Sunday, January 30, 2011

There are no coincidences...

"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny." 

My meditation teacher was in town last week. Poor guy, in from L.A. on one of the coldest days of the year. One of the things that impressed me most was his attitude...he didn't complain, he just rolled with it. 
Sure, January in Chicago is cold; in fact, all things considered (and compared to the people on the East Coast who have gotten clobbered by snow this year), this has been a relatively mild winter. 
last week was bitterly cold and I wanted to avoid being outside at all costs.
I have been unable to attend his meditation sessions the last several months due to conflicts in my schedule...I certainly wasn't going to miss this one. I have fallen off the Vedic wagon, so to speak. I've been neglecting my practice and I've definitely felt the difference. I needed a refresher, a reminder, some words of wisdom to get me going again.
And so...
I bundled up and headed out to Wicker Park. I glad I did!

He closed the session by sharing a story about an experience he had several years ago. It was a lesson in listening to inner guidance. He had a plan, he said...but life doesn't always go according to plans. 
Sometimes we just need to stay flexible and open to unexpected opportunities that present themselves.
Sometimes those detours which can be so frustrating are actually guiding you to where you're REALLY meant to be.
For example, have you ever gotten delayed or had a last minute cancellation which led to you being somewhere you hadn't planned to be? Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone who later became a significant contact? Has a line in that book you're reading struck a chord with you that led you to reflect on your past life choices and decide to do things differently? Have you been toying with the idea of making a change (job? return to school? move to a new city? country?) and then you find references to that change all around you? (a college brochure on the table at your local coffeehouse? an article on that new city in the Sunday paper? a friend who just happens to know of an opening at that company you've been thinking about applying to?)
Some might call it luck or coincidence or fate...I don't know that the name is really important.
I do think it's important to recognize how quickly the direction of our lives can change based on the decisions we make. We are responsible for making informed decisions, but we also must be respectful of our inner guidance system. The less obstructed we are with the thoughts and concerns that distract us from the present moment, the more in tune we become to our inner wisdom. 
For me, it is an ongoing process, keeping that channel unobstructed. It's an act of faith as well. Oftentimes, it can feel like jumping off into the can be unsettling and scary. The unknown is like that. It's particularly frightening for someone like me, who doesn't like surprises (much).
But here's the good news...
I have had enough experiences that have turned out better than I could have ever imagined, just because I took a chance; somewhere deep inside, I had faith that everything would be ok and I would be taken care of...even if I didn't have a clear picture of how that would turn out. That's not to say that every chance I took turned out well...but each mis-step has been a learning opportunity and has led me to exactly where I am at this moment.

And that place is pretty darn good... yourself...listen to that hunch...stay open...and see what happens!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birds of a feather...

Today's message seems to concern the power of my thoughts. As I sit here, savoring my first cup of coffee and checking my email, I am struck by the similarities in the messages in my inbox: Law of Attraction, motivational affirmations, optimism vs. pessimism, happiness is 'contagious', etc.

I reflected on my own experiences...

As I have shared in earlier posts, I used to be a cynical, negative person. I focused on all the things that were going wrong in my life, how I was a victim of my circumstances, and all the conspiracy theories I could dream up to support the current state of my experience. No wonder I was miserable! I was looking at my world through defective 'glasses.' I was also surrounding myself with people who thought the same way that I did...misery loves company, right?

The 'silver lining' of a particularly difficult period in my life is that I learned that the way in which I view my world is up to me. I have a choice whether to focus on the positive or negative aspects of my life. For example, I can choose to complain about the bitter cold that we are experiencing in Chicago today, or I can choose to focus on the crystal blue, sunny skies outside my window and be grateful that I have a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, and HEAT!

One of the articles I read this morning talked about how "the company you keep affects your perception of the world" (

What an interesting concept... 

This phenomenon has occurred several times in my life. Last summer, as I pursued a new leg on my spiritual path, I found myself encountering new, positive, inspirational people. It was remarkable! Within the course of a month, I had met 5 outstanding people who embodied outlooks that I wanted to emulate and I was excited to learn more...I wanted to soak up every drop of positive goodness that I felt when I was in their company.It was intoxicating...
This also helped me to reexamine some toxic, negative relationships that I was still hanging on to...the amazing thing is that those people started to choose other people to hang out with! Misery loves company, right?  

Choice is powerful and empowering.If you don't like your present state of mind, you can choose again. Choose responsibly,choose what feels right to you...but remember:
There is power in the collective nature of our thoughts...choose wisely!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh, the possibilities....

We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it. 

- Lauryn Hill

I am continually amazed by how, when I stop trying to orchestrate the events in my life, the most amazing things happen!
In the past week, I have made a conscious effort to simply remain open to my life, in my work, in my everyday encounters.
I have stepped outside of my comfort zone in conversations with new people and have tried to engage with people on a more personal level. Something as simple as saying hello to the person standing in line ahead of me at my favorite local coffee spot can lead to the most remarkable conversations....
What I have learned is that I can sometimes become so focused on the next task on my mental to-do list that I miss the opportunity to connect with the people around me. The events of this week, while not earth-shattering, have helped me to reflect on the ways in which I have been un-available for my life. I cannot focus on "what might have happened if...?", but I can let this serve as a reminder, once again, to be present.

Give it a try:
suit up, show up, and live your life consciously.

You never know what might happen...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Give peace a chance...

My prayers go out to all those affected by the senseless shooting in Arizona yesterday. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In with the new (attitude)!

Whatever you're thinking about is literally like planning a future event. When you're worrying, you are planning. When you are appreciating, you are planning...What are you planning? 

Abraham Hicks

I hope you all had a fantastic New Year's! I am committed to making 2011 the best year it can be. I am excited to see what unfolds this year.

A few days ago, I was directed to a 'youtube' clip that has had a huge impact on me and I would like to share it with you.( I have attached a link to the clip below.)

I have decided to saturate myself in positivity this year! 2011 will be my year of positive thinking. I know from past experience that a positive attitude shifts my life experience. Being around positive people, reading inspirational positive material, positive affirmations all contribute to this shift. I have made the choice to concentrate on this area of my life. I am committed to making the world a better place and I believe that my small contribution, combined with the efforts of other like-minded people, can do that.

Won't you join me?

Will Smith Wisdom