I’m so happy to let you know that I’ll be partnering with local poet and photographer Tracey Schmidt to present an evening of Mystical Poetry. Tracey and I were introduced to each other by Jean Cassidy of www.SheVille.org. She thought we might enjoy working together — and we do!
Date and Time: September 20, Friday evening, 7:30 to 9:30 pm. $15 love offering.
Location: Unity of The Blue Ridge, 2041 Fanning Bridge Rd, Mills River, NC 28759. 828-891-8700. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a book that you keep near — one you can open to any random page and receive words of encouragement or wisdom? Maybe it’s a sacred text of some kind, maybe a contemporary book, or a book of poems.
For me right now, it’s “A Thousand Names For Joy” by Byron Katie. (She goes by Katie.)
I read the book from cover to cover a while ago and then set it aside for several months. I opened it again recently for some help.
A Thousand Names for Joy had an interesting beginning, by the way. Author Stephen Mitchell (Katie’s husband) tells that when he first met her, he was profoundly impressed by her openness of heart and her wisdom.
“She was a total innocent: she had read nothing, she knew nothing, about Buddhism or Taoism or any other spiritual tradition; she just had her own experience to refer to. The most wonderful insights would pop out of her mouth, sometimes straight from a sutra or an Upanishad, without any awareness on her part that anyone had ever said them before.”
Because Stephen is an expert in the Tao Te Ching (in 1986 he wrote 81 chapters about it) he began to read it to her and ask for her take on it. That’s how A Thousand Names for Joy began. He asked her questions and noted what she said.
LIVING, BREATHING, DAILY PRACTICE
It is one thing to read about being in harmony with the way things are, or even understand it to some extent, and it’s quite another to live it fully every day in every circumstance. Living it is the true test. I learned this (again) in a very deep way with Eric’s passing.
I have thought of myself as being somewhat (fumblingly, inconsistently) able to go with the flow, even in fairly difficult circumstance, or — be acutely aware when I’m not. Both states are of equal importance to me, because being aware that I’m not in the flow, or not accepting what is, helps me as much as being in the flow.
One evening as I was heading for bed, I was especially aware and awake about being in a funk. I was aware that I was not in the flow. I was hurting, and I was down. I was sad. And on top of that, I felt discouraged, weary and self-critical about being so sad.
I turned to A Thousand Names For Joy, closed my eyes, and asked for help. I asked to receive a message that would help my heart.
I don’t know your situations, your struggles, or your demons. I don’t know what sends you into a spin or what burdens you. I don’t know what worries you or sits heavy in the corners of your beautiful heart.
But I hope peace comes to you in a profound way when you read these words by Katie.
A NOTE OF EXPLANATION ABOUT “INQUIRY”
To make sense of the book quote I’m about to share with you, when Katie uses the word “inquiry” she specifically means The Work, which consists of four questions and what she calls a turnaround. A turnaround is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. For more information visit The Work. She offers everything to do “The Work” for free on her website.
The four questions used to inquire within about a stressful thought are:
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
How do you react when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
When you first encounter her questions, they may seem intellectual. But from my own experience, I began to understand the depth of the process and how they work by watching videos of Katie using these questions with people who were in deep pain. When the questions were answered honestly, they revealed what couldn’t be seen when a person was up to his or her elbows in emotion.
QUOTE FROM A THOUSAND NAMES FOR JOY
What I’m sharing with you today is page 47-48 of A Thousand Names For Joy, #16 entry, which begins with this quote from the Tao Te Ching: “Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.”
The main text continues:
“You can’t empty your mind of thoughts. You might as well try to empty the ocean of its water. Thoughts just keep coming back, it seems. That’s the way of it.
But thoughts aren’t a problem if they’re met with understanding. Why would you even want to empty your mind, unless you’re at war with reality? I love my thoughts. And if I were ever to have a stressful thought, I know how to question it and give myself peace. Even the most stressful thought could come along, and I would just be amused. You can have ten thousand thoughts a minute and if you don’t believe them, your heart remains at peace.
The original stressful thought is the thought of an I. Before that thought, there was peace. A thought is born out of nothing and instantly goes back to where it came from. If you look before, between, and after your thoughts, you’ll see that there is only a vast openness. That’s the space of don’t-know. It’s who we really are. It’s the source of everything, it contains everything: life and death, beginning, middle and end.
Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time, we’re going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it’s always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally expose what is, you’re going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There’s no sadness without a story. What is is. You are it.
I have a friend who, after doing inquiry sincerely for a number of years, came to understand that the world is a reflection of mind. She was married to a man who was the love of her life, and one day, while they were sitting on their couch, he had a heart attack and died in her arms. After the first shock and the tears, she began looking for grief, and there was none. For weeks she kept looking for grief, because her friends told her that grief was a necessary part of the healing process. And all she felt was a completeness: that there was nothing of him that she’d had while he was physically with her that she didn’t have now.
She told me that every time a sad thought about him appeared, she would immediately ask, “Is it true?” and see the turnaround, which washed away the sadness and replaced it with what was truer.
“He was my best friend; I have no one to talk to now” became “I am my best friend; I have me to talk to now.”
“I’ll miss his wisdom” became “I don’t miss his wisdom”; there was no way she could miss it, because she was that wisdom.
Everything she thought she’d had in him she could find in herself; there was no difference. And because he turned out to be her, he couldn’t die. Without the story of life and death, she said, there was just love. He was always with her.”
What a good idea, don’t you think, to LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, whether we’re talking about loving you or someone else? And since there’s a strong connection between how much you love and accept yourself and how happy you are in a relationship, you could say that everything really starts with loving you.
I’m excited about my upcoming course for women starting in April, called LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH. This course is the cream layer of what I’ve learned in 40 years about relationships. Over 7 weeks, course participants will learn 6 pivotal changes that offer beneficial and immediately applicable shifts in perspective right where you want them, along with valuable and life-enhancing tools for improving your relationship.
If I had known even two of the six pivotal changes and put them into practice, it would have changed the direction of my life entirely.
If someone had told me when I was about 20 years old that I was working perfectly, that there was nothing wrong with me, and nothing to fix, I am sure I would have looked at them quite quizzically. Maybe I would have asked for some evidence.
And if I had asked for evidence, maybe they would have told me the proof that everything about me is working perfectly is that there is something I’m really good at. (And everyone else in the world is good at this, as well.)
They would have sat me down and told me that I was really good at producing the results I produce. I’m a master of my own outcomes. The only question is, “Do I like those outcomes? Am I producing the results I want?”
They might have told me that there’s a big secret the adults who raised us probably didn’t teach us, or operate from. If they didn’t teach us, it simply means they forgot the secret themselves. They didn’t teach it to us because they couldn’t.
Most parents didn’t tell us that we have within us a built-in, surefire way of determining what’s on track for us and what’s not. What’s right for us, what’s not so much. What brings out our talents and inner knowing, and what doesn’t. What makes us shiny happy, bursting with enthusiasm, and ready to take on the world, vs. what makes us discouraged, reticent, or even mad-as-a-hornet-angry.
If they didn’t teach us, it’s because they forgot it themselves, even though I believe with all my heart that we come into this life knowing fully how to make decisions beneficial to who we are and where we’re headed.
So the course will begin with remembering that everything about you is working perfectly. We’ll talk about the evidence for that, and make sure this idea is our “solid ground.” Then we’ll remember and revive our inner guidance system, which changes everything. That’s for starters.
After that, we’ll work with other questions over the seven weeks that we’re together. Here are a few.
What is one of the most deeply powerful influences on male-female relationships that almost everyone ignores?How could this set of information work to your advantage if you knew what it was and how it works?
What are three personal philosophies that help create a consistently positive flow in your relationship and in your life?
Why does change feel so strange at first?
What are five easy-to-remember steps to change?
What’s the connection between thought, feeling and outcome?How does knowing this help you change?
What moves your relationship from average to brilliant?What changes it from “going through the motions,” to more fun and satisfying?
I hope you’ll join me in answering those questions, and in doing so, creating positive momentum in your relationship. There are only eight seats available in this first course, but there will be more. If you’d like to find out more about this unique course, or if you’d like to participate, click over now.
I will be answering your relationship questions in a FREE webinar! This special event is free and open to anyone with an internet connection. Don’t forget to submit your question. Don’t be shy. It’s all on the table.
Join us for the live stream: When: November 19th, 2015 at 6:00pm EST Where: Relationship Q&A on Google Hangouts on Air
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You’re broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can’t find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again And I’ll rise up High like the waves I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
When the silence isn’t quiet And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
All we need, all we need is hope And for that we have each other And for that we have each other And we will rise We will rise We’ll rise, oh, oh We’ll rise
I’ll rise up Rise like the day I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I will rise a thousand times again And we’ll rise up High like the waves We’ll rise up In spite of the ache We’ll rise up And we’ll do it a thousand times again
During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.