Mindful Mondays: Inner Voice

Listen

To that inner voice you’ve been second-guessing;

Shushing;

Crushing;

Hushing.

 

Resisting. Discounting.

 

Take a moment to turn your head towards;

open your heart for;

tune your ears to;

what you already know.

 

Your compass and guide

Healing balm for your worries

Information for questions

Comforting stresses

 

Google searches

Scientific advances

Astrological predictions

Experts and opinions

 

Can’t match the voice that lies deep within.

 

Be still and know.

[BREATHE]

 

Be still and know.

[BREATHE]

 

Be still.

[BREATHE]

And Know.

 

Lake Beebe, Photo credit: Derrick Brooms

Mindful Mondays: A Spiritual Practice for the New Year

About 8 years ago I let go of my annual tradition of creating a list of New Year’s resolutions.  While it was a tradition intended to help me “better” myself, it often caused me stress, disappointment, and seemed to exacerbate my insecurities.  While New Year’s resolutions can help some reach goals and craft a vision of themselves, for me it triggers something deep inside of me that says “not enough”, “I’ll be happier when…”, “I need more of...”, “I should”, etc.

Lots of judgment, lots of expectation, lots of future trippin’.  Not helpful.

So for those of you who are looking for a different kind of practice this year, I offer a tradition a couple of my dear friends and I started about 8 years ago.  Through the years, it has transformed from a tradition to a spiritual practice that has helped me be more present to my life. 

Each year on January 1st, my friends and I choose one word. The word that we choose is like a theme that is laced throughout the year.   We invite this word into our personal lives in an intentional and focused way.  We choose the word and let it reveal its teachings to us all year long.  Sometimes the word teaches us obvious or unexpected lessons.  Sometimes the word encourages us to embody its essence in various moments through the year.  Sometimes the word helps us bring more awareness of its presence in different aspects of our lives.  Sometimes we actively cultivate and manifest the qualities of the word in our lives. Sometimes the word shows us its deeper meaning.  We hold this word close throughout the year and cultivate a mindful presence to it.  We then reflect with each other on how the word shows up in our year as we move through February…June...October…etc.  We share with each other ways we see the other person’s word showing up for them.  We share with each other testimonies of our dance with our word.  And then we start again on January 1st with a new word.  Each year is a new discovery.

Some of my words throughout the years…

Courage

Beauty

Risk

Transformation

Wellness

Presence

Each word had lessons and revelations.  Each word had a way it challenged and affirmed me.  Each word had a deeper meaning by the end of the year. 

Blessings and Happy New Year!

Mindful Mondays: Holiness of Life

Source of all Creation. 

Sacred Presence.

Bringing forth the Great Emergence. 

Darkness and lightness.

Energy and force.

            Contraction and expansion.

                        Stillness.

 

Life springing forth from the Universal womb.

 

And then there were atoms and then there were stars

            then there were galaxies and then there was the Sun

                        and then there was Earth and then there were animals

                                    and then there was him and then there was her

                                                            and then there was You.

In Her womb

            the breath of life. 

Emergence out of Holy stillness, once again.

            You were created.

 

13.8 billion years of life evolving

            you came through the unfolding

                        in this time and in this place

                                    for a Divine purpose

                                                to touch the world in your own way.

 

In remembrance

of who you are,

breathe deeply

and access the holiness of life.

 

You are gift.

You are miracle.

You are Love.

You are ancient.

You are Universe.

 

***Artist: Emily Linderman, http://www.emilylinderman.com/

 

 

 

Mindful Mondays: A Gratitude Prayer

A Gratitude Prayer

For the air I breathe, the sun that energizes me, the soil of the Earth that provides me sustenance, the water that flows through me;

Thank you.

For the love of a mother and father, the comradery of colleagues, the comfort of friendships, the joy of children, the embrace of a lover;

Thank you.

For the steadfastness of my heart, the creativity of my mind, my blood----the ever flowing provider, these old bones of mine to keep me upright;

Thank you.

For those who fought before me for my freedom, for the family who sacrificed, for the leaders who had vision, for the ancestors who survived;

Thank you.

For the lessons of yesterday, the magic of this moment, the new prospects of the future;

Thank you.

For Your unconditional love, for creating me, for Your presence in all places and all times, for Your peace that passes all understanding;

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

 

Mindful Mondays: The Judging Mind

Do you find your mind filled with judgmental thoughts of yourself and/or others? How’s that working out for you? Take a moment to reflect.

 Judgment is a habit that becomes a burden the longer you practice it.

While judgment helps us weigh options, protect ourselves, and sometimes even motivate ourselves to do better, it rarely leads us to the truth and security that we so desperately desire.  It is isolating. It often keeps our mind bound rather than free.  We are wed to our opinions.  We are pinned down by limited thinking.  We are deceived into thinking our judgment of someone else renders us righteous.  Aren’t we just a mess like everyone else?  Made mistakes?  Disappointed ourselves and others?  Slipped up and fallen short?  Taken risks? Had successes?  Experienced happiness? Give yourself and others a break.  Life is complicated and messy.  It is impossible for anyone to escapes the paradoxes, the ironies, and the contradictions wrapped up in the experience of life.  Your expectations of others are keeping you bound more than they are manifesting the actions and feelings in others that you so desire.  Accept what is and make your choice. Free yourself from being a victim to your judgmental thoughts and expectations of others. When we are free from this type of thinking we see the whole person and we see the whole picture.

A free mind practices full acceptance.  Isn’t that liberating?  You don’t have to like what you accept, but there is something that releases when we just accept what is.  That is working with the real.  No illusions. No extras.  No opinions.  No fight. Just what is.

And then there is the judgment of self.  Some of us are at war with ourselves in our minds.  How do we release the grips of the judging mind when the judgments are self-inflicted?  Call yourself into the present moment.  Cultivate awareness and presence for a release.  In full disclosure, I’m judging myself as I write this meditation.  My mind is filled with critique and self-doubt with each sentence I type.  How do I navigate this judging mind?  I stop writing.  I notice my thoughts.  Accept that I’m thinking them without judgment. I reflect back to myself…”right now I’m thinking that I’m not good enough.”  Then I rest my head back on the couch, take a breath and invite myself into the present moment.  I hear the birds chirping outside my window.  I feel the sunlight touching and warming my skin.  I notice the fall breeze on the back of my neck.  I let myself take in the sounds of the strings from the African music I have playing in the background.   I take in the gift of this moment. I am alive.  I am here. Then I send some love and compassion to my tender and vulnerable soul with a deep breath.  “It’s ok,” I tell my heart.  “It’s ok.”  Released.  Even if this release lasts for but a moment, I’m a little more free from the weight of that judging mind than I was before.

You can transform the judging mind, breath by breath, moment by moment. Breathe into God’s grace for you are a beautiful soul.

“There is a feeling of inner peace that comes from total relinquishment of judgment.   We don’t feel the need to change others, and we don’t feel the need to be different than we are.  We can see, for whatever reason, the total beauty of another person, and we feel that they can see the beauty in us as well.” –Marianne Williamson

Mindful Mondays: Headlines

North Korea

Las Vegas

San Juan

Florida Keys

Houston

Ferguson

 

Breathe.

 

Crooked cops.

Broken systems.

Hungry babies.

Melting icecaps.

Tech takeovers.

Travel bans.

Border walls.

Fake news.

 

Breathe.

 

He said.

She said.

They said.

I think.

This post.

That post.

Hashtag.

Repost.

Retweet.

 

Breathe.

 

Taking knees.

Speaking out.

Marching feet.

Praying hands.

Planting trees.

Creating new.

Writing views.

 

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

 

Breathe.

 

Breathe.

 

 

 

Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe.

 

 

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindful Mondays: Keep the faith. Your miracle is coming!

In the Christian tradition, Jesus resurrecting from the dead was a miracle, for it couldn’t be explained by logic or science, it just had to be witnessed and received.  For three days, Jesus’ followers felt the most despair, dread, and sadness then they had ever felt in their ministry.  Their friend, brother, inspiration, and leader was executed by the state.  They were lost and didn’t know what was next.  And just when all hope was lost, the resurrection.  Jesus rises from the dead, reveals himself to the women and a movement is born.  Many Christians celebrate this miracle during Easter.

This sunny Easter morning has me thinking a lot about miracles. 

The first thing I’m thinking about this morning is how you are a miracle.  Do you know how many things had to be in place just for you to be conceived and born?  Your birth parents had to meet and “connect” . . . out of all the 7.1 billion people in the world they met and created you.  Then, even at your mother’s most fertile point in her cycle, there was a 20% chance for an embryo to form in literally a 12-24 hour window.  Then, out of a 180- 400 million sperm, one sperm and one egg formed a union.  Then you had to make it past that very delicate first trimester. Then you had to make your way through a risky birth process just to be in this world.  You are miracle and yes, all the human beings scurrying around you are just as miraculous.

Even as you embrace the miracle of you, take time to witness the everyday miracles around you.  Winter transitioning into spring.  Each breath, each step.  The sun rising and setting.  The earth spinning and twirling at just the right speed and angle.  Awakening each morning to a new day, a fresh start.  There are miracles in the mundane if we can just pause and bring our awareness to the present moment.  There is so much beauty and wonder in this life.  What miracles are around you waiting for you to witness them?

And finally, your miracle during uncertain times.  You’ve lived this life long enough to know that there is always a breakthrough during tough times.  I’m writing this morning to encourage you and to remind you of what you already know inside of you, your miracle is on it’s way.  So roll up your sleeves and do the work you need to do to climb out of whatever you are in and know the Universe/God/Spirit is conspiring for your good.  A miracle is on the way for you my friend.  Believe that and be a witness to it when it comes!

The song that inspired my blog post today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNmE7nsyz9c

Trey McLaughlin and the Sounds of Zamar, Remake of Sounds of Blackness, Optimistic

Mindful Mondays: Rise

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. -George Washington Carver

I have a beautiful Saucer Magnolia tree that is growing right outside of my living room window.  I’ve been watching its movements since September paying attention to its structure, colors, new buds, etc.  Each season brings such delight because I can watch this tree transform before my very eyes….each week something new is happening.  In September I watched its thick leathery leaves waddle in the wind and reflect the sun.  In November, I watched it turn varying shades of yellow and brown.  All winter I’ve been admiring its structure---the roots, the branches, the trunk---all of its turns and bends.  Even at the turn of the New Year, I started to see new life peeking out—little buds were starting to form.  I’ve watched these buds grow bigger and bigger week after week…anticipating their reveal.  This tree was doing its thing…going through the same cycles it has been moving through for the last 70 years or so. On track…on course….steady.  Dutifully, it knew what it had to do and it knew what came next.

And then last week came. 

It was an unseasonable 70 degrees all week in Louisville, hitting a record high of 80 degrees on Friday.  And while everyone was wearing shorts, taking walks, talking about global warming, and driving with their windows down, all I could think about was my tree.  It started blooming….in all its gloriousness.  The buds just burst through with bold flowers.  Beautiful shades of purple, violet, and white.  The petals had smooth textures and sultry curves.  Looking out my window was a sight.  I took delight in this tree, but also was anxious for what it had to endure for its future. It’s still February and it had bloomed too early.  It had been misled.  The tree had been so steady, so confident all these seasons and now I watched it in full bloom bear itself fully--in its most vulnerable state--to the elements.

And then last night came. 

There was a morning frost on my car and just as I had feared, many of the flowers on the tree had wilted.  The edges of the petals browned.  One night. One frost.  This tree opened herself up and she had been burned.  I’m now watching her pick up the pieces, reorienting herself into this new reality, still going about the business of growing in the wake of her set back. 

These are the risks that come with the business of living.  We also are exposed to the elements as we bear ourselves to the world.  Sometimes we take a chance and we fail.  Sometimes we open ourselves up and get hurt.  Sometimes we are talked about, lied to, or let down. Sometimes we lose, get burned, miscalculate, underestimate. It’s humbling. 

Yet faith, like the Saucer Magnolia outside my window, gives us courage to get up again, to keep going, to try, to reorient, to trust in spite of the “elements” in life that come our way.  Armed with a fierce faith in life, my tree thrives and she continues to stay open to receive the good the Universe has for her…the sun, the rain, the soil.  No frosty night or torrid thunderstorm will stop her from thriving.  She’ll stay open to receive and she’ll rise again.  Just like you will.

Amen. Ashe.

 

 

 

 

Mindful Mondays: When Life Is Hard

Sometimes we go through a season of life that is just hard.  Where we once stood tall and confident reaching for the sky and for the stars, we now fall to the ground and lay vulnerable, sad, angry, grief stricken and lost.  Whether it is the death of a loved one, financial or health struggles, loss of a relationship, addictions spiraling out of control, depression-there are seasons when these happenings in our lives can bring us to our knees.   

At times, the pain we experience in life can unbearable and paralyzing.   The pain of life can be humbling as well, revealing that within us which is weak, unresolved, and limited.  This self-awareness adds another layer to move through during difficult seasons of life.  Parker Palmer says, “The spiritual journey is full of paradoxes.  One of them is that the humiliation that brings us down—down to the ground on which it is safe to stand and fall—eventually takes us to a firmer and fuller sense of self.”

In the difficult seasons of your life, know that you are the strongest when you are the weakest.  It takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable.  It takes a lot of strength to bear your own pain and grief…to stay with it and see it through.  It takes a lot of strength to accept or ask for help when you need it.  It takes the strength of discipline to say no when temptations are the strongest.  And to continue to walk down the path of uncertainty and the unknown when you are scared, broke down, and unsure—that takes a kind of strength that is admirable and courageous.  You don’t have to “be” strong; you are strong, even in the midst of your weakness. 

So pray good people and be tender to your soul.

 

Prayer for Faith

By Marianne Williamson from Illuminata

Dear God,

May I have faith.

May I not be tempted to forget Your power.

May I not be tempted to forget Your love.

May my mind not stray to the might of the destroyer but remember instead the might of the Lord. 

Tomorrow, You shall show me.

You shall have the last word, the final say.

And so I shall not worry.

You shall redeem me,

I shall resurrect.

You shall bring forth new life from all apparent death.

You create from what the darkness has destroyed, for Your power is infinite, Your forgiveness total, Your mercy complete.

So it shall be that I might fall, but I shall not remain down for my Lord is with me.

He shall lift me up.

He shall create a new day.

He shall bring me home.

Praise God.

Amen.

Mindful Mondays: A Dedication

A Dedication

Last week was a tough one for most of us who have a commitment to not only the ideals of equity, freedom, and justice—but also the physical manifestation of those ideals into lived reality.  

The United States of America has always been a land of paradox and illusion.   What has been touted as “freedom” has really been freedom for some and slavery for others.  What has been presented as “opportunity” has been a new life for some and stolen lands for others.   What has been upheld as “justice for all” has really been justice for some and injustice for the others.  What has been celebrated as “diversity” has been inclusion for some and exclusion for others.

Those who have suffered from the grips of this country’s unequal laws, oppressive systems, dehumanizing institutions and generational violence have known this too well and for too long.  This project of the United States of America—this 238 year old experiment in democracy—time and time again has been at the expense of the poor, people of color, women, and immigrants.

It was enslaved Africans who were forced to give their labor for free in order to build the wealth and infrastructure of this country.  It was immigrants and indentured servants who made a life on less than livable wages to build our railroads, grow our food, work in our factories.  It was our indigenous brothers and sisters who were forced at gunpoint and deception to give over their lands for free. We cannot forget this history…it is part of the creation story of the United States.  It tells us who we are and it shapes our current reality.

So again…here we are living in this “experiment of democracy” with a president-elect who is openly racist, homophobic, sexist, and xenophobic.  It is again on the backs of the poor, people of color, women, immigrants, and our muslim and LGBTQ brothers and sister to endure the ramifications of this tyranny. . .for we will be and continue to be impacted the most.

This impact is personal.   When you know and have witnessed this impact on your friends, children, cousins, aunties and people you love and care for, it is only human for feelings of anger, sadness, and worry to arise.   They are the cries of our ancestors. 

Allow yourself to be mad as hell.  Shed those tears of sadness.  Take notice of the worry you may feel about the future for yourself, your family, and others.  It is justified by history.  It is warranted by current reality.  

Be kind to yourself and accept feelings of anger, sadness, or worry. To deny those feelings or bypass them would be oppressive and inhumane.  Anger, sadness, and worry are demonized in this culture so much, but these feelings aren’t bad in and of themselves.  They are present.  They are real.  They are often fluid.  It’s what we do with anger, sadness, and worry and how much power we give them that can be either life-giving or destructive.  This is where we have choice and this is where we have power.  Let those feelings of anger, sadness, and worry be your guide and your teacher.  May they give you wisdom.  Let them clarify your truths and reveal your deepest needs.  Let them move through you.  Let them bring you to your knees for prayer…inspire you to action…warn you when you aren’t safe…spark you to reach out to others for connection and support. 

I don’t believe in a God that gives the pain or takes the pain away-humans seemed to have mastered that ability, but I do believe in a God that is with us in the pain, helps us to endure, to transform, to create, to be powerful, to survive and to thrive.  

God of Justice, God of Love, 

God of Creation, God of Mercy, 

be with us now and always.  

Amen.

Mindful Mondays: A Time to Speak

This is an invitation.  An invitation for you to speak your truth.

What have you been silent about that needs to be shared?

While silence can help us listen and cultivate a greater sense of inner knowing, it can also be painful to be silent.  To swallow your words, thoughts, and feelings day after day can be toxic.  There is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak. 

Sometimes we stay silent to avoid pain or tension that can come from speaking our truth.  Sometimes we stay silent because others are not ready to listen or we don’t want to be disruptive.  Remaining silent doesn’t keep the peace.  It sparks a growing turbulence within you and is felt at the subtlest of vibrations by others around you.  Inauthenticity is destructive both at the individual and collective level. 

There is risk and vulnerability that comes with sharing your truth.  We often hesitate because of the fear or the emotional labor that comes with authentic expression, yet there is also a freedom that comes with sharing yourself.  A liberation.  A release.

You know when it’s time to speak.  Don’t hesitate one more moment.

Be courageous.  Be kind.  Be bold.  Be true.

Pele: Goddess of Fire, Photo taken at Jaggar Museum, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

 

Mindful Mondays: Don't Fight Life

Don’t fight life girl.   

These are words of wisdom from my Grandma Gummer for just about every situation in life when you are “working yourself up”.  Approaching life with impatience, anxiety, stress, frustration, a desire for control, discomfort in the unknown are all signs of fighting life.

What are you fighting with life about right now? 

Time? Limitations? Change? The future? Injustice? Money? Somebody else? Yourself? 

When we are fighting our thinking can become cloudy or rigid.  The energy of fighting can foster a loss of connection and dualistic thinking.  It creates a consciousness of separation and isolation which is an event in the mind, but it is not our true nature.  Our true nature is that we are part of Creation and deeply interconnected with all of life.  We are not to fight life, we are life.

Fighting keeps us pushing

and spinning

and crashing

and dominating our way through life

when what we really need to do is the most countercultural thing, which is to stop. 

We need to pause.  We need to breathe.  We need to connect.

Fighting can be part of the process, but our most creative, generative, healing, and revelatory times are not in the chaos of the fighting mind, it’s in the stillness of the mind.  It is in the pause where we find what we need. It is in the stillness of mind, spirit, and body where we can turn our attention to how life and Spirit is speaking to us, guiding us, and loving us.  It is in the stillness of mind where we find “the way”, moving into an alignment where our deepest self meets Spirit.

An excerpt from Hearts on Fire by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ: 

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Photo: Grandma Gummer, Guyana, South America,  Photo credit: Aisha Becker-Burrowes

Mindful Mondays: The Light of the Moon in Turbulent Times

I remember looking at the full moon outside my apartment window in Brooklyn the night of September 11th.  It had been a trying day.  2,753 people had just died that morning 3 miles away from the comfort of my home.  I could still smell the smoke from the burning twin towers in my apartment.  It was the stench of death.  I had never been that close to tragedy.  Never that intimate with it.

 

I was numb.  I was angry.  I was terrified.  I remember looking at the moon that night and thinking, “How can the moon still be shining its light so bright in the midst of all this chaos, suffering, and death?”  I was judging the moon for having the audacity to shine its light so brightly, even critiquing it for keeping on with the business of life during such a tragic time.  But I couldn’t take my gaze off that light.  I needed it.  It comforted me.

 

I needed the light of the moon because it reminded me that even in the midst of human suffering, and violence, and death…. life perseveres.  People that day wanted to bring about mass destruction for their cause, but they couldn’t kill the light of the moon.  I felt some sort of comfort in that.  So I wept mighty tears, let the anger boil up inside of me, wrestled with my hopelessness and kept my eyes on that moon.  I kept my eyes on the moon, waiting for the night to pass and for a new day to come.

 

As I reflect on the violence we have witnessed in the recent years….the past month….the past 10 days, I think about that moonlight on 9-11 and what it taught me about tragedy, about suffering, about violence, about life.  I offer to you the wisdom I got from that moonlight as one of many ways to move through these difficult times.

 

Life has the final word.

This is a call to faith and vision.  One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King states, “The arc of the Universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  Look around you.  Even in the midst of destruction, life fights its way through – physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  Grass sprouting through cracks in the concrete, nurse logs giving nourishment to new plants and trees, the devotion of the sun rising and setting.  Look at history.  Eventually justice prevails, eventually truth reigns, eventually love wins.  Look to your own life.  The tragedy and turmoil you may have faced. You are still standing, still breathing.  You have endured.  Maybe a bit tattered and worn…. but you are here.  There is great power in the life force, look to this for hope and strength.

 

Find the light.

This is a call to inner healing and self-care.  Don’t become the energy behind these attacks on humanity.  Accept that the energy of that same violence is in you too.  Draw wisdom from that.  Don’t become it, transform it.  Find whatever feeds you, gives you hope, makes you feel loved and bask in its glow.  Let it fill you up, comfort you, nourish you and give you strength and wisdom and courage. I invite you right now to stop and take a deep breath.  Pause.  Breathe again.  Take a moment to reflect on the things that bring you joy, nourishment, and love in your life. Receive them fully.  You can do this physically by surrounding yourself with those things or you can practice this mentally and spiritually by receiving the energy of those things through the power of your thoughts.  Hold these intentions of self-care and inner healing close to you.  It is an act of tending to life, your life, which is also part of the work of justice-making and peace-making.

 

Be the light.

This is a call to action.  We cannot be silent.  We cannot be apathetic.  We cannot be paralyzed by our sadness and pain.  Do something.  Anything.  Even in your stillness.  And trust that others are doing something too.  There is life and light in our thoughts and in our actions. Collectively we work to shift consciousness, to shift policy, to shift institutions.  We are everyday people. Move and shift-shape your circle, your family, your community, this world. Be a beacon for a new day to come right now.  You may or may not live to see that new day, but in any case know you will be part of ushering it in for someone else.  Your ancestors did that for you.

 

In remembrance of and dedicated to…

 

#baghdad

#philandocastile

#istanbul

#michaelbrown

#orlando

#altonsterling

#paris

#sandrabland

#charleston

#trayvonmartin

#dallas

#garissa

#baga

 

“It is in life that we find life; life is all around us. Be certain to see the beauty of life in all of its forms, draw spiritual energy from life continuously renewed from the lands that ground our feet and the airs that breathe life in our physical bodies. Life is the light. Love, both physical and spiritual, brings peace. It is our inner peace that can guide our steps, center our understandings, and keep the light aflame. Undoubtedly, life and love are always shining – we have to see it, believe it, step into it, and invite others into it as well. Love was never meant to be an individual adventure.”

-Dr. Derrick Brooms

Photo credit: A full moon captured July 18, 2008.  NASA/Sean Smith

Mindful Mondays: Remembering Ali

Muhammad Ali.  The Greatest. 

I was one among thousands who lined the streets of Louisville last Friday to pay my respects to Muhammad Ali.  As the processional drove by, I couldn’t help but be overcome by the scene.  All people.  Young, old, black, white, rich and poor were throwing flowers in the street, carrying heartfelt homemade signs, and chanting…..”Ali! Ali! Ali!”  I took the moment in with awe and wonder, contemplating the impact that one life can make.

Ali will be remembered as an athlete, an activist, a humanitarian, a conscientious objector, many things.  Let us also remember Ali as one of our spiritual teachers.  Not a guru that performed miracles, not a spiritual teacher who cloistered themself off from worldly things to find wisdom, not a theologian with years of scholarly study and preparation, but one of us.  He fought.  He was a father.  He got divorced.  He had to change careers.  He got sick.  He was steeped in the “stuff” of the world, good or bad and drew wisdom and faith from it.    And it was his spiritual wisdom that touched all corners of the world and it will be this wisdom that will live on for years to come. 

Impossible is Nothing. 

I Am the Greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. 

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want. 

It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.

Don’t count the days; make the days count.

Ali. 

Thank you for sharing your prophetic voice. 

Thank you for modeling for us what it means to be courageous and uncompromising about who the Divine created us to be. 

Thank you for standing by your faith and spiritual beliefs in the midst of persecution. 

Thank your for showing us what it means to be a human being that lives into their Greatness.

Photo credit: Getty Images, Stanley Weston

Mindful Mondays: What's gripping you?

What’s gripping you?   What situation is having its way with you in your life?  It’s easy to become victim to the worries and concerns that weigh on our hearts and minds.  The suffering we experience is real no matter how temporal our realities may be.  The question is not how to become free from our suffering, but how to remain steadfast in our faith in the midst of our pain. 

To remain steadfast in our faith, is to remember.  Remember so that you don’t get lost in your worries.

Remember who you are.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  While you may have some ups and downs in life, your spirit remains. Breathe, seek solace and care tenderly to the spirit within you to find a sense of knowing, comfort, and guidance. 

To remain steadfast in our faith, is to remember.  Remember so that you don’t get lost in your worries.

Remember your last testimony.  How easy it is to forget how you made it through the last storm.  We often make it through past struggles either victoriously and or just plain make it through only to focus on the next struggle or the next challenge.  Your life is a resource….it has taught you to endure. No matter what you may have gone through or faced in your past, the life force running through you is strong and you are still here.  You are here wiser, stronger, better.

To remain steadfast in our faith, is to remember.  Remember so that you don’t get lost in your worries.

Remember that you are not alone.  Spirit is present.  Loving universal energy surrounds you. The ancestors are walking beside you.  Take time to connect with that which gives you life, the source of all Creation.  Whatever that may be for you, it is Good and it has everything you need.