spiritual masters teaching with humor ~ these are some of my favs.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
i’ve been loving wayne dyer since the early 90’s. really, he should be my husband. . . .
here’s his advice for today:
Inspiration is a state of being here now in this material world, while at the same time reconnecting to our spiritual origins. In order to be receptive to inspiration, we need to eliminate the ego clutter that accumulates all too easily for most of us—after all, if we’re preoccupied with events and activities that have nothing to do with inspiration, we’re unlikely to notice its summons. So in order to achieve a reunion with our ultimate calling, we need to emulate the clear, uncomplicated world of Spirit.
This doesn’t mean that we should sit around doing nothing, awaiting Spirit’s arrival; instead, it means having faith that our spiritual connection flourishes in a life dedicated to joy, love, and peace. If our daily activities are so overwhelming that we don’t make these things our priority, then we’re disregarding the value of living a simple life.
My 12-Step Program for Simplifying Your Life
Here are 12 very specific tools for simplifying your life. Begin using them today if you’re serious about hearing that ultimate call to inspiration.
- Unclutter Your Life. You’ll feel a real rush of inspiration when you clear out stuff that’s no longer useful in your life:
If you haven’t worn it in the past year or two, recycle it for others to use. Get rid of old files that take up space and are seldom, if ever, needed. Donate unused toys, tools, books, bicycles, and dishes to a charitable organization.
Get rid of anything that keeps you mired in acquisitions that contribute to a cluttered life. In the words of Socrates, “He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.” So the less you need to insure, protect, dust, reorganize, and move, the closer you’ll be to hearing inspiration’s call.
- Clear your Calendar of Unwanted and Unnecessary Activities and Obligations. If you’re unavailable for Spirit, you’re unlikely to know the glow of inspiration. God will indeed work with you and send you the guidance—and the people—you need, but if you’re grossly overscheduled, you’re going to miss these life-altering gifts. So practice saying no to excessive demands and don’t feel guilty about injecting a dose of leisure time into your daily routine.
- Be Sure to Keep Your Free Time Free. Be on the lookout for invitations to functions that may keep you on top of society’s pyramid, but which inhibit your access to joyful inspiration. If cocktail parties, social get-togethers, fund-raising events, or even drinking-and-gossiping gatherings with friends aren’t really how you want to spend your free time, then don’t. Begin declining invitations that don’t activate feelings of inspiration. I find that an evening spent reading or writing letters, watching a movie with a loved one, having dinner with my children, or even exercising alone is far more inspiring than getting dressed to attend a function often filled with small talk. I’ve learned to be unavailable for such events without apologizing, and consequently have more inspired moments freed up.
- Take Time for Meditation and Yoga. Give yourself at least 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and make conscious contact with God. I’ve written an entire book on this subject called Getting in the Gap, so I won’t belabor it here. I will say that I’ve received thousands of messages from people all over the world, who have expressed their appreciation for learning how to simplify their life by taking the time to meditate. I also encourage you to find a yoga center near you and begin a regular practice. The rewards are so powerful: You’ll feel healthier, less stressed, and inspired by what you’ll be able to do with and for your body in a very short time.
- Return to the Simplicity of Nature. There’s nothing more awe-inspiring than nature itself. The fantasy to return to a less tumultuous life almost always involves living in the splendor of the mountains, the forests, or the tundra; on an island; near the ocean; or beside a lake. These are universal urges, since nature is created by the same Source as we are, and we’re made up of the same chemicals as all of nature (we’re stardust, remember?).
Your urge to simplify and feel inspired is fueled by the desire to be your natural self—that is, your natureself. So give yourself permission to get away to trek or camp in the woods; swim in a river, lake, or ocean; sit by an open fire; ride horseback through trails; or ski down a mountain slope. This doesn’t have to mean long, planned vacations that are months away—no matter where you live, you’re only a few hours or even moments away from a park, campground, or trail that will allow you to enjoy a feeling of being connected to the entire Universe.
- Put Distance between You and Your Critics. Choose to align yourself with people who are like-minded in their search for simplified inspiration. Give those who find fault or who are confrontational a silent blessing and remove yourself from their energy as quickly as possible. Your life is simplified enormously when you don’t have to defend yourself to anyone, and when you receive support rather than criticism. You don’t have to endure the criticism with anything other than a polite thank-you and a promise to consider what’s been said—anything else is a state of conflict that erases the possibility of your feeling inspired. You never need to defend yourself or your desires to anyone, as those inner feelings are Spirit speaking to you. Those thoughts are sacred, so don’t ever let anyone trample on them.
- Take Some Time for Your Health. Consider that the number one health problem in America seems to be obesity. How can you feel inspired and live in simplicity if you’re gorging on excessive amounts of food and eliminating the exercise that the body craves? Recall that your body is a sacred temple where you reside for this lifetime, so make some time every single day for exercising it. Even if you can only manage a walk around the block, just do it. Similarly, keep the words portion control uppermost in your consciousness—your stomach is the size of your fist, not a wheelbarrow! Respect your sacred templeand simplify your life by being an exerciser and a sensible eater. I promise that you’ll feel inspired if you act on this today!
- Play, Play, Play! You’ll simplify your life and feel inspired if you learn to play rather than work your way through life. I love to be around kids because they inspire me with their laughter and frivolity. In fact, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Wayne, you’ve never grown up—you’re always playing.” I take great pride in this! I play onstage when I speak, and I’m playing now as I write.
Many years ago I was given a tremendous opportunity to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The man who took a chance on me, booking me even though I was an unknown at the time, was a talent coordinator named Howard Papush. It was my first big break, and I went on to appear on The Tonight Show 36 additional times. Now it’s my turn to say thank you to Howard. He’s written a wonderful book titled When’s Recess? Playing Your Way Through the Stresses of Life, which I encourage you to read. (Howard also conducts workshops that teach people how to play and have fun in life.) In the book, Howard shares this great quote from Richard Bach: “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.” I couldn’t agree more—by all means, get back in touch with your real, playful self, and take every opportunity to play! Notice how it makes everything so sweet, and so simple.
- Slow Down. One of Gandhi’s most illuminating observations reminds us that “there is more to life than increasing its speed.” This is great advice for simplifying your life—in fact, slow everything way down for a few moments right here and now. Slowly read these words. Slow your breathing down so that you’re aware of each inhalation and exhalation…
When you’re in your car, downshift and relax. Slow down your speech, your inner thoughts, and the frantic pace of everything you do. Take more time to hear others. Notice your inclination to interrupt and get the conversation over with, and then choose to listen instead. Stop to enjoy the stars on a clear night and the cloud formations on a crisp day. Sit down in a mall and just observe how everyone seems in a hurry to get nowhere.
By slowing down, you’ll simplify and rejoin the perfect pace at which creation works. Imagine trying to hurry nature up by tugging at an emerging tomato plant—you’re as natural as that plant, so let yourself be at peace with the perfection of nature’s plan.
- Do Everything You Can to Eschew Debt. Remember that you’re attempting to simplify your life here, so you don’t need to purchase more of what will complicate and clutter your life. If you can’t afford it, let it go until you can. By going into debt, you’ll just add layers of anxiety onto your life. That anxiety will then take you away from your peace, which is where you are when you’re in-Spirit. When you have to work extra hard to pay off debts, the present moments of your life are less enjoyable; consequently, you’re further away from the joy and peace that are the trademarks of inspiration. You’re far better off to have less and enjoy the days of your life than to take on debt and invite stress and anxiety where peace and tranquility could have reigned. And remember that the money you have in your possession is nothing but energy—so refuse to plug in to an energy system that’s not even there.
- Forget about the Cash Value. I try not to think about money too frequently because it’s been my observation that people who do so tend to think about almost nothing else. So do what your heart tells you will bring you joy, rather than determining whether it will be cost-effective. If you’d really enjoy that whale-watching trip, for instance, make the decision to do so—don’t deny yourself the pleasures of life because of some monetary detail. Don’t base your purchases on getting a discount, and don’t rob yourself of a simple joy because you didn’t get a break on the price. You can afford a happy, fulfilling life, and if you’re busy right now thinking that I have some nerve telling you this because of your bleak financial picture, then you have your own barrier of resistance.
Make an attempt to free yourself from placing a price tag on everything you have and do—after all, in the world of Spirit, there are no price tags. Don’t make money the guiding principle for what you have or do; rather, simplify your life and return to Spirit by finding the inherent value in everything. A dollar does not determine worth, even though you live in a world that attempts to convince you otherwise.
- Remember Your Spirit. When life tends to get overly complex, too fast, too cluttered, too deadline oriented, or too type A for you, stop and remember your own spirit. You’re headed for inspiration, a simple, peaceful place where you’re in harmony with the perfect timing of all creation. Go there in your mind, and stop frequently to remember what you really want.
A man who personified success at the highest intellectual and social levels would hardly seem one to quote on simplifying our life, yet here’s what Albert Einstein offers us on this subject: “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.”
Wow! I’d say this is pretty good advice, wouldn’t you?
ok , so this may not be news in that apparently it happened 4 days ago, but sylvia brown died?! omg, why didn’t anyone tell me? i just found out from a comment on ned’s blog.
here is her september 10th fb post – it was the next to last message she ever posted:
~ Kevin Heath
for two and a half years now, i have lived directly across the street from the thai mission. the doorman at the thai general consulate has worked there for 41 years, although i didn’t know that until today. i really don’t know very much about him at all, actually. he speaks very little english and i’m sure we have never had a conversation lasting longer than one minute – until just now. on my way back home from walking ivan, he crossed the street and waved me over to let me know that today would be his last day, and in his very broken english said the following:
you haven’t been around much lately and i was hoping i would see you before i left. you are one of the good ones, a big heart, kind – i know it and god knows it. i wanted to make sure to say goodbye to you – god bless you.
i am putting that on my top 10 nicest things ever to happen list.
“If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which uplifts those around you. If you can maintain this habit,this energy will turn into a steady flow of love.”
~ Annamalai Swami
2 of my brothers volunteering at ground zero 12 years ago.
god bless every one of us.
“As for those that carried out these attacks there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity.”
–British Prime Minister Tony Blair
shana tova v’chatima tova
or, good year and good seal in the book of life!
wishing all the best health, lots of love, prosperity, wisdom and joy every single day this year.
“Let’s go and see everybody,” said Pooh. “Because when you’ve been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into somebody’s house, and he says, ‘Hallo, Pooh, you’re just in time for a little smackerel of something,’ and you are, then it’s what I call a Friendly Day.”Piglet thought that they ought to have a Reason for going to see everybody, like Looking for Small or Organizing and Expotition, if Pooh could think of something.Pooh could.“We’ll go because it’s Thursday,” he said, “and we’ll go to wish everybody a Very Happy Thursday. Come on, Piglet.”
“You’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
back on retreat! well, sort of. . . i’ll be spending a good part of the summer out of the city and i’m currently enjoying another week at my friend susan’s house in upstate ny, which i refer to as susan’s resort. the resort is on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees, amazing landscapes and all kinds of wild beasts. everyday, rain or shine, i am compelled to go for a long ride to take pictures.
on today’s journey i was listening to wayne dyer speak about the tao by lao tzu. tao is chinese for ‘the way’. i’ve listened to this cd many times over the last several years and never get tired of wayne dyer speaking about lessons of the tao, which of course any taoist knows, cannot actually be spoken of. if you don’t get that – no worries. to simplify the idea, i can only suggest that it says something along the lines of, ‘we need do nothing for all to be done perfectly’.
after driving for about an hour or so, i realized that i hadn’t noticed any real photo ops. this has never happened before. i always see something photo worthy on my excursions up here in god’s country. maybe i was so into listening to wayne, i had driven right by places that i normally would have stopped for a photo or two. how unusual. i decided to pay particular attention to the scenery and looked carefully so that i would be sure not to miss any beasts hiding deep in the woods. driving about 5 mph for the last 10 miles home, i looked and looked as i listened to wayne talk about finding peace through the tao and how all that is, is already perfect, ect. . . .
as i drove up the driveway of susan’s resort, i was astonished that i had arrived home picture-less. normally this would have upset me but i felt happy to have had the opportunity to listen to wayne talk about the tao suggesting that to be one with what is, is the way to peace or, (in my words) all things happen for a reason & if you just go with that, you’ll have peace.
when i got out of the car, i let ivan out of the back seat and then went around to the passenger side to get my bag and my camera. i almost laughed out loud when i discovered my camera wasn’t in the car, but had been sitting on the kitchen counter inside the house the entire time.
wouldn’t that just be the way of it??
“The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know.”
~ Lao Tzu,
Tao Te Ching
“Thoughts are just what is. They appear. They’re innocent. They’re not personal. They’re like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. Thoughts arise like that, and we can make friends with them.
Would you argue with a raindrop?”
~ Byron Katie
this is a portion of an image i was just looking at. does anyone see an image in this cloud? if so, please tell me so that i don’t think i’m just making it up . . . .
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
it’s only natural for americans, when there is a terrorist attack – especially on u.s. soil – to get caught up in the news reports and emerging details. i do it too.
since many more details are likely to emerge for the next many moments, may i suggest that just for this moment, we stop whatever it is we are doing and pray. people need our prayers now – lets send them.
peace to all.
my introduction into all things jewish came mostly from the weinstein’s. debbie weinstein was my college roommate and one of 798 jewish peeps in my freshman year dorm complex which housed 800 people. debbie always invited me to her parents home in boston for the holidays and it was there that i got accustomed to the seder rituals. being the token goy, i didn’t have to actually participate in the prayer and hebrew readings so i was only familiar with the big picture and didn’t really know exactly what was going on. the truth is, i was there for mrs. weinstein’s good cooking, and mr. weinstein’s jokes – which were usually at my expense, but funny none the less.
after we graduated from school, i continued to go to the weinstein’s on jewish holidays and by that time i thought i had learned everything i needed to know about what to do at a seder – even though i never had to actually do anything. . .
then one year debbie’s brother mark got married and everything changed. this year, we had to go to mark’s in-laws for passover. i guess they expected me to be jewish. or maybe they felt obligated to make sure i was aware of their collective suffering as a race. or maybe, debbie didn’t tell them she was bringing me and they were just pissed off about that – i don’t know. whatever the reason, they were intent on teaching me how it’s done by making me to eat things i didn’t want, participate in the readings and pray in hebrew. with 5 or 6 seders under my belt, i felt like i could handle the situation just fine – until marks mother in-law asked me if i knew the answers to the 4 questions, which i couldn’t quite remember. i was mortified because i did know the questions were central to the seder. i’m sure it didn’t happen this way at all, but i recall seeing dark red horns growing from my skull in the tiny reflection of her eyeballs. i blame mr. weinstein for my lack of knowledge because i’m positive he must have been making me laugh too hard to pay proper attention to this part of the ritual in years past.
this post serves to save all goyim who may be put in a similar situation this evening during a passover seder. first, i would like to point out out that there is really only one question and four answers, which i would not advise pointing out to seder host.
here is what you’ll need to know:
Why is this night different from all other nights, from all other nights?
On all other nights, we may eat chametz and matzah. On this night, only matzah.
On all other nights, we eat many vegetables. On this night, on this night, maror.
On all other nights, we do not dip even once. On this night, on this night, twice.
(A vegetable (usually parsley) is dipped in salt water and eaten.)
On all other nights we eat while sitting upright, but on this night we eat reclining.
and you may also want to know that mark has since re-married a nice girl from a nice family who i am sure, would not make me eat anything i didn’t want. tonight i will celebrate passover in nyc with the enzer’s, as i have since debbie moved to chicago. i will read, pray in hebrew, answer the question(s), have a good time with good people, and as always on passover, be missing mr. weinstein’s enormous laughter.
gut yontiff to all!
To break the bonds of anger,
To live with gentle pride.
To break the bonds of shame,
To live with humble strength.
To break the bonds of envy,
To serve each other in joy.
To break the bonds of guilt,
To accept all G-d’s gifts.
To break the bonds of fear,
To love with fullness of heart.
To break the bonds of lust,
To love with fullness of being.
To break the bonds of loneliness,
To receive a hand of hope.
To break the bonds of neglect,
To reach out a hand of help.
To break the bond of tears,
To see with awe and wonder.
To break the bonds of loss,
To rejoice in all G-d’s works.
© 2011 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
i want to take this time to publicly thank the city for it’s sheer awesomeness! just imagine all of the greatness that is unfolding on this tiny island as i write . it’s almost hard to wrap your head around it all . . . .
and what would you do to prepare if you absolutely knew it was going to manifest for you?
i am going to meet many amazingly wonderful people, one of which will be my future husband, get and sell the shot that will launch my photography career, write, write & write some more, do my best at the work i love which will compensate me beyond my wildest dreams, be aware and act on every opportunity to serve and finally, stay present and see the joy in every second of every day.
as you can see, i’ve got a lot to do right now so we’ll touch base again later, ok?
many miracles, peace, love & joy to all!
“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness … the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”
~ The Dalai Lama
i can’t believe i missed it! one of the best days of my life – the day the harley boys paid a christmas visit to the children at the ronald mcdonald house. a friend from my old apartment on 73rd street called to alert me the harley boys were there but i missed the call.
here’s the story as it occurred on sunday, dec. 17, 2006:
December 17th may just be one of the top most exhilarating experiences of my life so far. I was coming down York Avenue with Ivan when I saw a harley stopped square in the middle of the intersection at 73rd St. several blocks further down York was the rest of the gang – about one hundred of them.
I love bikers. I love the incredibly loud rev of the engines when they’re out in force. Today they were out in force and it was loud. The leader was holding traffic at bay while the rest of the gang approached 73rd St. where they all turned left onto my block. I stood at the corner with goose bumps and a smile wondering where they were headed. It seemed to take 15 minutes to get them all through the intersection. They parked one by one lining the curb on my block. When they ran out of space on the street, they pulled right up onto the sidewalk. Following the pack were 3 trucks which turned onto the block as well. The pack leader then barricaded the street so that no other vehicles could enter.
I ran home and got my camera. When I came back outside, 73rd street was being transformed into a winter wonderland full of joy & presents! The bikes were loaded with gifts for the children at the Ronald McDonald house. Teddy bears and games were protruding from backpacks as the bikers unpacked more goodies from their saddle bags. Some were sporting santa hats. They descended upon the RMDH with their arms fully loaded with toys for the kids – a hundred bikers carrying dolls and teddy bears into the house. It was beautiful. At the end of the block the 3 trucks were parked. The doors opened. The trucks were loaded with more toys! The bikers lined up to unload the games, puzzles, stuffed animals dolls and countless other items. It was a spectacular scene.
In the lobby of the house stood a big christmas tree drenched with lights and ornaments, around which the bikers placed some of the gifts. I could see through the window the children gathering around the tree smiling and overjoyed. Over thirty minutes had passed since they arrived and the gifts were still pouring in. Presents were being stored in the living room as well, which I later found out were intended for children who were in the local hospitals. No disease existed in this moment. Everyone felt good. Everyone was happy.
I asked one of the bikers if he would take my camera inside the RMDH and get a few pictures of the kids for me. He was dressed in leathers and a plaid flannel shirt, had sparkling eyes and wore a big red santa hat. He asked me my name.
“Laurie,” I told him.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “No, Laurie, I won’t do that, but I will bring you inside and let you take all the pictures you want.” He grabbed my hand and headed inside. When we arrived in the lobby, many of the children were posed for a photograph to be taken by a professional photographer hired for the occasion. With a firm grip on my hand, my biker led me straight to the front of the room next to the professional photographer. He announced to the entire room, “Hey everybody, this is Laurie. She’s going to be taking your pictures too.”
The children were as impressed with the bikes as they were with their new toys and soon began to wander outside to get a closer look. What happened next was thrilling. One of the bikers lifted a child onto one of the bikes parked on the sidewalk. Another took off his leather vest and put it on the child. Then another outfitted the child with aviators and gloves. Soon a line formed – all the children wanted to be a biker for just a little while. It turned into a game. Each time a child got on the bike, he or she would then pick which accessories they wanted from any one of the bikers. They would choose one man’s vest, another’s shades – whatever they wanted! Instantly, sick children were transformed into harley boys and girls and the thrill was palpable.
Their exit was as spectacular as their entrance. The bikes were lined up along my block on 73rd Street side by side from First Avenue to York Avenue. The men mounted their bikes and waited. Once the whole gang was ready to roll, the 1st biker revved up. Then the second, followed by the third – one at a time until the noise was overwhelming. As I stood across the street with tears rolling down my cheeks, I noticed my biker man with the sparkling eyes and the Santa hat. He was watching me cry. Above the din he shouted “Merry Christmas, Laurie!” I acknowledged him with a smile. A hundred bikes revving, ready for take off, he got off his bike and crossed the street. He walked over to me and kissed my cheek. He then placed his Santa hat on my head and returned to his bike. One by one they drove off. I will never forget what those men did for those children that day.
“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
– Pema Chodron