In this world that surrounds us, we often find ourselves reflecting back in time. From #tbt on social media to gathering with friends to relive stories of times gone by – our lives appear to be tied to experiences of our past.
But, what if this seemingly simple action is causing more complexity in our lives than we understand? What if those experiences were meant to be single moments in time, appreciated for exactly what they were, and allowed to be left behind us?
Many of us give permission for our past and the experiences it contained to define our current self. We create labels for ourselves based on these encounters and begin to wear them throughout life, piling them on as we go. We sit with friends and share our justification for our self-created labels, as if each one is a badge of honor or dishonor in some way. This isn’t good or bad, but the question is – how does this serve us in our current moment?
When we allow ourselves to let go of past experiences and the labels we have created with them, an entirely new pattern has an opportunity to emerge. We free ourselves to choose who we desire to be in the present moment. Experiences begin to shift based on our current actions. What is reflected to us is no longer what we were, but what we are.
>>> We are NOT our past – we are whatever we choose to be in the current moment and every moment moving forward <<<
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. ~Buddha
This is where each of us have the opportunity to expand our perspective of love
When we place love in a single category, such as an emotion, we are limiting its possibilities. Love is an energy. That energy can invoke an emotional reaction, a feeling, a bond and many other sensations we have come to understand. But, that energy also has the potential to be the very fiber of who we are.
Consider this: when we are connecting to a new skill, such as playing the piano, we consciously choose to practice that skill. It takes dedication, focus, awareness and a desire to be a pianist. We don’t go from playing chopsticks to Mozart in a week. But, as we allow ourselves to expand in our awareness of the piano and the music it generates, we are creating beautiful melodies in no time. The music becomes part of our very soul.
And, so it is with love. When we consciously choose to be love in every moment – to practice it fully by asking ourselves, “what am I doing to express love right now?” – we begin to find our own connection to it. What starts as focused practice, becomes part of who we are.
Love flows through each us in different ways. You might be love by being present and listening to a friend in need of support. Or maybe it’s by placing love energy into the food you cook. It may be a smile and eye contact to a complete stranger at the grocery store. There are countless ways to be love and allow the energy of love to flow through you. But one thing is certain, when you align yourself to this infinite and amazing energy, you feel love in every moment as a result.
Love is something we are, not something we posses. It is an energy we share, not something we control. Love is infinite possibility raised up from the light of the universe. How will you choose to be the infinite possibility love?
My Last Moments With My Grandmother
by Amber Mikesell
Some reading this blog may know that before Austin and I joined together to create A&A Spiritual Concepts and The Meditative Minute, I had my own practice. For those who may not have known, I mention this only because I blogged under the name of this practice as well. Many of these posts have caught attention given recent world events. One in particular has really garnered a great deal of traffic and, as a result, Austin and I thought it might be good to share on this blog as well.
Yours in love ~
Mar 07, 2015
I’m certain most reading this article have, at some point in your life, lost someone you love. For me, I’ve had the honor of holding the hand of both of my grandmothers as they transitioned from this world to the next. These experiences shaped me in ways I cannot fully explain in a single article, However, there is one moment in particular that continues to call to me to share – more so now than ever.
As I sat with my father’s mother in her final evening, alone in her room, I noticed I could physically feel her fear settle to calm. My grandmother could not speak, but appeared fully alert and aware of her surroundings and me. During the time of her passing I had not yet fully come into my awareness, but I felt her and knew she felt me. Throughout the evening she and I began to ‘experiment’ with this connection and found ways to communicate by way of the energy. As we communicated, sharing gratitude for one another, these words came through stronger than anything I had felt to that point, “In the end, LOVE is all that matters.” After the words flowed through, she and I both began to cry. She felt it as strongly as I did and we both knew it was truth.
You see, dear friends, as I have progressed a bit more in my journey one thing has remained consistent – LOVE is the key. When we leave this world, the energy we generate is the only thing we take with us. It is our choice, in every moment, to determine what energy we want to transition out of this world carrying. My grandmother chose love in her final hours and the transition was beautiful. It is never too late to choose LOVE, as LOVE is unconditional. But the choice is ours – always.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Energy is defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental health and activity.
Most of us have an awareness that food and mental stimulation are required sources of energy to be physically and mentally healthy. But how often do we take a step back to examine the energy required to sustain spiritual health? Or the source(s) we’ve allowed to provide this energy?
>>> Overall wellness includes body and soul <<<
As with the physical body, our spiritual body requires energy to be healthy. And like the physical body, there are sources of energy that are better suited to maintain the spiritual body than others. Let’s relate spirituality to food. It’s safe to say that most fast food is not healthy for you. It may be quick and convenient, but the nutrition level is extremely low…much like negativity/judgment/hate…all quick and easy to feel. The most nutritional food you can have tends to be food you make for yourself. Although it may be more difficult and take a bit longer, the preparation yields more nutritional and healthier results…much like love/patience/kindness.
When we take the time and connect directly to the source that is infinite love for us (whatever that source might be), we are preparing our own spiritual food, which will generate a stronger yield of love. We are all our own beautiful connection to love and love energy can naturally flow through us if we allow it. The energy then has an opportunity to flow from us and build love energy blended with love energy, until we’re all in a reality filled with love/patience/kindness.
Take the time to consider what you leverage as energy sources in spiritual aspects of your life. Do you tend to place your sources in others versus yourself? How can you begin to prepare your own personal connection, allowing that love to flow forward?
Body Awareness Meditation
Have you ever found yourself getting ready for bed at the end of a given day and noticed there is tension in your shoulders and neck? You don’t know how it got there, but somehow the stress of the day ended up in your body and now you feel every ounce of it!
>>> Body awareness meditation is a practice of bringing our focus onto our body and mindfully releasing the stress that crept in <<<
By feeling into the tension and allowing it to release, we not only become more physically relaxed, but we also increase our ability to mentally relax. How? When we are physically tense, we engage our sympathetic nervous system. Our brain believes our body is tense because there is potential danger present and it is preparing to protect itself. But, when we take the time to relax our body, we allow the parasympathetic nervous system to regain function and our body returns to a balanced state.
Below are a few tips to begin this meditation practice. As with all practices, it may not flow perfectly the first few times. You may have difficulty relaxing every muscle in the body, that is fine! If this is the case, focus on the muscles that create the most tension and stress for you. Another common complexity faced at the onset of the practice is that there isn’t a great deal of release the first few times through. Don’t become discouraged. It may take a few times through the practice for your body to understand what you are asking of it. But once you have it, relaxation is yours anywhere.
- Find a quiet space to lay down for 5 to 10 minutes
- Begin with 3 deep breaths in through the nose – breath down into the abdomen, relaxing the stomach and allowing the breath to sink deep down. Exhale fully and slowly through the nose.
- After completing 3 deep breaths, bring your awareness to your feet. Feel your feet fully – any sensations that are in your feet, any stress in the toes, arches or heels. Begin to imagine a warm sensation flowing into your feet, relaxing and releasing any sensation that feels stressful or tense.
- Once your feet are warm and relaxed, begin to move the warm sensation up over the ankles and into the calves and shins. Feel any tension or stress in these muscles begin to fade away as the warmth fills them.
- Feel the flow continue up the leg into the knees. As you feel the sensation enter the area of focus, allow all tension to fade and the body to fall heavier against the surface you are on.
- From the knees, continue the movement of warmth and relaxation up into the thighs and so on, until eventually the entire body is warm and relaxed
- If tension does remain, return your focus to the tense area and allow the warmth to flow into the muscle until it releases.
- After you have navigated through the body, take a few moments to allow the sensation of relaxation.
“Are you listening to what I’m saying?”
Have you ever been asked or have you ever said, “Are you listening to what I’m saying?” What are we communicating when we ask this question?
You may feel that listening and hearing are different, but in essence, they are both auditory responses. We hear a sound and we take in the information associated with it. What can be different is the action taken…whether we react or respond. The best way to look at this is to not worry about semantics, but to focus on what is truly being asked: “Are you understanding what I’m saying? Are you here with me now? Are you in this present moment?”
>>> When we actively engage, we are able to fully understand and process the information <<<
When we are not in the present moment, the information is not able to be fully processed and can lead to many things like miscommunication, misunderstanding, judgement, preconceived outcomes/evaluations, etc. due to energy of past experiences and/or future fears. The most common issue from this is reacting versus responding.
Many times, when we are not listening, we choose to react to a situation because we didn’t take the time to allow the information to resonate. When we react, it usually is brash, quick, and can be aggressive in nature. When we listen and allow all information to resonate, we can take the time to feel out a situation and respond accordingly. Even if we don’t fully understand what is being communicated, responding by saying that can give us further clarity, rather than reacting and brushing it off with no intention to understand further. The more we focus on responding versus reacting, the more we are able to not jump to conclusions, get emotional, judge or blow things out of proportion.
Even when you are the communicator, take the time to feel whether or not your words are being listened to or heard. Take the time to feel out the situation and see if the person you are communicating to is listening. If not, seek to understand why that individual is not in the present moment and/or why that person is reacting versus responding. By showing that you’re listening and that you care will command their attention and bring them to the present, allowing your words to resonate, creating the opportunity for solid communication.
Furthermore, being present and attentive is a sign of respect – to our family, our friends, our co-workers, strangers and our loved ones. When we actively engage, we show that we are genuinely interested in what is being communicated. This allows the person who is communicating to feel valued, which in return, can give the communicator the opportunity to express what they are saying with more clarity. We may not agree with what is being said and that is okay, but we must continue to allow ourselves the opportunity to listen intently, because what is being said may provide growth and expansion.
Communication is the key to all relationships (romantic, friends, family, work, social, etc.). Taking the time to truly connect does take effort, but not as much effort as it takes to repair a miscommunication. So, put the effort in up front and it will save you both time and energy in the long run…in addition to strengthening your relationship(s) all around.