Daily Om ~ The Truth of Interdependence

autumn leavesEarth is home to a web of living things that are connected to each other through a kaleidoscope of relationships. Picking a leaf off the ground and contemplating it as an object in and of itself is very inspiring. Its shape and color, the way it feels in your hand, its delicate veins and the stem that once held it fast to the branch of a tree—all of these qualities reveal a leaf to be a miniature work of natural art. As we contemplate this small object more deeply and consider where it came from and what purpose it has served, we find that the leaf is one small but essential part of a system that harnesses the energy of the sun, plumbs the depths of the earth, and in the process brings into being the oxygen many living things rely on to live.

A leaf transforms the elements of its environment—sunlight, carbon dioxide, rain—into nourishment for its tree. This beautiful, nearly weightless, ephemeral piece of nature is a vital conduit to the branch that is a conduit to the trunk that is a conduit to the roots of the tree. The roots, in turn, draw nourishment from the earth to feed the trunk, the branches, and the leaves. The living beings that inhale the oxygen that comes from this process exhale the carbon dioxide that feeds the leaves through which the tree is fed. It is difficult to know where one cycle ends and another one begins.

One of the many gifts that nature offers us is a clear demonstration of the interdependence between all living things. The person who exhales the carbon dioxide, the clouds that produce the rain, the sun that gives light, the leaf that transforms all these things into sustenance for a tree—not one of these could survive without being part of this cycle.

Each living being is dependent upon other living things for its survival. When we look at the world, we see that this is not a place where different beings survive independently of one another. Earth is home to a web of living things that are connected to each other through a spinning kaleidoscope of relationships. We need each other to survive and thrive.

Source: Daily Om

Daily Om ~ Creative Cuts

morphed liliesCutting out what isn’t working in your life is a bold first step to creating the life that does work for you. Our lives can be compared to an ongoing movie script over which we have complete creative control. Within us lies the power to examine what works or isn’t working in our lives and make “edits” to our life’s script, accordingly. Choosing to actively edit your life can be incredibly empowering. As you evolve, you have the choice to accept the script you’ve written thus far or edit it so you can create a life that fulfills you. You can cut out from your life’s script what is no longer working for you. Acknowledging that you are responsible for the experience you create gives you the ability to create the life you’ve always longed for.

Granted, editing your real life isn’t always as easy as erasing a line of text. If you’ve carried emotional baggage or held on to an unhealthy relationship for a long time, these may be difficult to edit out. But when you do cut out what isn’t working from your life, you’ll feel lighter and more alive. Editing out activities that you find stressful, disassociating yourself from people that drain your energy, and letting go of your emotional baggage are all beneficial cuts you can make. In the empty spaces that are left behind, you can add in anything you like. Just as you have the power to edit out negative situations or beliefs that you no longer wish to have as part of your life, you can now include the kinds of positive experiences, people, and beliefs that you would like to fill your life with. The manifestation of these thoughts and images as realities in your life will inevitably follow. As you make changes to your life, you can also add in the bits where you choose mo! re intimate, healthier relationships, seek out adventure over tedium, and are no longer negatively impacted by old experiences.

To begin editing your life, simply think about your positive and negative experiences. When you determine what parts of your life are no longer serving you, make the commitment to remove them – though, it is important to remember that there is no proper timing or way to do this, and patience and compassion for yourself are always important during this process. Then, ask yourself what has brought you profound bliss and consider how you can make those experiences and beliefs part of your life now. With a little editing, you’ll be able to clear out what is no longer serving you and make room in your life for more happiness, love, and wisdom.

Source: Daily Om

 

Daily Om ~ Exploring an Alternate Universe

sunrise1Interacting peacefully with people from all walks of life is a matter of first understanding where they are coming from. All people have their own way of being in the world. It is easiest to comprehend this basic yet profound fact when we consider that every human being on the planet occupies a distinct role in the universe. We grow up in different environments, affected by a unique range of influences. The preferences, values, and beliefs we embrace are frequently related intimately to our origins. And the need to individualize our experiences is instinctive, as doing so enables us to cope when we must face challenges on our own. Consequently, each of us has developed a perspective that is uniquely ours. Interacting peacefully and constructively with people from all walks of life is a matter of first understanding where they are coming from. Then we can adjust our expectations so that we avoid making undue assumptions about what they are about.

In the face of emerging interpersonal conflict, it is easy to assume that others are being difficult, unreasonable, or stubborn. We are apt to grow frustrated when someone in our environment does not share our opinions or feel compelled to support us in our endeavours. It is likely that the individual or individuals before us may simply possess differing notions with regard to what is and what is not important in this life. We can ease the tension that exists between us by reaffirming our belief in the fundamental right of all beings to determine their own destinies. To foster a harmonious relationship, we need to do our best to relate to the unique universes they inhabit. And as we discover what makes them tick, our ability to find a mode of interaction that is pleasing to both of us is enhanced.

When there are barriers keeping you from connecting with someone else, think of questions you can ask them to gain a more thorough understanding of their point of view. You may discover that in addition to the differences in perspective dividing you, they are subject to insecurities and other personal issues that influence their way of seeing the world. It is likely that you will never fully grasp the myriad complexities embodied by humanity, but you can go a long way toward encouraging mutually satisfying relations by reaching out to others in the spirit of sympathetic comprehension.

Daily Om ~ One of a Kind

When we move beyond comparisons and accept our differences, we appreciate the significance of our upbringing and socialization in each of our unique life’s journey.

Many of us have had an experience in which we felt like the lone black sheep in a vast sea of white sheep. For some of us, however, this sense of not belonging runs more deeply and spans a period of many years. It is possible to feel like the black sheep in families and peer groups that are supportive, as well as in those that are not. Even if we receive no overt criticism regarding our values, there will likely be times when it seems that relatives and friends are humouring us or waiting for us to grow out of a phase. Sometimes we may even think we have been adopted because we are so different from our family members. These feelings are not a sign that we have failed in some way to connect with others. Rather, they should be perceived as the natural result of our willingness to articulate our individuality.

Many black sheep respond to the separateness they feel by pulling back from the very people to whom they might otherwise feel closest and embracing a different group with whom they enjoy a greater degree of commonality. But if you feel that your very nature has set you apart from your peers and relatives, consider that you chose long ago to be raised by a specific family and to come together with specific people so that you could have certain experiences that would contribute to your ongoing evolution. You may be much more sensitive than the people around you or more artistic, aware, spiritual, or imaginative. The disparate temperament of your values and those of your family or peers need not be a catalyst for interpersonal conflict. If you can move beyond comparisons and accept these differences, you will come to appreciate the significant role your upbringing and socialization have played in your life’s unique journey.

In time, most black sheep learn to embrace their differences and be thankful for those aspects of their individuality that set them apart from others. We cannot expect that our peers and relatives will suddenly choose to embrace our values and offer us the precise form of support we need. But we can acknowledge the importance of these individuals by devoting a portion of our energy to keeping these relationships healthy while continuing to define our own identities apart from them.

Daily Om ~ Being Alone

By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.

The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives—from birth onward—this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.

Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbours. Once we’ve satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we’ve created and the beauty we’ve discovered within ourselves.

As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship—the one with our true selves.

Daily Om ~ Five Things

Having low self-esteem is a common issue and with some introspection you can start to loosen the grip of this negative thought pattern.

Our primary relationship in life is with our selves. No one else goes through every experience in life with us. We are our one permanent companion, yet we are often our worst critic. To remind ourselves of our magnificence, we can do this exercise: “Five Things I Like About Myself.”

Begin by writing down at least five things that you like about yourself. This is not the time to be modest. If you are having trouble coming up with a total of five items, you know that this exercise can really benefit you. Be sure to include more than your physical attributes on your list, since our bodies are only part of who we are. If you are still struggling with what to include on your list, think of what you like about your favorite people, because these traits are probably qualities that you possess too. Another way to complete your list is to think of five things you don’t like about yourself and find something about these traits that you can like.

Continue this process for a week, thinking of five new things you like about yourself everyday. At the end of the week, read the list aloud to yourself while standing in front of a mirror. Instead of looking for flaws to fix, allow the mirror to reflect your magnificence. You may feel silly about standing in front of a mirror and reading aloud a list of your admirable attributes, but it might just bring a smile to your face and change the way you see yourself. Remember, it is when you feel the most resistant that this exercise can benefit you the most. Because we are constantly looking at the world, instead of looking at ourselves, we don’t often see what’s magnificent about ourselves that others do. When we take the time to experience ourselves the way we would experience someone we love and admire, we become our best companion and supporter on life’s journey.

Five things I like about myself

1. I have a great smile

2. I have a good sense of humour.

3. I have lovely curly hair.

4. I am authentic.

5. I am kind.

What’s your 5 things…

Patron Deities…us or them?

So, it’s silly o’clock, very hot and humid and I cannot sleep. That’s why I’m on here writing about patron deities. What are patron deities anyway and why do we need them? Well, in my personal opinion we don’t have to work with them at all, I know lots of pagans who don’t and that’s perfectly fine. However, many of us do have patron deities and work with them closely. Simply put a patron deity is one with which you form a relationship with and work closely with in all manner of things, including healing work, spell work, guidance in daily living, rituals etc. Generally speaking ones patron deities (or deity) comes from the traditional pantheon that you are working with in your spiritual path, so for example, I follow a traditional Celtic pantheon and so my patrons come from this tradition; in other words they are Celtic Gods and Goddesses. However, on occasion one might find a deity making contact with us from another pantheon. My opinion here is never ignore them, even if they are from a different pantheon because they are probably connecting with you for a very good reason. For example, you might generally follow a Hellenic pantheon and suddenly Thor pops up and gives you a great clonking with his hammer (Thor is Norse by the way). Well, if Thor did that to me I’d be taking notice for sure! Personally I don’t believe my other patrons would be jealous because they see the bigger picture and obviously know why Thor has come calling. So the onus on me is to be open, aware and listen! As long as one treats one’s patrons in a respectful way and doesn’t neglect them there should be no problems. Some deities connect with us for a long-term relationship and others only for a short while, to help us in a specific thing, and then they go on their merry way again.

But now for the reason for the title of this post…Us or Them? This alludes to the question I hear quite often about how one goes about ‘choosing’ one’s patron deities. Well, the simple answer here is we don’t! No, we should never choose our patrons as it is they who choose to work with us. For example, say we have a problem that we want some help with – we just don’t know what to do about it. We might research specific deities who have a special interest in that problem, and we may petition them for their help but that does not mean they are, or even will become, our patron deities. We might even be strongly attracted to a certain god or goddess but that still doesn’t mean they will become a patron. In other words, it is they who choose to have a relationship with us and not the other way round.

It is quite often the case though that deities will alert their interest in us by appearing in dreams, or turning up in our lives at the oddest moments through symbols or signs. We should not ignore these but explore them and if the connection is right it will strengthen over time and you will know in your heart and soul that particular deity has chosen to be your patron. Or, it might occur another way, like a huge slap in the face, or a massive enlightenment. The Gods choose many ways to get our attention and if we keep aware and open to the workings of Spirit then we will know without doubt.

So, if you have been chosen by a deity or deities, and they are willing to be your patrons, what now? You are about to enter into a two-way relationship that works on respect and for mutual benefit. The Gods want to help us, guide us and yes, they also want to bless us but they require something in return and the best things we can give them are honour, our loyalty and offerings. An offering can be anything from a heartfelt prayer of thanks to something more tangible like oil, or wine, bread or milk (depending on the deity, they each have their own likes and dislikes just as we do, so ask them what they like before giving them an offering). Just like any relationship the ones we have with our patrons need to be worked on and maintained. If we neglect a friend then that person is just going to drift away from us eventually and will feel quite hurt. It’s the same with the Gods, if neglected they drift away although I’m not sure if they feel hurt in the human sense.

The best thing to do if you receive the blessing of a patron deity is to build an altar to them, or at least include them in your regular altar. I have statues of mine on my main altar, each with their own candle and offering dish (because they happen to like different things). You don’t have to have statues but at least include some kind of representation of them. For example, if you had Cernunnos as a patron deity you could have a piece of stag’s antler to represent him; if Cerridwen is your patron you could have a mini cauldron to represent her. So think creatively about how you can honour them and make it a practise to do so. Most importantly find out as much as you can about them, their myths and stories, their associations, and even other names they go by. To do this don’t just go to the first thing you read on the Internet, instead thoroughly research as much as you can using credible scholarly sources…and of course most important of all TALK with them. Communicate with them as you would a close physical friend, although with deities it is somewhat different because the main ways of communicating with them is through prayer, trance meditation, path workings and dreams. This might seem hard at first because these are methods that we’re not always used to but persevere and you won’t be disappointed. Always remember though that we don’t always get an answer immediately and it’s not always the one we were expecting either but again, remember that as Spirits they can see a vaster picture than we can, and also have a different perspective than us.

In the end welcome your patrons with open arms, even though their lessons may be hard at times, know they are for our higher good, and know you are blessed.