The Holidays 2018: Survival Guide

Every year about this time, we slip into the Season of the Holidays! In the Northern Hemisphere these holidays often fall on of near the Winter Solstice and were probably originated to assist early civilizations to cope with short days and then the rebirth of sunlight. We tend to mark the “dark times” of the year with lights/fires, social gatherings, and ceremonies. Too much food and too many gifts have become a tradition for people who can afford this kind of celebration and a challenging reminder for those of us who are not capable of participating at the level of overdone gluttony. My favorite holidays have always been more simple and with the people who really choose to be available, as opposed to whom I am “supposed” to celebrate with. As an example, last Thanksgiving (in 2017), 11 friends gathered at my house. They all had other places they could have been but chose to hang out with our community of friends and share stories of what gratitude really means for them. It was one of the very best, possibly the best, Thanksgiving for me because we really wanted to sit at that table together, in love.

Wow, I used the “L” word. AND, the holidays are better when sincere Love, with NO strings attached, are shared in respect, acceptance, and gratitude. How I wish the “Holidaze” had more of these true sentiments. Every human being, and most plants and animals (yes even rocks and rats) appreciate a good dose of LOVE given unconditionally. So consider the greatest gift you can give by being fully “present” and finding a way to celebrate the beauty and perfection of the soul who stands in front of you. Reduce or eliminate your judgement and find the Divine Spirit reflected back at you!!! Warm yourself in the Brilliant Light and Warmth which burns in the fellow pilgrim which you share this road to Enlightenment with. If nothing else, acknowledge the soul and spirit as the fellow traveler they are.

No matter what your religious belief or the “rules of conformity” you are asked to follow, find some genuine Love and Respect. Dance in the light until the Joy wells up inside and you remember where your soul has come from and where it will return when your days in this life, transition into the freedom of the Divine.

No matter what else is said or you experience, KNOW that you are a Perfect manifestation of the Divine Spirit. You are important and your role is of major value. You serve by being the actor in this play and you do YOU better than anyone else!!! Overcome your own self-judgement and accept the beauty and the light you radiate! AND, remember to laugh when you plunge back into the weird Drama of your life… The drama and challenges are there to be the lessons so we (YOU) can learn to respond in the most positive sacred way to the hellish relationships and circumstances we might find ourselves within. We did NOT come to this life to avoid change or challenges. We came because these tougher times become the very best crucibles for our learning and development.

If you find yourselves away from family and friends, try to ind a way to connect and to serve. You will feel better and learn from each interaction. If you find yourself with family and friends, attempt today deep to find the best expression of your love and appreciation. You that the souls you meet during these holidays are on the path, whether the fully understand or not, and every interaction offers you an opportunity to be the beacon of love and light to guide all who are present one step closer to enlightenment. Step up and be the force for good you want to see in this world… Bless you for trying!

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Service to the World, Are You Doing Your Part?

How much service to the world is enough? Being of service takes many roles and can be offered in many ways, but are you doing your part? Most of us are engaged in “survival” and we might not have the time or the resources to consider living our lives in service. Most of us do not even really understand how much service we provide because we are not conscious of the regular interactions which benefit the people we bump into. An unconscious gesture like the smile or the thank you or the acknowledgement of appreciation can offer a lot. And, there are some of us who seem to wake every morning excited and considering what acts of conscious service we can provide.

Most of us feel really good when we are doing something we know to be “good” for another person. As we share this loving energy, we get more in return by our act of “giving.” The act of giving, without any strings attached, is a true gift. When providing a service like non-judgmentally listening to someone’s “story,” we, as the “witness,” provide a huge service. Yes, something as simple as listening in a loving way can benefit everyone involved AND even the “Universe.” Demonstrating: patience, acceptance, gratitude, support, love, and connection, are all acts of service which can improve the general levels of consciousness and specifically the individual souls who bask in these higher energies. Thank You for your service, in advance…

By being most conscious regarding your interactions with any of the fellow pilgrims you bump into, you offer an opportunity for positive growth. You do not have to agree with the behaviors which get acted out but you can still look to the beauty and perfection of the person standing in front of you. They are a Miracle! They have arrived to assist you in your lesson, sometimes providing challenges for you to learn your lessons. Even when the situation may feel negative and overwhelming, you are able to “practice” your growing strategies for moving into higher consciousness. What a blessing!

Be aware! Take off your blinders! All of your interactions have a value and purpose, even if you are not clearly aware to what the purpose may be. Look to live in Love! Feel the perfection of each situation. Take responsibility for your reactions and behaviors. And, when all else fails in a difficult interaction, you can with empathy ask, “What has happened to this person to make them act the way that they behave?” You may not know the answer, but you are feeling, with empathy, the life experience and lessons this person is working through. (Or, they are pushing your buttons, because that is the lesson you require…)

If you can think of nothing else, do not miss the opportunity to look into someones eyes and appreciate the beautiful soul in front of you. Giving thanks offers a connecting experience and demonstration of your acknowledgement. Again, thank you in advance for your acts of service and higher consciousness.

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Basic Mindfulness Part 2: Living in a Mindful Way

Being Mindful has been a question for me. After my three day Mindfulness retreat, I am more Mindful about the things I have not been mindful about. What the heck does that mean…??? Well, read a bit further.

I learned at the retreat what I think I already knew but had not learned how this feels or how to incorporate being more mindful into my habit driven lifestyle. No surprise, the key to being more mindful is to be aware and “present” by paying attention to your breath. Again no surprise, I learned that being more mindful works better when I focus on only one thing at a time. For example, drive focused without other distractions. (More examples to follow.) This focusing on one thing at a time is kind of challenging in our 24/7, multi-tasking world, but it certainly makes sense.

We practiced slower walking and breathing, awareness and appreciation of nature, and more meditations. The first two key ingredients to being more mindful (with 10 listed) where 1. to be aware of myself and my environment and 2. was to view each activity in your day with “Beginners Mind” and the feeling of wonderment. I liked these first two a lot. In fact, I really enjoyed all 10 ingredients in the book we used as a text but found number 6 a bit more challenging for me to fully appreciate and understand, let alone to practice. Number 6 was to live in “Equanimity.” I can barely spell Equanimity let alone know how to practice it. After consultation with my retreat group, its leader Chau Yoder (who is amazing) and my special Guru spiritual consultant, Paula Forget, I believe I am much closer to knowing what this is all about.

Equanimity is a very important, but a challenging (for me,) part of the Mindfulness life. This term refers to being able to look at and appreciate experiences in your life without getting caught in the “drama” of the experience. Paula Forget suggested that I look at each experience from the higher perspective of a “spiritual being” caught in a mortal body. As I look from a higher perspective, I may not “judge” the event, individual or experience but just see, perhaps feel it, as a neutral activity that can be curious and interesting. When I am successful, I may even feel empathy and appreciation for the circumstances which have lead to this experience and more fully understand my “lesson” or “challenge” from my participation. Even if this lesson is painful, which as a human I will feel, I can still feel appreciation for what I can learn from this challenge on my pilgrimage through life. This detachment does NOT mean you do not care or feel the physical or emotional pain. It means that you are not locked up without finding the higher perspective regarding how to celebrate (?) this difficult challenge.

One more example and an exercise you can attempt… Hold a tangerine. Look at it fully. Appreciate the work of people who delivered this fruit to you and the forces of nature which allowed this fruit to grow. Feel the tangerine. Scratch the peel and smell the tangerine. Slowly and carefully peel the tangerine, perhaps keeping the peel in one piece. Pull the first section out slowly and place this in your mouth. Breathe! Feel the tangerine section in your mouth. Move it around with your tongue. Press it against your teeth or slowly take a bite. Breathe! Taste the sweetness. Appreciate the sun and forces which developed the sugar of this fruit. Slowly swallow the first section and then slowly repeat this for as much of this tangerine as you wish. If you were not distracted and were focused upon this exercise, attempt this at your next meal… Try to not speak for 10 minutes while you eat… Be mindful. Breathe slowly. Appreciate.

Full List of 10 Qualities of Mindfulness are:
These are Pages 18-20 of Laurie Cameron’s book: “The Mindful Day, Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm and Joy From Morning to Evening.”

1. Awareness
2. Beginners Mind
3. Acceptance
4. Insight
5. Impermanence (Life is temporary and so are all the challenges…)
6. Equanimity
7. Interconnection
8. Compassion
9. Gratitude
10. Joy

Special thanks to Chau Yoder for these helpful acronyms:

Consider C.A.R.E. when dealing with life’s experiences
C. Compassion
A. Appreciation
R. Respect
E. Equanimity

To Assist you with this, try P.B.S.
P. Pause
B. Breathe
S. Smile

One more tip for dealing with a situation which “Triggers” you. R.A.I.N.
R. Recognize
A. Allow
I. Investigate with Kindness
N. Nurture (Yourself and the Appreciation of this Challenge)

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Share Your Gratitude Every Chance You Get!

Gratitude and Acknowledgement should NOT be your secret! Everyone needs and deserves to be thanked and to feel appreciated. In meditation this morning, I was told to share Gratitude. Not just to people and experiences who have been nice to me but to all the Life-force in the Universe. Never miss the chance to say “Thank You” and appreciate the blessings you behold.

If you allow yourself to be fully present, acknowledging every experience you encounter becomes your lesson. The world will be a better place, for ALL of us, when you demonstrate your gratitude. The art of appreciation is a nearly lost skill. We do send “Thank You” cards hardly ever. (AND, doesn’t if feel great to get a card of appreciation.) A shallow “thanks” is still better than none at all. A focused look into someone’s eyes as you share a sincere acknowledgement means so much!

In the age of Social Media and superficial communication, we can still reach deep into our hearts and find the best ways to reach out and to let a person know that they are special and that you appreciate the interaction with them that has occurred. It takes so little effort and can mean so much. If nothing else, “Pay it Forward” and show you “CARE!” Let’s start a chain reaction of Gratitude, acceptance, and appreciation which can light up our world!

YOU are a Blessing! You are Perfect! The world needs you and your amazing life! Go out and shine brightly on all the lifeforms you bump into… The Divine Spirit burns brightly within you and YOU are much greater than you can ever imagine!

If gratitude is important and if you are READY for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

The Greatest Gift You Can Give

Are you into gift giving? Are you ready to discover the secret of an amazing gift idea? Even if you are excellent at picking out the “right” gift or you are an exceptional crafts-person who creates the most awesome artistic once-in-lifetime creations, you can learn how to make other people the happiest by learning the lesson of this blog. Now are you ready to listen???

Put your wallet away. Clean your crafts’ soot off your hands. Look lovingly and with grateful humility into your most cherished friend/relative’s eyes and say “Thank You” (from your heart) when they OFFER YOU their gift. The gift you receive could be expensive. It could inexpensive but all that they could afford. It could be the gift of a service rendered. It could be a gift of expressed love or care. YOU give the gift of receiving this special gift and allow them to feel the pleasure of YOUR appreciation. Yes, it is difficult for many of us to receive a gift! It can be difficult to be “Present” and accept the gesture without piling on your material expression of…. “giftiness” (made up word.)

Allow your gift presenter her special moment of loving appreciation and know the love in their thoughtfulness.

Especially, if you are sick or dying, allow your friends and loved ones to give generously of their love for you. Do not play the victim, just accept their assistance and make them a part of your challenging experience. They will remember these moments when they were able, and allowed, to perform a “mitzvah” (Jewish for: a good deed.)

If you have been the “Giver” and not allowed others the gift of giving to you, these receivers may feel guilty and in your debt. You feel good but they have not had the chance to even the score and, believe me, if they are good people, they do not want a one way gifting relationship. They want a chance to be there for you!

So remember the blessing of being open to receiving a heartfelt gesture. Embrace it with sincerity. Bask in the bright light they radiate in your appreciation of their efforts. AND, do not take any moment of kindness and generosity for granted.

Share love. Smile and acknowledge, without judgement, those who cross your path… We are all pilgrims on a journey toward consciousness and toward remembering the divine spirit which dwells in each of us.

Blessings to you!

Connecting with a community of people seeking to remember their divine… Masters of the Journey