As Within, So Without

As above, so below; as below, so above. As within, so without; as without, so within.

This Universal Truth is one of the seven principles of Hermes Trismegistus, author of Hermetic Corpus. It can be interpreted as in heaven (your own mind), so on earth (your physical body/environment); as on earth (your physical body/environment), so in heaven (your own mind).   The world around us is a reflection of our inner world.  And our inner world is a reflection of our environment..


This past month has been a whirlwind example of this Principle in my life. So much is being stirred up with the #metoo movement, Christine Ford, women telling their stories - speaking their truth. I see it in my professional life with an increase of abuse survivors coming in for support and healing tools after being triggered by the headlines and hearings.  And on a personal level, I am greatly impacted by all of this as an incest survivor. No... make that thriver.

"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

My father sexually abused me for many years and I was silenced with the threat that no one would believe me if I told the truth.  And I believed him.  In fact, when our 'secret' came to light 30 years later, my mother refused to believe me.  Now, 18 years after the initial truth telling, she still refuses to believe me. Denial is a powerful force. And I know that her choice to not believe isn't personal to me. In fact it's not about me at all. It is all about her. One of the things that my life has taught me is that what you think about yourself, is far more important than what anyone thinks about you. My power resides in my willingness to believe in myself with compassion and kindness.


"Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we'll ever do." - Brene Brown

I have always remembered.  I never forgot. The memories of the pain, the fear, the sounds and smells and tastes still knock the wind out of me some days. And I have been forever changed in many positive ways because of those experiences - not in spite of them. 


For years, I felt broken. Abandoned. Ashamed. Angry. Small. Worthless. Shattered. Alone. And - through much time and attention and healing intention and therapy and writing and meditation and more therapy and energy healing and digging deep - I have moved to a place where I am able to see the gifts in the darkness.


"What hurts you, blesses you.  Darkness is your candle." - Rumi


We are at a time and place in history where it's more important than ever to share our stories. Listening to others tell their stories, has given me the courage to be more forthcoming in telling mine. To share my trials and triumphs, my unique perspective and our common connections. Speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we have to bring - to ourselves, to one another, to our communities, to the world. 

Our destiny is not written for us, but by us. Tell your story.  Your story will heal you by setting you free. Share it with the world. Your story will help someone else heal by helping them acknowledge their story. The world needs your medicine. And perhaps, most importantly...

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” - Sharon Salzberg

Blessings on your path,

Beth



The Tower and the Star

What I remember most about my childhood is the darkness – the heaviness of it all – the feeling of being alone.  The nights spent curled up in the corner of my bed – tucked tight under my favorite blanket with the satin edges – cool to the touch.  I would lie in waiting – praying that tonight would be a night he would forget to come in to punish me for sassing my mother or for not combing the fringe on the oriental rugs or for leaving the ice cube tray empty after fetching his drink.  I believed that if I prayed, I would hear his footsteps move past my bedroom door.  But many nights, I didn’t pray hard enough.  The door would open – flooding the room with light for a brief moment – the smell of scotch and cigarettes reaching my nose before he did, and I pressed myself against the wall before he pressed himself against me.

When morning came I would rush into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed, pull myself together and rush downstairs to set the table and get ready for our family breakfast.

My favorite fairy tale was Cinderella – and I dreamt of meeting Prince Charming and living ‘Happily Ever After’.

And then it happened…

I was waitressing in a cute little luncheonette on Main Street – making shakes and sliding plates down the long counter – when I received a dozen long stem roses delivered anonymously.  Woohooo!!  Except I didn’t know who my secret admirer was – YET!

I carefully placed one of the roses in a parfait glass at the cash register up front – and took the rest home to enjoy.  My father asked me who the flowers were from. And I found these words rolling off my tongue – “They’re from the man I’m going to marry.”  But who was he?

The next day I was back slinging hash and eggs and keeping a close eye on all the single men – looking for a clue from my mystery man.

My shift came and went and no one stepped forward.  But there was a shy guy who came in regularly sitting alone at the counter and ordered his usual bacon, egg, cheese and homefries on a hard roll.  His name was Steve.  He was cute in a rough kind of way – scruffy beard, Pegasus tattoo on his forearm.  He always made me laugh.  Maybe he was my secret admirer?  He gave no indication.  The next day came and went – no bites.  On the third day, I asked my friend to bring a dozen balloons – anonymously – to the bar Steve worked.  My friend was concerned that the roses weren’t from Steve.  How can you know? It doesn’t matter – he’s cute.

So a dozen balloons made their way to Binki’s Bar – and as they were being delivered, my Prince Charming said “She figured it out.”

We were inseparable from the get-go – Steve and me – two broken pieces with the perfect fit.  We both loved music – he loved the Beatles, the Stones were more my style. He had a fiercely honed funny bone – and I loved to laugh.

We built a new life together – building a new foundation out of the love we held for one another – brick by brick by brick- getting married, creating a family we both wished we had growing up.  Putting down roots – we both got jobs that were a little more respectable and created more financial stability.  We had our much planned for and eagerly anticipated daughter – Taylor who was the light of both of our eyes.  Bought a Cape Cod style house in Steve’s childhood neighborhood.  He built a white picket fence around it.  We built a fabulous life together – piece by piece – one step at a time.

Oh, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. There were challenges – small ones and BIG ones. Steve was diagnosed with Hep C – managed with trips to Yale and then Columbia Presbyterian – there were doctor visits, angry words, withdrawal, medications, betrayals, fears, transplant lists, hopes for the future, huge disappointments dashing our hopes for the future. 

Instead of drawing us closer – those challenges found us creating new rooms in this tower we created – this structure of our life.  We walled ourselves off – retreating into the silence – retreating into the darkness – pulling back – pulling apart.

And then it happened…

I picked Taylor up at school and we walked in the house together and immediately something didn’t feel right. Where was Steve? Taylor ran downstairs to see if he was at his desk in the basement.  I stood looking up the stairs leading to our bedroom calling his name.  Looking at all the photos lining the stairway – baby photos,  pictures of our wedding, there was a photo of Taylor in the bathtub with a bubblebeard, pictures of Steve helping Taylor on her maiden voyage on a bicycle, a recent photo of the 3 of us lying on the hammock in front of the white picket fence.  I ran up the stairs, opened the bedroom door – and there he was lying in bed, not moving, not breathing, lifeless.  The next hour or so was a blur – screaming, running downstairs, 911, Paramedics, Police, neighbors, phones ringing, confusion, disbelief, morticians.  I remember hearing the zipping of the body bag and watching two men struggling to bring the stretcher down the stairs.  Leaving behind in their wake the cracked, shattered, splintered, broken family photo that had fallen to the ground. 

There’s a card in the tarot which I consider to the most challenging. The image is of a Tower perched atop a craggy mountain – gray clouds of misfortune hovering over head, lightening strikes and flames burst from the building’s windows.  A man and a woman are leaping from the tower head first in desperation.  It’s a SHIFT HAPPENS card.  It’s a shake up of epic proportions.  It’s about being shattered –crumbling – being cracked open.  Life will never be the same. And it won’t…

But on the other side of the Tower is The Star…

A woman kneels at the edge of a small pool – naked, vulnerable, open.  She has one foot on the ground and the other foot in the water – listening to her inner voice.  The stars are shining on her – illuminating the darkness – giving her hope. Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather opening where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

Several years after Steve left this world, I woke up,- lying in the same bed we had shared for over 20 years – watching the sun stream in through the silk curtains, casting little rainbows on the white down comforter that had been my chrysalis.  Time has softened my memories of our life together - and time has softened me - smoothed the rough edges – much like a broken piece of bottle emerges from the surf as sea glass.   And I have hope - knowing I can write my own happy ending.

The Art of Surrender

What's in a word?

This past week I have been mulling over the word 'surrender.' At a recent tarot party, I asked the woman I was reading for if there was any situation in her life that required she surrender? She looked at me aghast - and said 'I will never surrender!' She said it with such conviction that indicated she was proud of that. For her, 'surrender' meant giving in - giving up. It took me aback and gave me reason for pause. I had another way of looking at surrender.

One word - different perspectives.

"We shall go on to the end...whatever the cost may be...we shall never surrender." - Winston Churchill

"Be crumbled so wild flowers will come up where you are. You have been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender." - Rumi

Surrender. I have spent a lifetime trying something different on my life's journey as I learn to crumble and heal myself. And I wouldn't have survived some of the challenges on my path if I hadn't learned to surrender at least some of the time - admittedly with varying degrees of success!

I love the image of the hungry little caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. As it waits in its cocoon, surrendering to a higher purpose - the natural process of transformation. And when the change is complete, the watercolor wings split their silken cage and the butterfly emerges - ready to fly! Metamorphosis!

This kind of surrender is to a force bigger than oneself - not to another person. And it's learning balance and discernment - how to harmonize the energies at play in any given moment. We learn to advance when doors are open and to pause when they are closed, moving with rather than against these forces. This kind of surrender has nothing to do with waving a white flag, or collapsing into complacency or ceasing to be the change we wish to see in the world.

Spiritual surrender means relaxing - letting go of our fixed agendas, unclenching our fists, being open to responding to what is unfolding rather than reacting in a holier than thou kind of way.

What if surrender is our greatest source of strength rather than a weakness? In battle the person surrendering is seen as the loser, but in life it's not about losing or winning. Surrender is about being okay with what is.

There is no greater act of courage than to take a deep breath and be with exactly what is happening in the present moment.Being present doesn't mean that you can't plan for a bright future or take that trip you've always wanted to take. It just means you don't worry about the outcome or micromanage how you'll spend each hour. Surrender is really just a state of non-attachment.

Stop. Drop. Be here now.

Thanks for the life lesson, Universe! I am surrendering my attachment to a definition of 'surrender'.

Meditation Musing:

"To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders." - Lao Tzu

Get ready. Get set. It's time to write...

Journaling SPARK:

Where are you fighting with life?

Where can you surrender to create more ease?

Blessings on your path,

Beth

 

 

 

Becoming Self Full - It's Not Selfish!

Becoming Self Full.
Time out!  Slow down.  It’s summer time - the perfect season for rest, repose, and retreat.  Heed the call for an emotional truce with yourself and create a grounded, meditative state in which to recoup lost energy. The external chaos of life may continue to rage all around you, but with your emotional and mental boundaries firmly established, you will remain calm and centered.  Recovery, rest, self-reflection and insight all await you for the purpose of healing your body, mind and spirit. Remember – you can’t give from an empty well.  Taking time for yourself is not selfish – it’s self-full!  


 Meditation Musing:

From Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

"With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women.  I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children.  It has to do primarily with distractions.  The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls - woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life.  The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence.  It is more basically how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balance, not matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel...

But how?  Total retirement is not possible.  I cannot shed my responsibilities...I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life.  I would not want to be.  The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it.  I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return...

It is a difficult lesson to learn today - to leave one's friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week ...For me, the break is the most difficult ... And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious.  Life rushes back into the voice, richer, more vivid, fuller than before. "
 

Today's Challenge:
Plan a retreat for yourself - alone - in solitude...for an hour, a day, or a week.

Blessings on your path,

Beth
 

Reflections on the Dark Side

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."  Carl Jung

The solstices and equinoxes mark the changing seasons and remind us of the life cycle - seasons come and go, things change, nothing stays the same, yet all will return in its time.  One year ends and a New Year is created. 

The WInter Solstice is a deeply mystical time for many.  It is the longest night of the year, all have gone deep inside and faced the long dark night of the soul and now await the return of the sun.  The New Year is a time to consider the true nature of reflections.  Take a moment to light a candle and meditate with mindfulness on the sunlight within yourself.

As you learn to accept the brightness of who you are, you will begin to understand your deeper nature which is both light and darkness.  Do not fear your shadow side, for the shadows are what give you depth, experience and wisdom and they provide opportunities for the perfect expression of theDivine that you are.  Your soul is a beautiful mirror that seeks to reflect the light of the Divine.  This light is bright enough to forever illuminate your path and the paths of those with whom you come in contact.  Meditating upon this light will provide insight to your deeper nature.

The word 'insight', which means to see into something, is really a function of seeing with your inner eyes - with the 'eyes of understanding.'  When we are distracted and deceived by appearances, we may judge others quickly and react defensively.  True vision requires that we see beyond actions into their source - and then beyond the source into the soul.

Practice seeing with the eyes of understanding - beyond the frustration, irritation or disappointment of the moment into the underlying reasons for behaviors or events.  Challenge yourself to see into yourself - to monitor responses and reaction patterns, to consider why you create certain situations in your life, to explore ways in which you can turn apparent misfortune into an opportunity for growth and ultimately into good fortune.  Begin by trading judgment for non-judgmental observation and by trading reaction for thoughtful response -  and your eyes of understanding will begin to open.Though the night is dark, when we see with our heart and soul, our true path will always be visible, illuminated by the light within.

Blessings on your path,

Beth

 

Seeing with Beginner's Eyes

13th century German mystic Meister Eckhart once observed, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."  At first, the point of his comment seems obvious. But if you stay with it for a moment, then the mystery it reveals is overwhelming.  And highly personalized.  What's obvious to you might very well be oblivious to me. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by daily demands and decisions that we have no time to see clearly or even look to see where we are going.

The Chinese principles of yin and yang show us that there are two extremes to everything - dark and light, cold and hot, sorrow and joy.  One is practical - the other passionate.  One aspect is used for navigation, the other for connection.  One eye makes an instant judgment, the other eye contemplates. 

The gift of vision is so important that when the world was created, Love's first command was for there to be Light in order for us to see.  In his gently thought provoking art primer, The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation, the artist Frederick Franck invites us to experience each ordinary moment as if we were seeing something for the first time. "Everyone thinks he knows what a lettuce looks like.  But start to draw one and you realize the anomaly of having lived with lettuce all your life but never having seen one, never having seen the semi-translucent leaves curling in their own lettuce way, never having noticed what makes a lettuce a lettuce rather than a curly kale."

Franck does it with a pencil,  You can do it with a pause. The next time you're making a salad, take another look at a head of lettuce.  What do you see?  Look closely, look with reverence, look with gratitude, and what you'll see will be more than meets your eye.

Today's Challenge:
It's time for a Photo Safari!  All you need is the phone on your camera and a willingness to approach your day-to-day life with wonder and seeing things with beginner eyes.  Take a photo of your toothbrush. Snap a shot of the dazzling raspberry. Zoom in.  Zoom out.  Explore how photography allows you to see things in ways you may have otherwise missed. 

See things with beginner’s eyes - a contemplative/meditation experience that slows things down and enhances the way we see our world in novel and original ways.  Uncover the color, texture and beauty that is always there, but normally hidden from view.

Beginner’s Eye is based on the Zen notion of “beginner’s mind; " that open and spacious place when we are completely receptive, fearless, totally present and connected to the wonder of each moment. A pure clear contemplative seeing awareness where everything is fresh and new.

Let the photographs find you!

Meditation Musing:
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
- Henry David Thoreau   

Blessings on your path,

Beth
 

There You Grow Again!

Do you wish every day could feel fresh instead of like a replay of last one?  

Change is often our deepest most insatiable desire, which we fervently deny and so desperately fear. And yet change is the only thing we can count on. Seems we're in a conundrum!

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." Lao Tzu 

Growth requires change and reaching and stretching beyond our comfort zone on every level of being - moving into a new way of living. Habits are automatic behavior - learned and practiced. It saves us the bother of being here now, of "experiencing the experience". We can live in our heads and not be present, fantasize reality. It's safer. We feel more in control, because if we change, who KNOWS what might happen!

But simply making a fresh choice from your rote behavior will open up a whole new way of thinking, helping you entertain a whole new set of possibilities in your life.  This fresh choice just might help resolve a problem you've been struggling with, or plant a seed of realization.

So, now it's time to shake things up and put a new twist on some old habits. Just let whatever happens emotionally, mentally, physically, happen. I can guarantee: there will be surprises!

Challenge of the Day (if you DARE!)

  • Try brushing your teeth with your other hand.
  • Walk down a new block during lunch, and really notice everything as you pass by.
  • Wear 2 pieces of clothing in different colors or contrasting textures - ones you've never put together before - like black and navy or red and purple, or leather and lace (ooh la la!).
  • Try cooking up a new dish with an exotic name you can't even pronounce.
  • Have your breakfast someplace you've never eaten before.
  • Pet the dog/cat with your other hand.
  • Change your ringtone.
  • Listen to a song in a music genre you don't 'like'.

 

Blessings on your path,

Beth

Laughter as Medicine

If you are too busy to laugh, you are simply too busy. 

"We don't laugh because we're happy – we're happy because we laugh." - William James

Old proverbs aside, it turns out that laughter really is the best medicine. Particularly when it's of the belly-laugh variety, the kind that produces brain waves akin to levels seen in people who reach "a true state of meditation."

New studies show that making a concerted effort to make laughter a part of your daily routine is an easy and medicine-free method for reducing the stress hormone cortisol, boosting brain health and keeping mental levels sharp.  All that and laughter can support the immune system, improve blood pressure, stimulate the organs and reduce pain too!

When there is mirthful laughter, the brain and body get a workout. You not only feel better, you also think more clearly and have more integrative thoughts. What's not to like about that? Laughter helps you reframe, revisit, reorganize, or rearrange aspects of your life - making you feel SPARKLY all over!

Meditation Musing:
"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."
- Jean Houston   

Get ready.  Get set.  It's time to LAUGH...

Challenge of the Day:

"A laughing meditation?" you ask.  "You must be kidding?!!"

NO, I'm very serious! 

So, you've got nothing to laugh about? 

Great!  Then this laughing meditation is just for you.

 

Gather up some weird friends to join you.

You say you don't have any?

Then run - don't walk - and find one or two or three. 

Weird friends are the spice of life! 

   

Set a timer for 15 minutes and lie down on the floor and just start laughing.  Fake it 'til you make it!  Before you know it, you will all look so ridiculous that the laughter will be genuine. You'll be laughing at them - and you can rest assured that they will certainly be laughing at you!

When the timer goes off sit or lie absolutely still in silence.

Experience the wonderful emptiness you have created inside yourself through the release of all the tension and stress.  This is what the mystics call Samadhi - a glimpse of the beyond.

Happy Laughing!

Beth

www.bethleas.com

Finding the 'Just Right'

 

Finding balance in our lives can often seem elusive - a little like being Goldilocks as we try to find the chair that's neither too large nor too small, the porridge that's neither too hot nor too cold, the bed that's neither too hard nor too soft, but 'just right'. Living a life of balance leads us to find the middle way - the 'just right' -savoring each moment as the gift that it is.
 

As we move about our daily life - eating, sleeping, working - our amazing bodies work to maintain a delicate balance of temperature and blood chemistry, which if drastically altered, ends our life.  And not only does our survival depend on balance - so too does the quality of our life at all levels - body, mind and spirit.

If gravity is the glue that holds the universe together - balance is the key that unlocks its secrets.  All things exist in a state of balance - the interplay of opposites: high and low; in and out; hot and cold; fast and slow; loud and soft.  And between the polarities rests a balance point - a center.  Achieving balance in even one area of our life can make a significant difference in our effectiveness.

Within our psyches live archetypes and values of the puritan and the hedonist, the believer and the skeptic, the social butterfly and the lone wolf.  Sages from every culture have advocated the middle way, the golden mean, the straight-and-narrow path.  Even in the world of nature most humans thrive by avoiding the extremes of desert heat and arctic cold, finding our lives more comfortable in the temperate zones. But balance does not always depend on avoiding the extremes.

Balance also embraces the ability to explore the extremes at times - paying equal attention to both sides to keep the pendulum in balance.  For example, sometimes we may want to play the hedonist - staying up late and celebrating, indulging our senses; other times we may express a more puritan or spartan disposition - eating well and exercising.  Sometimes we overwork - other times we over rest.

Over time, we remain in balance as long as we work both sides equally and return to center. What constitutes balance differs somewhat for each of us, due to our different temperaments, dispositions and constitutions.  Some people tolerate and thrive on more exercise than others - and even our own needs change over time.

Each of us needs to find our own middle ground, defined by our unique physical and psychological qualities and needs - not by someone else's values.  How much to exercise?  How much to eat?  The answer is "whatever is 'just right' for you."

What does it mean to find the middle way?  It means not getting caught up in a tangle of drama but consciously choosing to walk through life (rather than pushing it away), and allowing ourselves to see all sides of any matter.  In doing so, we make greater choices and pave the way for living with a sense of peace.

Once we find the middle way and walk it, we live positioned in the center of our lives -   giving us a panoramic view that allows us to see all that is possible.  This leads us to an authentic experience of balance rather than one that is limited and capable of being thrown off at any moment.  The old paradigm of balance seems to be influenced by external forces rather than a powerful internal response.  It takes awareness, practice and tenacity to live the middle way.

Meditation Musing:

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Havelock Ellis

 

Get ready, get set, it's time to write!

Journaling SPARK: Questions to ponder - take your time...

  • What brings balance to your life?
  • When you reflect on balance in your life, what do you discover?
  • What sustains balance in your life?
  • What one action could you take to have more balance in your life?
  • Tell a story about a time when you were living in balance and harmony.
  • How does living in balance expand your life?
  • What are you willing to do to live a life of balance?

Blessings on your path,

Beth

www.bethleas.com

 

There's No Place Like 'Om'

Are you searching for that place, somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, where skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true?

Have you been looking for a place outside of yourself hoping it will magically fulfill your longing?

Well, search no more.

Meditation is the magic carpet that will carry you where the clouds are far behind you and troubles melt like lemon drops. You, like Dorothy, have the power within to go 'OM'.  It's easy and fun. So put aside your expectations about meditation and don't worry about doing it 'right'.  There are infinite possibilities and no fixed criterion for determining the right meditation for you.


"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour." ~ Zen Proverb

Slip on your ruby slippers, click your heels three times and remember these zen commandments from Bethela, the Good Witch.


Find that special place

If possible, this should be a dedicated place for meditation.  It can be at a table in a corner of a room, a special spot in front of a window, on the floor at the foot of your bed.  Keep it comfortable and fresh and fun. A ritual will get you in the right mood for meditation. Anything that tells your mind that this is what is on your agenda will be helpful.  Engage all your senses.  Light a candle, burn some incense, use essential oils that are pleasing to you.  Sit on a satin cushion or velvet pillow - something that feels good. Honor this sacred time and space. 

Same good time

Dawn and dusk are particularly good because the world seems to enter into a special tranquility at these times.  More important is to give the mind notice that at a certain time you are going to meditate.  And setting aside 10 minutes every day is better than 1 hour once a week.  The length of time is less important than the daily practice. 

Shhhhhh - quiet please

Eliminate as much noise and as many potential distractions as possible.  Turn off the cell phone, lock the door.  Don't worry about those things you can't control.  


Comfort is key

Sit comfortably with your spine reasonably straight.  this allows the energy to flow freely up the spine which is an important aspect of meditation.  Leaning against a chair back, a wall, headboard, etc. is perfectly all right. If you're sitting in a chair, place your feet flat on the floor.  Arms relaxed, shoulders down. Place your hands in any position that is comfortable.  

Joy to the world!

An attitude of joy in just sitting, in just being -without expectation - is essential to meditation.  In China and Japan the meditation posture is known as 'sitting like a mountain'.  This gives the feeling of solidity and stillness with the body well connected to the ground and the mind reaching to the heavens.  When you sit, having this image will be very helpful to your practice.

The hardest part about meditation is simply sitting - seriously!  But once you make it part of your daily routine, it becomes a very powerful tool always available to calm your mind/body/soul and enter into the blissful state of oneness - where bluebirds fly.  Okay, maybe not every time you sit - but there will be times - I promise. 
 

Welcome Om!

  
Meditation Musing:
Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is the only moment.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
   
Challenge of the Day:
Find 10 minutes to meditate today - here are some unique ideas if you don't know where to start...

Build a Cairn - Balancing stones is an old Zen technique of examining the mind. Flat pebbles work best for this meditation- start with the biggest ones on the bottom and build your way up, paying close attention to your breathing as you complete the tower.

Watch Water - This is a great meditation alternative if you live near the water. Remove your shoes and walk slowly along the beach, feeling the sand shift beneath your feet. Stop at the water’s edge, and watch how the waves flow and crash. Let the sounds of the ocean return you to a place of peace in your mind.  If you like to stay at home, you can simply observe the ripples that a drop of water creates. in your bathtub.
 

Mindful Movement - Take 10-20 minutes and completely lose yourself in a moderate physical activity. This could be anything from swimming laps to shooting baskets to yoga. Just breathe deeply and allow your mind to concentrate fully on the activity at hand.

Blessings on your path,

Beth

www.bethleas.com

 

Create a Vision Board to Your Dreams

"Do you have a vision board? They are one of the most valuable visualization tools available to you because they represent your dreams, your goals, and your ideal life."  ~Jack Canfield
 
Your brain will work tirelessly to achieve the statements you give your subconscious mind. And when those statements are the affirmations and images of your goals, you are destined to achieve them!

Because your mind responds strongly to visual stimulation-by representing your goals with pictures and images-you will actually strengthen and stimulate your emotions... and your emotions are the vibrational energy that activates the Law of Attraction.

So DO YOU have a vision board?
Well, step on up to today's challenge!


Today's Challenge: Create your very own Vision Board!  Get a large piece of poster foam board - in any color you choose (my personal favorite is black as it offers a great contrast).  Gather up lots of magazines of any type, some glue sticks, glitter, stickers, markers, crayons and any other art supplies you might have.  Set aside a few hours for this project so you can really dive into your subconscious mind.

Before you begin: Put on some soft music. Start by sitting and getting quiet, observing your breath and settling in.  After a few minutes, with lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself "What do I really desire?" Maybe one word will be the answer. Maybe images will come into your head. Just take a moment to be with that. This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little, so that you can more clearly create your vision. Allow the feelings to bubble to the surface - and take an emotional snapshot.  Remember, this is about feeling the feeling, not the thought or material thing.  For example: You may 'think' you want to be zooming down the highway in a Porsche Panamera, but the feeling you desire is FREEDOM.

GO!
Spend 30-45 minutes going through the magazines - no gluing yet. Allow the pictures todraw you in and pick you.  The images allow your subconscious to bubble to the surface in a way that words or thoughts can't.  Cut or rip them out without analyzing or even knowing why you're drawn to them.  Have FUN!  Make a BIG pile.

After you're through collecting images, go through your pile and let your inner artist out to play. Begin to lay your favorites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board. Health, Job, Spirituality, Relationships. Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place. Or you might want to fold the board into a book that tells a story. At my workshops, I’ve seen women come up with wildly creative ways to present a vision board. Observe your process - without judgment.  Remember, there is no right way to do this - and you can't do it wrong.  Enjoy the journey.

Once you're finished, step back from your Vision Board and observe what is revealed.
Hang it in a place where you can look at it often.  .
   
Meditation Musing:
Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. - Jonathan Swift   

 

Blessings on your path,

Beth