Enchanted

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A gray wolf howled in my dream last night as he sat at the edge of the dark woods. Then he turned and ran into the forest. I took chase, following him through the woods to a clearing where a fire lit the night sky. Slowly, from above, a familiar chanting began and I looked up as they descended.

Draped in black they swirled and twirled landing to form a circle around the fire.

Six witches.

My witches.

The Witches of Ravenscroft.

They danced and sang and called for me.

The elder male witch looked at me with knowing eyes, “Where have you been my darling? The night grows short and your magic weak. It’s time to throw kindling on this fire lassie, lest your magic goes up in smoke.”

His message clear, I joined in the dancing and singing. I was home again amongst my creations. 

I woke from my dream knowing I must immerse myself in their world and get back to work on my novel! The six witches and the wolf are characters in my book, A Conspiracy of Witches.

Have I mentioned that I’ve fallen in love with one of my characters?

Anyway.

Something must come off my to-do list.

So, my friends, I am taking a break from blogging to go make some magic!

Until we meet again, 

…enchanted under the stars,

~Sue, An Artist’s Path
A Space for Creative Seekers

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The Journey Beyond Yourself

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What do we find when we journey beyond the self?  The simple answer, according to Michael Singer, is the ability to see this world through the loving eyes of God. But which God, you may ask.

“How can anyone really know anything about God? We have so many teachings, so many concepts, and so many views about God. But they’ve all been touched by people. Fortunately, deep within us there is a direct communication with the Divine. There is a part of our being that is beyond the personal self.” ~Singer

In his final chapter, The Loving Eyes of God, Singer reveals the journey beyond yourself, untethered from the ego and awakened in Spirit. This is the pinnacle of the spiritual lessons laid out in previous chapters.

Thus far we’ve learned:

  • We are not the voices in our head. We are the one inside, the observer, the witness, listening to our thoughts and looking out at the world.
  • It is important to live with an open, spiritual heart and not let anything close our heart off from the world.
  • We must let go of pain and disturbances that block our energy and keep us from moving forward. This doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain, but we don’t hold on to it, we release it.
  • What we resist, persists. Stop fighting with the world.
  • We can’t control people or events, but we can control our reaction. And then, if action is needed, we take action from a place of awareness.
  • That our judgment of others is a reflection of ourselves and a powerful spiritual teacher.
  • Our happiness is an inside job. If we want to be happy and peaceful we must let go of the part of us that wants to create drama. The path to happiness is paved with gratitude.
  • A more peaceful life can be found by following the middle path and not allowing our emotions to swing out to the extremes.
  • We control where we choose to focus our energy.
  • A daily meditation practice strengthens our mindfulness muscle allowing us to stay focused and centered, peaceful and calm.

All of these lessons, if practiced, can lead us to a more awakened state and allow us to see the world through the loving eyes of God.  Michael Singer explains it this way:

“What happens to one who walks this path toward God? What transformations do they go through along the way? To understand this, imagine what would happen if you started feeling tremendous love for all creatures, for every plant, animal and of all the beauties of nature. Imagine if every child seemed like your own, and every person you saw looked like a beautiful flower, with its own color, its own expressions, shape, and sounds. As you went deeper and deeper, you would start noticing a phenomenal thing ~ you are no longer judging. If that happened you’d get a glimpse of God.” ~Singer

So ask yourself, “Can I see the beauty in my fellow human being and feel compassion?” If you’re not there yet, that’s okay. Awareness is the first step toward awakening. For most of us, the shift from Ego to Spirit is a process. But if you’ve been reading these posts you’re already walking a spiritual path and your eyes are open. You’re no longer sleepwalking through life.

Although we’ve come to the end of our journey through The Untethered Soul, if you’d like to learn more about walking the spiritual path, I recommend Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, Awakening to your Life’s Purpose.

“You are the universe becoming conscious of itself.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Another great resource that combines science and spirituality is the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Their website can be found here.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. May your heart and mind remain open and your days be filled with love, gratitude, and compassion.  I wish you safe travels and much love on your spiritual path.

Yours under the stars,

~Sue
An Artist’s Path
A Space for Creative Seekers

The Secret of the Middle Way

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Do you ever feel out of balance, off kilter, in need of centering? Is your energy negative and destructive?

There is a way to live a more peaceful life. The path to a more productive and peaceful life is not a secret, it’s outlined in ancient text as part of the wisdom traditions. In this post, we will explore that ancient text in Michael Singer’s chapter, The Secrets of the Middle Way. Here Singer introduces us to the Tao Te Ching, known as “The Book of The Way”, written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century.

“The Tao is so subtle that one can only walk around its edges, but never actually touch it. In that treaties, the very basis for the principles of all life is laid down. It is a treatise on the balance of the yin and the yang, the feminine and the masculine, the dark and the light. You could easily read the Tao Te Ching and never understand a single word, or you could read it and tears could pour from your eyes with every word you read.” ~ Singer

My first experience reading the Tao over twenty years ago was the former – I couldn’t make sense of it. I was a spiritual newbie, but some ten years later I read it again and had the latter experience of tears and goosebumps as every word came to life for me in a way that opened my eyes.

The middle way is a philosophy also shared by Buddhist, who follow the middle path of wisdom by following the noble eightfold path. Similarly, the Tao points us toward the middle way, toward balance, by reminding us not to push against life.

“It’s the place where there is no energy pushing in either direction. The pendulum has been permitted to come to balance concerning food, relationships, sex, money, doing, non-doing, and everything else. Everything has its yin and yang.” ~ Singer

At this point, you may be thinking that the middle way or middle path is static, without momentum or energy. Nothing could be further from the truth, because once you stop wasting your energy fighting and resisting life out there on the extremes, you will find you have enormous amounts of energy to solve problems, get work done and move forward.

Even the Buddhists are clear on this matter, the middle path is a place of investigation, seeking knowledge, wisdom, and truth. It is not a passive existence. The middle path is filled with curiosity, excitement, analysis and exploration. Focusing your energies on the middle path ensures a life of adventure! When the yin and yang are in balance, there is enormous power and energy available to you. But you might be wondering how to stop swinging to the extremes.

“The Way is in the middle because that’s the place where the energies are balanced. But how do you stop the pendulum from swinging to the outer edges? Amazingly enough, you do this by leaving it alone. It won’t keep swinging to the extremes unless you feed the extremes with energy. Just let the extremes go. Don’t participate in them, and the pendulum will naturally come toward the center.” ~ Singer

On the other hand, Singer does acknowledge that the extremes can be good teachers. If we can get perspective and look at a situation objectively (often this takes hindsight) we can see where we went off the rails, swinging to the extreme. We can also see how much emotional energy was consumed by living on the extreme edge.

So what does not participating in the extremes look like? For me, lately, it’s been limiting my social media experiences and even the news. I engage just enough to stay informed and then turn it all off and go for a walk, work in my winter garden, make a pot of beef stew, or write a blog about how to stay centered. LOL.

But seriously, try applying this principle of balance and centering to your daily routine. Limit your exposure to negativity as best you can. Make time for yourself and those activities that fill your soul. It is winter, after all, a time of rest and restoration.

And remember, although you can’t control external events, you can control how you choose to respond.  Focus some of that energy inward and take care of yourself!

tao

~Namaste

What You Resist, Persists!

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Do you think it’s possible to live your life free of stress, problems, fear, and melodrama? Michael Singer tells us that a peaceful life is possible if we stop resisting life’s events. In his chapter entitled, The Spiritual Path of Nonresistance, Singer warns that resistance is a tremendous waste of energy.

“The fact is, you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things: that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. It is not life’s events that are causing problems or stress. It is your resistance to life’s events that is causing this experience.” ~Singer

He’s right! What’s the point of lamenting over something that’s already happened or wasting time and energy worrying about events that aren’t likely to happen? If there are lessons to be learned from the past or plans to be made for the future, those are best done in the present moment where your true power resides.

But let’s explore this idea of using our “will” to resist life’s events. Singer talks about how we can use our will power, or the Power of the Self, to block our own energy. This happens when we hold onto our thoughts and emotions instead of letting them pass through us.

“Stress only happens when you resist life’s events. If you’re neither pushing life away nor pulling it toward you, then you are not creating any resistance. You are simply present.” ~ Singer

We can also use the Power of the Self, to examine what we resist in life. Why do we resist some events and let others pass through without notice? Why do we care what some people think and not others? What offends us and causes us to become defensive? This process requires self-reflection without judgment.

 “You will be surprised to find that in most situations there is nothing to deal with except for your own fears and desires.” ~ Singer

If you look deep inside, your fears and desires will reveal themselves, unearthing the seeds of your suffering. The reality is, you have to stop watering the seeds! Through the process of awareness, you can stop the seeds from growing by letting the energy pass through you rather than resisting.

I’m reminded of the Taoist concept, “Wu-wei, effortless effort” which is another way of saying “do nothing and let go”.  In Taoist terms, there is a recognition that this world is beyond our control and to live a more peaceful existence we must practice patience and acceptance.

I don’t know that my life will ever be completely free of stress and drama but I take comfort in knowing that the extent of my mental suffering is based on how much energy I give my thoughts and emotions. I may not be able to control the world around me or the people in it, but I can control where I focus my energy.

This week try practicing the art of awareness. Stop and reflect when you find yourself pushing life away or pulling it toward you. Then, let it go.  Be patient with yourself and others as you walk the spiritual path of nonresistance.

~Namaste 

2017 Reveal

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Our rescue pup, Peanut

Happy New Year! As promised I’m sharing my area of focus for 2017. But first let me introduce the newest member of my family, Peanut. He’s going to help me with the big reveal. In fact, his adoption three days ago confirmed what I need to focus on this year.

It all started when my daughter showed me a picture of Peanut on the Humane Society’s website. Look at those eyes! Who could resist those big brown eyes? So off we went on a long drive to the city to see if Peanut would be a good fit for our family. But nothing could have prepared us for what we saw when we arrived. There, in an over-sized kennel, was little Peanut, a two-year-old dachshund mix – with only three legs. His back hindquarter was shaved bare from his recent leg amputation. I gasped aloud and then knelt to look closer.

In the background, I heard the staff reassuring that he was healing up fine and adjusting to getting around on three legs. But Peanut and I were having our own conversation. His little tail wagging as his big brown eyes spoke to me. He needed a home, a family to love and a place to heal. I connected with his sweet and gentle soul. It was a very “in the moment” experience, which leads me to the reveal.

In years past I’ve chosen areas of focus such as compassion, peace, gratitude, patience (still a lot of work to do on that one) and of course, last year was my year of yes. In 2017 I want to focus on the one virtue that will help me in all those areas. In fact, it will help me to live a happier more joyful life with less ego and more soul. And so, without further ado, in 2017 my focus will be …

Mindfulness

Being mindful and living in the moment may sound cliché but it’s easier said than done. As part of my mindfulness practice, I’m following Elisha Goldstein’s advice and adopting the seven habits listed below. You can read the entire article on mindfulness by clicking here.

  1. Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them.
  2. Forgive mistakes big and small.
  3. Show gratitude for good moments and grace for bad ones.
  4. Practice compassion and nurture connections.
  5. Make peace with imperfection, inside and out.
  6. Embrace vulnerability by trusting others and yourself.
  7. Accept and appreciate that things come and go.

A big “THANK YOU” to all my Facebook readers and WordPress followers! Wishing you all a magical and joyful 2017!  ~ Namaste