that connection? My chiropractor suggested I put one hand on my heart and raise the other hand in the air. To notice the peace in my own body because it’s true, I’m not fleeing a war zone, and imagine blue, healing light pouring down from the sky, into my body, and then out my upraised hand. In that way, I can be a channel, can transmit and participate with the energy that also exists in the world. There’s fear, but there’s also safety. There’s sadness, but there’s also joy.

Instead of getting swept away by someone else’s energy, what if I used the principles of emotional contagion to support people who need it? What if I transmitted my own feelings in an act of sponsorship to soothe others? As an empath, I often feel encroached upon, but what if I turned outward? What if I pushed out love and healing? I’ve been practicing this every day and I feel so much better. I’m beaming love to my siblings across the globe and donating to charitable organizations like Amurtel, run by people I personally know and trust. I’m using my gifts instead of being used by them and that changes everything.

I dream of a world where empaths no longer feel bombarded. A world where they use their connection with others to beam love, light, and healing to all who need it. A world where we understand we can’t withdraw from others and instead are inseparable, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A world where empaths have tools to survive even when everything feels like too much.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Like many people, Ukraine is on my mind. I’m watching in horror as Russia is brazenly invading another country in a quest for power. Republican Senator Mitt Romney told NBC in January that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to reestablish what he had before, a type of Soviet Union. And furthermore, Putin is clear he thinks the breakup of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe for Russia, once describing it as the “greatest geopolitical tragedy” of the 20th century. So, um, yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s not invading Ukraine on a “peacekeeping mission.”

Here in my own country of the United States, I’m feeling equally disheartened as I witness more and more evidence that we don’t live in a democracy, or rule by the people, but rather a plutocracy, the reign of the rich. The political system is only paying lip-service to the average person’s problems and is instead working diligently to protect and grow the wealth of the already wealthy. For instance, billionaires increased their net worth by more than $1 trillion during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. Meanwhile, non-wealthy Americans have struggled to survive, closed their businesses, and generally haven’t profited due to the pandemic.

spiritual writing

A very appropriate image by Ukrainian artist Alexander Milov titled “Love.” Photo by Adam Hornyak on Unsplash

Hearing all this is enough to make me want to lie down on the floor and moan like the Wicked Witch of the West, “Ooooh, what a world! What a world!” And unlike the Wicked Witch, I’d add, “What a cruel, cruel world!” With facts like these it’s easy to fall into despair, hopelessness, maybe some fear. After all, I’ve seen some memes circulating that we’re witnessing the start of World War III.

At times like these, I turn to my spiritual practice because it’s a source of strength and calm. My spiritual teacher said people suffer from all sorts of complexes, including a fear complex and a defeatist complex. When you’re afraid, you’re not thinking clearly. And when you feel defeated, you’re not empowered because you think some other person, system, or circumstance is more powerful than you. Sometimes it is, so that’s why banding together with others is important. What’s also important to remember though is a concept I wrote about last week: letting your life belong to love.

In this case, it’s about letting love move you, to act through you. When I think I’m the one that has to tackle a system that prioritizes profits over people, I get overwhelmed. When I think I have to “figure everything out,” or somehow “solve the world’s problems,” it makes me want to not even try. Who am I? My spiritual teacher would say I’m love incarnate. That the powerful, creative force that births stars and creates planets resides in me. I’m not a lonely, insignificant human being, but instead the progeny of the Divine, and that means something. It matters.

Regarding Ukraine, plutocracy, and any other issue pressing on my heart and mind, I can let love lead, guide me in my actions, and show me the way. I don’t have to do everything by myself because instead I recognize I’m a puzzle piece of the cosmos. My little actions combine with someone else’s little actions and that can topple oppressive political systems. I don’t know when, but I don’t have to, because instead I’m letting love lead the way.

I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to feel our feelings while also remembering who we really are. A world where we understand we are divine children working in tandem with the greatest force in the universe. A world where we realize we each have our parts to play and we’re not enacting them alone. A world where we let love lead the way.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

I’m rereading a book I first picked up two years ago, Tosha Silver’s It’s Not Your Money, and I’m finding it’s just as powerful now as it was then. The title itself is a good place to start. It sums up the idea that nothing on this planet is truly “ours” in a permanent way. We are merely caretakers for the time being. You may think the money sitting in the bank under your name is yours, that the home you stay in belongs to you, but it doesn’t. Everything, EVERYTHING on this planet belongs to the divine beloved. At least, that’s the concept Tosha is touting.

It’s a concept that works for me because whenever I think something is “mine,” I start grasping, controlling, and getting overwhelmed. If I think money is mine, I start freaking out when I spend it, want to hoard it when I receive it, and worry about how to get more. “Am I investing properly? Am I maximizing my IRA? Should I move to a different bank?” I know that works for some people, but friends, that does. not. work. for. me.

Instead, I feel relief when I remember I’m not operating alone in this world. I can ask for help from my friends and community members. I can remember there is an ever-present loving entity that wants to help me, that’s running this entire show anyway. Tosha remarks people often say, “You’ll never find a parking spot in that area,” or “You’ll never find a house in this market.” Her response is, “You’re right. You won’t find a house in this market . . . without God.” It’s recognizing with God/source/the universe anything and everything is possible. If something is in our best interest, if it’s in our highest good, the Supreme will make it so. Even if parking is terrible, the housing market is fiercely competitive, the economy is in the toilet, etc.

spiritual writing

Maybe we’re little hearts that belong to a bigger heart. Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

There’s one line from Tosha’s book in particular that I wrote on a piece of masking tape two years ago and affixed above my doorknob so that I see it every time I enter and exit my house. She mentions the importance of letting go of old stories and recognizing no matter what happened in the past, we can do things differently. We can live a new reality. She said, “This life now belongs to love and anything can happen.” When I remember this life now belongs to love and anything can happen, I open myself up to magic and possibilities. I let myself be taken care of by something greater than myself.

This concept about letting life belong to love means letting love lead the way. It’s about letting go of control and recognizing there is a divine presence here, in this moment, in every moment. That a loving force moves through me and through you. And furthermore, we can consciously invite that loving force into our lives.

I’ve been on the spiritual path for a long time and I still need the reminder that surrender doesn’t end the minute I leave my meditation cushion. Real surrender means saying, “Hey God/higher power/universe, I want you to take care of this. Please guide my actions. I trust where you are leading me,” and then we let go, knowing whatever needs to come, comes, and whatever needs to go, goes. We let this life belong to love.

I dream of a world where we recognize the power and the presence of a loving force in our lives. A world where we’re able to surrender and let go of our micromanaging tendencies and fully trust all true needs will be met, and often in amazing and wonderful ways. A world where we realize we will never walk alone if we let our lives belong to love.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

This Valentine’s Day marks 14 years since I moved to the Bay Area. My friend Emma jokingly says it’s my “golden” anniversary because the numbers match. I don’t know if this year will actually be golden, if it will be my best year yet, but I do know every year I wonder if my anniversary will be humdrum, blasé, just a date on the calendar. And every year I find just the opposite: it’s still celebratory and meaningful.

Every year I still swell with pride and choke up in gratitude that 23-year-old me, scared of just about everything, said, “OK, I’ll move,” without having a job, a place to live, or an extensive community. That little community grew and caught me every time I thought I’d fall, which could be a whole other post. It wasn’t an easy experience moving nine times in seven months, nor watching my bank account approach zero dollars and then hit it, but boy am I grateful I moved. I’m so appreciative of that young woman who didn’t give up. For continuing to try even when it would have been easy to throw in the towel. I’m grateful to her for her courage, her openness, and her willingness to go outside her comfort zone. So much happened 14 years ago and the echoes still reach me today.

Why am I writing this publicly? After all, it could have been a journal entry, a private love letter to myself, but I’m making it public because it has me wonder, have you expressed gratitude for your past self lately? Have you said, “Thank you,” to the person in the mirror?

spiritual writing

Thank you goes a long way. Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

Valentine’s Day is touted as a day to celebrate relationships, typically romantic ones. But the most enduring, constant relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself. You are the only person who is with you from birth to death. Have you said, “I’m so proud of you”? Or even given yourself a high five in the mirror?

Mel Robbins (no relation to Tony Robbins), is a motivational speaker and coach. She talks about high fiving yourself in her book The High Five Habit. During a podcast episode with Marie Forleo, she said, “You’re either going to have a really positive reaction where you’re going to laugh and you’re going to smile and it’s going to be funny and corny and all this stuff, or you will burst into tears in a very positive way. This is a very, very common thing that’s happening for people. And the tears are a positive release because you are realizing emotionally how much you’ve longed for this from yourself.”

Sometimes it’s easier to praise other people, to express our gratitude and appreciation for them, but what about you? Aren’t you just as deserving of praise, gratitude, and celebration? This Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love. I bet there’s something, some version of yourself, some moment, some age that you reflect on with appreciation. What do you want to say to that past self? As for me, I’m saying, “Thank you.”

I dream of a world where we appreciate ourselves for how far we’ve come. A world where we say, “Thank you for doing that,” to the person in the mirror. A world where we show some love to ourselves on a day that’s all about love.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

1 2 3 4 70 71
Plugin Supporter Smooth Post Navigation