Shine Your Light

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson

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Shining your light illuminates everyone on your path.  You can literally see someone light up when you give them a smile, do a small act of kindness, or ask how they’re doing. I appreciated the power of it today saying hello to the maintenance man at the city’s recreation center.  He was cleaning lights in the parking garage.  Being a hot day, I told him to stay cool.

He walked over to me and started chatting.  I could tell he took pride in his work because people complimented him regularly  – “the mirrors in the dance room are so clean, the floor is clean and not slippery, thank you for brightening up our center.”  He beamed as he repeated these compliments to me.  When people know they’re appreciated and making a difference, they’re encouraged to do more good things.

Later I met with a young friend of my mother, who was a mentor to her giving guidance during a critical time.  She said it created a ripple effect as she provides guidance now to another friend of hers.   We are naturally drawn to positive energy. Kindness is contagious.  Shine your light and pass it on.

Let Go and Trust the Universe

Surrender to what is. Let go of what was.  Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

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I love how things pop up just at the right moment when you need it. When I see or hear something multiple times, I know the universe is speaking to me.  Recently, I read Pam Grout’s newsletter about how your thoughts can create reality when you have faith and trust the universe.  Shortly after, I received an Email from Daily Om, Things We Can’t Control about letting go and trusting life will unfold exactly the way it should. Click the links to read more.

When dealing with difficult situations or worrying about what’s going to happen, this quote is a reminder to let go of what was in the past and also expectations about controlling things the way we want them to be. When we struggle with challenges and obstacles, we become entangled in them like being stuck in quick sand or seaweed. If we stay calm and let go of wrestling with life, the universe will bring us what we need.

It’s perfectly described by the Chinese philosophy of Tao Te Ching: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

Stay Still

“Be Still – Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.”  -Lao Tzu

Lately, my mantra is stay still – take time to breathe before reacting to a situation or something said.  It’s not easy when emotions and stress are involved, but I find taking time in that moment helps calm my feelings and response.

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Staying still also allows us to be present to observe and experience things we might not notice in our fast paced world.  Today when I walked on the beach, I was thankful for the low tide.  It’s an opportunity to walk a long stretch of the beach without scrambling on slippery rocks to get to the other side.  I ran my hand across velvety moss on a rock normally covered by water.  I took time to notice sea creatures watching a black crab, spider-like crawl away from me as I approached it.  When I peered into a crevice, a large crab with pink pinching claws looked back at me.  Tiny sand crabs blended in with beach as they wobbled across.

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I knew if I gazed at the ocean long enough I would see something bigger.  Just then, the fins of a dolphin bobbed in and out of the water.  Staying still calms our senses, enhances perceptions and allows us to catch glimpses of nature’s beauty.

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Nestled in Redwoods

“I wanted to unfurl my toes for a little while.  I wanted silence, isolation and an invitation to exhale life’s complications.  I heard nature’s melody and I harmonized with every single note.  I needed the trees, their colors, and the sounds of wildlife breathing.  I inhaled the essence of the forest and smiled as life coursed through my veins.”  – Amelia Dashwood

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. There are so many things I wanted to write about but life distracted me.  In March, I attended several meetings for social activism.  I went to Washington, DC, met with Representatives to talk about political issues and attended volunteer training with the Human Rights Campaign.

I was fired up, ready to jump in and take action. I found it exciting to be in our nation’s capitol, bumping into Senator John Lewis and Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards while distributing literature to California Representatives. Rachel Maddow glued me to the TV every night with unbelievable news she reported.

But, I became over-whelmed with all that’s going on in our world. I needed to step back and catch my breath. I felt the urge to be in the midst of trees.  It’s where I go when I need to soothe my soul.  Twenty years ago, I spent a year in the redwoods of northern California after going through a stressful time. My Mom lived there and it was comforting to be close to her again.  Recently I went back to visit a friend.

As I drove on winding roads lined with tall trees, I could feel tension leave my body. Passing by familiar places, I felt like a movie played in my head hearing Mom’s voice and laughter.  I walked alone in the redwoods past our old home reliving fond memories.  My friend and I spent an afternoon on her deck reminiscing then sitting quietly hearing the creek flow. When the wind blew, a white blossomed tree in front of us looked like a snowfall of flowers.  We dined at a restaurant where the Russian River flows into the ocean and enjoyed the sacredness of an outdoor church. The beauty of nature and slow pace was just what I needed to feel at peace.

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Russian River flows into ocean

Assumptions

“Your assumptions are windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”  – Isaac Asimov

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A friend called to see what was up for the weekend. I told her we were in L.A. for the Women’s March.  “You’re kidding,” she said.  “I thought you don’t like crowds. I couldn’t find anyone to join me and didn’t think you would go.”

It’s true – I don’t like large crowds or driving on the freeway to L.A. There were incredible winds and a rain storm the day before the March.  I worried freeways would be jammed or flooded.  Assumptions proved us wrong.  We drove to L.A. in record time.  My conviction to Human Rights outweighs a fear of being in the midst of thousands of people.  Over a half of a million people came together peacefully, supporting each other, saying “I’m sorry” for bumping into someone, helping those who had tripped and fallen.  The amazing experience reverberated around the world.

Last week, I helped friends feed the homeless. I wasn’t sure what to expect at a center where 60 people receive dinner and place to sleep for the night. They’re back on the street in the morning.  It’s a heartbreaking plight. Their graciousness, gratitude, and pleasant demeanor touched my heart.

These examples remind us to expand our expectations. When we change our view, it can be a bright awakening.

Power of People

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Our lives are influenced by passionate, determined people who overcome all obstacles to reach a goal. This week, we honored Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his inspiration, courage and leadership.  He never gave up hope, encouraging others to do the same as they marched together for civil rights and equality.

Malala is the remarkable Pakistani girl who advocated for female education in her Taliban controlled country. Her heroic efforts, including being shot by the Taliban when she was 15, led to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.  She is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize “for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Hidden Figures is a book and movie about the untold story of extraordinary women at NASA, master-minds who helped launch John Glenn into orbit.  Their analytical ability was incredible, but the true super-human feat was overcoming obstacles they faced as Afro-American women during an era of racial discrimination and segregation.

All of these examples demonstrate the power of people coming together for change. Our world is full of challenges and controversy.  We’re at a critical point in the on-going struggle for equality.  On Saturday, we will raise our voices, stand united and march for all Human Rights1 while also honoring those who paved the way to activism.

1 https://www.womensmarch.com/principles

 

 

 

 

Re-create Yourself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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The New Year motivates us to reflect, aspire, and re-create ourselves. We’re given another chance to evaluate our lives and determine things that either harm or help us. Like a new path on a road trip, we can keep going down the same route or we can choose to travel to a place we’ve never been before.

At times, I can be a creature of habit seeking comfort with what’s familiar and safe. When I dare to break away and try new adventures, my confidence soars from having courage to try something new or face my fears. Once on a beach – despite a fear of heights – I climbed to the highest point on a large rock.  Sitting there with crashing waves below gave me a feeling of exhilaration.

This year  pursue things which excite, challenge, and make you a better person. Follow your passion and enjoy new adventures!